LATE RT REV’D SIMEON OLUWEMIMO MONDAY ADEBOLA PROFILE
The late Rt. Revd. Dr. Simeon Oluwemimo Monday Adebola, was born on Monday, 5th March 1944, into the family of Chief Ezekiel Sotade Adebola, Ogboye of Ijeun, Abeokuta and Madam Adetoun Tejuosho, nee Akintola of Wasinmi Ake, Abeokuta, both of Blessed memory. He lived with his mother at Ilogbo-Olofin in the Obafemi Owode Local Government of Ogun State, where he started his education at the village school in 1950. As a fast learner and hardworking boy, he gained double promotion within one year of starting elementary school and in 1953; he was moved to Abeokuta to continue his education at St. John's Primary School, Igbein in standard four. The standard model of primary education was phased out in the then western region, whereby Oluwemimo and his mates were converted to primary Six making him one of the first set of pupils to take the final primary school certificate examination in 1955.
He gained admission to Abeokuta Grammar School in 1956 under the principal ship of the then Revd. J.S. Adeniyi (Later Bishop of the former Egba/Egbado Diocese of the Anglican Communion), where he excelled in academics, sports and leadership. The morning it is said shows the day, SOMA started his love for the things of the Lord while in Abeokuta Grammar School as he was appointed the prefect in the charge of the morning devotion in his final years, organizing and conducting the devotion for the morning assembly.
Having successfully completed his secondary school programme in 1961, he was admitted for the two year. Higher School Certificate programme at the same school in 1962. He went through his HSC programme at AGS by way of loan scholarship from various individuals, amongst who were Dr Adeyemi Ademola and Chief Adeyemi Lawson. He came out in flying colours and was rewarded with a teaching appointment at his Alma Mata, where he taught, Latin, Yoruba and Bible Knowledge. This served as an opportunity for him to muster funds for the repayment of his debt. He proceeded to the University of Ibadan in 1964 to read for a degree course in religious studies. University Education was not also smooth- sailing, help however came through financial assistance from different sources like late Dr T.R.A Otolorin, his department in the University and others. While in the University of Ibadan, Oluwemimo, even though an indigent student was one of the brightest in his department. He won the best student prize in his department in 1965/1966 session, the most active student prize of Kuti Hall Master's Prize named after Professor Ferguson and topping his laurels with the best result in his department in 1967 coming tops as the only student with second with second class upper division grade. These ultimately fetched him an offer of a graduate assistantship job after his studies in the same university.
Against the background of his scholarship at the University, the then Primate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Professor Bolaji Idowu recommended him for a postgraduate research work in Oxford University in 1971, for a theological education course. He took advantage of the programme at Oxford University to read for a Bachelor's Degree of Letters in New Testament. on his return to Nigeria in 1971. He was deaconed in December of the same year and posted to serve at St. John's Church, Ijebu-Igbo, before being priesTed at the cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos in 1972. In 1973, he was appointed Chaplain to the Bishop of Lagos, Rt. Revd. Seth Irunsewe Kale, 1973-1974 and later Rt. Revd. Revd. F.O.O. Segun, 1975-1976. He was the first African to be appointed a full time chaplain to the Bishop. In 1976, he was posted to Saint Francis Church, Iwaya, Lagos where he served till 1981 after which he got a sponsorship to study for a Doctor of Philosophy(Ph.D) programme at the University of Cambridge, Aberdeen, Scotland, where he specialized in new testament in relation to African traditional religion. His research work for the award of Ph.D was entitled "Why do you Christians have recourse to traditional religion in times of crises."
On the successful completion of the programme in 1984, he returned to Nigeria and was collated Archdeacon of the newly created Archdeacon of Apapa, and Vicar of Christ the king Church, Apapa, Lagos. He served in the Archdeaconry till 1986 when he was seconded to St. Paul's Breadfruit Church, Lagos, as the Vicar of Saint Michaels Christ, Epe. He was there between August 1994 till February 1995 when he was appointed Dean of Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan. From Ibadan, on 31st August 1995 he was moved to Archbishop Vinning College of Theology, Akure, as Principal and was later appointed Dean of the College. At the dawn of 1st July 2001, Oluwemimo was elected Bishop of the Anglican Communion and Subsequently, consecrated and enthroned Bishop of Yewa Diocese on 16th September 2001. At all his various duty posts in the vineyard of the lord, the Late Rt Revd. Dr Simeon Oluwemimo Moday Adebola served the lord with zeal and deep commitment. His mantra was to plant as many churches as possible thereby bringing the gospel to all nooks and crannies of the land through widespread evangelism and crusades. Throughout his service in the vineyard, he had the unassailable support of his wife late Abigail Adebola nee Ajayi, who he met at a Christian Union fellowship event at the University of Ibadan, a relationship that blossomed and was solemnized at a holy wedlock at Saint James Cathedral, the Great, Oke-Bola, Ibadan, on 12th August 1972. They were partners in progress from 1972 until 2014, when he retired from active service. May the souls of the departed continue the rest of perfect peace.
