Samuel Adegboyega: Pioneer of Apostolic Pentecostalism in Nigeria

Samuel Gbadebo Adegboyega was born on the first day of April in 1896 at Adeyori Village into aristocracy in a royal house from Owu, Abeokuta, present-day Ogun State, South-West Nigeria.

Early Life

Adegboyega was still in infancy when he lost his father, who was Adegboyega. He was just four years old. In contrast, his mother, Madam Adekemi, and his elder brother, Adeyinka, raised him up through adulthood. Adekemi lived longer and was well advanced in age when she died. She was 95.

Image of Samuel Gbadebo Adegboyega
Pastor Samuel Gbadebo Adegboyega (1896-1979), First LAWNA Territorial Chairman, TAC, (1948-1979).

Samuel Adegboyega was named Gbadebo after Oba Gbadebo I, the sixth Alake of Egbaland, Abeokuta as he was from a royal house himself. He was the second son as he had three brothers, Adeyinka, Awolola and Latunde, and two sisters who were known in the adult years as Mama Sheri and Mama Ilaro.

Education, Marriage and Career

Samuel Adegboyega attended the Methodist High School in Abeokuta. In the community, he was known as one of the most brilliant students in the learning centre. For this, his teachers and the community loved him.

After his secondary school education, he worked for the Nigeria Railway Corporation and was promoted to stationmaster, one of the most coveted positions in the Corporation at the time. He held this position honorably before becoming a full-time Christian minister.

Adegboyega married Miss Felicia Omoleye Olowe in 1920 and the marriage was blessed with three daughters and two sons.

Adegboyega was born into a family which practiced African traditional religion. After he became a Christian, he belonged to a Methodist Church until 1920 when he joined The Precious Stone Church, an offshoot of Diamond Society Ministry which was an indigenous Pentecostal movement at that time in Nigeria. This organization was later affiliated with the Faith Tabernacle Congregation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States of America.

The Apostolic Church, Nigeria

In 1930, a revival took place in Nigeria, which resulted in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the churches across the country.

The Faith Tabernacle Church could not manage such a powerful movement so a group called “The Apostolic Church (TAC)” from the United Kingdom decided to help out Pastor Adegboyega’s group. They adopted the church and later ordained him as one of the pastors.

However, there was a breakaway in the new organization and the secessionists became the Nigerian Apostolic Church which metamorphosed into Christ Apostolic Church.

Afterward, Pastor Adegboyega became one of the central figures in the Apostolic Church which, later, became one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in Nigeria.

Ministerial Work and Honours

Samuel Gbadebo Adegboyega also championed the cause of education by establishing many primary and secondary schools across the country. It was also said that under Pastor Adegboyega’s leadership there was tremendous growth and recognition of the independent and Pentecostal churches in Nigeria and West Africa.

Apart from his activities in evangelism and the expansion of The Apostolic Church in Nigeria, Pastor Adegboyega was also instrumental in the establishment of the church in countries such as Sierra Leone, Ghana, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Adegboyega was also a pioneering member of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in 1976.

During the Independence Day Celebration in Lagos on October 1, 1960, the Federal Government of Nigeria conferred national honors on Pastor Adegboyega making him a Member of the Order of the Niger (M.O.N).

A few years later, because of his uprightness and faithfulness, the government appointed him justice of the peace (J.P.). He also served as a juror in the law courts and as an associate judge in the juvenile courts.

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Death

Immediately after the reorganization of the Apostolic Church leadership in 1979, Pastor Adegboyega began to decline in health.

On Tuesday, October 23, 1979, after his Morning Prayer time at 6:00 a.m., Pastor Samuel Gbadebo Adegboyega slept peacefully in the Lord. He was 82. He died in his official residence at the Apostolic Church convention ground, Olorunda Ketu, in Lagos, Nigeria.

In 1989, the church held a befitting 10th Year Remembrance Service for Adegboyega. My father, who was the Director of Music TAC LAWNA (Lagos and Western/Northern Areas) Territory from 1988 to 1993, with the Temple Choir, rendered a beautiful musical composition in honour of the noble clergyman.

Before he died, he laid the foundation of The Samuel Adegboyega University, Ogwa, Edo State, which is now named in his honour.

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Ayomide Akinbode

Ayomide Akinbode holds a degree in Chemistry but has a passion for History and Classics. When he is not writing, he’s either sleeping or playing Scrabble.

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