The poetic expression of late AVSE D.O Olunlola, whose death was announced yesterday, that left many in shock, is one of the things that put him poles ahead of any administrative person who ever emerged in Celestial Church of Christ.
The deceased wrote some books about the church and the personalities therein. Especially the pastor he closely worked with from Papa SBJ, Baba Bada, Baba Ajose.
Many of his published works were appreciated by the global audience of the church, primarily for their beauty and the emotional ability of the writer, Baba Okunlola.
Hi Biography Below;
“Down the memory lane…Heroes of Faith in CCC…
DAVID OLADEJI OKUNLOLA
As recorded in the Holy Bible, some Generals in the Kingdom would ever remain private and not given too much publicity. One of them in CCC was AVSE David Oladeji Okunlola.
Much of Celestial Church of Christ’s salient and unpopular records, histories and details readily available in prints today are to be attributed to AVSE David Okunlola (Baba Oyo). He served and diligently followed the Pastor Founder, Rev. S.B.J. Oshoffa, Rev. A.A. Bada, Rev. P.H. Ajose and Rev. E.M.F. Oshoffa. He is a living chronicle of many events and core administrative records of the Celestial Church of Christ. He’s a living true son of SBJ Oshoffa and the CCC commission.
Assistant Venerable Superior Evangelist David Oladeji Okunlola (popularly called Baba Oyo, Lieutenant, Ijoba) was born in 1942 at Igbo-Aje Village, Oyo, Oyo State to the family of John Alawode Okunlola (his father) and Alice Ibironke Okunlola (his mother).
He attended Methodist School, Igbo Aje, Oyo from 1951 to 1952 and from 1953 to 1957. He attended the Methodist School, Apaara, Oyo State, where he bagged his First School Leaving Certificate. While in school, he was appointed the timekeeper.
The following year (1958-1960), he earned Modern School Certificate after attending Anglican/Methodist Modern School, Oyo. At some point, he lived with Pa. Okediran (his father’s friend) in Ile Atokun, Okediran’s compound Oyo where hawked pounded yam, cassava and orange.
With his Modern School Certificate, he started his teaching career at Odanbon Methodist Primary School, Ogbomoso between 1961 and 1962. He proceeded to the LATTC Ogbomoso between 1963 and 1964 where he obtained Grade III Teacher Certificate under Pa Okeowo, the School Principal. He was again the timekeeper during his time in the school. He taught at Igbo-Aje Methodist School (Oyo State) under Mr Adeboyejo and Mr Joel Oladosu Ogundeji between 1965 and 1966. His passion for teaching further led him to take up teaching at the Methodist School, Asa,
Iwo (in 1967-1968). In addition to teaching, he taught the choir group songs for events and other occasions.
He crossed over to the secretarial line via the Motailatu School of Stenography, Agoo Tailor, Ibadan in 1969. He was made the class captain due to his outstanding performance and he passed the RSA Secretarial Study Stage II(Intermediate) and III (Advanced economics) with flying colours.
Before the 1970s, he had contemplated a career in the military. His career eventually took off to a great start on January 2nd, 1970. He served in various units/ departments, which in turn, prepared him for the subsequent and intensive military training. He started by undergoing rigorous training at the Army Depot training in Abeokuta (Ogun State). Later, in 1970-1971, he was posted to 7 Infantry Army Workshop NAEME, Marda Barracks, Yaba, Lagos State and worked assiduously as a typist, typing Parts I & II Order and correspondence.
In 1972, he was moved to the Army Medical Corp. and served as Nursing Aid at NARS Bonny camp. He served at the Military Hospital Ikoyi, Lagos State from 1971 to 1974 and worked under Mrs Eme Ekaite – Chief Pharmacist(the wife of Mr Ufot Ekaette). Mrs Ekaette later became a member of the House of Senate), Mrs Ihonde( Pharmacist), and WO1 Oliyide (Pharmacist) all under Brig. General Huslin Peters (Rtd & RIP)- the Commanding Officer and Director-General AFMS. He served as Records Clerk at the Records Department of the Hospital. He later served in the Pharmacy Department as a dispenser.
As a Corporal, he served in the same position (i.e., dispenser) at the Military Psychiatric Hospital, Apapa Road Lagos State under the command of Col. (Dr) Adelaja.
In line with his goal of building capacity in the military service to serve Nigeria better and in pursuit of a successful career as a military officer, he gained admission into the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna, Short Service Commission (Combatant) in 1975. For this, he remains grateful to Mrs Eme Ekaette for her understanding and good recommendation. Likewise, he feels indebted to his brother, Tunji Olaniregun and Col. Ogunkanmi (former Military Secretary) of Ile-Ogbo, near Iwo Osun state for the many commendable things they did for him.
In June 1975, he was successfully commissioned in the rank of Second Lieutenant after his NDA training – SSC Combatant. Upon finishing at the NDA, his formative journey as an officer in the army began. He was posted to Engineer Base Workshop NAEME/NAE in 1975 under the following Commanding Officers:
(a) Major (Dr) I. B. Otere (RIP),
(b) Major Toba (RIP)
(c) Major Richards.
He was appointed Adjutant and later OC Admin Coy.
He was transferred to 6 Infantry Workshop Akure-Ondo State from 1978 to early 1980 under the Commanding Officer- Major Sanni Fari and was again appointed OC Admin COy.
In 1979, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and got transferred back to Lagos (on the compassionate ground). In Lagos State, he worked at the Guards Workshop Bonny Camp (RSP) under the Commanding Officer- Major Adewunmi (RIP).
Furthermore, he was transferred to Armoured Base Workshop where he was again appointed OC, Admin Coy. under Commanding Officer Maj. Abdulkadiri. In 1983, owing to medical concerns, he retired from the military.
