Daniel OyeLakin Ige was born to Pa Ige-Ilori and Ma Omowunmi in about 1905. The Ilori name was a powerful one in Igbo Iware (Iware forest). The family owned this forest and was known for its great hunters. His parents gave him the name OyeLakin, which means “chieftaincy presages bravery,” and affectionately called him Lakin.
In 1917, when he was twelve, Lakin came to know Christ at the Church Missionary Society outpost in his village, St. James Anglican Church Olanla, Akinyele Local Government Area, Oyo State. He was baptized on May 18, 1924. When he was about fourteen years old he started his primary education at the church school. He could go no further than standard four because that was the highest class offered at the primary school located in his village. He couldn’t go any further even when he moved to Ibadan–a larger city and the center of Western region administration–because at age twenty-one he was too old for elementary school at that point. He had to enroll as a carpenter’s apprentice to Pa Daniel Adisa of Arin Okuta’s compound in Oja-Igbo, Ibadan. In 1932 he became a certified carpenter.
One year, at the time of the annual harvest, young Lakin asked his father to give him some farm produce to take to church. But because his father was talking with some visitors, he told Lakin to go into the barn and pick out some yams. In the barn, tubers of yams were stored according to sizes–small, moderate, medium, and giant sized tubers. No one dared to touch the giant sized ones unless Pa Ige had authorized it. Without permission from his father, Lakin took the biggest tubers of yams for God because he wanted to give the best to him. When his father later went to take stock in his barn, he discovered that some of the giant sized yams were missing. When he asked his children who had taken them young Lakin told him that he had taken them to church for his God. His father was amazed that he had had the audacity to do such a thing, and told him that he wanted to know more about this God who had instilled so much awe in his son.
The next Sunday Lakin’s father and siblings went to church with him, thinking they would have the opportunity to see and dialogue with Lakin’s God. The preacher’s sermon touched their lives and the whole family gave their life to Christ. The clergy and members of the congregation were so impressed with the practical devotion and dedication of the family that shortly thereafter they honored three members of the Ilori clan with church chieftaincy titles. This legacy of Christianity took a firm hold in the Ilori clan–by the time Lakin died every member of the clan was Christian, in various denominations all over the world.
In the 1930s a remarkable revival broke out in Ilesa, Western Nigeria, and spread to other western states. The revival, led by Apostle Babalola, gave birth to the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). Within a short time Lakin moved from the Anglican Church and submitted himself for re-baptism at the CAC. On July 14, 1933, Oba I. B. Akinyele, one of the leaders of the CAC, baptized Lakin and his wife and Lakin was confirmed in October of 1933. As Lakin had a notable zeal for things of the Lord, he was ordained an elder in 1938, thus becoming the first ordained elder in the CAC. In October of 1980 he became the patron of Christ Apostolic Church Itabale Olugbode, the missionary headquarters of the Christ Apostolic Church. He held this post as well as the post of chairman of the council of elders worldwide until his death.
Lakin used his practical skills as a carpenter to bless the church. He was instrumental in roofing all major CAC buildings in the Ibadan area, including auditoriums, after 1930. In fact, he roofed over 500 churches within Nigeria and Benin, including the old temple of the Christ Apostolic Church Itabale Olugbode, Ibadan; the Anglican Church at Bamgbola; and some of the housing estates in western Nigeria, in Bodija Ibadan.
Lakin also contributed to the church in other ways. He started the Egbe To Nro Ti Alaini, a society in the CAC that cares for the needy. Members of the group gave money to those who were in need in the church. The society did this for many years before others in the church joined in, and aid to the destitute is still an important part of Christian service in the CAC.
Lakin was one of the key figures in the committee that established a CAC secondary school in Ibadan in 1963. Lakin also encouraged his cousin Joseph Olaoye Oke to establish a church in his village, Oke-Alayin, in Akinyele Local Government Area, Oyo State. Lakin was made a life patron of the school for the deaf and dumb at Ijokodo in Ibadan because of his yearly contributions to the special school.
Lakin’s life was not without struggles or temptations, however. He had not had any sons with his first wife. As he yearned for a son, he took a second wife in 1969 and she gave birth to a boy and a girl. Lakin eventually repented of his action, made provision for her, and sent her away. After this he was installed as the life patron of Christ Apostolic Church Itabale Olugbode.
Throughout his lifetime, Lakin tried to help bring an end to disunity in the CAC. After his death, in spite of the different factions among members of the board of elders and the clergy, the other bodies of the church still functioned as one. One of the presidents of the factions in the CAC, Pastor E. H. L. Oluseye, had a revelation while he was in England that Lakin must bless him before his death. He went to Lakin, who was on his sick bed, on December 30, 2004, and Lakin prayed for him. Oluseye assured Lakin that the disunity would end and all would reunite.
Throughout Lakin’s lifetime, he gave God his best, and God always proved himself faithful to Lakin. He was instrumental in the conversion of his family and used his skills to benefit the church. He was given to unity and united the members of his extended family. Lakin died at the age of one hundred on March 27, 2005, and was buried on April 16, 2005.
Ruth O. Oke
Adekola, B., daughter of Daniel Oyelakin Ige, interview by author, September 8, 2006.
Akande, Peter B., an adopted son of Pa Oyelakin Ige, interview by author, January 21, 2007.
Oke, Timothy, cousin of Daniel Oyelakin Ige, interview by author, August 17, 2006.
Funeral program of Daniel OyeLakin Ige and Ma Beatrice Oyinlola Ige, April 16, 2005.
This article, received in 2008, was researched and written by Ms. Ruth Oke, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Ibadan, under the supervision of Rev. Dr. Deji Ayegboyin, DACB liaison coordinator, president of Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, a DACB participating institution.