You are currently viewing The Taiwo Odukoya in Us All, By Kay Lord
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We need not deceive ourselves, most fathers who are well known for a particular vocation, business or industry always pray and train their children, especially their sons in the same line they are into so the son can continue with their legacy. Even when they did not voice it out to the child, their body language says it and those sons always take the cue and feel they can’t afford to fail their father.

Since yesterday, the mainstream and social media has been buzzing with the news of Pastor Jimmy Odukoya taking over the mantle of leadership of the church his late father, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya founded in the early 90s, The Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos.

I have read and listened to so many opinions about the well-known tradition within the Pentecostal churches in Nigeria about how one of the children of the deceased founder is often the one that inherits and takes over the leadership of the church after the father’s passing.

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This tradition is not synonymous with the Nigerian Pentecostal movement. As we all know, it is the same in the US and around the world. Some people have christened this tradition as sons taking over their father’s business. In other words, they use the word “business” to mean that these churches are mere business enterprises hence it can be inherited just like children of Dangote, Otedola or Bill Gates can inherit their father’s business conglomerate.

Really, I have no issues with this tradition within the Pentecostal churches. It does nothing to reduce my faith in God, nor stop me from listening to sermons preached by these founders or their children who took over the leadership of these churches. In actual sense, God’s work is a business! Jesus said to His parents; “Why did you seek me? Did you not know I must be about my father’s business? So, God’s work is a business – a business of winning souls and taking people onto the path of righteousness.

I also understand that people see all these in terms of the monetary reward and financial standing of a few of the founders of these mega churches. Yes, a lot of money passed through these churches, just like a lot of money is also utilized by some of these churches to do a lot of good things. Yes, it can be a little bit lopsided considering the poverty we see around us, buy my question has always been that it’s easy to knock these few mega churches, but there are thousands of other churches and Pastors living from hand to mouth, in church buildings without windows spread across this country, yet not wavering in doing the work of God.


I once said, if jet flying and SUV driving pastors is your problem, look for another church where the Pastor rides a motorcycle and can’t complete their church auditorium in 20 years. If we count the so-called rich Pentecostal churches and pastors in Nigeria, they are not up to 20, whereas there are thousands of itinerant poor Pastors and churches in towns and villages around us preaching the word, winning souls, and doing wonders. Don’t let me digress…

My father was a Lecturer and later in life got ordained as Reverend in the Anglican church. He was a non-stipendiary clergyman. This means, he does not draw salary from the Anglican church because he was a full time Lecturer in a tertiary institution and only a Rev in what in local parlance can be referred to as side job. Yet, friends knowing that my dad was a Rev still tease me that my family is “eating” church money. That’s a cross every child of a pastor carries – the belief that there is free money in church for children of pastors. Ask anyone who grew up as a Pastor’s child, they would tell you that is their personal experience too.


When a child is growing up, especially when that child has a father who is well known and good in his field, there is a tendency for that child to grow up to emulate his/her dad. In fact, the public often expects that child to follow in his father’s footsteps. I watched an interview of late Myles Munroe’s son, where he describes the kind of pressure people put on him to talk, speak, teach, and preach like his late dad. And when any of these children refuse to do what their father is doing, the same public we declare them a failure. My Dad was an English Lecturer until he retired, I grew up in a home with numerous literature books and literary writings of my father, I naturally started reading novels and literature books from a tender age. My father bought me my first novel, a pacesetter, Evbu My Love, when I was in primary 3. Up till now, some people still expect me to be ordained as a priest in the Anglican church, just because my dad is a Priest. My Uncle, who is now late, was a Bishop in the Anglican church. He had 4 sons, 3 of them are ordained Priests, his 3 daughters are all married to ordained Priests.

The question is, what do you expect from Jimmy Odukoya? This is a guy who right from childhood saw his father and mother resign from their secular job. Late Pastor Odukoya was a senior Petroleum Engineer with NNPC who worked closely with former Petroleum Minister, Late Rilwan Lukman. He left a great job to heed the call to start a church, and here is a son who watched daily what his father does. Grew up in the church, sent to Oral Roberts University, a christian university inte US known for training and equipping future leaders in the church to bag a degree, and later got ordained in the same church.


Jimmy is not just becoming a Pastor. He was ordained a long time ago, and already a Pastor in his father’s church. He has served and has continued to serve, preparing himself for the role he has just been selected into by the Board of Trustee of the Church. It should also be noted that members of the B of T of Fountain of Life are not mediocre people. I have been listening to Jimmy preach in that church for over 2 years, because I was worried about him at a time. Why? Because like most people I was not expecting him to have any other life so when I learnt he’s into acting, I was taken aback. But the question is, what’s wrong with acting if it’s a passion. It is not a sin to act, and he’s not the senior Pastor as at then, his father was. Now, even if he wants to act, there is no more time because of the added responsibilities of pastoring and running the day-to-day affairs of a megachurch.

One of the largest Pentecostal churches in America today, Lakewood Church in Texas was founded by John Hillery Osteen in 1959 until his death in 1999. His son, Joel Osteen took over and even grew the church exponentially to about 45,000 strong congregation. Improving on the legacy of his father. Same way Bishop TD Jakes is grooming his daughter. In fact, he has handed over to Sarah Jakes-Roberts one key ministry he started many years ago to cater for women – The Woman Thou Hart Loose ministry. Believe me, that young lady is phenomenal! Did you listen to Jimmy Odukoya preach at Fountain of Life yesterday, Sunday, 17th September? You will know his father raised a great son and groomed him for what he’s stepping into.

Pentecostal churches are referred to in Yoruba as “church aladani”, sole-founded churches, therefore the composition, hierarchy and succession plan has all been laid out and power vested in the Board of Trustee to put in motion the succession plan at the demise of the founder. It is pertinent to note that no father would be so stupid to plan a succession plan to hand over what he toiled and worked for, for many years to an irresponsible child who did not carry the same passion, grace and calling needed to move the ministry forward. If you then ask, was the son called? I ask you; how do you know he’s not called?

People often refer to Bishop Abioye of Winners Chapel Abuja, and how Bishop Oyedepo is on the verge of side stepping his long-standing able deputy to make his son, Pastor David to take over after him. I asked, who told you? And if it is true, has Bishop Abioye complained to you? Bishop Abioye who incidentally preached at the funeral of Pastor Odukoya is bigger than some pastors who owned their own churches but he has never for once thought about leaving Winners to start his own church. He’s so big and well accomplished that if he moves today, thousands will follow him. That’s a man who is comfortable in his own skin and not given to superiority contests. If you want to know the stuff Oyedepo’s first son is made of, go, and listen to his sermon at Shiloh 2022. See, h*te or like these men, they took time to raise their kids, deposited in them real stuff to follow in their footsteps and to continue to perpetuate their legacy.


Therefore, if you are not comfortable with the organisational structure of self-founded Pentecostal churches, biko Anglican, catholic, Methodist, Baptist etc are there for you. But as far as Pentecostal churches are concerned, that’s how most of these churches would continue to operate. At Fountain of Life yesterday, immediately it was announced that Jimmy is the new Senior Pastor, you need to see how the congregation stood up, shouting and rejoicing. It is their church. They know the late father, and they know the son, and if they are comfortable with their new Senior Pastor, what’s my business and yours? Okay, we can talk about them….so continue to talk while they continue to do what they know best to do – run a church and ministry.



©Kay Lord, 180923

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