Enoch Adejare Adeboye, pastor who in 2009 was recognised as one of the most influential people in the world by Newsweek Magazine, USA was born March 2, 1942 into a humble family in the village of Ifewara. His father, Moses, was one of the original migrants to the village, from Ile-Ife. The high mortality of children discouraged his mother from trying, but she after significant persuasion conceived Enoch. Adeboye once told his story to a Lagos audience in 1998 of how a bishop visited his village and captivated by the colourful honour accorded the clergy, he decided to be a bishop. He was a young genius who picked interest early in Mathematics and Reading literatures. On completing his primary school education at the Anglican Primary School, Adeboye convinced his poor parents to allow him continue with school in Ilesha Grammar School. At the third year of his studentship at Ilesha, Moses, his father, passed away. A loan of £8 was obtained to settle examinations fees with the help of Revd. Akinyemi, the school principal, from the local Church Missionary Society. Enoch left with an award to teach mathematics at Okeigbo Ifetedo Grammar School, where he was nicknamed “Pythagora’s Theoreme. He soon left the job to study mathematics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. With the breakout of the Nigerian Civil War, Adeboye’s career plan was threatened. He escaped the Eastern part of the country through a boat. His degree would be awarded by University of Ife in 1967. He returned to Okeigbo to teach once more, and he at the age of 25 married Foluke Adeyokuno, a church loving daughter of an Ilesa socialite. Adeboye got a Masters degree in Hydrodynamics from the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 1969, and a Doctorate Degree in Applied Mathematics from the same university in 1975. His new ambition will be to become the youngest University Vice Chancellor in Africa. Adeboye taught Mathematics in the university in Lagos and then Ilorin.
Inundated with stories of witchcraft from his Ifewara village, Enouch became unrestful in spite of his career success. The persistent sickness of his daughter compounded his anxiety and led him in 1973 to Israel Akindayomi, an intelligent and ambitious man of God, founder of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Not formally educated himself, Akindayomi took interest in, and built friendship with his much younger mentee who he ordained pastor in 1975. Josiah Akindayomi passed on in 1980, having named Adeboye his successor. Adeboye introduced a church planting style to the Redeemed Church that brought it from a few parishes to several thousands. The church retreat which according to him, was God’s gift on his birthday evolved into a monthly event. Testimonies to the encounter of the supernatural and an extensive media appearance brought Adeboye to the notice of the nation. He was finally launched into prominence with the Lekki ’98 open air meeting that had in attendance some 7 million people, reported by CNN and BBC as largest mobilization of people in the world. The Redemption camp, where his office is located continue to grow in size and sophistication with the addition of new estates and a university. Presidents and top government functionaries have visited Adeboye for prayers and counsel.