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Michael Oluwamuyide Adegbolagun was a minister of God of many years standing who gave himself to the ministry of Christ. Initially a prominent and successful businessman, he left all to answer the call into the ministry, and functioned effectively therein. Until his death in 1996, he was the Assistant General Overseer of Voice of Redemption Gospel Church, a Nigerian Pentecostal mission, under the leadership of Folorunsho Husswin.
Adegbolagun was born on May 22, 1918 to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Igbaro Seriki Adegbolagun. He was born at Oke-Ode in Kwara State while his father was trading as an Osomalo. His mother was a native of Efon-Alaye. He started his educational career at Saint Peter’s Anglican School, Erinmo-Ijesa, in the present Osun State of Nigeria in 1924 and read up to Standard II, the highest class available in the school at the time. He then moved to St. John’s School Iloro-Ijesa where he read up to Standard V1, finishing his schoolwork in 1942.
In 1943 Adegbolagun moved to Imesi-Ile to work as a teacher. In 1944, he was transferred to Ipetu-Ijesa, from where he went for refresher course at St. Andrew’s College, Oyo. He returned to Ipetu-Ijesa on completion of the course and resigned from the teaching profession towards the end of 1944. He then moved to Lagos where he was introduced to D. O. Odubanjo of the Christ Apostolic Church, who assisted him in securing a job with Patterson Zochonis and Company (PZ), working under the supervision of Odunaiya. He was then transferred by the PZ to Maiduguri. He had to resign his appointment with the PZ at Maiduguri, however, and returned to Lagos due to a serious illness which he went through at the time. Coincidentally, Odunaya, his boss at the PZ, had also resigned his appointment and was then managing his personal business trading under the business name of Oba-nle-aro Trading Company and Adegbolagun joined him, where he worked for the next three years.
Adegbolagun left Odunaiya after the three years to start his personal business, selling building materials. Everything was okay with him until 1950 when he took a contract for the supply of certain product for export. This contract landed him in serious trouble, because not long after he started, he lost the sum of £15,000.00, which was a huge sum of money at the time. This loss led to the liquidation of his business. Twice he tried to resuscitate this business and twice it failed. On his third attempt, a prophet who sensed the call of God on his life approached and counseled him to yield to God’s call into God’s ministry because it may be difficult if not impossible for him to succeed in business, as that was not what he should be doing. God revealed that God had called him into the Gospsel ministry and unless he attended to this call he may continually find success elusive. Earlier on, his father had spoken the same way as the prophet did, but Michael seemed not to be favourably disposed to heeding the call to the ministry.
Adegbolagun was married to Mrs Comfort Olaoluwadunni Adegbolagun in 1949. The wedding was solemnized at the Christ Apostolic Church, Yaba, Lagos. His wife hailed from the same town of Erinmo-Ijesa and the marriage was blessed with five children, three girls and two boys.
In 1969, Adegbolagun bowed to the call of the master and started his ministry at the Christ Apostolic Church, Olorunsogo, Lagos, Nigeria. In April 1972, he was ordained as a pastor at United Gospel Apostolic Church, 47, Carter Street Ebute-Metta, Lagos. When he answered the call into the ministry, all of the problems in his life subsided. God proved Godself in all the churches where he ministered, but he faced challenges from the powers of darkness. He was attacked several times, but the Lord stood by him. In fact, on one occasion a snake entered the church and went straight towards him where he was holding a meeting with the other minsters, but those with him killed the snake before it could harm him.
He spent a year with the Deeper Christian Life Ministry before joining the Voice of Redemption Gospel Centre on March 2, 1985. On arrival at Voice of Redemption Gospel Centre, God told him that he had brought him to that place so that he could assist in the completion of the large church auditorium which was then under construction. Consequently, he settled down to work and was warmly welcomed by the General Overseer of the church in the person of Folorunso Husswin. At the Voice of Redemption, he was first appointed as the Pastor-in-Charge of the main church, a position being held by Amos Oladepo at the time. However, because of his experience and diligence in the things of God, he was later promoted to the post of Assistant General Overseer of the Church (AGO). Not long after he got there, he lost his darling wife in 1986. All that the church did during the burial of his wife impressed him so much that he decided to devote the rest of his life to the service of God through this church.
Adegbolagun was a builder. In most of the churches he worked, he built some from ruin to prominence. When he got to the Voice of Redemption, the building of the church hall that was in progress was facing some challenges and Adegbolagun emphasised that building was the work God had sent him to complete and prophesied that he would be on his way home when he might have completed the building. True to this prophecy he died shortly after the completion of the building on March 1, 1996. He had been sick unto death before, but the Lord kept him until he completed the work.
Adegbolagun seems to have had a premoniton of his death because he had certain discussions with his eldest daughter before embarking on an inspection tour of the branches of the church in the neighbouring Republic of Benin. He told her that he would be on his way home immediately after completing the inspection tour. His daughter, however, did not quite understand this, thinking of it as a return to Lagos, his base, but he warned her several time to heed all his instructions given out during their discussion. He left for the Republic of Benin for the inspection, but never returned alive as he died there and his body was brought back to Lagos. It was then that it dawned on all ministers and members of the church that his inspection tour was more of a farewell visit to the Benin Churches.
