Another history was made on Sunday, November 7 at the Cathedral Church of the Advent Gwarimpa, Abuja, when the 52-year-old Most Revd Humphrey Bamishebi Olumakaiye officially became Archbishop, Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos, Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion.
In July 2018, he was widely celebrated when he became the Bishop of Lagos Diocese after a keenly contested episcopal election. His enthronement ceremony attracted the who-is-who in the top hierarchy of the church as well as dignitaries from all walks of life. Just three years on, he was elevated to the position of Archbishop of the Lagos Province in September this year. This development is not only remarkable in the history of the church but also a testimony of the good hand of the Almighty God upon his life and ministry.
From humble beginnings, Most Revd Olumakaiye has come thus far serving the Lord with the Holy Spirit leading him and having as his first priority one thing that interests God the most on earth, which is dedication to keeping the fire of revival burning in the church thereby turning multitudes to righteousness and seeing them established in the faith as active disciples of Christ. It is therefore not surpising that he has kept on rising in the ministry in confirmation of the word of God in Proverbs 11:30 and Daniel 12:3 that those who turn many to righteousness are wise and they shall shine as the brightness of the heavens and as stars forever and ever.
I first met Most Revd Humphrey Bamishebi Olumakaiye about 30 years ago as a young priest serving his pupilage under the watchful eyes of Most Revd. Ephraim Adebola Ademowo, then the Bishop of Ilesa Diocese of the Anglican Church. Olumakaiye’s mien, and dutiful approach to his assignments as well as his willingness to take on additional responsibilities, no matter how tasking indicated that he would go far in his service in the Lord’s vineyard. Olumakaiye was fresh from the Immanuel College of Theology where he commenced his journey to priesthood.
It was very easy for Archbishop Ademowo to discover in Olumakaiye the devotion and dedication to duty that earned him a place among the retired archbishop’s favourites. Ademowo became his mentor and spiritual father, leading and guiding him along the path of success. Humphrey Bamishebi Olumakaiye born on January 28th, 1969 to the family of Venerable Theophilus Akinbola and Iyabo Abigail Olumakaiye had his elementary education at Emmanuel Anglican Primary School, Lokoja and completed his Secondary education at St. Michael Anglican School, Lokoja. He was admitted to the University of Ilorin to study Political Science but his father inﬂuenced his decision to attend Immanuel College of Theology where he began his call to ministry in 1988.
By 1991, he had obtained a Diploma in Religious Studies and would have been ordained a priest; but chose to further his education and therefore postponed his ordination. He was admitted into University of Ibadan where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree, and eventually, a Doctor of Philosophy in Church History and Episcopal Matters. He was ordained a priest in 1993, and by 2003 attained the status of a Canon. By the grace of God, Olumakaiye became an Archdeacon four months later at 30 years of age. He became the Dean of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Ijebu-Ijesha and later the pioneer Bishop of Osun North East Diocese in 2009. In February, 2018, he was translated to the Lagos Diocese to take over from his mentor and spiritual father, Most Revd Adebola Ademowo retired.
It is important to state that Olumakaiye is a product of the commendable expansion programme commenced by late Primate Abiodun Adetiloye upon which Primate Peter Jasper Akinola and Primate Nicholas Okoh built. An embodiment of humility, Olumakaiye himself so often spoke about the need for Christians to follow the examples of Jesus Christ by being humble in all their ways of life always taught that Christians must imbibe humility for their service to God to become acceptable. He got schooled to realize the challenges of deviations from the voyages totally different from what Christ, the early church fathers and political builders of Nigeria shed their blood to build. He permitted the teaching that serving God without humility would only diminish believers’ faith and make them deviate from path of the Lord.
The essence of serving the Lord
When Olumakaiye was translated to Lagos, he was determined to among others, glorify God in reciprocation of divine salvation enjoyed by humans and avoid destructive values that could bring down the faith of Christians and draw them away from the presence of the Holy Spirit. He arrived in his new post, according to him, ‘’as an apostle for a Spirit-driven 21st Century Anglican Church.’’ That is the major fulcrum upon which his activities rest. He pointed out that: ‘’We, as Anglicans concentrate so much on the traditions of liturgy that we often forget to allow the Holy Spirit to lead. ‘’This is one of the major reasons many of our youths left the church. ‘’Pentecostalism is synonymous to Anglicanism because we are a Bible believing denomination.’’
He continues: ‘’It is my mandate as Bishop to reintroduce this spirituality back into the diocese. On my enthronement on 30th July, 2018, I made it very clear that our ministry will be operating of the 5Ps precept: Pastoral, Priestly, Prophetic, Prayer, and Praise, all of which are centred on being driven and guided by the Holy Spirit. ‘’We are encouraging our members to come and use all their God given talent in the Anglican Church, as long as it is Biblical. Gone are the days where biblical principles will be frowned upon because it does not follow tradition. ‘’Our diocese exists now to Glorify God, Edify believers, and Multiply disciples for our Lord Jesus Christ. An example of the Pastoral concept is the care ministry, under which we have the “S.H.E. Platform” – Spirituality, Health, and Education. ‘’We have an obligation to cater for all areas of needs to the best of our ability – Body, Soul, and Spirit.”
