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Jabez Olanlokun Akanji Oyetade
1924 to 2005
Nigerian Baptist Convention
Nigeria

Jabez Olanlokun Akanji Oyetade was born in Ode-Omu, Osun State in the western region of Nigeria. He was raised by his parents, Pa Gabriel and Mary Oyinlola Oyetade of Oniroko Compound, Oke Amola, Ode-Omu, in Nigeria. He started his primary school education at Anglican Primary School, Ode-Omu, in 1936, then moved to the Gbogan Primary School in 1937 and later attended the Inalende Primary School, Ibadan, in 1939. He was confirmed in the Anglican Church in 1940 by the late Bishop Fanny of Lagos. He attended the Baptist Day School, Ejigbo, in 1944.

Oyetade's early years were marked with financial struggles. He sold items for his parents in order to supplement his parent's income and pay for his education. He worked very hard to support himself.

He traveled with his uncle, Canon Oyetade, and was further exposed to western education and Christian service. His uncle was later ordained Archbishop of Kano, Nigeria [2]. Throughout his life, Oyetade encountered many religious leaders that he remembered for years to come. [3]

Oyetade married Marian Adeninhun Adeniji of Onitola's compound, Kolara, Ogbomoso at the Methodist Church, Arowomole, Ogbomoso, Nigeria [4]. They were blessed with four children but one child died in infancy. The surviving children were Oluwafunmilayo Grace, Oluwafemi Jabez, Jr., and Oluwayomi Dorcas [5]. Their children have been blessed with families and successes of their own. Oluwafunmilayo served in 2007 as the president of the Women's Missionary Union in Nigeria [6]. Oluwafemi Jabez, Jr. is married with children [7]. His youngest daughter Oluwayomi, fondly known as "Yomi," is an ordained deaconess in the Methodist Church [8].

Ministerial Training and Service

Oyetade attended Baptist College, located in Iwo, from January 1946 to December 1950. He was trained as a teacher. While in college, he made close friends with Rev. L. R. Brothers, the college principal, who later became his mentor. Oyetade obtained an advanced certificate in theology from the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso in December 1954 [9]. While in seminary, he served as the pastor for the children's section of Okelerin Baptist Church, Ogbomoso in 1951. This was the second established Baptist Church in Nigeria after Ijaye Baptist Church, Abeokuta. He also served as the pastor of Maya Baptist Church in 1952 and the chaplain of the Baptist Health Service, Ogbomoso from 1953 to 1954.

After finishing his certificate, he entered into full time ministry. He served as the full time pastor at First Baptist Church, Ijagbo Offa, Kwara State, where he was ordained. He served as their pastor until 1961, when he moved to First Baptist Church, Igede Ekiti, in present day Ekiti State and led that community until 1965. He served the Owu Baptist Church in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria in 1966 [10].

In 1966, Oyetade traveled to the United States of America where he obtained his bachelor's degree from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. He received his master of divinity (M. Div.) from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville Kentucky, U.S.A., in 1971 [11]. While there, he studied under Dr. Wayne Oates [12].

His education was extremely important to him. He was a member of the Bible Scholars Association and for many years he graded exams for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) and West African Examination Council (WAEC) ordinary level with specialization in Christian Religious Studies. He was instrumental in involving many other young Christians in the marking team in Ogbomoso and environs [13].

Loyalty to Christ

After Oyetade got his M. Div. and did very well on his Graduate Record Examination (GRE), he was preparing to apply for his doctorate degree when he received a call to return to Nigeria. According to his account, the Nigerian Baptist Convention and his mentor, L. R. Brothers, only required him to have a master of divinity. He obeyed the order to return home without pursuing plans to do his doctorate degree, considering his compliance with the sending body as loyalty to Christ. He appreciated his education as a gift the convention had granted him. [14].

His new M. Div. degree was valued quite highly in the community (quoting Dr. J. T. Ayorinde). As a result, Ayorinde recommended that Mr. A. M. Laosebikan post Oyetade to a school. Oyetade resumed teaching Higher School Certificate (H. S. C.) classes at the Baptist Boy's High School, Abeokuta [15]. His service in the classroom did not prevent him from serving as the pastor of small churches around him, including Ibarapa Baptist Church, Abeokuta, from 1971 to 1976. He was grateful to God for the privilege of receiving such a good education, reaching the masters level, despite the fact that he could not obtain his doctorate degree [16].

