Homepage
Home Read stories Africa maps The Project Resources Our Writers News

Ogunwuyi, Moses Eniola Deribigbe
1881 to 1974
Nigerian Baptist Convention
Nigeria

Moses Eniola Aderibigbe Ogunwuyi, of Alekun's compound, Iresi, was born in 1881 in the present Boluwaduro Local Government Area of Osun State, Nigeria. His wife's name was Sarah Bilewu Ogunwuyi, and she was from Ejemu's compound in the same town of Iresi. Moses Ogunwuyi grew up in a pagan environment, as his father, Pa Ewetan, worshipped Ogun, the Yoruba deity of iron. It is believed that he migrated from Erin-Ile in Kwara State to Iresi, in Osun State.

The influence of mission schools is thought to have led to Ogunwuyi's salvation. He attended Osupa Baptist Day School, Ogbomoso, and obtained the Primary School Leaving Certificate. The missionary activities of Rev. Awolomo, who arrived in Iresi in 1917, contributed in no small measure to his growth. "He also doubled as a teacher when a formal school started in 1928." Having felt a divine call to full time gospel ministry, Eniola proceeded to the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary in 1919, where he registered as Wuyi, Moses. The shortening of his surname to Wuyi was done to make it more relevant to his Christian faith, considering his pagan background. At the seminary, he had the privilege of been mentored by Rev. and Mrs. J. C. Pool, who followed him throughout his stay in the institution.

Emulating God's command to Abram to leave his country, his relatives and his father's house (Gen 12:1), Wuyi moved from the pagan compound and settled about half a kilometer away. He did this as a mark of separation in order to cut himself off from pagan influence and to dedicate himself to God and his faith in Jesus Christ. This may account for why he stood against idolatry and fetish practices throughout his lifetime.

After his seminary education, he was posted to Atan Baptist Church, Oyo, where he served as pastor from 1922 to 1931. From 1931 to 1934, he was at the First Baptist Church in Olla. He left Olla in December of 1934 for the First Baptist Church in Eripa, his third pastoral assignment. He pastored the church there for a period of ten years, from 1935 to 1945. For his pastoral work there, he was paid five pounds (£5). His fourth pastoral assignment was at the First Baptist Church of Ila Orangun, from 1946 to 1953. Apart from spiritual challenges, he also sometimes experienced financial difficulties. Some of the churches often owed him his monthly pay, and often waited until the bazaar period of harvest at Thanksgiving, when he would be paid "six months arrears," since most members then were peasant farmers. When there was no food at home, the children often followed friendly members of the church to collect corn, yam, cocoyam, and plantain from their farms. However, his wife was a petty trader and a sewing mistress at home, and she often supported the family from the proceeds of her work. On the other hand, like Paul the tentmaker, Wuyi also supported his family through farming, and he had a cocoa farm at Oke-Awo (Aba Iresi), a village close to Ile Ife. After leaving Ila Orangun, Miss Eva Sander, a Southern Baptist American missionary, invited him to serve as a chaplain at the Maternity Center in Iree, in 1954. His zeal for mission work cannot be over emphasized, as he travelled on weekends to places like Igbaye, Ekosin, and other neighboring towns as their local pastor. As expected, he returned to the chaplaincy on Mondays.

Wuyi and his wife had a nice family life. He taught his children various [Bible] memory verses, he enjoyed home life, and they raised the children in a disciplined manner. However, the family had challenges while raising children in the early years of their marriage. From 1927 to1929, two of their children died because of the local environment. They lost three other children who were born between 1937 and 1939. This trauma notwithstanding, Wuyi was survived by seven great and successful children (three girls and four boys).

