If there is an award for the most criticised clergy in Nigeria, Bishop David Olaniyi Oyedepo would likely clinch it. From the private jets-the fir
If there is an award for the most criticised clergy in Nigeria, Bishop David Olaniyi Oyedepo would likely clinch it. From the private jets-the first of which the ministry acquired when the Bishop was 45 years- to his ever expanding ministry and his prosperity teachings, he has come under intense attacks from every corner. But the Bishop has an interesting disposition towards those who misunderstand him.
“My understanding of opposition and persecution is someone’s opinion harshly expressed and people have a right to their opinion.”
He has since adopted an attitude of “No attack, no defence.” This has made him grow a thick skin against his critics. “I naturally don’t feel it is necessary to react to all the talks about me. We have 35,500 employees and I can’t waste energy on everyone who says you are a fool. Your running around won’t change what he said, it would only confirm it,” he said.
The Bishop also found another way to situate his many criticisms. “In a football match, you see 22 players on the field, there are two linesmen and one referee on the same pitch. Then, there are the spectators, some 80,000 of them cheering. But only the 22 men would play and receive the reward; the others were there to watch them play. In life, I choose to be a player and not a spectator. There are quite a number of things on social media which are not true like saying I was born into a Muslim family, but I chose to disregard social media, I’m a player not a spectator.
“If someone is not speaking well of you that should not be a distraction, every strong position attracts opposition. If you have an exam tomorrow and somebody insulted you, will that stop you from studying to pass your exam? I naturally won’t react to opposition, I won’t dissipate energy on it,” he said.
It was apparent; Oyedepo is a man who had chosen to focus on the positives in life. A man, who could not “remember his challenges” even though “we all have challenges.” He said: “Life is an adventure, it is normal to be challenged but unscriptural to be defeated and challenges are the stepping stones for the making of a champion, but we don’t focus on challenges, we overcome them through the grace of God.”
Oyedepo’s life seemed to have been written in the stars by the hand of God Himself. Contrary to many reports, he said he was born into a Christian family. “I was born into the Church and raised by my grandmother who was a devout Christian. In fact, my first school was the Anglican primary school, I can say that I even started school in the church, he said.
Though brought up under a strict Christian ethics, it is not clear if he wanted to be a preacher from the beginning but by one of those divine ironies, he began his ministry in the rural and rustic town of Ilorin, Kwara State, in 1981 at the age of 27 years.
Happy birthday to the great Apostle of our time.
Tope Olukole writes from Lagos. He is a Journalist, Lecturer and Event Management Strategist.