Jemigbon, Samuel Sunday
1934 to 2009
The Apostolic Church (AC)
Third LAWNA territorial chairman and second
national vice-president of the Apostolic Church Nigeria; president,
Christian Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (C.P.F.N.).
Family Background, Early Education, Conversion and Marriage
Samuel Sunday Jemigbon was born to a Muslim father and a Christian
mother: Pa Elewusu Ikuejemigbon (shortened to Jemigbon) of Ayeh-Gbede
in the Old Kabba province of the present Kogi State of Nigeria,
and Madam Rhoda Ikuejemigbon (née Omogbonewore). As he was born
on Sunday, March 4, 1934, he was given the name Sunday, though
his original name given by his father was Sadiku, in consonance
with his father's religion. He was the last born of his parent's
four children and the only male child.
His father was not just a Muslim; he equally combined African
native medicine practice with his Islamic religion. He was,
in fact, the leader of the herbal practitioners (native medicine
healers) in his community. But as mentioned earlier, his mother
was a devout Christian like Monica, the mother of St. Augustine
of Hippo. She was a member of the Apostolic Church in the community.
Sunday could be called a child of promise. His parents had had
three daughters and no son. Because of this, his mother was
in constant prayer to God for a male child. She attended a revival
program where his birth was foretold by prophetess Leah of the
Apostolic Church from Ilesa who visited Ayeh-Gbede to do evangelical
work in 1933. Prophetess Leah, in her revival message on Okuta
Ako Mountain in Gbede, allegedly foretold that God had brought
two male children to the revival ground and had given them to
those looking for them. Two women present at the revival looking
for a male child each gave birth to a son nine months after
the revival. They were Rachel Omoboni, who gave birth to Daniel,
and Rhoda Ikujemigbon, who gave birth to Sadiku (Sunday).
However, in spite of the prophecy, Sadiku in early childhood
followed his father's religion. He was enrolled in a Quranic
School at an early age, and became versed in Quranic recitation.
He grew up to be a staunch Muslim and was opposed to his mother's
religion which he hated with passion owing to his Islamic indoctrination.
It was said that he hated walking by or passing through church
buildings. In fact, at one time, he vowed to his friends that
he would never in his life enter a church.
The story of his conversion to Christianity was funny and dramatic.
In 1948, one of his friends who was a Christian by name, Matthew
Ibikunle (a son of a leading prophet in the Apostolic Church)
one day conspired with some other friends to trick him into
entering the church. When the bell for Sunday School rang, he
gave the books he was taking to Sunday School to Sadiku to hold
for him with the excuse that he wanted to relieve himself. Unknown
to Sadiku, Matthew took another direction and went to the church.
He then sent for Sadiku to bring his books to him saying that
he needed them urgently in the Sunday School class. Matthew
had secretly arranged for his other friends to immediately carry
Sadiku inside the church building if he came onto the church
premises. Sadiku, being ignorant of the plan, went to the church
to deliver the books. The friends surrounded him and carried
him inside the church auditorium. They then began to shout:
"Sadiku has entered into the church; you are a member of Sunday
School." This supposed child-play became the instrument God
used to set his feet on his path to divine destiny. The embarrassment
dealt him such a devastating blow that going to the Quranic
school or mosque that day became a thing of shame to him. Like
Monica, the mother of Augustine, his mother at this point seized
upon this opportunity. She pacified him and consequently played
a great role in introducing him to Jesus the Savior. She influenced
him to follow her to church programs. He was consequently converted
to Christianity and baptized, thus, changing his name from Sadiku
In 1950, at the age of sixteen, Samuel enrolled at the Apostolic
Church Primary School, Ayeh-Gbede for his primary education.
In 1955, after finishing his primary education, he gained admission
into E. I. College, Aramoko-Ekiti (in the present Ekiti State)
for his secondary education. As he was self-sponsored, he had
to work for the college during vacation so he could pay his
school fees. On discovering his zeal and hard work, the school
authorities decided to award him a scholarship while at the
same time continuing to pay him for the services he was rendering
to the school. However, his joy and hope were short-lived when
suddenly the school was forced to close down following government
By divine intervention, his hope and aspiration were again revived
when he received a foreign scholarship from an American owned
school in Lagos, called the Metropolitan College headed by Rev.
