Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye
By Yemi Adebowale and Toba Suleiman
Retired Archbishop and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye, 83, is dead. He died yesterday afternoon in his country home in Odo-Owa, in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
He was survived by his wife, Titilayo and two children, Adeola and Adedoyin. Adeola confirmed the death of his father to newsmen yesterday evening via telephone.
The last public function the late cleric attended was during the recent commissioning of the Odo Owa-Oke Ila Road by the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, as part of his administration’s second year anniversary.
During the ceremony, late Adetiloye prayed for Fayemi for the honour done to him by making the road passable in his lifetime.
His younger brother, Sunday while giving an account of his last minutes, said late Adetiloye had at about 6pm on Thursday suddenly developed high temperature, and a physician was contacted to attend to him.
He said he responded to treatment "only to relapse by midnight, when the deceased started manifesting some symptoms of restlessness. He died the next day in the afternoon."
His eldest son, Adeola, described his father as "a disciplinarian par excellence," and that the entire family would miss his sense of humility and generosity.
In his condolence message, President Goodluck Jonathan described late Archbishop Adetiloye as a great man of God who would be missed not only by members of the Anglican Communion, but all Nigerians.
The president noted: "Archbishop Adetiloye will be long remembered for his zeal and passion for evangelism and planting of churches and his interest in not only the spiritual life of church members but also their education, health and economic well-being."
Fayemi, in his condolence message, described the late former Primate as "a global citizen who lived well, served well and died well."
The governor recalled the roles played by Adetiloye during the long struggle to enthrone democracy by standing on the side of the people in the dark days of late General Sani Abacha-led junta, which earned him the sobriquet of "NADECO Bishop."
The governor further recalled that Adetiloye as the Bishop of Ekiti served as a father to students of Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti when he (Fayemi) was a student there.
"I am lost for words when I heard the news as all of us who are Baba’s children have every reason to grieve. He was always on the side of the truth and he was always supporting us when we were battling to restore democracy as the Abachas of this world didn’t like him for speaking the truth."
The Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola described late Adetiloye as "a man whose life should teach the younger generation about perseverance."
According to Aregbesola, the death of Adetiloye is a reminder that life would come to an end.
The governor, in a statement by his Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, said Adetiloye’s life was a study in hard work, and that his humble beginning was not enough to stall his determination to make a resounding success of his chosen path in life.
"He was an epitome of hard work, service to humanity and perseverance. He lost his father when he was just three but then, this did not stop him from pursuing his goals in life. He has made an indelible mark as a missionary in Nigeria and his good works are there for all of us to see."
Adetiloye was born on Christmas Day, December 25, 1929, in the small town of Odo-Owa, Ekiti State. He could not enjoy the privilege of formal education because of his poor background until he was eight years old. He became the second bishop of the Ekiti Diocese in 1970 and served until 1985 when he became the sixth bishop of Lagos. In 1988, he became the second archbishop and primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the position he held until his retirement from active service in December, 1999.