AMINA BRAI OMOIKE
Nigerian President, Bola Tinubu; former Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Senior Pastor of the House On The Rock Church, Paul Adefarasin and convener of The Platform conference and founder of The Covenant Nation, Pastor Poju Oyemade, have led tributes to the deceased Nigerian pastor and founder of the Fountain Of Life Bible Church, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, who passed away on August 7, 2023, at the age of 67.
President Tinubu sent his heartfelt condolences to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), and associates of the highly revered religious leader, whose teaching, outreach and good work expanded the frontiers of charitable endeavour with particular respect to the education and health sectors.
The president noted the worthy contributions of Mr Odukoya to the development of the country, supporting the weak and vulnerable while providing a platform for many to realize their dreams through the teaching of the word of faith.
Former Vice-President, Prof. Osinbajo wrote on his Facebook page: “Dolly, I and our children are devastated by the news of the passing of our dear friend and brother, Pastor Taiwo. Our hearts and prayers are with Tolu, Jimi, Tobi, Timilehin and Jomiloju.
“We will miss the firmness of his faith in the most difficult times, the soundness of his exposition of the scriptures, his fidelity to the true gospel of Jesus Christ, his childlike love of God translated so easily to worship, his transparency, his servant leadership, the affection and the love he showed so easily, his honesty, forthrightness, and humility at all times.
“He inspired a whole generation of (then) very young men and women, many of whom are now grandparents and still in Christ and will by His grace be until we meet him again at the resurrection. Amen.”
In similar light, Sanwo-Olu expressed this feeling in a statement, urging the family, especially children of the deceased, friends, clerics and the entire congregation of Fountain of Life as well as Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) to take death of Pastor Odukoya in good faith.
“On behalf of my family, the government and people of Lagos State, I sympathise with the Fountain of Life Church on the demise of the founding Pastor of the Church, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya. The death of Pastor Odukoya, whose ministry has touched many lives within and outside his congregation, came to me as a shock. The death of Pastor Taiwo Odukoya is a great loss to the body of Christ. But we take solace in God that the deceased lived a good life and served humanity.”
For Pastor Poju Oyemade, he recalled his meeting with the late Pastor Taiwo back then at University of Lagos in 1986. “He came on a visit to our room back then in Mariere Hall to recruit a bunch of us students to help with the logistics of a meeting on behalf of Rev Emiko Amotsuka. He led worship during this Faith meeting at the New Great Hall, Luth, Idiaraba. I say this because it speaks to the heart of Pastor Taiwo which is service. He was a strong leader with a servant’s heart. The Body of Christ lost a good man. A very good man with a great heart. I don’t think you will find anyone in ministry today who will say anything bad about this man. He was a man I could trust with anything. You are certain whatever you say to him will stay with him. I personally asked him to administer the vows at my wedding. This news has been very difficult to absorb, very difficult pushing one almost into denial but God knows best. The Body of Christ in Nigeria lost one of its most dependable servants and kingdom-minded individuals. Rest in peace my egbon”.
In a tribute titled ‘A giant returns home, and we will miss him deeply’, Pastor Paul Adefarasin gave thanks for the life of the late pastor. “Through his dedication and spiritual leadership, he won numerous souls, built families, and restored homes. His influence reached far and wide, leaving an indelible imprint on the body of Christ.
“Although the loss is profound, we find solace in the knowledge that Pastor Taiwo fulfilled his calling and has now found rest in the arms of our Father The Creator. We will forever cherish the opportunity to have lived in the midst of his life and times.
“To his children – Jimmy, Tolu , Tobi, Jomiloju, and Timilehin; the Fountain of Life family, and everyone whose life he touched, we extend our heartfelt condolences. May you find comfort and strength in this difficult time, knowing that his legacy will continue to inspire and gird us all.
“As we navigate the road ahead without his physical presence, may his journey inspire antifragility within us, knowing that challenges for what they are may come, but we have the Greater God within and we will overcome. Pastor T has completed his race and passed the baton, now it is time for him to rest, and we will miss him dearly on this earthly side”, he said on his official Instagram page.
Bishop Feb Idahosa of the Church of God Mission Church International extended condolences to the Odukoya family and to the Fountain of Life Church family. “A special prayer went out from Archbishop Margaret Idahosa and for our friends, pastors Jimmy and Tolu. The Archbishop reminded us that Pastor Taiwo was a regular speaker at the annual Christian Women’s Fellowship International (CWFI) conventions. God bless the memory and legacy of Pastor Taiwo”, he said.
Bishop Chris Kwakpovwe, writer of the Our Daily Manna devotional remembered fondly the late Pastor Taiwo as a brother and friend. He said: “Let us all run our race with fear and trembling! I remember the night you slept on my parlour couch with Bimbo because we had a lengthy meeting and it was too late to go home. You gave me the last 5,000 naira to complete the payment of over 500,000 naira for the current headquarters of ODM. Well done, Taiwo. Rest in peace and greet heaven!”
