Rev Dr. Adelokoji Okejimi Ijaola (1971-2022): Celebrating a Life Lived for God and Humanity

Byadulawo

Jul 14, 2022

“I believe nothing is impossible and unachievable. I have a passion for Excellence and have been commissioned to raise leaders in all areas of life.”

The above quotation summed up who he was – a dogged fighter of Christ who believed that nothing was impossible and unachievable through Christ who strengthened him. He lived the full length of his life for excellence and died even while fulfilling the great commission to raise leaders in all areas of life.

Born to the Adelokoji family 50 years ago, Ijaola set out early to identify his mission for the world he would only serve for short but impactful years.
He started by acquiring education at different levels. After his primary and secondary education, he was admitted into the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State where he bagged a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1997. He was a member of the Editorial Team during his studentship.

He did not rest on his oars and in 1999; he secured admission into the University of Lagos where he bagged a Master in Business Administration and Management (MBA) 2001. Having received calls, in 2011, he was admitted into one of the oldest theological seminaries in Africa, the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Oyo state where he bagged Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Theology in 2005.

In 2014, Adelokoji obtained a Doctor of Ministry, Theological and Ministerial Studies from the same institution. While in the Seminary, Adelokoji was the President of the Master of Divinity Student Fellowship and Coordinator, of Theologue Magazine. He did not just stop there; he was a Fellow, Institute of Information Management, Fellow Institute of Management Consultant, and a Chartered Management Consultant.

In 1999, Adelokoji joined the services of Lenoil Petroleum and Petrochemical Company Ltd, Lagos as a Marketing Executive. He was responsible for the marketing of the product, relating with customers, and serving as a link between the production, laboratory, and the consumers of company products. By July 2000, he worked as Marketing Manager, International Telecommunications Company Limited. He was there between July 2000 and August 2002.
To the admiration of his employers and colleagues, he was responsible for the development of business ideas for the company; coordinating all the clients of the company; liaising with the Managing Director on how to move the company forward, and supervising the marketers of the company.

After his ordination, then Pastor Adelokoji served at New Estate Baptist Church, Surulere, Lagos before he was appointed as the Senior Pastor, New Jerusalem-City Baptist Church, Lagos. He was responsible for general coordination of the various aspects of the Church life, preaching, counseling, motivating, and building leaders. He was there between August 2005 and July 2015.

As a result of his unforgettable impact at the New Jerusalem-City Baptist Church, Lagos, he was appointed as the Director of Publications of the Nigerian Baptist Convention in August 2015. He served in this position until his demise on June 18, 2022, after a brief illness. During his time, he effectively coordinated the Publications of the Nigerian Baptist Convention and also served as the Business Manager of the Department.

The department witnessed exponential growth in kingdom business. The transformation included the change of the name from Baptist Press to BP Productions Limited.

Dr. Adelokoji did not just contribute to the growth of the Baptist publications; he created the opportunity for Christian Writers to connect to promote Christian literature when he created a WhatsApp group that has been a networking channel for Christian Writers and publishers in Nigeria.

Adelokoji in one of his popular quotations said “I am always seeking an opportunity to make a strong contribution to organizational goals through professional, social and technical skills already acquired as well as continued development of the same and new ones.” Testimonies abound that he lived true to this quotation. He used his physical and spiritual skills acquired over his 50 years in life to serve God and expand His kingdom and humanity.

In his sermon titled “Returning Home” during the burial service, the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Dr. Israel A. Akanji said “We observed that all losses in Luke 15 were recovered. There is always recovery with God. We have not lost.

Citing the parable of the lost son, Akanji said “the older brother was lost to nearness while the younger was lost to distance. Some people are close to the kingdom of God but not ready to enter. The Father in the Parable was God Himself. He helps us to understand what it meant to return home. The lost son’s expression shows us how to return home. To die and leave this world is portrayed as how to return home. Our brother has just returned home to our Father. Returning home is also like Supper Time. Jim Reeves expresses that in his song, “This World is Not My Home…” and also the song “Come Home its Supper Time…” (Let us meditate on the words of these songs).

