Though the death of Pastor Bamidele Olurin of the Redeemed Christian Church of God hit many of those who knew him like a thunderbolt, his triumphs and accomplishments are enough to console them, writes Davidson Iriekpen
The death of Pastor Bamidele Olurin, no doubt, hit many members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), far and near, like a thunderbolt. How? Where? When? What happened?
These were some of the questions those who recovered from the shocking news asked. For those who were not aware that Pastor Bams, as he was fondly called by his friends and congregants, was briefly ill, they were simply inconsolable and devastated? Well, God knows best.
Such was the life Pastor Bams led. To many, he was just too nice and good. For those who knew him in their days in school, there was no form of arrogance, pride, very simple and down-to-earth.
These characteristics followed him till he became a pastor. For those who knew him intimately, he was truly a Man of God (MoG) who was committed to God’s work till his last breath. In all the three parishes of the RCCG he had the opportunity to pastor in about 20 years, he was the peoples’ pastor. He not only touched so many lives, but affected them positively. He equally provided listening ears to many who approached him with one problem or the other.
Olurin did not only officiate many weddings in the course of his sojourn as a pastor, he equally mended broken marriages through prayer sessions and counselling and constant visits to homes. He addressed peoples’ needs spiritually and materially, constantly providing money, clothes and food items for those in need.
Pastor Bams encouraged many, especially the youth and indigents to go to school. He also created ingenious ways to support the payment of their fees. In all the parishes he oversaw, he introduced various entrepreneurial and skills acquisition programmes to ensure members of the church were independent and self-reliant.
It was therefore not a surprise that during the Service of Songs and funeral service held in his honour, a crowd of people poured in not to wish him farewell, but to eulogise him and testify to how good he was to them and members of their families.
Like the biblical Dorcas, for who people wept and wailed when she died, because she spent her life doing good and providing for peoples’ needs, similar sentiments found expression during Pastor Bams’ funeral rites.
At the Service of Songs, but for time, the event which was supposed to be for three hours, could have extended to the next day but for the intervention of the officiating ministers, as uncountable number of persons wanted to testify to how the late pastor had impacted their lives in many ways. Even his funeral service programme of over 17 pages, were dedicated to tributes from far and wide, and these to some, were not even enough. Virtually everybody who spoke about or wrote tribute for the late pastor, attested to the fact that he led an exemplary of service to God and humanity.
Perhaps relief came to many when at the funeral service, Pastor Idowu Iluyomade admonished those who were still in tears and in mourning to begin to reflect on their own lives, because nobody knows when the trumpet of death would sound. He equally advised them to give thanks in everything. He noted that the same God who brought Olurin to the world, took him after he had accomplished all that he was sent to execute on earth.
Iluyomade enjoined Christians who are procrastinating on their day of salvation, or in helping others in need the same way Pastor Bams did, to begin to have a change of heart.
Intermittently quoting from the bible to back up his preaching, Iluyomade said instead of mourning the departed pastor, they should celebrate his life and his triumph that merits remembrance. He noted that as children of God, the how, where and when they die is really in the hands of God, enjoining everybody to know their assignments on earth and how to fulfill them. He advised those who think the pastor was dead to know that he has gone to be with God, after executing what he was brought into the world to fulfill.
He concluded by encouraging the immediate family, particularly Pastor Bams’ wife, Oreoluwa, to be of good cheer and courage, promising that the Apapa Family of the RCCG will not abandon her and her children.
Bamidele Olurin was born in Enugu on July 31, 1964, the first of five children. He was born to the family of Lieutenant Colonel Abraham Oyedola Olurin and Grace Olufunmilayo Apinke Olurin (Nee Taiwo).
He lost his father in October 1968 during the Nigerian Civil War and his young widowed mother thought it wise for him to live with family members and military friends of his late father and as such, gave him the privilege of experiencing different family styles. This knowledge contributed in no small measure towards helping him develop an excellent model to run his own home, which made him an excellent husband and father.