The birth of the Diocese of Egbado (now Yewa) Anglican Communion, on the 2nd of November 1990, was a landmark development in the lives of Christians especially members of the communion, in the area, as new phase of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Ilaro on 2nd November 1990, met enthusiastic members of the diocese but a very spare purse. The financial resources on ground were barely adequate to run the diocese. But then, the people requested for the creation of the diocese and they were ready to sustain it. To take the Diocese to higher grounds, he wasted no time in calling on the people to embark on a "journey with Christ", this being the theme of his maiden address at the very first Diocesan synod.
Ten years thereafter, foundations have been laid, infrastructures on the rise and here comes the second Bishop of the Diocese, late Rt.Revd. S.O.M Adebola, who was consecrated and enthroned on 16th September 2001. It was time to consolidate on the progress so far recorded by the pioneer Bishop. Bishop Adebola, well known for his characteristic devotion to duty hit the ground running, almost at a supersonic speed. Also in his own maiden Bishop's charge at the 2001 synod reverberated the earlier call of his predecessor, saying, "We are fellow workers with God," 2Cor.2:9. He was ready to carry along all members of the diocese in collaboration to work for God. According to him quoting Apostle Paul in 1Cor.3:9, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase"- three fellow workers if you like". He said further, the work of watering would amount to nothing without the divine grace or participating to make it grow.
From the outset of his episcopacy, Bishop Adebola had a mantra: "To make people true believers and faithful followers of Christ, to make people know the truth about God and become true Christians". This was the motive behind the upsurge of evangelism throughout the period Baba Adebola served in Yewa Diocese Crusades, Revivals, Outreaches and more. He was an accomplished scholar of the word of God and he made sure his "fellow workers"(laity of the clergy) imbibed this. He encouraged planting of churches all over the Diocese. He took the gospel to the grassroots and even to the neighbouring Republic of Benin which shares borders with his diocese.
Bishop Adebola was not only preaching the word of God, he was equally leaving behind a legacy of solid structures everywhere he went. It was to the glory of God and his own persistent devotion that, in the last three years of his tenure (2011-2013) as Bishop of Yewa Diocese, he dedicated a record 41 projects across the Diocese.
CHURCHES DEDICATED (2011)
A. Joseph Ogunlowo Memorial Anglican Church, Oke-Ola, Ilaro.
B. St. Micheal's Anglican Church Idolehin.
C. St. Paul's Anglican Church, Ilewo-Orile.
D. St. Luke's Anglican Church, Ibara.
E. St. Peter's Anglican Church, Kobejo.
F. St. John's Anglican Church, Ibese.
G. Andrew Sanu Memorial Anglican Church, Oke-Odan.
H. St. Micheal's Anglican Church, Alagbon.
I. St. James Anglican Church, Owode-Afon.
VICARAGES DEDICATED (2011)
A. St. Peter's Anglican Church Vicarage, Sawonjo.
B. St. Luke's Anglican Church vicarage, Ibara.
C. St. Peter's Anglican Church vicarage, Eredo.
D. St. Barnaba's Anglican Church vicarage, Idofoi.
MISSION HOUSE DEDICATED (2011)
A. Anglican Mission House, Imeko.
CHURCHES DEDICATED (2012)
A. Anglican Church of Christ the Light, Tube.
B. Ebenezer Anglican Church, Olokuta.
C. St. Matthew's Anglican Church, Ologiri.
D. St. Paul's Anglican Church, Ilewo-Orile.
E. St John's Anglican Church, Imala.
F. St. Paul's Anglican Church, Kajola-Iboro.
VICARAGES DEDICATED (2012)
A. St. Paul's Church vicarage, Ilewo-Orile.
B. St. John's Church vicarage, Imala.
C. St. Paul's Church vicarage, Kajola-Iboro.
D. St. Matthew's Church vicarage, Alagbon, Owode.
MISSION HOUSES DEDICATED (2012)
A. Mission House, Kobejo.
B. Mission House, Tube.
PRAYER CITY DEDICATED (2013)
A. Cathedral Prayer City, Papalanto Road, Ilaro.
CHURCHES DEDICATED (2013)
A. All Saint's Anglican Church, Lesile Road, Ilaro.
B. Anglican Church of the Advent, Papa Jesu, Oja-Odan.
C. St. Peter's Anglican Church, Oke-Ore, Owode.
D. St. Mary's Anglican Church, Ileba, Ilaro.
E. All Saint's Anglican Church, Olorunda
F. St. Peter's Anglican Church, Oniro.
G. St. James Anglican Church, Oke-Ola, Owode.
H. Anglican Church of Christ of the Ascension, Owode- Yewa.
VICARAGES DEDICATED (2013)
A. St. John's Church vicarage, Ilara.
B. St. John's Church vicarage, Idolehin.
A. Oluwemimo Hall, Ado-Odo.
B. St. Paul's Church Residential Building, Ayetoro.
C. Cathedral Nursery and Primary School, Oke-Ola, Ilaro.
There is no gain saying the fact that church planting takes a front row in the list of achievements of Baba Adebola, however his numerous other achievements transcend the spiritual as he made his mark in such areas as spiritual, economic investment, financial prudence, educational and welfare development (for both the laity and the clergy) as well as outreach programmes for the social well-being of the people.
