SUNDAY TONIC– The thought of Baba Reverend James Abayomi Boyejo flashed on my mind yesterday evening as I was reflecting. I didn’t know why I remembered our first meeting in Ibadan in Year 2001 after which I followed up with him years later while compiling my book titled: NIGERIA’s LEADING LIGHTS OF THE GOSPEL – Revolutionaries in Worldwide Christianity. Naturally, no book like that would be complete without a generous mention of Baba Boyejo’s contributions to Christianity in Nigeria. I was pleasantly surprised that Baba Boyejo, after our first meeting volunteered to collect my questions on his entire life and ministry and went back to the United States to write long-hand at the age of over 80 years. He got someone to type neatly as he was writing! He then sent it by email to Nigeria from his United States base. This generous act remains indelible in my memory.
OTHER TESTIMONIES: MY WITNESS Two other servants of God did similar obligations which would never go away from my memory because they are deeply appreciated. I have NEVER believed that I have any influence beyond that of an ORDINARY human being; even when God located me in top sensitive positions in governments. That is my way of life, inherited from our parents. I pulled out my records and decided to do this piece again. The first was a minister of God fondly called ”The Psalmist” late Baba Prophet Gabriel Olubunmi Fakeye of the Cherubim & Seraphim Church (Ayo Ni o) who would even sometimes while on ecclesiastic trip abroad phone me only to inquire out how far I had gone with the book compilation. Again, when the book was finally presented in Abuja, Prophet Fakeye made sure to send two top officials of his church to the function. Furthermore, he directed numerous members of his church to purchase copies of the book and was easily the church leader that purchased the largest number of copies of the book. May Baba Fakeye’s soul continue to rest in the bosom of the Lord.
Next is Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo of Kingsway International Christian Centre, whose assistance and cultivation of interest in me remain evergreen in my memory. The KICC Senior Pastor surprised me in 2009, when he travelled down all the way from the United Kingdom to attend the public presentation of my book titled: GOVERNANCE: An Insider’s Reflections on the Nigerian Polity. He told me he read about the book presentation online and decided to honour me by attending – from about 3.500 miles away! Attendance was a sort of encouragement for me – A NOBODY – and an inconsequential figure, by a man of God of that stature! Glory be to God. Then came the time to develop the sketches of my book under reference in Year 2010. Out of his very busy schedules, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo granted me generous audience in Nigeria and at Walthamstow, East London. We spoke at length at the KICC University site, Ode-Omu; after which he collected the tape of the interview, took it down to London for his secretary to transcribe and type out! He later sent it down electronically. I saw in him a man of great wisdom who constantly expanded his horizon by constantly reading available literature.
It was just divine favour galore; because my relationship with great men of is not about money or influence. There is none of them that cannot purchase me, were I to be a commodity on display for sale. This is one of the reasons 2 Samuel 7:18 always explodes in my thoughts (Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?) Now back to the substantive issue after giving that testimony to the glory of God, Who is the only One that will take the glory. .
PAPA FOURSQUARE: Revd James Abayomi Boyejo, fondly addressed as ”Papa Foursquare” was a doyen of the born-again revolution that electrified the whole of Nigeria’s university campuses. His leadership influence transcended the Foursquare Gospel Church as so many gospel preachers outside the Foursquare Church acknowledged him as their mentor. The likes of the late Charismatic Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa of the Church of God Mission International and Pastor W.F. Kumuyi of the Deeper Christian Life Ministries enjoyed the Spiritual counseling and tutelage of Boyejo. Little wonder he was acknowledged as ‘a Pastor of Pastors’. He was clearly gifted with very strong pastoral instincts, counselling ability, excellent pastoral administrative skills, strong patience and wisdom to douse any tension no matter how complex or difficult it could be.
NIGERIA – A GREAT NATION – Nigeria is indeed a great nation; but we somehow underrate our human resources and potential for real greatness. Some other time, we will discuss great Nigerians like Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola, Prophet Moses Orimolade Tunolase and Primate Olunowo Osintelu whom God used mightily in the days of old to prove that power belongs only to Him. In recognition of his role and service in God’s vineyard, Boyejo was honoured with some awards from organizations within and outside Nigeria. He was awarded the Certificate for Meritorious Award from an American University and the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity from the Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma, through its affiliate in Nigeria, the All Nations for Christ Institute International. Rev. Boyejo’s Executive Secretaryship in Foursquare Nigeria stopped at the eve of a new Administration in the organization and he transitionally acted as the General Supervisor from 1983-1984. His image loomed large in his active service and was named ‘ Foursquare’’.