God has demonstrated his faithfulness to many of his ministers by elevating their children to great heights after them, and Wuyi was no exception, as his children have continued to be good examples of pastor's children even in their old age, by living consistent Christian lives. In many ways, his children have continued in his footsteps. [1]

Wuyi also had "children" he brought up in Christ. He was able to reproduce himself, in a manner of speaking, by mentoring and bringing up ministers that took after him. Among these are: the late Rev. Adedotun of Ila Orangun, Rev. Ejiwale of Olla, and the late Pastor Tanimomo of Iresi, who were at all, at various times, headmaster of the Baptist Day School in Ila-Orangun when Wuyi was the manager, which was the practice of the Nigerian Baptist Convention at that time. A chat with retired Rev. Dr. J. O. Ejiwale, who was Wuyi's manager while he was teaching at the Baptist Day School in Ila Orangun for some time, confirmed Wuyi's humility, contentment, love, and prayer life. Furthermore, he recalled Proverbs 1:7, 10; 3:9; and Psalm 34:3-10 as some of the Bible passages he taught them in those days.

Wuyi endured some of the hazards of the ministry, and he experienced some trying situations in one of the churches. We are reminded that Jesus said, in one of the beatitudes, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:10-12) First, because of the fetishistic nature of the town, one of his children died. Also, on several occasions, charms were placed around the parsonage during the night, in attempts to attack and kill the pastor and the members of his family. His preaching and teaching was becoming unbearable for some of the idol worshippers in town. However, he would wake up early before dawn, and armed with quotations from the Bible, he would walk around the parsonage several times, stepping on the charms, while his family members were kept indoors until the spiritual cleansing was finished.

On another occasion, one of his children took his Bible to the church and placed it on the pulpit, reporting that he had found a charmed ring (Oruka ere) on the pulpit. This had purportedly been placed there to kill him, but he prayerfully quoted scriptures, picked up the ring, and threw it away. However, his right hand was said to have been constantly shaking after that, until he died. Holding things and writing anything with that hand was noticeably different than before. There was not much exposure to deliverance ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit in those days. Pastors were taught homiletics, and emphasis was placed on preaching messages of salvation. Could this be why he was not healed or delivered from that attack? The scriptures say, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all." (Psalm 34:19) Despite all these challenges, Wuyi remained consistent and uncompromising, and he bore his cross until the end.

In another pastorate, after preaching on a Sunday, he was mysteriously called three times during the night. It was expected that he would die if he had answered the call while sleeping. Unfortunately, he answered and suddenly became disturbed. With an unsettled mind, and uttering words, he was taken to Iresi, his birthplace. He was there for three months, after which time he was miraculously healed. It was after that incident that Miss Eva Sanders posted him to Eva Sanders Maternity, Iree, in 1954, as a chaplain. Sanders Baptist Church is now located there. It was also gathered from a reliable source that two pastors who were in secret cult, and who had demonic powers, told him they were not going to recommend him for ordination because he refused to join the Ogboni secret cult. For this reason, it is believed that he was never ordained. Faithful ministers like him are rare, and he was commended and celebrated by many for his acts of bravery and his contentment in Christ amidst all odds.

Apart from his call as a pastor and evangelist, Wuyi's hobbies were farming, music, visitation, and reading the Bible, which he often quoted with ease. This missionary-trained preacher maximized the little education he had, and armed with self-esteem, he carried out a life of ministry that impacted his immediate environment, the larger community, and the Nigerian Baptist Convention as a whole. Wuyi's ministry never extended beyond the shores of Nigeria, but his faith, bravery, passion, testimony, and work should serve to propagate the gospel abroad. Moses Wuyi gave freely in terms of hospitality, and his evangelistic zeal and house-to-house visitation was a major characteristic of his ministry. His favorite scripture became "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the Church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord" (James 5:14). This man of God was deeply involved in ministering to the sick, which was the last ministry he devoted himself to.

After his retirement in 1960, he returned to Iresi and became the treasurer of his hometown's association, a gesture that further confirmed his integrity. Wuyi was one of the earliest and foremost African indigenous pastors who combined spirituality, administration, and social life, and he was not found wanting. His wife Sarah died on November 4, 1962, at age eighty, and Wuyi endured the pain of losing a spouse, having already lost five children. He died twelve years after the death of his beloved wife on December 3, 1974, at age ninety-three.

