To be a good man is easy; do the right things, obey the rules and don’t cause trouble. But to be great requires more. It demands something higher and bigger than you. It insists on self-sacrifice and self-abnegation but only a man who has a self can self-abnegate.
Self-abnegation is the denial of self for the purpose of a higher cause and in the case of Pastor Taiwo Daniel Odukoya that higher cause was service to God and humanity.
Pastor Taiwo was a pastor’s pastor. To me, he was not so much a preacher as he was a sharer and a leader. His life was a primer for what it means to be a man, not just a man of God but a man.
Thinking back, I have so many recollections both on a personal as well as on a corporate level of instances where he lived his walk. There was no Janus-faced facility with Pastor Taiwo; the man you saw on the pulpit was the man you saw at the office, at home and anywhere else.
A quick example will suffice. The year was 2012. My marriage was in trouble and I believed that if we could just sit with Pastor Taiwo and have him counsel us, all would be well, so we booked an appointment.
Now to see Pastor Taiwo was not easy but he made it easy because he often insisted on seeing you even if it was just for a few minutes. The first appointment was after service in his office and after we had prayed and talked for a while, an assistant poked in her head to say it was time for him to leave.
“Brother Toni, we have to speak again.”
I left, half upset that he had only given us less than five minutes over a matter that was urgent and important.
I was shocked and relieved when a week or so later, I got a call telling me that Pastor Taiwo wanted us to come over to his house for another session. My anger dissipated.
His house was full. It turned out we were not the only one with problems that needed his intervention. We must have gotten there at about 5pm and were told to wait.
Time passed but every thirty minutes or so, someone would come in and say “Brother Toni, Pastor says you guys should hold on.”
By the time we saw him, Pastor Taiwo was tired and hungry and drained from seeing and counseling and praying for all the people we had met when we arrived. He apologised for keeping us waiting and then he took off right from where we stopped the last time.
This time we had enough time to state our cases and argue and shout and when things got too heated, he would laugh what my children call his “Pastor Taiwo” laugh and say, “Ok, let’s take it easy.”
I left there feeling happy that we had given it a go and blessed to have a Pastor who had taken his time to sit, listen and counsel.
We would see him a few more times and each time, he remembered the details and prayed for us.
So, it was not difficult for me to join the Editorial Department of the church when I was asked to. I was happy to serve in a church that had him as Head Pastor and as a church worker, I got the opportunity to interview him a couple of times.
During one of the interviews, he told us about his days at the NNPC and how one day as he drove off in his rickety Mercedes Benz, a man who had been offering him a bribe to get some allocation had screamed out his name – “Odukoya, see the car you are driving. Poverty will kill you.”
Working at the NNPC put him in prime position to make money through crooked means but he refused, deciding when he had had enough to move on into full ministry and God showed that he was truly called and blessed him adequately.
I was always amazed at the personal warmth that he exuded and his unique ability to remember your name and acknowledge you. He had a habit of tapping you on the shoulder and when you turned he would extend a firm hand shake as he rushed out of the church building en route a ministration or engagement elsewhere. He was defined by his kinetic energy.
His mission in life was clear; to raise an army of men who would serve God and impact their families and society and he did. The Discovery for Men (and Women) which he founded and hosted for many years was close to his heart and I remember the adverts that ran for years on the front page of The Guardian through which he ministered to men.
The Couples Breakfast series was also a great initiative through which he helped husbands and wives connect. We were encouraged to ask anonymised questions about any topic as it affected our marriages. I remember someone asking once whether it was okay for Christians to have oral sex. Pastor Taiwo’s answer had everyone in stitches.
He lived the words he preached. When I came to The Fountain of Life Church in 2002, no one invited me. We had left our old church and were looking for another. For the few Sunday we stayed at home, we tuned in to watch Pastor Bimbo. Eventually we found the address and attended in-person.
I was shocked to learn that she wasn’t the Head Pastor, that she had a husband who was actually the founder of the church. My shock was from the fact that we live in a patriarchal and misogynistic society. How many men would let their wives lead from the front like Pastor Taiwo? He gave his wife the stage to shine, made her a household name and propped up her ministry. And for naysayers who might say, “oh but they started it together” he did the same with Pastor Nomthi. He was a man shorn of ego, an example of what a selfless husband and father and leader should be.