From 1970 to 1975, his education began at Lara Day Nursery and Primary School and also Command Children both in Ikeja, Lagos. In search of an excellent secondary school, he went on to St. John’s Grammar School, Ile Ife, between 1975 and 1981.
In his usual manner of always keeping busy and also not wanting to depend on his widowed mother financially, while preparing to further his education, he taught briefly at Oludoko High School, Omi Adio, Ibadan between 1981 and 1983. Also in 1983, he attended the two year A-levels programme at Ogun State Polytechnic (now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic), during which time he held on to his long standing dream to study law at the university. As a result of which, he wrote the then Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof. Wande Abimbola, intimating him of his interest to study law at that university and his inability to do so despite his excellent grades in his O’Level. The Vice Chancellor reviewed his case and he was offered an admission to study at that university between 1986 and 1991. While at the university, he gave his life to Christ and joined the drama group of the Christian Union. He attended the then Headquarters Parish of the RCCG at Ebute Metta, whenever he was on holidays.
After graduation from the university, he attended the Nigeria Law School, Victoria Island in 1991 and was called to bar in 1992. For his National Youth Service, he was deployed to his birthplace of Enugu to serve in ONWA Chambers, where he was to paraphrase his words, ‘treated as a native son’.
At the end of his youth service year, he returned to Lagos and worked as a lawyer in the Chambers of Kola Awodein SAN. While there, with the deep leading of the Holy Spirit, he took a pay cut and went to work at the chambers of the now retired Hon. Justice Gbaja-Biamila on Adelabu, Surulere, with the assignment of making sure that his principal gave his life to Christ. With the help of the Holy Spirit, he was able to accomplish the task and today, ‘His Honourable’ is a full pastor in the RCCG.
Olurin joined Freedom Hall of the RCCG, a year after the Apapa Family was established, following a word he received after reading a flyer he picked up from the street. As he would fondly tell the story, he heard the Holy spirit clearly telling him, “this is where I will use you.”
He soon joined the prayer ministry and rose to become a prayer group leader, a position he held until he was posted out as an assistant to Pastor Jibola Fola Bolumole at the RCCG Morning Star Parish, Anthony, not longer after he was trained as a Government Worker in Freedom Hall.
Olurin also had the privilege of being one of the first set of graduates from the Apapa Family Bible college (now called the RILA Institute), where he was the liaison officer and shared the class with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Pastor Dele Ikotun, and Gbenga Benson to mention a few.
At the RCCG Morning Star Parish, besides being the Assistant Parish Pastor, Bamidele Olurin was also the Parish Administrator and he worked closely with his assistant Oreoluwa Ajai, whom he had met previously in Freedom Hall as a member of the prayer ministry and as a younger sister of one of his prayer group members in Freedom Hall. Oreoluwa and Bamidele developed a deep friendship, which led to a proposal on February 10, 1996, during a workers’ outing at the beach, subsequently leading to their wedding on December 12, 1996.
In Olurin’s usual way of taking God’s work as priority, he left his legal position to take up the full time leadership of the Morning Star Parish, as the pastor-in-charge had resigned and the dwindling church congregation and structure needed to be rebuilt; such was his commitment to ministry. In 1999, he returned to legal practice and went to work in the Chambers of his friend, Kayode Enitan and Associates in Ilupeju. A few years later, still operating out of the Ilupeju office, he set up Bamidele Olurin and Associates, which was later changed to BOSSALEGAL. In time, his practice grew in clientele and it was moved to Anthony Village, from where it currently operates.
Bamidele Olurin was ordained an Assistant Pastor in 1999, an Area Pastor in 2002 and a full Pastor in 2004. In September 2006, he was transferred to Pastor The RCCG Tree of Life Parish in Apapa, where he was for four years before being posted to The RCCG Life Spring Parish in 2010, where he pastored till his passing.
In 2014, he was promoted by the mission to the office of Assistant Pastor-in-Charge of Province to handle administration under his long time friend and mentor, President Yemi Osinbajo in the Lagos Province 48. There, he served in an acting capacity for his Provincial Pastor, who is currently on National Assignment.