Service in the Ogbomoso Community

Oyetade relocated to Ogbomoso, Oyo State, from Abeokuta, Ogun State when people were required to return to their hometowns or sub-regions. Although a native of Ode-Omu town in Nigeria, he preferred to relocate to Ogbomoso, his wife's hometown within the same Oyo State (Ode-Omu, his hometown, is now in the current Osun State of Nigeria). He transferred his service to Ogbomoso Baptist High School where he served as the vice principal from 1973 to 1978. He also served in the same capacity at Ogbomoso Girl's High School, Ogbomoso, from 1978 to 1980. He became the pioneering principal of Community High School, Akata, Ogbomoso (now Laogun Adeolye Memorial High School, Ogbomoso), from 1980 to 1984 when he retired from active teaching service. Prior to his retirement, he obtained a post graduate diploma in education from the Obafemi Awolowo University (the University of Ife), Ile Ife, in 1978 to aid in his teaching career [17].

Oyetade served as a part-time pastor for Oja Oba Baptist Church in Ogbomoso from 1978 to 1981. He was a great asset to the church during the construction of the large sanctuary which is still in use today. He was well recognized as a hardworking, tolerant, and time-conscious man of God. He was very generous, wise, and prudent. He would go the extra mile to help a person, especially if it related to the welfare and intellectual or spiritual concerns of an individual. He was known for encouraging his students with inspirational mottos, such as "Not for school but for life," and "Pay day someday" [18]. He once intervened at the police station to ensure freedom of worship for a new convert to Christianity from Islam in Ogbomoso. The young woman, a student at secondary school, had accepted Christ but was persecuted by her parents. Oyetade's intervention provided protection for the young woman with the cooperation of the entire family. She is now well grounded in Christ [19].

Oyetade retired from active pastoral work in 1981 and joined his former church, Oke Isoko Baptist Church, where he had had his membership before his pastorate at Oja Oba Baptist Church, Ogbomoso. He was very active at Oke Isoko Baptist Church during his retirement. He was always on the roster for evening service sermons, counseling, assisting the serving pastors, deacons, and the church music ministry, especially playing the organ [20].

Indeed, Oyetade was a musician and actively involved in his parishes' music programs. He used to set aside certain Sunday evening services to teach members new songs. He led them in singing well known songs, introducing them as expressions of worship to God. He was talented at both singing and playing the organ. He sometimes moved from organ to pulpit and back to the organ in order to guide the congregation with the correct tunes for certain lyrics to the songs. Oyetade introduced certain new songs into the worship life of Oja Oba Baptist Church [21]. Among his favorite hymns were "Abide with Me," "Fading Away," and "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

Oyetade was very influential in his community, in part due to his openness and generosity. He gave a portion of his property to house the Ologbon Community Bank, Ogbomoso, while the community worked to gain permanent property. Many people, both clergy and laity, used to visit him for advice [22].

Several members of the communities in which Oyetade served gave him farmland [23]. He made use of this land to provide additional support for himself and for the unemployed around him. Maintaining the land for livestock farming, he was able to help himself and others during his career in ministry and after retirement [24]. He was the epitome of humility and endurance. He continued to be a prominent figure in the community after his retirement and helped others until his death in 2005.

Oyetade was able to serve his community through his keen ability to organize, as well as his positive contentment with life. He was fond of giving gratitude to God for everything that God had given him. He was an Anglican by upbringing, a Methodist by marriage, and a Baptist by training and ministry. He was a good listener and loved children [25].

He was a fine administrator and served the community through his leadership. He was the chairman of the Baptist Medical Board at the Baptist Medical Centre, Ogbomoso. He also served as the chairman for the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ogbomoso Branch. Oyetade was the supervisor of the Precious Nursery and Primary School, Odokoto, Ogbomoso [26]. He was an avid reader until the day of his death. His mind was very sharp and he never became senile, even at the end. He enjoyed quoting from his favorite works and was known to often say, "The fruits of the earth belong to us, but the earth belongs to no one." [27]

Oyetade was talented in carpentry and brick-laying--talents he used while directing the construction of Ijagbo and Oja Oba Baptist Churches. He was good at community medicine and providing preventive health care for his people. He once helped a woman in Ijagbo with an ulcer, preventing the amputation of her legs as prescribed by the specialists of his time [28].