Pastor Taiwo was the first pastor that made me cry. I didn’t realize that I had never hugged my father until I listened to Pastor Taiwo that evening in church, when he posed the question; “how many of you have ever hugged your fathers?”
In a church full of over 2,000 men, the hands that went up were not up to 200. It was a sobering moment. He told us to seize the next opportunity to do so. Now it might sound like nothing but it was a teachable moment for me and many others, one that defined the kind of father I have also become.
A hug is not just touch. It is more. It is an affirmation, a point of contact, a laying of claim and a form of endearment and an expression of affection. Pastor Taiwo taught me that when I was already over 30 years old, with two degrees in English language and a father of two.
He loved to give. He gave on the pulpit and he gave off the pulpit. Under him as Pastor, The Fountain of Life set up a free clinic, an orphanage, a skills acquisition center, a soup kitchen, gave scholarships, dug boreholes and refurbished schools and none of these were ever made public.
On a personal level, I will never forget when my brother and mum died. He called and prayed and sent money. It was more touching with my mother because at that time, Pastor Nomthi, his second wife was already battling an ailment. To reach out to lighten another person’s burden when you had your own speaks to his greatness.
The tsunami of tributes that have poured out in the wake of his passing are testimonials to the man he was; a leader of men, a father of accomplished children, a petroleum engineer, a prolific author, a mentor and lover of God.
Despite his passing, my enduring image is of him on the pulpit, skipping along like a happy child in the presence of his father, his booming voice belting out a tune (he loved to sing and dance), speaking in tongues or exhorting us to dance without shame.
Pastor Taiwo was also a man who saw affliction. Like Daniel whom he was named after, he went into the lion’s den and triumphed; losing two wives and a sister in less than two decades and still managing to get up every day to encourage others.
That is not the way a good man behaves. As we say in Warri, those were the “doings” of a great man….CONTINUE READING
BREAKING!!! Nigerian Army Mistakenly Killing 126 Citizen In Kaduna With A Bomb
BREAKING: Tinubu Reportedly Gaffes Again At Dubai COP28 Conference, Mutters Words
Everyone Ignored What God Told This Jewish Boy, But They Were Surprised What Happened Next
I Slept With My Wife’s Cousin But It Doesn’t End There
I Miss My Babies: Woman Says As She Hold and Spend Time With Her Python Around Other Snakes in Bedroom (Video)
I Visited My Husband’s Village For The First Time Only To Find Out His Biggest Secret
Man Forbids Wife to Enter Old Room In His House, Then She Hears Crying from There And She Decided To Find Out What Was Inside
4 Years Without A Child Is Easier Than What I Saw In The Labour Ward That Day
After Church Service My Pastor Called Me And Told Me Something That Left Me In Shock
My Mom Desperately Wants Me To Acquire Properties In Her Name And Not My Wife’s
Man Helped Girl Who Begged For Money. 12 years Later, The Police Knocked On His Door
Couple Waits 10 Years To Open Wedding Present From Husband’s Ex, They Were Left In Shock After Opening It
My Best friend is not Talking to Me because I’m A Virgin And She’s Not
She is Terrifying: Bride Boarded a Cab after Coming From Stylist Before The wedding, Driver Saw Her Get Scared
I Traveled For a Week When I Came Back My 7yrs Kid Told Me What Their Mom Did And My heart Jumped Out Of My Chest
Doctor Told Dad to Buy a Dog For His Paralyzed Son. No One Expected What Happened Next
They Never Expected It: 3 Year Old Toddler Started Talking. What He Told His Dad About His Mum Left Them in Surprised
A Teen Had An Abortion Eight Months Into Her Pregnancy, But Doctors Were Left Surprised By What Happens
Army Dad Returns Home, And Finds His Daughter On The Kitchen Floor
I was Bullied For Being Fat, But am Proud Of Myself : 5yrs Old Girl Shut Down Bullies Make Mama Happy
He’s Definitely Cheating: Mother of 3 Discovers Husband with Another Woman at the Beach
“Forget brains, I bring my beauty to the table”- Lady brags
Money Ritual: Young women and men bath naked in river [VIDEO]
I am tired of being alone, please I am heartbroken – Lady cries out.