According to Amos Oladepo, the incumbent Assistant General Overseer of the church for Ogun state, Nigeria, Adegbolagun had earlier prophesied long before his death that he would die at the Ibate Parish of the church in the Republic of Benin, as Ezekiel Sadare, the pastor of the parish at the time, was an close spiritual son who usually took good care of him. In the words of Oladepo, he had earlier told other ministers of the church that Adegbolagun was indeed sent by God to the church to assisting in completing the church auditorium and that God would call him home when he was done. That was exactly what happened. Today Adegbolagun’s works at the Voice of Redemption Gospel Centre speak of his diligence, commitment, and hard work.
Adegbolagun’s emphases in his sermons were that there are three things that could hinder a Christian from reaching heaven. These are: what you see, what you hear, and what people do to you. He always cautioned Christians to be very careful not to be distracted by these three things. He loved music and played the piano, accordion, and guitar quite well. As part of his responsibility as the AGO, he always traveled round the branch churches across the nation to strengthen, monitor, and guide the pastors in charge of these branches. As a seasoned administrator, however, it was his practice to carry his pastors along in decision-making concerning the affairs of the church.
Adegbolagun had two favorite songs, one he sang at the beginning of a sermon and the other at the start of a prayer session.
At the beginning of a sermon, he would sing:
Mo setan lati gboran so oro re (2x)
Mo setan lati Gboroo, oro iye Olorun,
Mo setan lati gboran so oro re e
I am ready to obey thy word (2x),
I am ready to obey the living word of God,
I am ready to obey thy word.
At the beginning of a prayer session, he would sing:
Emi oni lo, rara nko ni lo (2x),
A fi b’olugbala gbo adura mi,
Sebi oun lope mi, mo si wa si odo re,
A fi b’olugbala gbo adura mi.
I’ll not leave; never will I leave (2x)
Unless the Savior answers my prayer,
He is the one who called me and I have come to him,
Unless the Savior answers my prayer.
Ezekiel Sadare, considered the closest of Adegbolagun’s spiritual children, described him as a sincere and straightforward person. He loved people and hated to see anyone suffer, he encouraged people in the ministry, he loved visiting people, and he loved to meet the needs of people. Sadare stated that he opened his first bank account with the Wema Bank, Aiyetoro branch, Ogun state, through the encouragement of Adegbolagun who gave him the sum of £200.00 at the time.
Sadare corroborated the report of others on the fact that Adegbolagun had a premonition of his death. He said,
He [Adegbolagun] told me in 1994 that he would die at Ibate, in the Republic of Benin where Sadare was then the pastor. True to his word, he set out in February 1996 on a visit to all the branches within that environment, which he visited one after the other and terminated the visit at Ibate, where he eventually died. However, in his usual practice of accountability, before leaving for the trip, he made an account of all the church money in his care and handed same over to one of the brothers in the church. All these no doubt point to the fact that he knew he would not return from the trip.Folorunso Husswin, the General Overseer of the church, described Adegbolagun as a dedicated, conscientious, and selfless soldier of Christ, whom God used tremendously during his stay at the Voice of Redemption Gospel Church. Adegbolagun was ably committed to visiting the parishes of the church in the Ekiti sector of the country and those in the neighbouring Republic of Benin. He was on a visit to the Benin Republic, where he died on active service, on March 1, 1996, at the age of 78.
Michael Adeleke Ogunewu
Notes1. Osomalo is the name given to traders from the Ijesha stock of the Yoruba Ethnic group in Southwest Nigeria. Many of them deal in the sales of traditional clothing materials otherwise referred to as Aso-Oke.
2. Amos Oladepo, Assistant General Overseer, Voice of Redemption Gospel Church, interview by the author, January 26, 2014, Lagos, Nigeria.
4. Sadare, Clergyman, Voice of Redemption Gospel Church, interview by the author, February 10, 2014, Aiyetoro, Ogun State, Nigeria.
5. Folorunso Husswin, General Overseer, Voice of Redemption Gospel Church, interview by the author, January 26, 2014, Isolo Lagos, Nigeria.
BibliographyAmos Oladepo, Assistant General Overseer, Voice of Redemption Gospel Church, interview by the author, January 26, 2014, Lagos, Nigeria.
Ezekiel Sadare, Clergy, Voice of Redemption Gospel Church, interview by the author, February 10, 2014, Lagos, Nigeria.
Folorunso Husswin, General Overseer, Voice of Redemption Gospel Church, interview by the author, January 26, 2014, Isolo Lagos, Nigeria.
This article, received in 2014, was researched and written by Dr. Michael Leke Ogunewu, a visiting lecturer in Church History at Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary in Ogbomoso, Nigeria.
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