Pastor Sam Adeyemi of Daystar Church said: “What aa loss for us on this side of eternity! We were shocked and saddened by the passing of Pastor Taiwo Odukoya. However, we look from God’s perspective and choose to see Christ leading the reception party for a General of the Faith. He was an amazing leader who inspired many into greatness. He faced adversity with unusual grace and was one of the kindest humans.. his walk with God and love for others continue to inspire us greatly. We pray for God’s deep comfort and strength for the Odukoya family, the leadership of the Fountain of Life Church, all members of the church and all of us.”
Pastor Emmanuel Iren of the Celebration Church International said: “This one pained me. Rest with God, Pastor Taiwo Sir. I preached about you just last week – about your fortitude in tribulation and how much of an example that was. It is well.”
While Pastor Bisi Adewale of Family Boosters ministries stated that a giant of faith is gone. “We can only thank God for the life and time of Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, the founder and senior pastor of the Fountain of Life church. I pray that the Lord will be with his family and the whole church he left behind.”
Female architect and minister, Jumoke Adenowo posted “Good night Pastor Taiwo. You were a true shepherd. I can never forget your caring heart, your heart for the kingdom, your heart for the flock, your love for God. Your bright and lively spirit! May God comfort your family and the church as only He can. The memory of the just is blessed!”
In the same vein, life coach, Fela Durotoye posted “Lord, when we don’t understand, we just trust you like Pastor Taiwo always did and taught us to. Lord we pray for indescribable comfort for the entire Odukoya family (particularly Jimmy, Tolu and their young siblings) as well as The Fountain of Life Church family and indeed the body of Christ as a whole. Lord, please grant us the peace that passes understanding because many of us are truly struggling to understand. Nevertheless, we choose to trust you, ord. I can only imagine Pastor Taiwo arriving at heaven’s pearly gates dancing and singing ‘ope ni mo muwa o Baba’. Rest in praise and glory, Sir. Thank you for showing us what it means to be a true Christian.”
For Pastor Busola Jegede, it was a big shock to the Body of Christ. “We celebrate the exemplary life you live Sir and thank God fo your life. I remember the ‘Woman Leader’ meetings you organized at Ikoyi back then and your wisdom nuggets that have helped tremendously in ministry and marriage. Rest in the bosom of your maker. We commiserate with everyone in the Fountain of Life family. May the Lord comfort you all, in Jesus name.”
Music ministers also paid tribute to the late pastor who many described as a true worshipper. Since his passing, many videos of his various worship sessions have gone viral on social media.
Nathaniel Bassey wrote: “From the rising of the sun, to the ‘setting’ of the same, God’s name is to be praised. Painful and unexplainable but we are never HOPELESS. Sleep in the Lord’s bosom, Man of God – Pastor Taiwo Odukoya.”
For Dunsin Oyekan, he said: “We judge You faithful Lord….We pray for comfort for the family and the body of Christ. Peace that surpasses all understanding. “Say to the righteous, it is well”!
Tope Alabi wrote “God’s general has gone to rest. My condolences to the family and the church of God. Good night, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya.”
Others who mourned him on social media were Pastors Kingsley and Mildred Okonkwo of David’s Christian Centre, Apostle Anselm Madubuko of Revival Assembly, Pastor Blessed of the Waterbrook Church, saxophonist BJ Sax, Joe Praize, Judikay, Bukola Beke, Efe Nathan, Nosa, Ada Ehi, Solomon Lange, Sinach, Odunayo Aboderin, Monique, Woli Arole and Weird MC.
There were reports that the respected preacher had health issues mainly triggered by personal tragedies.
A source close to the family was quoted as saying: ‘’He really didn’t get over the losses he suffered. He tried to be strong but there is a limit to what a man can take.”
Pastor Taiwo, as he is fondly called, lost his first wife, Pastor Bimbo, in a Sosoliso plane crash in 2005. She was 45. The source said the death left the Pastor who shared a well-known synergy with the wife, who he met at the University of Ibadan as an undergraduate shattered.
“Pastor was more devastated by what people said after Pastor Bimbo died than what actually happened. Many people said nasty things that saddened his heart. He was touched by the savagery of the comments. Well, he had no choice and decided to move on despite the heartbreak. It took a lot of talking for him to decide to remarry,” the source added.
The clergyman also suffered another tragedy on November 9, 2021, when he lost his second wife, Pastor Nomthi, a South African, after battling cancer.
“If Pastor Bimbo’s death was shattering, Pastor Nomthi’s demise was a technical knock-out. It knocked Pastor down and out. He was inconsolable. He was very bothered about what people would say. It left him totally lifeless. There was nothing we could tell him. It took something deep out of him and some of us became afraid for him.” the source said.
When he lost his twin sister a few weeks after his wife’s death, sources said it was more or less the last straw. For someone who has lost two important women in his life, it was tough to take the death of someone with whom he shared his womb and childhood.
“It was a personal, humbling tragedy. He would just gaze and seemed to become completely disinterested in things around him. It was unusual to become totally lost in conversations and issues. I believe something died in him at that point. He tried to put up a strong face for the church but he was human. He died within and it was only a matter of time. That he lived for almost two years after showed the strength of his character,” the source said.