FORMATION OF THE PENTECOSTAL FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA — Baba Boyejo was clearly gifted with very strong pastoral instincts, counselling ability, excellent pastoral administrative skills, strong patience and wisdom to douse any tension no matter how complex or difficult it turned out to be. Revd Boyejo Biblically traced the history of the formation of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN. In his words, “the children of Issachar are reputed as powerful and intelligent to know what to do when a crisis was looming in Israel. ”The history of Pentecostal experience can be dated back to many years by the great events that brought calamity, plagues and other challenges to the Church in general. ”During those events that shook the faith of the Church Leaders, God always raised men and women of strong faith and spirituality to be an answer to lift up men and women to higher faith and power. ”Such was the event that shook the nations of the world through the influenza in the First World War of 1914-1918, during which many were affected in Nigeria. ”During this period, many new believers arose and sought extra-ordinary divine help as found in the book of Acts. As a result, there were many miracles and healings that took place which drew many worshippers away from the formal churches into small groups of believers who believed in the supernatural”.
EVOLUTION OF PFN: These believers are known by a nomenclature of different names such as ‘The Faith Tabernacle’, ‘The Apostolic Church’, ‘Precious Stone Church’ and other such special nomenclatures. Some of them had foreign connections while others were rooted in the country. Of course, these groups had fervent and powerful spiritual impact on the community as they brought supernatural healings and miracles as a result, they had large following. Of course, there were others which were not really genuine and which were of the enemy whose fruits were Satanic. To sanitize a group which has genuine and biblical Good fruits, there is a group known as World Pentecostal Fellowship with Headquarters in the United States of America. This global Body comprising all fundamental Full Gospel churches which sponsored a Triennial World Conference is attended by all Bible believing churches in the world. At such conferences all true Pentecostal believers meet for fellowship, instruction, renewal of faith and experience. Many Nigerian leaders also attended these conferences held in different parts of the world”.
ELEVENTH WORLD PENTECOSTAL CONFERENCE — According to accounts narrated by Revd Boyejo: “the Eleventh World Pentecostal Conference was slated to take place in Zurich, Switzerland in Central Europe. There were assembled in that great city many Pentecostal leaders from many parts of the world. As usual, many leaders from Nigeria were present and we relish the pleasantry that always greeted one another that we came all the way from Nigeria to meet in the great land of peace-loving community which did not wage war against any one. There was sudden discovery not only to see black faces; but to also look deep to know that there were many familiar faces and they were my brothers from Nigeria. However, after a few hours of joy, the excitement turned to concern and wonder. Why did we discover that we were of a special breed of believers not common among others? We were Pentecostals coming together to fellowship with others from all other parts of the world and yet we did not fellowship one with another in our own country! The joy turned to concern. Then we began to ask one another, WHY? Why not in Nigeria? We met Assemblies of God leaders, TREM Leader, Bishop Okonkwo, Foursquare Church Leaders, Bishop Francis Wale Oke of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Bishop Emmanuel Osakwe, Late Evangelist Timothy Iyanda, Reverend Abina of the Gospel Faith Mission International and many others”.