He continued, “Returning home is returning to the Father. According to the Catholic Catechism, God is our Origin and Destination. He is also our dwelling. God is expecting us home because he had gone to prepare a place for us. Returning home is returning to the Father’s compassion. Returning to the Father’s eager welcome. The Father ran to the son. Philip, Craig, and Dim wrote a song, “When God Ran…” Returning home is returning to the Father’s elaborate acceptance. He showed that acceptance can be plotted. Eccl. 3 – a time to embrace and a time to refrain. Naomi also did a similar thing when she encouraged Ruth to go to Boaz well dressed. Esther also was going to see the king and there were conditions to meet before seeing the king – Esther 5:1. The lost son never met any of these conditions to elicit acceptance, yet the Father accepted him. Returning home means returning to the Father’s elaborate forgiveness. He confessed his failure and sin. Before he could finish, the Father had embraced him and never made reference to what he did. The Father had the right to reject him; instead, he had compassion for him. Return to the Father’s Elaborate Honor. His father ordered to give him a ring and change his robes. Return to Flabbergasted surprise. Immediate action was taken to change his life and appearance.”

He added that “Returning home is returning to the Father’s rich treasures. He was given robes and sandals and the fattest calf was prepared for him. Returning home is returning to the Father’s Empowerment. He was henceforth recognized as the father’s son. Returning home is returning to the Father’s Elaborate Celebration. Returning home is returning to Father’s Theology. This son was dead but he is alive now. He was lost but now he’s found. That is the Father’s Theology. Returning home is returning to the Father’s Unquestionable Authority. No one dared to question the Father’s authority to question his decisions for receiving and celebrating a lost son. He instead urged those complaining to join in the celebration. Some people will question God for admitting some people into heaven when we get there. Hence there will be three surprises in heaven; some you think will be there, will not be there; some you think will not be there will be there, and you will be there…the question being, how did I get here…?”

He affirmed that “Today, we believe our Brother Adelokoji has returned to our compassionate, forgiving, sacrificial, overlooking, celebrating, accepting Father. During his 50th Birthday, all the songs were geared toward salvation. He dedicated his birthday to the salvation he received” He concluded.