Olufemi Oladeji Akano


Notes:

1. Mrs. P.O. Dada, the eldest child, was born on the September 23, 1930. She attended the Baptist Women's College in Idi-Aaba, Abeokuta, and qualified as a Grade II teacher in 1950. She was a founding member of Shepherd Hill Baptist Church, Lagos, in 1969, which started in a hall at Baptist Academy, Lagos. She organized the first Girls Auxiliary (G.A.) in that church and directed it for fifteen years. She was an accountant by profession and at one time was the internal auditor of Nigerian Textile Mills, Ikeja, in Lagos. E. A. Ogunwuyi was born on August 25, 1932. He was ordained as a deacon at First Baptist Church, Oke Okanla, Osogbo, on February 21, 1971. He was a civil servant and an educator with an M.A. in Education who served as an inspector. He was also secretary of the School Board and principal of the Government Technical College, Oyo and Osogbo. J. A. Ogunwuyi was born on April 8, 1935. He has a B.A. (Hons), and an M.A. (Education Administration and Planning), is a seasoned educator, and was founding principal, Ogbogbo Baptist Grammar School, Ijebu Ode (1973), and principal, Moremi High School, O.A.U, Ile Ife (1978 to 1991). He is the founder/proprietor of the popular Roseful International Primary School and Roseful International High School, which are situated at Aiyetoro and Ota-Efun, respectively, in Osogbo, the capital of present Osun State. Moses Wuyi's son became the first person to be ordained a deacon of the College Baptist Church, Iwo, in 1969. When Rev. Fret L. Leveret and Rev. Albert H. Dyson went on furlough, Miss Alma Rohm and Miss Houston chose him to lead the church from 1968 to1969 and 1972 to1973, respectively. Rev. Abel Oladoja Alabi also chose him to lead Ebenezer Baptist Church, Ile-Ife, from 1984 to 1985, before Rev. Lowo Mamadelo came. He was also chosen by Rev. Dr. Olumide Kehinde to lead Jubilee Baptist Church, Osogbo, a preaching station of Union Baptist Church, Osogbo, from inception in 2007 to 2008.

Other children are Mr. Joseph Adeyemo Idowu Ogunwuyi, who was born August 8, 1941. He was the head of Pathology at Lagos University Teaching Hospital [LUTH], Lagos. He has his own Diagnostic Centre at Adeniran Ogunsanya Street in Lagos. Another child, Dr. Sunday Adebisi Ogunwuyi, was born on June 11, 1944. He obtained his Ph.D. in Immunopathology. Presently, he works and resides in the United States of America. Nee Funmilayo Ogunwuyi was born on May 15, 1947, and she resides in Iresi Township. The last child is Mrs. Adenike Akingbe, who was born on July 3, 1951. She has her Ph.D. in Pharmacy, and also works and resides in the United States. There is no liability among his children, an indication that indeed, "God rewards them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6b).

References:

A. Afolayan, interview by author, October 2, 2009, Ile-Ife.
A. O. Afolayan, interview by author, October 10, 2009, Osogbo.
P. O. Dada, interview by author, October 3, 2009, Lagos.
J. O. Ejiwale, interview by author, October 4, 2009.
Elliot, Jim "Worth Dying For," in Crowder, Bill: Our Daily Bread, Sri Lanka: RBC Ministries, 2009.
Holy Bible (New King James Version).
Oladipo Idowu, Oladipo, interview by author, October 3, 2009, Iresi.
Marriage Devotional Bible (New International Version).
J. T. Okedara, The Baptist College, The Journey So Far (Ibadan: The Baptist College Old Students Association (BACOSSA), 1996. The Holy Bible (The American Bible).
The Iresi Pacesetters Club, A Brief History of Iresi (Ibadan: Power House Press & Publishers, 2005.
E. A. Ogunwuyi, interview by author, October 2, 2009.
J. A. Ogunwuyi, interview by author, September 28, 2009.


This article, received in 2010, was written by Olufemi Oladeji Akano at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, under the supervision of Dr. Michael Leke Ogunewu, and the rev. Dr. Deji Ayegboyin, DACB liaison coordinator. Ogunwuyi, Moses Eniola Deribigbe, Nigeria, Nigerian Baptist Convention