Boyejo disclosed further that “we began to feel shy and ashamed that we were excited to see ourselves in a strange land to love and cherish our fellowship but in our own home we stood arms far apart. So, we announced at one of the meetings that all the brethren from Nigeria would meet after the programme for a brief chat. ”At the meeting, all of us accused one another as to why we had a fellowship in a strange land and we did not have fellowship in our own country. ”We laughed at each other and decided right there that as soon as we got to Nigeria, the two senior leaders present should organize the Fellowship and in particular the Assemblies of God leader to the conference and Revd Boyejo should summon the Pentecostal leaders in Nigeria to so do. This was the background to the story of the formation of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. ”Early in February the following year (1986) letters were written signed by three Pentecostal leaders and sent to all heads of Pentecostal Churches inviting them to a meeting for a proposal for the formation of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. The meeting took place at the Akinwunmi Street headquarters of the Foursquare Gospel Church”
Almost all heads of Churches that were invited turned up, even at a short notice. Even the shortest notice was that of Archbishop Idahosa who was called by phone in the evening of the day before the meeting and graciously attended. At that first meeting, a motion for the proposal for the formation of the Fellowship was moved and adopted. Interim officers were appointed and an inaugural committee was appointed and charged with definite instruction for them to work out modalities for the inauguration. They were mandated to work out necessary details of the structure, the constitution and bye-laws to be drafted as well as terms of belief to be subscribed to by all those who would be members of the Fellowship. These were to be worked out by the interim officers and to be brought back to the next meeting of the leaders. It was also decided that the public inauguration be postponed till later in the year at an appropriate time when ample information must have been circulated to enable many other Pentecostal brethren to be informed. Fortunately, later in the year, Evangelist Uma Ukpai from Uyo organized an ‘All-Lagos City Interdenominational Crusade’ which drew very many denominations and Pentecostal leaders thought it would be most appropriate to use that opportunity to inaugurate the fellowship at the end of the crusade.
FOUNDING FATHERS’ CHURCHES
• ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA
• CHURCH OF GOD MISSION
• CHRISTIAN PENTECOSTAL MISSION
• CHRIST GOSPEL MISSION
• DEEPER CHRISTIAN LIFE MINISTRY
• FOURSQUARE GOSPEL CHURCH
• FAITH CATHEDRAL
• GOSPEL CHURCH OF CHRIST
• GOSPEL FAITH MISSION INT’L
• THE REDEEMED EVANGELICAL MISSION
• REDEEMED CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF GOD
• UMA UKPAI EVANGELISTIC ASSOCIATION
• PASTOR ENOCH ADEJARE ADEBOYE
• BISHOP MIKE OKONKWO (MFR)
• DR. UMA UKPAI
• DR. OBIORAH EZEKIEL
• DR. CHARLES OGBONNAYA OSUEKE
• DR. ELIJAH OLUDELE ABINA
• ARCHBISHOP MARGARET EKHOE BENSON-IDAHOSA (OON)
• DR. BOYEJO JAMES (DECEASED)
When Baba Boyejo exited as PFN leader, he handed the mantle over to Pastor E.A Adeboye and moved up to the position of Grand Patron. Pastor Adeboye was PFN National President from 1992-1995. Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa took over and was in office from 1995-1998.
HIS CALL INTO THE MINISTRY & THE MOVE OF GOD: Boyejo heard his call into the ministry in the normal run of an ordinary living creature. In his words “as I daily read my Bible and attend my normal Christian programmes and spent time in prayers, I felt God was speaking to me to go into the ministry. God kept on impressing it on my mind that in view of what He had done for me since I was born again, I ought to get others saved. This made me to join an Evangelism team among the youths for aggressive soul winning effort. This exercise became so intense as a regular weekly programme.” It could, therefore, be adduced that Boyejo’s call to the ministry did not attract any extra-ordinary phenomenon except in two areas. The first, as espoused by him was an occurrence very early in life and about the second or third day after he was born in November 1928. According to the information that was gathered, it was considered too early or naturally inappropriate for a mother who had just delivered a new baby child to rush out to watch a special show on the main streets.
Revd Boyejo said: “My mother rushed out to watch and listen to a gospel team singing, playing musical instruments and giving public testimonies about salvation in Christ. The programme was so impressive that a lot of people in the small town came out to listen. The group was from the Salvation Army sect and one of the songs that my mother still remembered vividly after twenty-five years was “Just a little talk with Jesus”. According to the report related to Boyejo by his mother, the programme ended with special prayers by individuals, particularly those whose hearts were touched by the Lord. His mother was so moved that she prayed fervently and the main subject that was uppermost in her heart was that her little baby boy would be a preacher of the gospel, doing exactly what these heaven-sent preachers were doing. Boyejo noted that “why the gospel team came to that spot at that particular time was certainly a mystery. It was no surprise years later to my mother that God answered her fervent prayer when she saw me went into the full-time ministry with such a fervour that could not be deterred. ‘’I looked back in reminiscence at this incident as one of the miracles of God’s grace that shaped my life and destiny.”