Reeves (board chairman) from New York and Rev. Collins (college
principal). After the completion of his studies, he enrolled
with the famous Rapid Results Correspondence College, where
he received tutorials for his advanced level papers.
While at school, he was careful to live a godly life and was
very selective in choosing his friends. At a time, one of his
close associates was challenged by people in the neighborhood
on why such a Christian like him should be friends with Sunday,
the son of an herbalist. But his friend's father, instead of
dissuading his son from maintaining his friendship with Sunday,
encouraged him to pursue it with a prophetic statement that
"he (Sunday) would one day hold a chair in the Apostolic Church."
This prophetic utterance was made at a time when there was no
such office as chairman in the Apostolic Church.
After finishing his education, Samuel Sunday Jemigbon took up
an appointment with K.J.D.S. (Kabba Joint Division School) at
Olle Bunu as a pupil teacher. He kept this job until he joined
the full-time ministry.
On September 6, 1965, Samuel Sunday Jemigbon married Miss Mary
Olanrewaju Kaiyeja Alaherin. The marriage was blessed with many
children, including, Oluwafunmilayo, Immanuel, Oluwafemi, Sunday,
Israel, and Oluwakemi, and many grand-children.
His Pastoral Calling, Ministerial Training, Ordination, Appointments,
In February of 1969, Samuel Sunday Jemigbon received a call
into the full time pastoral ministry of the Apostolic Church
in Kabba Area under the leadership of Pastor K. P. Titus, the
superintendent. Thereupon, he attended a Pre-Bible School at
Ayetoro Gbede, then known as Tule (a Yoruba word for "beginning
from scratch"). From there, he proceeded to International Bible
College, Kolden, Denmark, where he received a diploma in theology
On his return, he was ordained a pastor in 1972. In 1976, he
was called and ordained into the office of apostle (the most
exalted ordained office in the Apostolic Church, following the
"Five-fold Ascended Gifts of Christ" in Ephesians 4:11). Jemigbon
labored in the following capacities. His first posting when
he began his full-time ministry in the Apostolic Church in 1969
was Olle Bunu Assembly. In 1973, he was transferred to Oke-Adeye
Assembly, still in Kabba Area. In 1977, he was transferred to
Oke-Iro in Ilesa Area as district apostle.
In April 1980, he was appointed as the LAWNA (Lagos, Western
and Northern Areas) territorial administrative secretary under
Pastor I. G. Sakpo who was chairman at the time. He succeeded
Pastor C. O. Onabanjo (who then became the Lagos Area superintendent)
as the third LAWNA territorial administrative secretary (Pastor
J. Ayo Anjorin being the first).
He continued in this position till 1994 when he was appointed
the third LAWNA territorial chairman following the demise of
Pastor I. G. Sakpo. This appointment was ratified by the LAWNA
General Executive Council on May 24, 1994. He was subsequently
inducted on July 31, 1994. That same year, he was appointed
the second national vice-president of the church by the National
Executive Council. When he assumed office, he labored tirelessly
for the expansion of the Apostolic Church in Nigeria. Through
his efforts, the church recorded unprecedented growth as many
new assemblies of the church were planted. This consequently
led to what could be called a proliferation of areas (equivalent
of dioceses in the mainline churches). Within the fifteen years
of his administration as LAWNA territorial chairman and national
vice-president of the Apostolic Church, the number of areas
increased from thirty-two to sixty-seven between May 1994 and
before his death in June 2009.
He was also devoted to foreign mission. During his tenure, many
new missionary stations were opened in African countries, the
United States of America, and Israel.
Furthermore, Jemigbon committed more to the provision and improvement
of infrastructural facilities. During his tenure, the church's
100,000 seating capacity auditorium reputed to be the world's
single largest church auditorium (popularly called the National
Temple) whose foundation was laid by his predecessor (Pastor
I. G. Sakpo) on May 10, 1986 was brought to near completion.
In addition to this, he saw to the construction, completion,
and commissioning of the ultra-modern LAWNA secretariat complex,
official residence for the LAWNA chairman, administrative secretary,
and financial secretary, a three-storey superintendents' lodge,
and a council hall.