He encouraged promising youths. He was a counselor to many people including both pastors in active service and retired pastors. He was an adviser to the Ogbomoso Baptist Pastors' Association. He encouraged other elderly pastors to take courage at his departure, saying, "No one can completely finish God's work, but the ministry must continue."

While on his sick bed, he called upon Rev. Dr. S. Ola Fadeji, the head of the department of theological studies, and Rev. Prof. J. A. Ilori, the president of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, and asked them to take good care of the seminary [29]. He sternly warned people who came around him, including his son-in-law, Samson Lafinhan, not to miss heaven [30]. Oyetade died on April 5, 2005.

Akintayo Sunday Olajide Olayinka


Notes:

1. "Glorious Exit: Funeral Service Programme in Honour of Our Loving Father- Pa. JABEZ OLANLOKUN AKANJI OYETADE, Aged 81 years." Ogbomoso: Adebayo Printers, April 29, 2005.

2. Marian A. Oyetade (widow). Interview at Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area, Ogbomoso, Nigeria, November 27, 2006.

3. Oyetade (widow). Interview on November 27, 2006. Some of Jabez's contemporaries in the United States were Rev. Dr. W. R. Ola Ojo, the director of Sunday School and Church Training Program of the Nigerian Baptist Convention; Rev. Professor Osadolor Imasogie, the president of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Nigeria; those in Nigeria were Rev. Dr. S. T. Akande, one of the past general secretaries of the Nigerian Baptist Convention; Rev. Dr. Paul Ebhomele; Rev. Asaju; Deacon (Chief) Otunla (from Ogbomoso); Mr. Laosebikan, and Mr. Okunade (from Aawe, Oyo State, Nigeria).

4. 'Glorious Exit: Funeral Service Programme." The author, a discussion with the deceased at Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area, Ogbomoso, Nigeria, June 4, 1998.

5. Author, an eyewitness and a former member of Oja Oba Baptist Church, Ogbomoso, Nigeria, 1979 to 1991.

6. Oluwafunmilayo, Grace Lafinhan (née Oyetade). Interview at Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area, Ogbomoso, Nigeria, June 25, 2007. Oluwafunmilayo was married to Samson Gbemisoye Lafinhan of the E. O. Olafinhan family, Okeola Ogbomoso. He is a son to E. O. Lafinhan, an elderly teacher of Baptist heritage who was in charge of recruiting and paying teachers in the 1960s and early 1970s. Samson learned the art of playing organ from his father, as both were organists for Oja Oba Baptist Church, Ogbomoso, Nigeria. Samson is still an active organist to date (2007) at the same church, decades after the departure of his father into glory. Oluwafunmilayo, his wife and a daughter to Oyetade, is the current (2007) president of the Women's Missionary Union, the women's arm of the same church. Their children were Opeyemi (Female), Ibukun-Oluwa (Female), and Oluwagbemiga (Male).

7. Oluwayomi Akinyode (Née Oyetade). Interview at Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area, Ogbomoso, Nigeria, on November 27, 2006. Oluwafemi Jabez (Jr.) Oyetade married Jumoke Grace, both with Baptist backgrounds. Their children were Oyinlola (Female), Akindele (Male), and Bolanle (Female).

8. Author, a discussion with the deceased, at Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area, Ogbomoso, Nigeria, August 22, 2000. Oluwayomi Dorcas was married to Mr. Mathew Akinyode of Methodist background. "Yomi," as she is usually called, was ordained a deaconess while the husband Matthew was ordained a pastor by the Methodist Church of Nigeria at the Methodist Cathedral, Arowomole, Ogbomoso, Nigeria. Their children are Ini-Oluwa (Male), Ore-Oluwa (Male), Imosi-Oluwa (Male), and Revelation (Female) and eight grand children.