Hundreds of testimonies have poured in for the Lord’s general that has gone to be with Him. In his tribute, Rev Dr. Julius Omomoola described Adelokoji as the “brain box of the family Churches”. He said “I have served as a lead pastor of New Heritage Baptist Church, Shomolu, Lagos and New Estate Baptist Church is one of the churches of the New Estate family churches where Pastor Adelokoji served first as the pastor and also served as one of the leaders of the New Estate Family Churches where he served as a Secretary for many years. While he was serving as a Secretary, I served as the Chairman of the body, and like I did mention during the message that Adelokoji was the brainbox of that family Church and he is many things to many people.
“We can’t describe Adelokoji in paragraphs, in volumes, not to speak about him because he was truly larger than life. He was a man that was sold out to God, sold out to the work of the Lord, sold out to humanity and he touched many lives in many places. I want to thank God that today we have reasons to celebrate his life, it is not a loss, it is a gain to the kingdom of God that God sent him to this world and he impacted this life, this world before God called him back and like I did mention that William game said ‘the value of a man’s life is not computed by his duration, not how long you live but the kind of impact. He made his life to be a donation; a donation to his family, a donation to the Church, and the Convention and the body of Christ. Look at what God used him to do in the Publication Ministry of the Nigerian Baptist Convention. He left a great legacy in the ministry and even beyond the Baptist denomination. I know of several Churches who get our materials, is it Sunday School, and is it Daily Encounter, and then send these materials outside the shore of this country. At a point, the publication ministry declared profit. God has used him, so we want to thank God that yes we miss him on this part but of eternity, but we know he’s at home with God. My counsel again to the family is that they should take solace in the fact that their husband and father were a gift to the world and a great blessing to the world.
“People have a lot to thank God for about his life and I think that’s what life is all about that life is about service. Life is about giving and Ade was someone that not only gave his life but also gave his time, gave his ideas, and resources to be a great blessing to life. I think we need to learn lessons from this. To his wife, to his children, they need to just take solace in the fact that yes the one who God brought as their father and the husband to our sister was a blessing and God sent him to impact life and I know that the legacy he has left behind is not going to be erased overnight. These things will keep speaking. The life that he touched will keep speaking, and even the institution he affected will keep reflecting the fact that he passed by and he made a great impact, so, we are just here as pilgrims, we are not going to be here forever like someone testified that Jesus only lived 33 and half years and look at the impact, so what about Methuselah who lived for many years and nothing were written about him as regards to impact, but we have volumes that we can write, we can see, we can testify about Adelokoji Ijaola. I think that should be our consolation.”
While narrating her experience with Adelokoji, Mrs. Jide Oshodi Adunni said “I was the Youth President in 1999 and 2000. By the time we were preparing for Youth Week in 1999, our Youth Pastor was indisposed just a day before Youth Week Sunday and we gathered, we prayed, we sought the face of the Lord and some of my Executive were mentioning Adelokoji, brother Adelokoji, until then I never knew him. So, I say okay bring him out. When he came, we told him, will you be able to be Youth Pastor for this week? We have this issue and he joined us, we prayed together and he fit in everything that had been planned. He added his contribution and that year was a powerful Youth Week year. Ever since we have been working together, the following year, the year 2000, he was my Secretary and by the time I left in the year 2000 end, he was the Youth President in the year 2001, and we continued to work together.” She described Adelokoji as “very amicable and dependable.”
She continued “When I begin to describe him, it will be as if I’m talking about God. He is a son of God and every factor of God is in him to the point that 20 years after, I was still looking out for him to hand over my son to. He is a man of God, even when he is at New Jerusalem Baptist Church from here, I and my husband will drive down to do service with them once in a while, just because of the love, the fact that you know if this man speaks, you will hear from God. You will know that it is God that sent him to say this, to do this. I still just cannot believe that I will wake up tomorrow and see that it is a dream.”
Admonishing the family, she said, “I know the family has his spirit in them. I know Mrs. Adelokoji will be strong to continue with life, to continue with the ministry she must not let the investment her husband placed in her life go down the grave. I know you cannot spend a day with Adelokoji and you are not imparted talk-less of spending years in the same bed with Adelokoji and you tell me you are not equipped. No, she is equipped. The Lord will use the rest of us to spur her. So, I still know that she will grow strong, she will continue to be strong and the children too, what daddy has put in them, they can never forget, and God will uphold them.
In his tribute, Adelokoji’s friend and in-law, Orisegun Bemi Okorodudu, said “Revd Adelokoji Ijaola was first my friend then he became my in-law and we accepted him as a son and a brother-in-law in the family because he was someone that always stood by the family. He was the visible in-law among in-laws. He was ever-present at every point in time. I happened to be the immediate younger brother of his wife. I remembered back then when we were friends, he told me he was interested in my sister then and I took the message to my sister that first time she declined but eventually, we continued the prayer. I and the late Revd Ijaola continued the prayer and eventually, she accepted it and we thank God for that, and my prayer is that God will continue to uphold her and the family.”
In his testimony, the Pastor of New Estate Baptist Church, Surulere, a traditional Church of Adelokoji said, “Adelokoji was for me a spiritual son. He was first, my Youth President, a very hard-working one for that matter, who set his standard for a successful generation of youth in the Church. Secondly, I wedded him by the grace of God, when he was ready to get married, and he married another daughter of the Church, so two of them were members of the Church. God brought them together under my spiritual watch and thirdly, God gave me the grace also to commission him to ministry to go to Seminary for training. When he finished his training, he resumed at New Estate Baptist Church under my spiritual watch, and then as he was finishing, God opened the opportunity of service in one of our Churches in New Jerusalem Baptist Church where he went to serve. We allowed him to serve there and he served there excellently for 10 years. It was from there that the Convention extended a call to him to go and serve as Director of Publications. So for me, he was a wonderful person like the preacher said we call him our brain box. He was fantastic at organizing, putting things together, and ensuring that things begin and finish successfully. We will miss him. Our message to the family is that they should just keep trusting God, turning to him and talking to him at all times, and entrust their lives to the hand of God. They will have no reason to be afraid. I must say here they will live a better life than when even he was around because God will continue to be their shepherd, and will meet them at the point of their needs. So, the sorrow, the anguish, and the pain must be allowed to go because better days are lying ahead”.
Adelokoji has been volunteering as a Life Coach and Financial Coach since 1998 for BLEM, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and Christian Circle among others. He authored several books. Among them were; Financial Intelligence (2008); The God of Pleasant Surprises (2011); and Family Finance and Wealth Creation (2013).
For a Seven-Star General like Adelokoji, their departure services are always special. Maranatha Baptist Association conducted a commendation service at New Jerusalem-City Baptist Church, Lagos. This was followed by a Service of Songs by the AKLS Family Churches conducted at New Estate Baptist Church, Lagos, while the Lighthouse Baptist Church, Ibadan, Oyo state conducted another Service of Songs. The Nigerian Baptist Convention moved the ‘Baptist Building’ to Oritamefa Baptist Church, Ibadan where the Burial Service was conducted before his body was returned to his maker at the Oritamefa Baptist Church, Ibadan cemetery on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

Adelokoji was happily married with children.

Fare thee well, Director of Directors, Ijaola.

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