Jemigbon made a significant impact in the areas of education,
ministers' welfare, and the development of manpower. He reviewed
the ministers' stipend and welfare packages. He was devoted
to ministerial training and manpower development. He encouraged
ministers at all levels to pursue theological education programs.
This led to the introduction of both full-time and sandwich
bachelor of theology degrees, and other related programs at
the seminaries of the church in LAWNA territory, in addition
to the existing ones. He was a visionary leader who aimed at
raising and developing manpower in the church by organizing
a series of leadership retreats, seminars, and special training
programs for both ministers and elders of the church. His administration
also opened many more primary and secondary schools of the Apostolic
Church in Nigeria. The vision of the church establishing a private
university was born during his tenure. The proposed university,
called Glorious Vision University (later renamed Samuel Adegboyega
University after the first LAWNA territorial chairman of the
church) with its permanent site at Ogwa, in Edo Sate of Nigeria,
is presently undergoing approval processes by the National University
Jemigbon was seen by both ministers and members of the church
as an agent of change. On assumption of office as the third
LAWNA territorial chairman of the church, he showed his abhorrence
for the status quo and tried everything within his power to
transform the system. He made an impact in many facets and ministries
of the church and many felt that during his tenure in office
he had accomplished his mission.
He made a significant contribution to the youth ministry. In
his bid to check the flow of youths away from the church to
the Neo-Pentecostal churches, he encouraged improvements in
youth activities in the church. He introduced a program called
Youth Convocation, designed for the spiritual and physical development
of young people, featuring such items as career talk, marriage
counseling and the like. He also approved the introduction of
a youth drama ministry and a youth soccer competition.
He equally contributed to the development of music. As a lover
of music, he helped improve Apostolic Church music by approving
the introduction of modern and sophisticated musical instruments.
He inaugurated an urbane elite choir called National Temple
Choir to complement the efforts of the longstanding LAWNA territory
In 1998, as part of his quest to make the church a structured
institution, he facilitated the review and registration of the
church's constitution with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
In his untiring attempts to bridge the gap between the clergy
and the laity, he initiated and established the Annual Southern
and Northern Elders' Meeting -- a forum for bringing together
laity and clergy, with the goal of enhancing the good administration
of the church.
Jemigbon was an apostle of ecumenism in Nigerian Christianity,
working tirelessly for the unity of churches, irrespective of
denominational differences. This role led to his appointment
as one of the trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria (C.A.N.).
He initiated the coming together of the earliest Pentecostal
denominations in the country under a block in C.A.N. with the
umbrella name Christian Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (C.P.F.N.).
He was elected national chairman of the C.P.F.N. and retained
this office until his death.
In his quest to forge unity among Apostolic Church missions
in Africa, he initiated and convened the Apostolic Church's
first African Zonal Leaders Conference which was hosted by the
Apostolic Church in Nigeria at the national headquarters of
the church in Lagos in September of 2008. This conference challenged
the churches and redirected their attention to mission and evangelism
in North Africa, a region once dominated by Christianity but
which is now Islamic.
Jemigbon was a great author who contributed to church growth
and Christian spiritual development through his writings. His
publications include: "The Apostolic Church at 70: the Vision
and the Mission"; "The Growing Church"; "Justification"; "It
Is Well"; "The Living Word"; "Holy Spirit at Work"; "Adopted
Child"; "Saving Religion"; "Apostolic Movement in Nigeria";
"Place of Discipline in the Church"; "The Christian Minister";
and "The Power in Oneness".
He was a great preacher and teacher, and a lover of the word
of God. He never neglected his primary duty of "rightly dividing
the word of truth." He equally encouraged the propagation and
publishing of the Bible. He was recognized as one of the major
donors to the Bible Society of Nigeria.
He was a man of prayer who lived an exemplary prayer life. He
taught and encouraged his fellow ministers to take on the same
spirit as the key to a successful ministry.
Jemigbon blended spiritual leadership with social responsibilities.