A common thread amongst some people when asked to describe the administration style of Bishop Adebola goes like this, Spartan, discipline no-nonsense, focused, truthful, hardworking and such other similar adjectives that tell you that the man, SOMA was a surefooted, confident and selfless cleric who gave all to God. As the Diocesan Bishop of Diocese of Yewa, he brought on the table innovations that turned the future of the Diocese for the better.
He instituted such programmes like YEWA ANGLICARE, on outreach programme to the rural and semi-urban communities in health service delivery and provision of social welfare facilities. The programme provides specialized and general medical services to members of the communities with the assistance of the Diocesan medical team comprising of medical doctors, nurses and volunteers made up of seasoned practitioners like Dr. Segun Feyisetan, Dr. Kunle Obadina, Dr. Kola Ajayi, Mrs. Tunde Amore, Dr. (Mrs.) Agnes Olamigoke and others.
The YEWA MARRIAGE INITIATIVE (YEMI) is another forward looking programme conceptualised as an intervention in the family lives of members of the Diocese. It was meant to engender stable family lives of members. The office of the Diocesan Missionary was also created saddled with a special responsibility for social action in the heartland of Yewa with a view to bringing about solutions to living conditions of the people from a Christian point of view.
Amongst other landmark achievements of Bishop Bolaji during his thirteen years episcopacy in Yewaland include, the establishment of the Diocesan School of Ministry intended for the lay people to be trained for service in the church. In the same vein, the activities of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC) was given a boost whereby members participated actively in local, Zonal and national events. The youths programmes were stimulated with the annual YOUTH CAMP where young people were taken through spiritual and physical drills. The Easter Picnic organized by the Diocese became a regular event to look forward to with participation by all Archdeaconries. It was a time of relaxation, refreshment and good fellowship both for the youths as well as adults.
In the area of education, the diocese made great impact with the establishment of the Ipadeola Bolaji Model College, Ilaro (IBMC). The school excelled in academics, sound moral and spiritual upbringing. Since its inception, the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) results have been most encouraging recording 100% success. It is worthy of note that a feeder institution to the college. The Cathedral Nursery and Primary School which was started earlier on moved to its permanent site at oke-ola, Ilaro and dedicated in December 2013.
To Rt. Revd. Dr.S.O.M. Adebayo, the pulpit should continually improve intellectually and spiritually so that they can always command the respect of the pew. He encouraged his clergy to go for further studies in Theological Colleges especially the respect of the pew. He encouraged his clergy to go for further studies in Theological Colleges especially the Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary, Abeokuta, being close to the Diocese. It was such that in 2012, it was a harvest of Masters as seven of the clergy in Yewa graduated with Master Degrees (M.Div. and M.Th.). He believed that working in Yewa Diocese should not be a disadvantage for clergyman who wants to develop himself in any way, academically or spiritually. In the same vein, clergymen were taken to the serene Shonghai Centre in Porto Novo in the Republic of Benin for the annual clergy school. During his tenure the clergy wives also had retreats at the same venue.
The Women's Organisation kept growing from strength to strength under the leadership of the President of the organization, Mrs Abigail Adebola (of blessed memory). Apart from the various programmes that were undertaken such as the annual Women's Conference, Women Vigil, Mothering Sunday events, Women Wave of Prayers, Re-dedication services, Christmas Party for Women, Girls and Roses of Christ etc. The Women Organization also built the Ore-Ofe Plaza, which was meant to be a centre of skill empowerment and vocational development.
It was not all a bed of roses all through the episcopacy of Baba Adebola. Since challenges are a constant in the affairs of men. He had his own share of dosage of unpalatable events; there were bitter pills to be swallowed. Chiefly amongst these is the almost intractable illness of his wife at a point in time and the crisis of succession of the Provost of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Ilaro, (now Rt.Revd.S.O Adekunle, the former Bishop of the Diocese of Ile-Oluji). It was a trying period for Rt. Revd. Dr. S.O. M. Adebola. At the resolution of the crisis, he admonished Christians to live as Christians and in unity with one another in the service of God. He said further "...... at the end of it all, I was grateful to have learnt from that crisis that which without it, I could have retired from service and missed learning (oro se ni wo ......)".
The Rt. Revd. S.O.M. Adebola retired from the Diocese of Yewa, (Anglican Communion) on 5th March 2014 after thirteen years of service, leaving behind a legacy of a spiritually enlightened body of Christ, a financially stable diocese and a hope of greater things to come. In the words of Apostle Paul to Timothy, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith". As he now peacefully rest in the bosom of God, the Creator.