Rt. Rev. Dapo Asaju (Bishop Theologian and Professor, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion) in a special interview tagged “The Exclusive” on Advent Cable Network Nigeria Television…
My story is very complicated but I will summarize it. I was born an Anglican, grew up an Anglican of several generations but then on account of my exposure in the course of my movement in life I had been exposed to several other ministries and other influences. At the University of Illorin, Adeboye was a lecturer.
E. A Adeboye was a mathematics lecturer at Illorin. He was the one teaching us at the fellowship and so I gravitated towards him, he became like a mentor to me when he was still a pastor of the Redeemed Christain Church of God at Sabo-Oke Illorin. Early in life, he mentored me to a point. When I was there also, Oyedepo was just a student of the Polytechnic Illorin. We were sharing the same compound with the University of Illorin there. He started a ministry at Illorin Teachers College, I was there with my wife-to-be later so I grew up.
When Winners Chapel started his ministry I was there I was exposed to him, close to him then he went to Kaduna and when later on he came to Lagos to start Winners Chapel at new era road I was part of the first 40 people that started the Winners Chapel there. We were sitting on benches there. We were very young at that time I knew all that. So I have been exposed to all this and then there I was exposed to W. F Kumuyi as far back as 1970s. I had been there close to him, close to his ministry, when Deeper Life was starting. So having been exposed to Adeboye, to Oyedepo, to Kumuyi and all that eventually I got a job at Lagos State University and I was living in Badagry staying with a cousin of mine who was very active in the Foursquare Gospel Church because I lived in his house we worshipped with them together.
I was exposed to the Foursquare Gospel Church and then eventually I continued as a lecturer there. Incidentally I now decided to say ‘okay, let me go to the Anglican Church Ministry.’ I now was in the Anglican Church Seminary in Lagos. Lagos Anglican Diocesan Seminary at that time, something very, very dramatic happened to me.
I was gifted in evangelism and then a church that I had been familiar with in 1973, invited me to come and minister and it was during their harvest and the man was into prophetic ministry as soon as I finished ministering, the man embarrassed me. He took the microphone, he said “thus says the lord this young man has been appointed by the lord as an Apostle. I am asked to hand over this ministry to this young man and I should go about on worldwide evangelism. I was just a guest minister, a young man in seminary and this man made the announcement before everybody. I was embarrassed and he said “come down young man let me pray for you.” I came down, he just without telling me before anointed me and prayed for me and that was the end of the matter.
Three months after that the man was on a crusade in Kaduna. He had a stroke. They flew him abroad and when he went abroad the church was now leaderless, I was in the seminary, a delegation came. They said ‘we were there when they anointed you, this man has stroke now we are not too sure about his condition of health. He is outside this country please come and take over this place.’ I resisted and God said go. So I got there and I became a General Overseer to suspend my seminary training.
Eventually I went back to Archbishop Vining in Akure later on and there for my seminary. I was already a professor when I went to Vining at that time. So I had to take it up as an evangelistic call because the man was in the critical condition, the place was leaderless and I had to reluctantly assume duty. So I started my pastoral ministry as a General Overseer of a church. Started climbing from the ladder.
I was a Bishop wearing purple, I became an Archbishop wearing purple. I had four Bishops under me. One in the North, one in the East, One in Kwara and one in Lagos. My Bishop in Lagos was Bishop F. L. O Menkiti – A former federal permanent secretary under the government of Yakubu Gowon. He was the one who announced the election result between Shagari and Awolowo. Big people were under me so I was an Archbishop and a Bishop. I ordained over 38 ministers into ministry. 10 in London, two in America, two in Germany. Established about 16 churches, as far back as 1996 I had my own television program ‘moment of hope’ on lagos television 1996 with Dapo Asaju so we had gone far. I had started then God said to me ‘I took you round all these churches, I took you round this leadership position, I exposed you for a purpose because you have a work to do in the Anglican Church, go back to your church now and release it.’
Thanks be to God, the man had recovered a little bit and he had returned from overseas. He survived the stroke and I simply told him ‘Sir this is your Church, God has enabled me to do this much. I’m going back to the Anglican Church continue from where I stopped in my seminary and go on.’ So I now relinquish all those – An Archbishop, a General Overseer with many children of the Lord in the Lord all over the world. Big people, big ministers were coming to minister in my church and then I handed over. I said look now that you are well enough you can take it off again. Church Gist.Maybe God wanted me to fill in the gap during the period when you were ill but for me I started climbing my personal ladder from the top so God now brought me down. I now went back to my Bishop, Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye.
I am wearing his ring and I’m wearing his pectoral cross now and then so he said ‘my son you are the one we watch every sunday on television?’ I say yes. You are coming back to the church? I say yes, I never left the Anglican Church, it was just a call to duty circumstantial interruption and he laughed and he said you know where you’re going to come back to? he said you’re going to become an Ordinant. The most junior in the rank and then I came back to the Anglican Church, he now put me at Saint Micheal’s Anglican Church, Ojo under Venerable Adebamiwa. And there I was a postulant ordinant the most junior in the procession. And after about six months he decided to ordain me as a Deacon.
When I was ordained a Deacon, the Guardian newspaper put it as a back cover page ‘General Overseer of so so so church re-ordained Deacon in the Anglican Church .’ And so I humbled myself and to the glory of God, I served there, was posted to Epiphany Church, I was posted to some other churches eventually I became the Chaplain of Lagos State University chapel, and then eventually I was taken to Church of Transfiguration, Lagos and then I became a Canon under Baba Adebiyi and then I became an Archdeacon also under Baba Adebiyi until I was elected in 2009 as the Bishop Theologian right here at the Basilica of Grace, Abuja here under Baba Peter Jasper Akinola.
So that has been my story but then I was a professor at Birmingham University 2003 and during that period I got the license of the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to be a priest in the Church of England and Archbishop John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York was my pastor as the Bishop of Birmingham. So I had been exposed to the English Church as a priest in the Church of England during the period of my professorship there. And something happened when I was elected Bishop I was sent by Baba Akinola to Lambeth Palace to represent the Church of Nigeria at the Theological Forum and there I had a heated argument with the Archbishop of Canterbury over their romance with Islam.
He suddenly turned to me, he said are you not the professor who has just been elected Bishop in the Anglican Church of Nigeria? I said yes, yes your grace. He said meet me in Canterbury tomorrow I have a gift for you. Church Gist. I went to Canterbury the following day which was a sunday on Saint Nicholas day right at the same place where Ajayi Crowther was consecrated and he said I have a gift for you. And he called me and he said to me – Young man, God will use you for the Anglican Communion and the gift I have for you is my pectoral cross. He said this pectoral cross was given to me by George Carey former Archbishop of Canterbury he gave to me but God said I should give it to you and pray for you. So he gave me the pectoral cross of George Carey and his own and prayed for me that was the cross I wore when Baba Akinola consecrated me – The first Bishop Theologian on the 10th of january 2010.
My story has been that of just service and exposure. It’s God’s hand moving me. I don’t know where I’m going I don’t know,I know I only move according to his leading.
Interview was conducted by Korede Akintunde on ACNNTV