9. "Glorious Exit: Funeral Service Programme."

10. Idem.

11. Author, a discussion with the deceased, August 22, 2000.

12. Idem.

13. Mrs. Marian A. Oyetade (widow). Interview, November 27, 2006.

14. Author, a discussion with the deceased, August 22, 2000.

15. "Glorious Exit: Funeral Service Programme."

16. Author, a discussion with the deceased, August 22, 2000.

17. "Glorious Exit: Funeral Service Programme."

18. The author was Oyetade's student at the Community High School Akata, Ogbomoso, Nigeria from inception of the school in 1980 to 1984 when he retired.

19. The author was a witness to the crises faced by the new convert and how the lady started living with Oluwayomi (Oyetade's daughter), and her husband, the son in-law (Rev. Mathew Akinyode). The lady is now a well learned person and a teacher at Wesley College, Ogbomoso, Nigeria.

20. Rev. Fasoro, Oyetade's pastor's tribute: Burial service, Oke Isoko Baptist Church, Ogbomoso, Nigeria. Video documentary tape, April 29, 2005.

21. Author, a former member of Oja Oba Baptist Church, Ogbomoso, Nigeria, from 1979 to 1991.

22. Tribute by Rev. Adetutu, chairman of Ogbomoso Baptist Pastors' Association at the Evening Songs for the Burial Service. Ogbomoso: Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area. Video documentary tape. April 28, 2005.

23. Oyetade (widow). Interview at Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area, Ogbomoso, Nigeria, June 23, 2007.

24. The author witnessed Oyetade's livestock farming firsthand.

25. A youth testifier at the Evening Songs for the Burial Service. Ogbomoso: Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area. Video documentary tape, April 28, 2005.

26. "Glorious Exit: Funeral Service Programme."

27. Rev'd. S. O. Akanmu, in the Evening Songs for the Burial Service. Ogbomoso: Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area. Video documentary tape, April 28, 2005.

28. Adeniji, testifying at the Evening Songs for the Burial Service. Ogbomoso: Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area. Video documentary tape, April 28, 2005.

29. Rev. Dr. S. Ola Fadeji, Tributes at the in the Evening Songs for the Burial Service. Ogbomoso: Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area. Video documentary tape, April 28, 2005.

30. Samson Lafinhan, Tributes at the in the Evening Songs for the Burial Service. Ogbomoso: Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area. Video documentary tape, April 28, 2005.

Bibliography:

Adeniji, Rev. John A. Adetutu, Rev. S. O. Akanmu, Rev. Dr. S. Ola Fadeji, Samson Lafinhan, a Youth, "Tributes" Evening Songs. Ogbomoso: Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area. Evening Songs for the Burial. Video documentary tape, April 28, 2005.
Akinyode, Oluwayomi (Née Oyetade). Interview at Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area, Ogbomoso, Nigeria on November 27, 2006
Author, a discussion with the deceased at Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area, Ogbomoso, Nigeria. June 4, 1998; August 2000.
Fasoro, Rev. "The Resident Pastor's tribute." The Burial Service. Ogbomoso: Oke Ishoko Baptist Church. Video tape, April 29, 2005.
"Glorious Exit: Funeral Service Programme in Honour of Our Loving Father- Pa. JABEZ OLANLOKUN AKANJI OYETADE, Aged 81 years." Ogbomoso: Adebayo Printers, April 29, 2005.
Lafinhan, Oluwafunmilayo Grace (née Oyetade). Interview at Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area, Ogbomoso, Nigeria on June 25, 2007.
Oyetade, Marian A. (widow). Interview at Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area, Ogbomoso, Nigeria. November 27, 2006; June 23 2007.
"Tributes" Evening Songs. Ogbomoso: Rev. and Mrs. Jabez Oyetade's residence, Ologbon Area, Evening Songs for the Burial. Video documentary tape. April 28, 2005.


This article, received in 2007, was researched and written by Rev. Akintayo Sunday Olajide Olayinka, chaplain at the Chapel of Grace University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Nigeria while a student at Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, P.M.B 4008, Ogbomoso, under the supervision of Rev. Dr. Deji Ayegboyin, DACB liaison coordinator.