In addition to his pastoral labors, he was a great community
leader and developer. In spite of his tight pastoral schedule,
he never neglected his social responsibilities, especially to
his hometown, Ayeh-Gbede Community. Here are some of the things
(i) Through his intervention, the community was
connected to the National Grid. On January 25, 2005, he commissioned
an electrification project in the community which he initiated.
His Leadership Traits
(ii) In education, he contributed immensely to the development
of the Community Comprehensive College in Ayeh-Gbede.
(iii) In the area of youth empowerment and development, he
assisted a great deal in getting gainful employment for youths
in his community.
(iv) In the area of social welfare, he responded more positively
to the welfare of the needy and the less privileged in the
community, meeting both their physical and material needs.
In his pastoral ministry as LAWNA territorial chairman and national
vice-president of the Apostolic Church, Nigeria, he was known
as a caring leader. He led an exemplary life in the way he cared
for ministers under him and church members at large.
As a minister, he combined charisma with character. He was generous,
loving, caring and receptive; tough, but not difficult; strict,
His receptiveness to views and advice from his colleagues and
members considerably helped to bridge the gap between the clergy
and the laity in the church. In fact, he has been described
as "a leader who brought the laity closer to the clergy."
He was the epitome of love, humility, and peaceful co-existence.
He believed strongly that Christians should learn to settle
their differences among themselves in the spirit of love rather
than resorting to court actions. He did much to bring about
reconciliation between factions in the church and even the restoration
of broken homes. As a good leader who led by example, he exhibited
the spirit of forgiveness -- he easily forgave those who hurt
him, even those who made open confessions of such.
He was indeed a great leader and administrator par excellence.
He combined the five-fold gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist,
pastor, and teacher of the word. He was such a hard-working
and indefatigable minister that he hardly had any leisure time.
In fact, he was attending a retreat program when he received
his call to glory.
His Last Days
Exactly a month before he died, Jemigbon preached a sermon which
many later interpreted as his farewell sermon. This sermon entitled
"Bound for Canaan" was delivered on May 17, 2009 at a combined
service organized for him by Zaria Area Council after his inauguration
of the Northern Areas Elders' Annual Meeting. This message which
aroused the emotions of all in attendance was said to have been
occasioned by a Spirit inspired rendition by the Area Combined
Choir of hymn 79 (Appendix), "I am Bound for Canaan," from T.A.C.
Gospel Hymn Book. After hearing it, he had allegedly received
divine leading to replace his earlier prepared sermon topic,
"Working with God" with "Bound for Canaan." In his admonition,
he charged the congregation to shun corruption, immorality,
and other vices in order to be Canaan bound. He called the people
to pursue holiness, righteousness, justice, peace, and truth,
as characteristics of Canaan bound people. During the delivery
of the sermon, eyewitnesses felt that he demonstrated his readiness
for Canaan-land, to the consternation of all. Afterwards, on
his return to Lagos, he travelled again to Calabar, in good
health, to attend the National Executive Council Meeting which
was held between June 8 and 11, 2009.
On June 17, 2009, however, a few days after his return from
Calabar, during a retreat program in Lagos, he was called to
glory in a dramatic fashion, according to eyewitnesses. He was
buried on September 18, 2009 at the Apostolic Church LAWNA international
convention grounds, OLorunda-Ketu, Lagos. He was survived by
his wife, Deaconess Mary Jemigbon, children, and grand-children.
He was succeeded by Pastor Gabriel O. Olutola, the fourth LAWNA
territorial chairman, and vice-president of the Apostolic Church,
Samson Adetunji Fatokun
The Life and Ministry of Pastor S. S. Jemigbon.
Lagos: The Apostolic Church LAWNA Literature Committee, 2009.
Excerpts from "Pastor Samuel Sunday Jemigbon's Funeral Ceremony
Program," Lagos: T.A.C. LAWNA Printing Press, 2009, pp. 24-33.
This story, submitted in 2011, was written by
Rev. Dr. Samson Adetunji Fatokun, who is Senior Lecturer in
Church History and Pentecostal Studies in the department of
Religious Studies at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, where
he also serves as the DACB liaison coordinator.