Under Pa SBJ Oshoffa’s direct supervision, he played the following roles:
(a) Yoruba Bible reader for Pa. Oshoffa
(b) Delivered pastoral messages to individuals, parishes etc.,
(c) Engaged in arbitration assignments in International Headquarters and various parishes
(d) Led songs with Church members in preparation for an ointment that will be carried out by Baba Oshoffa.
(e) Performed task force duties
(f) Engaged in televangelism (i.e. propagating the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ on Tv, radio and participated in various revival services which included the renowned ones such as “Message of God’ and “Word of God” on OGTV and OGBC respectively.
After the transition of Pa. Oshoffa in 1985, he served under the direct pastorship of Rev. A.A. Bada.
Rev. A.A. Bada built heavily on the foundation laid by the Pastor Founder, Rev. S.B.J.Oshoffa. He saddled him with more responsibilities. He would always say that “Baba Oyo, mo n fun o ni awon ise wonyi nitori ojo ola” which means that, he was being prepared for the future (of the Church) through such responsibilities and duties.
In addition to the afore-listed duties, he served in the following roles and performed duties below:
(a) Served as shepherd/ Administrator in many parishes.
(b) Served in Celestial City Office
(c) Conducted the election of new parochial committee members in parishes
(d) Served as a member of the Kilometre 53 Building Committee (Finance Officer)
(e) Served as a member of the city Land Allocation committee under the chairmanship of the late Justice Sogbetun.
(f) He was a member of the board of management of the Seminary under the leadership of S.O banjo which includes the likes of Aladeseye, Shadipe, etc.
(g) Member of the convocation committee (Finance Officer)
(h) Appointed by Pastor Bada to tour some parishes in the North during religious disturbances e.g Kano, Kaduna, Zaria etc.
(i) After the transition of Pastor Ajose, he was appointed as the HOD Finance (before the ascendancy of Pastor EMF Oshoffa) based on the consensus of the Board of Trustees/PIC at the International HQs, Ikosi Ketu, Lagos State.
(j) He was appointed a member of MPIC by Pastor EMF Oshoffa in 2004, remained the HOD Finance and got anointed to the rank of Superior Evangelist in 2005.
In terms of education, he has various certificates from basic to higher levels of education. The education levels completed are:
(a) Primary School Leaving Certificate
(b) Teacher Grade III (Certificate)
(c) RSA (certificate)
(d) G.C.E O Level, Advanced level subject (Economics)
(e) NDA Training and Certificate of Service in the Army
(f) Diploma in Theology – 1991-1992 (from Gospel Missionary Foundation (GMF) University established in 1988) at Ikotun Egbe Lagos.
(g) B.A. Theology – 1993-1994 (from GMF)
(h) M.A. Theology- 1995-1997 (from GMF).
He remained grateful to Venerable Superior Evangelist (Dr) Afis Kiki who introduced him to GMF University in 1991.
Without proper documentation, much of life’s history and the record would be lost. Of a truth, records are life and it keeps the world running. No wonder, names such as Ezra, Nehemiah, etc. were clearly documented in the Holy Bible. In the Talmud, the spiritual descendants of the ancient rabbis and their teachings are well recorded. Being so passionate about writing and knowledge sharing especially in the CCC fold, he authored the following books through the grace of God:
(a) Celestial Church of Christ- Last Vessel for Salvation
(b) Oshoffa Eniti a ran
(c) Bada and the Great Commission
(d) Celestial City and Imeko Dynasty and
(e) Pastor Ajose.
He has delivered many spiritual lectures, sermons and speeches on the word of God including eulogies/orations for the departed souls.
Also worthy of note were the various letters he had written to the Church hierarchy (the Pastors inclusive) and lectures delivered on ways of developing and moving the church forward.
Just like King David (his namesake) who was a conqueror, prayer machine, musician, poet, king and administrator, etc., he composed the following songs which he sings to praise God Almighty:
(a) Oh! Lord my God, I worship thee….
(b) Oh! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus ….
(c) I will praise thee, I will honour the….
(d) Sing, sing, sing Alleluyah, sing, sing sing, Alleluyah
(e) You are worthy, worthy is the Lamb….
(f) Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Holy Michael, how wonderful you are…..
(g) He lives forever….
Furthermore, it is interesting to note that he gave the Yoruba translation of CCC Hymn 908 YHB (Bi gbogbo aye dite mo wa…) upon hearing the lovely melody in the song after it was rendered in French by Late Espidee (Pa SBJ Oshoffa’s driver).
Baba Oyo, as he was also fondly called, later sang the Yoruba version of the song to the hearing of Papa S.B.J. Oshoffa and others who were present. Papa Oshoffa then instructed that henceforth, the song should be used to usher him(Prophet/Pastor/Founder S.B.J. Oshoffa of blessed memory) into any Celestial Parish or function. Pastor Bada later changed the entry song to Jesu ti joba, Jesu ti joba, ba raye fe., with Evangelist Ogunbiyi(Baba Moyo) the trumpeter, of blessed memory leading the Hymn.
He got married to Mother Celestial Christiana Mojisola Okunlola in 1972. In his words, “I am thankful to God that she loves Christ, a devoted Christian, caring, industrious and a faithful wife”.
To the glory of God, their marriage was blessed with wonderful children who are doing well in various walks of life and are committed to serving God.
His zeal for the body of Christ and CCC was as recorded in Colossians 4:13- “For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them [that are] in Laodicea and them in Hierapolis.”
True CCC members who appreciate great records and righteousness, let us expressly observe a minute silence for this reserved hero who had served silently and meritoriously in CCC’s highest administrative capacities for decades.
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