The second important intervention was how he received special assurance that God really called him into the Ministry of the Foursquare Gospel. It was in the regular pursuit of his fellowship’s soul-winning exercise with his colleagues at the Evangelism team that he met the Foursquare Missionaries – Reverend and Mrs Harold Curtis and family. This early contact led to a fellowship. The Curtises discovered the innate passion, zeal and commitment these young men possessed to populate the Kingdom of God through their evangelistic moves and therefore invited them to team up with them in the works of the establishment of Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria. Boyejo and his team showed a little reluctance at this invitation of joining a new organization. The team seemed content with their spiritual activities. However, after prayers and ‘gentle pressure’ they were persuaded to participate in the new Bible College programmes. This, to me was a bait that did the miracle. “All of us enrolled in the Bible College as the first batch of the College and also graduated together. While we were in the classes, we were encouraged to do practical by working in the new Church to be pioneered”.
GLORIOUS EXIT: It is a thing of joy that Baba Boyejo was able to make an input into the book compilation under reference before he was called to higher service. We cherish his contribution to the publication titled: ’’NIGERIA’S LEADING LIGHTS OF THE GOSPEL – Revolutionaries In Worldwide Christianity’’ at a ripe old age of 83 years. Remarkably, Revd Boyejo still preached and counselled people in the United States where he spent the greater part of his last 15 years on earth. From there, he travelled round on speaking engagements, witnessing Christ to people. Please continue to rest in the bosom of the Lord, ”Papa Foursquare”
ABOUT THE BOOK
CELEBRATING GOD’S GLOBAL MOVE THROUGH NIGERIA — AUTHOR: FEMI ADELEGAN
ISBN:978-1-4497-6954-3 (sc) & ISBN: 978-1-4497-6953-6 (e)Published in Nigeria by: Terrific Inv. Co. Ltd; ISBN: 978-978-931-805-6
‘NIGERIA’S LEADING LIGHTS OF THE GOSPEL: Revolutionaries in Worldwide Christianity’, is a star -studded book that makes a diligent study to unearth the mysterious persistence of God’s calling, the often stubborn resistance of the called, and the eventual surrender and the justification of the calling. The book takes readers through biographical accounts of how the divine Potter transforms ordinary clay into substance of eternal value in His display of power in glory. It tells stories of how leading servants of God of Nigerian origin obtained mercies from their Maker, and got transformed into carriers of supernatural powers, going all over the world doing good, healing the sick and releasing those bound by the devil; just as Jesus the Redeemer taught and commanded.
A most significant achievement of this book is the highlighting of Nigeria’s indelible impact on global Christianity and the country’s unique African imprint on Christian spirituality and evangelistic outreach. Christianity in Nigeria has not only produced shining lights, but the Church in Nigeria has both blessed, enriched, as well as challenged World Christianity in the areas of self propagation, self government, creative adaptability, and fidelity to the faith once delivered to the Saints. Their activities reveal great spiritual resources and Christian grace which can inspire and challenge many others to love the Lord more, and to serve Him with greater zeal and devotion, so that more and more disciples can be raised to spread scriptural holiness throughout the world. NIGERIA’S LEADING LIGHTS OF THE GOSPEL goes a long way to confirm that indeed Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. The author highlights prophecies that NIGERIA has been divinely positioned to play a big role to play in the second coming of Jesus Christ and that the whole world will, in the nearest future, struggle to obtain entry visas into NIGERIA.
COPIES OF THE BOOK: ’’NIGERIA’S LEADING LIGHTS OF THE GOSPEL – Revolutionaries In Worldwide Christianity’’ are available at the following locations:
CITYMART SUPERMARKET, SUNCITY ESTATE, LOKOGOMA DISTRICT, ABUJA
- READERS ARE LEADERS BOOKSTORES, DEPARTURE WING, NNAMDI AZIKIWE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, ABUJA
- THE BOOKSTORES, DUNAMIS INTERNATAIONAL GOSPEL CENTRE, AREA ONE, GARKI, ABUJA
- CHRISNOLLY PHARMACY, GROUND FLOOR, TRANSCORP HILTON HOTEL, MAITAMA, ABUJA
- DELE BOOKSTORES, LAGOS AIRPORT HOTEL, IKEJA, LAGOS
- THE BOOKSTORES, REDEEMED CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF GOD, REDEMPTION CAMP, MOWE, OGUN STATE