Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday, extolled the virtues of a former General Secretary of the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), the late Rev. S. T. Ola Akande.
They both described the late cleric as a courageous and fearless preacher.
Obasanjo was among other dignitaries who attended the funeral service of the late cleric, held at the Oritamefa Baptism Church, Ibadan, while Osinbajo was represented.
The former president noted that the late Akande would be remembered for always preaching against societal ills as well as cultism and secret societies.
He recalled how the late cleric, as his home pastor at Owu Baptist Church, Abeokuta, from 1962 to1965 and Ebenezer Baptist Church, Lagos between 1966 and 1969, became a friend and pastor whom he held in high esteem.
Obasanjo reminded the congregation about the involvement of the deceased in Nigerian politics, recalling that he was once a member of the Electoral Commission but that he refused to be compromised.
“The late Akande also participated in the presidential primaries of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in 1991and won in the old Oyo State but lost at national level.
“He will be remembered for his forthrightness, doggedness, dynamism, welfarism, anti-corruption discourse, courage, commitment to ethical values, uprightness, unwavering Christian testimony and purposeful leadership,” he said.
The former president urged the deceased’s children to be comforted by the fact that their father left a good name and heritage.
Also, the vice president, who was represented at the occasion by Pastor Seyi Malomo, said that the late Akande was an exemplary preacher whose selflessness and broad-mindedness should be emulated by all Christians.
He said that the deceased, during his life time, provided the right leadership to Baptist Church and ensured that the fold remained as one spirit-filled family, even after his retirement.
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr Samson Ayokunle, described the late cleric as a man of many parts, stressing that he was a gifted, courageous and fearless preacher as well as an astute and tireless pastor.
“He was a forthright theologian, an able and accomplished administrator, committed and uncompromising leader, and an unwavering Christian gentleman,” he said.
Ayokunle, who is also the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, said that the late Akande served the Baptist community from 1952, when he answered the call into the ministry, up till when he retired as the General Secretary of the Convention in 1991.
In his sermon, entitled: ‘Celebrating God’s Extraordinary Grace’, the CAN Chairman, North-Central, Rev. Israel Akanji, described the late cleric as a product of God’s extraordinary grace.
Akanji said that the effects of God’s extraordinary grace upon the deceased were courage of Caleb, leadership of Moses, faith of Abraham, boldness/excellent spirit of Daniel, the wisdom of Solomon and the vision of Joseph, among others.
He, however, called on the congregation to emulate the Godly lifestyle of the deceased.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Akande, who died on Sept 10 at his Ibadan residence at the age of 94, is survived by wife, Mrs Comfort Olalonpe Akande five children and grandchildren. (NAN)