Since his announced retirement, Pastor E.A. Adeboye who left the academic field to become a cleric, has become a more celebrated christian icon all over the world.
Two months before his 75th birthday on March 2, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye stepped aside from his position as the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria, causing a seismic shift, not only in RCCG worldwide, but across religious divides nationally.
Born on March 2, 1942, in Ifewara, Osun State, Adeboye, who holds a B.Sc in Mathematics from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Lagos, worked as a mathematics lecturer at the universities of Lagos and Ilorin before heeding the call into the ministry as a full time preacher.
However, Adeboye’s meteoric rise, from being a mathematics lecturer to a powerful global religious leader, was not as straight forward as a mathematics formula that could be easily decoded by the best PhD brains.
After joining RCCG in 1973, Adeboye worked as the interpreter of the sermons of the church’s founder, the late Rev. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, from Yoruba to English.
Eight years later, in 1981, at the age of 39, Papa Akindayomi’s mantle — like the Biblical Elijah to Elisha — fell on Adeboye, who was then appointed the General Overseer of the church, following the former’s death a year earlier.
For three years, he juggled his work as a mathematics lecturer with his position as general overseer.
Eventually, Adeboye, probably in a moment of divine insight into the future, resigned his position as a university teacher to go into full time ministry as a preacher.
It proved to be a decision orchestrated by divine genius. Since then, RCCG, a church that was hitherto largely unknown prior to Adeboye’s ascension, has experienced astronomical growth; giving rise to about 14,000 branches across Nigeria, and branches in 192 countries worldwide.
Adeboye had once said that his goal was to plant a church within five minutes trekable distance to every home.
It, therefore, was no surprise when, in 2008, the revered cleric was named one of the 50 most powerful people in the world by internationally acclaimed US magazine, Newsweek.
“Pastor Adeboye has been of tremendous positive influence on me, and on so many other leaders worldwide,” said popular lawyer-activist and an RCCG pastor, Ebun Adegboruwa.
It was a fitting statement about a simple man, but one carrying grace and global influence through the power of divinely inspired words that millions hold on to like life itself.
While a statement from the RCCG later clarified that the revered cleric had only stepped down as head of the Nigerian church and would remain the General Overseer of RCCG Worldwide; millions of RCCG faithful in the country are unsure of what to make of the decision of the great man they have come to love and respect as ‘Daddy G.O.’
Nevertheless, it is without doubt that Adeboye’s national and global influence will not wane.
He is married to 68-year-old Adenike and they are blessed with four children.