Remembering Ogunbomehin, man who discovered CAC Babalola Memorial camp

 

Today July 21 makes it one year that Pa Isaiah Olufayobi Ogunbomehin passed on. Though he was 82 when he died, his death came to many as a rude shock.

He was the founder and Senior Pastor of Mount of Joy and Grace Church, based in Agege, Lagos. But his strongest credential was earned while he was in Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide.

.He is reputed to be the pioneer builder of the CAC Joseph Ayo Babalola Memorial Miracle Camp at Ikeji Arakeji in Osun state. He was a community leader and had a tradition of reaching out to people of other faiths. While alive, he celebrated his birthday every year, using it as an opportunity to minister to people who come from different faiths and social leanings.

Ogunbomehin was in the ministry for 59 years. He had ministered in his church till around 2 pm on Sunday July 21 hale and hearty. But by 10p.m on the same day he went to be with the Lord.

What Christ Apostolic Church say about him

Pa Ogunbomehin

 

 

 

The Regional Superintendent of the Akinyele Region of Christ Apostolic Church comprising of Lagos, Ogun and Cotonou, Pastor M.O Yusuf  in his sermon during the outing service after his burial on November 19, 2019, described late Ogunbomehin as an unusual Ijebu man who gave generously.

He said, “We Yorubas from Oyo area always make jest of the Ijebus, we say,”ljebu lahun” meaning Ijebus are stingy. It was then a big surprise to me to learn that a philanthropist like Pastor Ogunbomehin was an Ijebu man. This is an example of what the gospel of Jesus can do in the life of a true believer.”

Pastor Yusuf who disclosed that he is son of a chief imam said he was impressed by the testimony of the Chief lmam of the mosque in front of Pastor Ogunbomehin’s church during the Wake and the presence of Muslims from the mosque in the church for the outing service. He described the life of tolerance of the late cleric as worth emulating.

He emphasized the immeasurable impact of the life of Pastor Ogunbomehin in Christ Apostolic Church with the building of Joseph Ayo Babalola Memorial Miracle Camp Ikeji Arakeji.

According to him, before Pastor Ogunbomehin initiated the project, CAC had nothing. Today the church can boast of a university in that Ikeji location.

He commended and recommended the selfless, sacrificial life of Ogunbomehin “who could have built housing estates for himself, or name the Camp after himself, and start making money from it, like some men of God did. With all the resources at his disposal, he had no personal building anywhere in Nigeria or abroad, and had one Tokunbo car.”

That is quite unprecedented for a Nigerian pastor. While many were busy amassing wealth for themselves, Ogunbomehin was more concerned about the kingdom work. By the time he left the CAC church to start a fresh work for the Lord, he did not look back to the work that God used him to establish in CAC. Rather he pressed on making impact more in the society and being a blessing to the community he found himself.

In his sermon at the burial service titled: ‘What Will Be Your Gain’, Rev. Mebude enjoined the congregation to emulate the life of humility, gentleness, and forbearance lived by Pastor Ogunbomehin.

 

He said, “For 59 years he served God faithfully. He was an icon to be appreciated. He was a man who touched the lives of every human being he met”

 

While appreciating the family of Ogunbomehin for giving him the opportunity to preach he said, ” Ogunbomehin loved the Methodist Church. He contributed to the development of Irolu his hometown.”

He recalled that the Methodist Church Irolu in conjunction with the Irolu Development Association organised a commendation service for Pastor Ogunbomehin in Irolu. “It was the first of its kind in Methodist Church, as it was the first time such would be organised for a non-member of the church.  Also it was the first time, IDA, the major association in Irolu would collaborate with a church to honour anyone in the town, as they sponsored the pamphlets, banners, and food for the occasion. Also, apart from arriving at the occasion early, Oba of Irolu gave a powerful testimony on how Pastor Ogunbomehin impacted his hometown, Irolu.”

He then urged the congregation to live a life that is worth emulating.

His death was like that of a 40 year old

Commenting on his demise, his son, Seyi Ogunbomehin who has since stepped into the shoes of his father said, “My father’s death was like the death of a 40-year-old man because of the impact he made while alive, people expected him to live for more years. He was too concerned about members of the church to the detriment of his own personal comfort. He touched virtually everybody that came his way. He was not materialistic. He did not have a building of his own till he died apart from the church building which he did not see as his personal property. He was for many people who were close to him the second Babalola while he was still in the CAC. But for his commitment to the CAC, perhaps the camp called Joseph Babalola Memorial Camp would not have been what it is today.”

