LATE GABRIEL OLUSEGUN OSITELU
Apostle Gabriel Olusegun Ositelu (1938-98) of blessed memory was the Third Primate of “The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide”.
He was born on August 27, 1938 in Ogere-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria to the Late Prophet General Dr. Josiah Olunowo Ositelu, the Founder and first Primate of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide and Late Spiritual Mother Superior Dorcas Olutayo Ositelu. He was the first child of the “Olulana” as the late founder of the Church was popularly called.
Not only was he the first born, he was special and a Nazarene. In obedience to divine messages, his hair was not cut until his seventh birthday. He became the youngest Member of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide to be baptised, awarded the cross (as cross-bearer), and to be awarded the rod (staff of office). He attended St. Peter’s Primary School, Ake, Abeokuta and Abeokuta Grammar School in Igbein, Abeokuta. After graduating from Abeokuta Grammar School he went to the United Kingdom to study Animal Science.
Olusegun Ositelu graduated with BSc (Hons) in Agriculture at the University of North Wales, Bangor in 1965, and earned a Master Degree in Animal Science at the University of McGill, Canada between 1969 and 1971. Before his University career, he had started a career in Agriculture as a Trainee-Agriculture Assistant (1958-59) at the School of Agriculture, Moor Plantation, Ibadan (1958-61) and pre-University Advanced Level at Paddington Technical College, London (1960-61).
On arrival back in Nigeria in 1965, he became the Agric Officer [Livestock] (1965-72), and Lecturer (1972-78). He became the Principal of the School of Agriculture, Ibadan (1978-87) and Principal Lecturer (1978-91).
A year after he arrived after he arrived back in Nigeria from U.K., his father, Dr. J. O. Ositelu, was called to higher service on July 12, 1966, and Late Dr. E. A. Adejobi succeeded him in the same year.
Gabriel Olusegun Ositelu’s impeccable credentials in Agriculture were however continuously being interrupted by a consistent “still small voice” which constantly challenged him to stop feeding livestock but to become a shepherd feeding the people of God with the “Word” as his father had devoted his life to doing.
Although he had functioned as a Deacon from (1976-79) after anointment by late Dr. Emmanuel Adeleke Adejobi, the second Primate of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, he did not pursue a career in the clergy until 1979 when he attended Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan and graduated in the ordinance course. He followed this up by attending the Calvary International Bible College, Ibadan (1988-91).
Even though he had become serious about quitting his career as an accomplished civil servant to pursue God’s work, he never once imagine or dreamt that he was going to lead God’s flock as Primate. He simply took his divine anointing as Deacon (1976) and Lay-Reverend (1984) seriously and worked tirelessly in any capacity dictated by the headship of the Church (Primate) and that of his immediate boss, the Minister-In-Charge or curate of the branch Church he attended.
Of course, he had earned his title of Reverend since 1981 after his graduation from Immanuel College of Theology, but a Reverend somewhere else was not automatically confirmed as a Reverend in The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide. So it was not until April, 1984 that Primate Adejobi confirmed as a “Part-Time” Reverend.
On August 22, 1986, at the Grand-Finale of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, the biggest annual spiritual event, MOUNT TABIEORAR RETREAT, he had been asked by the then incumbent Primate (Adejobi) to preach the Sermon. It was the first time he (Adejobi) would be delegating that assignment. It was also the first time Olusegun Ositelu would be delivering the World to such a mammoth crowd of over 200,000 faithfuls.
None, not the least Olusegun Ositelu or even Adeleke Adejobi himself realised the scene was a prophetic one, and that it may have represented a “Passing of the torch”.
Exactly one year later, at the same event and venue, late Primate Adeleke Adejobi publicly announced to the whole world, saying: “God has revealed to me that the person who will lead His flock after my stewardship is over is GBARIEL OLUSEGUN OSITELU. I am the GBOLAHAN, he will be the GBOLABO of our Church.”
The pronouncement, once made, elicited a thunderous and deafening ovation. Olusegun was shocked, and quickly prayed to God for His guidance.
On May 17, 1991, Primate Adeleke Adejobi joined his ancestors, and in accordance to the Constitution of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, Olusegun Ositelu became the Primate of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide.
The anointing, consecration and installation ceremony, which was very colourful, came up on December 1, 1991 at the Church Cathedral, Ogere, the International and Spiritual Headquarters of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide. All Church denominations including representatives of the Federal, State and Local Governments were at the occasion.
Late Primate Gabriel Olusegun Ositelu presided over the Church for seven years. It was seven years of great achievements. He left indelible marks on the sand of time. He was a very dynamic and energetic servant of God. He was a man of vision. He was a lover of God and Humanity. He was full of life.
His seven momentous years in the Primacy were most innovative. Among the innovations he made were:
1. The Sunday School and Bible Study Guide
2. The Evangelical Ministry
3. The Youth Ministry
4. The Printing Press (Re-activated)
5. The Bookshop
6. The Divinity School
7. The Victory Night Camp and
8. Ositelu Memorial Nursery & Primary School
He conducted several Outreach of the Church after decades of such under the umbrella of the Evangelical Ministry in March 1996 at Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos, in September 1996 at Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan, and in November 1996 in Benin City.
The year 1996 was a busy one for the late Primate Olusegun Ositelu. It started with the hosting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Consultative Meeting with African Instituted Churches (AIC). It was also an important year in the life and history of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide. It was on 19th April, 1996 that VICTORY NIGHT programme at the Victory Night Ground took off.
Late Primate Olusegun Ositelu had travelled widely in Africa, Europe and the Americas, and beyond; both before and during his primacy. He appeared on the scene like a bright star in the firmament and all too soon, he disappeared into the great beyond like a meteor.
We thank God for his life and great achievements in this short period. He was popularly called “People’s Primate”. The fact that he made himself always accessible to the youths and their problems also made the generality of the Church to fondly refer to him as the “Primate of the Youths”.
He was also endeared to elders and the entire membership because of his humility and sense of purpose.
He died on Sunday, April 26, 1998. The Church is grateful to God for his achievements and very proud of them.