Olumakaiye was elevated to the position of Archbishop, Ecclesiastical Province Of Lagos, Church Of Nigeria, Anglican Communion on September 25, 2021. This widens the scope of his service as the Diocesan Bishop and Chief Missioner of the Lagos Diocese and Archbishop, Ecclesiastical Province Of Lagos, Church Of Nigeria, Anglican Communion. Olumakaiye was elected after a four-day-long Standing Committee Meeting of the Church, that held in Lagos from 20th to 24th September 2021
It should be noted that Olumakaiye carries God’s aura of favour and grace. No fewer than 62 Bishops representing the hierarchy of the Church of Nigeria attended his enthronement service as the Bishop of Lagos Diocese. His presentation as Archbishop took place on November 7 in Abuja.
Olumakaiye as a revivalist
Olumakaiye is particularly noted for his love for revivals and evangelism and has made his mark in these two areas. He is patriotically concerned about the state of the nation and leads the church to organize frequent revivals to pray for the country. On the state of the nation, he said the country required divine intervention in her quest for the right and enduring solutions to her challenges. He urged Nigerians, both the leaders and the led, to return to God so that the light of God would illuminate the nation thus paving the way for the desired positive changes to manifest. He urges Nigerians not to lose faith in the country but to continue to pray and preach the undiluted gospel that will lead to a positive change of the hearts and attitude of all stakeholders. “We should live the talk and allow the light of God to illuminate the hearts of our leaders.
A report published in ThisDay newspapers credited to Folu Olamiti states that, “When we have absolute faith in the words of the Lord, there will be a major change in the country. He advised the country’s leaders to lead the country in the path of righteousness, guided by the fear of God.” He explained that the revival will “target the total man. We will provide for the needs of the people. We will engage in the priestly, prophetic, pastoral, prayer and praise ministries. We shall have diocesan convention ground where we will hold large scale meetings. Our diocese shall exist mainly to exhibit God’s glory.” Bishop Olumakaiye’s emphasis on the revival and reawakening of the church in Lagos diocese is not a surprise to many people who were familiar with his activities in his previous pastoral postings. He is well known for his uncommon zeal for the spread of the gospel as well as the spiritual development and welfare of both the shepherds and the flock under his watch.
True to his words, the revival in the Lagos diocese has held several times, since the first edition commenced with a spiritually loaded 21-day Fasting and Praying programme that began on Wednesday August 1,2018, two days after the bishop’s enthronement. It is mandatory for all churches in the diocese and he has vowed to pay unscheduled visits to the various assemblies to ensure compliance. Also in furtherance of the revival, the bishop has inaugurated a healing and charismatic service which is to hold in the evening of every first Sunday of the month at the Cathedral Church of Christ. The first edition took place on Sunday August 5 and according to worshippers. Since that first meeting, Olumakaiye has never looked back with the leading of the Holy Spirit, supported by his wife, Professor Mrs Motunrayo Olumakaiye.
In his inaugural address, Olumakaiye, as reported by The Cable newspapers, acknowledged the good and unforgettable footprints of his predecessors in the diocese and promised to build and improve on their efforts to lift the diocese to the next level. He said he would carry the priests along in this task and would make their welfare a priority. He also recognised the contributions of the various societies in the church and prayed that God would reward them. “We should go back to the ancient path of obedience, dignity of labour, honesty, fear of God, love and also being faithful to the things of God. By the time we walk on the path of righteousness, the beauty of holiness will be seen in our lives by everybody and the society will be better for everyone to live.” He urged Nigerians not to lose faith in the country but to continue to pray and preach the undiluted gospel that will lead to a positive change of the hearts and attitude of all stakeholders. “We should live the talk and allow the light of God to illuminate the hearts of our leaders.
A strong believer in the application of faith to solve human problems, the archbishop says: ‘’When we have absolute faith in the words of the Lord, there will be a major change in the country,” He advised the country’s leaders to lead the country in the path of righteousness, guided by the fear of God.’’ Olumakaiye added that: “Light brings order where there is disorder. Light and glory are inseparable” Quoting from the book of Isaiah 60:1-3, he said: “It is time for the light of God to shine in our lives. It is time for us to arise and shine. When the light of God comes, the glory will shine. The intensity of your light will determine your glory and shinning. Unfolding his plans to take the diocese to higher level, Olumakaiye said his top priority would be evangelism and revival of the church, which he noted had been a significant pillar of the evolution of the Anglican Communion since the 18th Century with the emergence of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) that God used to bring revival and awakening to the church.
Most Revd Olumakaiye while recalling the historic efforts of the early fathers of faith under the CMS who braved all odds, including demonic strongholds to bring the gospel to the dark alleys of Africa said: “Our light has come in this diocese. The mission mandate is not a suggestion but a command. When the glory of God appears, deliverance takes place. The church of God is not a club house. It is a place of fulfillment. ”He explained that the revival will “target the total man. We will provide for the needs of the people. We will engage in the priestly, prophetic, pastoral, prayer and praise ministries. We shall have diocesan convention ground where we will hold large-scale meetings. Our diocese shall exist mainly to exhibit God’s glory”.
Olumakaiye’s emphasis on the revival and reawakening of the church in Lagos diocese is not a surprise to many people who were familiar with his activities in his previous pastoral postings. He is well known for his uncommon zeal for the spread of the gospel as well as the spiritual development and welfare of both the shepherds and the flock under his watch.
Finally, I implore Archbishop Olumakaiye not to be distracted by comments of ill-wishers which would not do the church any good. Please focus on God and your assignment because you will report back to Jesus Christ on your accomplishments particularly concerning the Great Commission that you are prosecuting with vigour in Lagos. Please regard criticisms as rough edges and focus on the Creator to Whom you will finally report in the fullness of time, leading as many souls as possible into heaven. I pray that God may continue to lead you aright and grant you increased unction to function for greater accomplishments.
Lawrence Akinseye writes from Lagos.
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