 

Pastor Seyi Ogunbomehin explained further, “The campground was a thick forest when God led my father to go there and preserve the legacy of the late Ayodele Babalola. That was why he worked tirelessly to help secure the property for the CAC. He ensured the building of the first set of structures on the land. He spent all he had on the camp to make the place habitable. In 2018 he was given the most distinguished personality award along with Vice President Yemi Osibajo during the centenary celebration of CAC. My joy is that he was a fulfilled man. Part of his purpose in life was to do what he did by securing camp for the CAC. Many people are now being blessed through that camp.”

The late Ogunbomehin however had to leave the CAC at some point to start his own ministry. His son said further, “Though he left CAC he was not too keen about having a church. He was just concerned about doing the will of God. That is why he had just one branch of his church. In that one branch he was able to reach and impact a lot of people.”

Since Pa Ogunbomehin left, his son said things have continued to look up for the church and all the people he left behind. “We miss him because we are humans and have feelings. But in the real sense, since his departure, we have been experiencing greater grace and progress. It seems to me that his impact is even greater in death because the legacy he left behind is still very much alive. In fact, it seems to me that people are more attune to him in his death now because his messages keep reverberating. Members of the church still find his messages enlivening. I can tell you that the church has multiplied in the last one year. It has been thanksgiving galore week upon week in the last one year.”

Ogunbomehin: A life of impact

On Nov 17, 1977 when the late Ogunbomehin turned 40, the Lord reminded him of the significance of his birthday as he was born for God’s work. The Lord instructed him to always celebrate it in form of a revival from then on. The Lord promised to honour that day by showering mercy and miracles on all those who attend. The fulfillment of God’s promise is evident yearly in the testimonies from people who attended the revival.

 

The church moved to the present location (14 Saratu Street, Agege, Lagos) on August 4, 1985.

Pastor Isaiah Olufayobi Ogunbomehin was ordained as a Pastor on September 25, 1988 during CAC Annual Convention at Ilesa.

The Positive impact of Pastor Ogunbomehin’s work in CAC as a whole, earned him series of accelerated promotions in the mission. Within four years after his ordination, he had risen through the ranks of AGE 1 and AGE 2 to become DGE (Deputy General Evangelist) and a member of the Executive Council.

Pastor Ogunbomehin started to sponsor the television coverage of CAC Annual Convention in 1988. Two strange Pastors appeared to his video recording crew during the 1989 CAC Convention at Ilesa, and directed them to Ariran Stream in Ikeji-Arakeji to “uncover the secret there”.

None of the pastors have shown up till today, despite all frantic efforts to know who they were, including public announcements during subsequent CAC conventions. They are like angels in the Bible sent by God, usually in human form, with specific message to His people. (Genesis 18:1–5, 9–10; Judges 13: 6–8).

The crew of cameramen went and recorded the river scenery and played the tape for Pastor Ogunbomehin on their return. It was while watching the tape that the Lord told him “Look at that stream, go and develop it for me”. That was what led to the commencement of Ikeji-Arakeji Project.

Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola was called near Ariran stream in 1928. He prophesied several times that the place would become a city that would attract visitors from all over the world. In November 1958, he had told Apostle Agbona, The founder of Christ Apostolic Mission Church (CAMC) Worldwide, at Oyingbo Lagos, near Ogunbomehin’s place of work that “There is a young man, just over 20 years of age, (Pastor Ogunbomehin was then aged 21), who God is going to use at the place of my call. He is targeted to be killed, but my God will not allow that” Apostle Agbona revealed this prophecy when he met Pastor Ogunbomehin after the commencement of Ikeji Project.

On several past occasions, Ikeji-Arakeji community as well as other concerned individuals had called on CAC to develop the place where Apostle Babalola was called.

There were several prophesies since 1920, 17 years before Pastor Ogunbomehin was born, that a prophet would come to work in Ikeji-Arakeji through whom the name of the town would be known all over the world. The last was October 1989, when a Prophet ordered the community to fast for 3 days and pray for the coming of this Prophet.

Pastor Ogunbomehin entered Ikeji-Arakeji within 24 hours after the prayers!

Before starting the work, he called a peace meeting of the two factions of the community to the town hall in October 1989, and re-united them, saying that “The Lord will not do what He plans for Ariran and the town, if the two factions do not unite”.

Delegates and Chiefs of the two factions led by High Chief E. O. Omonijo (the Lisa keji) who was Regent then and Chief T. O. Adetuberu (the Obajisun of Ikeji) respectively, shook hands and sang.

“Hallelujah! Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!!! Fight has ended, no more war…”

The Ikeji-Arakeji community became united since then.

Pastor Ogunbomehin obtained a letter of agreement from Ikeji-Arakeji community on behalf of CAC, freely donating about 201 acres of land for the project, as well as a letter of authorization from the Executive Council of CAC before starting the project.