Video Of Residents Found A N@ked Woman Sleeping On Their Roof.
Bar attendants caught suckking a man publicly in a bar (VIDEO)
This Endowed Nigerian Lady Is Searching For A Regular Romance Partner (Photos)
Young ladies worship without clothes in a church
Everything Was Going On Fine Until She Dipped His Hand Into My Boxers
Married woman stuck while cheating with her boyfriend – VIDEO
3 Men In The Bible That Never Died (Full Names)
Why I’m not serving in Tinubu’s government-Fashola
You Are Slowly Killing Your Brain If You Keep Doing These Five (5) Things
Stop Combining Eggs With Any Of These Things, It Is Very Dangerous To Your Health
Here Are 5 Effective Methods To Get Rid Of Wall Geckos In Your Home Or Office
‘She’s not ready to leave the streets’: Man dumps bride for visiting her ex day before wedding
If you are suffering from any of these 9 dangerous diseases, just eat okra
“I’m Gonna Take This Guy to Court” – Cristiano Ronaldo Sued Lionel Messi’s Biography Author For Revealing Sensitive Information
CBN To Implement Ban On Bank Accounts Without These Details, Check It Out
BREAKING: Rukayat Shittu Wins, as A’Court Upturn Tribunal Judgement
Sacked Kano Gov Yusuf gets urgent message from APC ahead of Supreme Court judgment
BREAKING: Deji Adeyanju Remanded In Prison Till February
I’m Apolitical, I Don’t Need Your Appointment, Abdulsamad Rabiu Tells APC
BREAKING: Court Grants Governor Fubara Injunction, Leave to Serve Rivers Assembly, CJ
“Kano tribunal deducted 165,616 votes from Yusuf’s votes” – Wole Olanipekun
BREAKING: Anxiety among federal civil servants as about 5,000 of them may not get November and December salaries
‘RIP’- Serena Williams’ Husband Alexis Ohanian Bids Heartfelt Farewell to American Business ‘Legend’ After His Saddening Demise
My worst mistake in life – Ann Njemanze
NEWS FLASH: Akeredolu Issued 72-Hour Ultimatum To Step Down As Ondo Gov
VIDEO: I’m tired of being single, 7 years in UK and no man has approached me – Lady cries out
Ubah/Ekwunife Tsunami: Soludo Mulls Joint Ticket with Chidoka
JUST IN! Igbo Billionaires, Traders In Lagos Begin Relocation To S’East, Show Off Big Market They’re Building
BREAKING: Tinubu Appoints Atiku Sponsors To Head NNPC- APC Alleges
Nurse admits 5 things dying people regret most at the end of their life
4 Drinks You Should Consume Regularly To Flush Your System And Remove Toxins
Nnamdi Kanu: ‘You are yapping like a dog and coward’ – IPOB sends warning to Gov Peter Mbah of Enugu State
The story of Killi-We Nwachukwu, the Nigerian ‘super man’
5 Things Every Woman Loves to Hear From Men
BREAKING: Rivers Reps’ seat : Labour Party wins at Appeal Court
BREAKING: How DSS stopped soldiers from overthrowing Buhari – Fani-Kayode
Politics2 months ago
Atiku Wins Tinubu In US : Court Orders Chicago State University To Release Tinubu’s Academic Records To Atiku
Latest News1 month ago
My Three Kids Belongs To My Father – He Always Enjoyed Me Three Times Daily, Lady Reveals (Watch Video)
Lifestyle3 months ago
One Part Of The Human Body That Never Grows After Birth Till Death
Politics3 months ago
Police Arrest NURTW President, Others as MC Oluomo Took Over Abuja Secretariat
Politics4 months ago
BREAKING: Tinubu bagman for Chicago cocaine mafia; rigged Nigerian presidential election: British MP George Galloway
Latest News4 months ago
Fuel Hike: IPMAN Reveals New Pump Price
Politics3 months ago
BREAKING: Rufai Oseni fires Reno Omokri, sends strong message
Politics3 months ago
Will Tinubu remain in power if court orders a rerun? Here’s what the law says