Pastor Ogunbomehin and his church members formally started work at Ikeji early morning of Wednesday, 29th November, 1989. The thick bush on both sides of the entire length of the road was cleared, at first with cutlasses, and later graded with caterpillar grader. Similarly, all major roads in Ikeji Arakeji township were graded. The grading exercise was repeated several times within the ten years duration of the project.

Ogunbomehin: His biography

 

The late Ogunbomehin was born on Wednesday, 17th November, 1937 at Irolu Remo in Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State. He is the second of the two sons of Alice Ekidan and Ogunbomehin Ogunnaike.

He had his Elementary Education at Methodist School, Irolu where he obtained his Standard Six certificate in 1953. His profession was printing.

“In 1957 he joined Sofowote Printing Press at 29, Willoughby Street, Oyingbo, Lagos as supervisor. He was on his way from that job on Thursday, 29th October, 1959, when God called him to join the church of New Jerusalem through a life-saving miracle of healing he received at an open-air crusade by the church that night.

“On Thursday 25th February, 1960, he received the Power of the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of a three-week prophecy in the church. The Holy Spirit had earlier revealed to the church that someone among them would be specifically empowered for use in the Church and in the Nation. He was called to join the team of Evangelists, called Crusaders in the Church, on Monday 9th May, 1960.

“On Friday, 17th June, 1960, he travelled to Obior, in present Delta State, in company of other Evangelists, including the leader, Pastor Isaac Olatunde Ogunsanya, on a crusade. He stayed back there while others returned to Lagos and later, he moved to Ubulu-Uku where he established a branch of the Church that still remains there till today.

“In July, 1960, exactly one year after the demise of Apostle Babalola, Pastor Ogunbomehin was in a trance for 3 days during which the Lord made a covenant with him that in 30 years’ time, He had a job for him to accomplish. This later became Ikeji-Arakeji project. Construction work at Ikeji actually began in 1990, exactly 30 years after the covenant.

“On Saturday 7th February, 1965, Pastor Ogunbomehin established a branch of the Church of New Jerusalem in Sango Agege in Lagos State. On 2nd June 1968, he and his church formally joined Christ Apostolic Church after he conducted a two-week revival in CAC Somolu Bailey, Lagos under God’s directive through him. The directive was corroborated by an earlier prophecy from Prophet Babajide, the then General Evangelist of CAC. He said that an Evangelist from outside CAC would come to conduct a revival in their church and that he should be allowed.

“Pastor Ogunbomehin married former Miss. Bisi Bakare in 1965. The union produced with three children and five grandchildren.

“His first born, Samuel Oluseyi also a pastor holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) degree in History, Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism and a PhD in Church Growth. The other children are Christiana Olufunmilayo and Dorcas Modupeoluwa who are into their personal businesses.”

Seyi Ogunbomehin: What made my father special

ogunbomehin

In his testimony, Seyi Ogunbomehin believes what made his father special was the sacrificial life he lived. “He raised people, He raised leaders, most of the people who were his members met him at the lowest moments of their lives. Many were hustlers who came to Lagos to look for job in the 1960s. Some were students with bad result from school certificate examination.  Some came to live with their relatives in Lagos.

“Pastor Ogunbomehin prophetically guided one of them to jettison his ambition to become a teacher and go into banking. He joined the then Standard Bank, now First Bank, as a clerk. He later rose under his ministry to become a D.G in First Bank.

“The point is, Pa Ogunbomehin started from the scratch, nobody came in to the church (started 1965, the year he had his first child, with no money for naming ceremony) as a financially comfortable person. In fact some were living with him in his house in Agege,  eating from the same plate with him. The day one of the members in d church bought a bicycle there was a big celebration and thanksgiving in the church. In those days, unlike today, to be in ministry was like committing financial suicide. No parent wanted his/her child to become a pastor.

He often related d story of how a member of the church, a woman, called his attention to his trouser torn at the back with pant showing, while leading the church to a prayer location.  He said it was one of the most embarrassing moments of his life. Most of these disadvantaged people in the 60s had by 1989 become a willing tool in the hands of God to help fulfill the purpose of God in his life to build the CAC  BABALOLA MEMORIAL CAMP IKEJI, ARAKEJI.

For a single church or parish to build a camp for a whole denomination in this clime is not a common gesture…  the leader has to be selfless.  Today, the Camp ground is a pride of CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH, a uniting center, a convention ground, and a location of the church’s university, JABU.

The lesson is:  the present generation should stop painting all pastors in the same brush of opportunists and lazy people reaping where they did not sow. Some have made a lot of sacrifice and when God now compensate their efforts through the lives they have touched, they should not be castigated and their achievements undermined. The bible let us know:  that our God is a rewarder!

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