One popular Redeemed Parish in Lagos (though not the biggest in terms of size but in terms of the quality of crowd that attends) is the City Of David Parish which is located in Victoria Island, Lagos. The parish is led by its Senior Pastor Idowu Iluyomade and his wife, Siju. The architectural master piece of the church is second to none as it is masterfully and beautifully constructed with state of the arts facilities and the building could be described as a “spider house” due to its shape.
Not only is the building magnificient but the church is being attended by top politicians, rich celebrities and corporate titans from all walks of life.It is one church which stands out amongst other parishes in Lagos.Pastor ID is one man that is loved by many redeemed members most especially his spiritual father, the general Overseer, Pastor Adeboye and his wife, Foluke. He is also one of the strong pastors who call the shots in redeemed church having been one of those that changed the face of redeemed church many years back.
City of David is a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), one of the largest and fastest growing Pentecostal Churches in the world and pastor Iluyomade is also the head of the Apapa Family of the Church. The Apapa Family has 10 Lagos provinces, 2 provinces in OYO and chapters in Europe,USA and Asia.He oversees one of the cash cow parishes of redeemed church and this has endeared him to pastor Adeboye. Last 2 weekends, he presided over the new book on pastor Adeboye,His life and calling” where he engaged the audience and teased Daddy GO and his wife while revealing some things about them.
It can only be done by someone that is close to the Adeboyes.At the event,”The Master of Ceremonies teased,mummy GO, Folu to tell the audience the pet names she gave her husband, demanding an expression of love since the occasion also marked 50 years of their marriage. Mummy GO replied”“Pastor ID, why are you fast? This is just presentation of a book, not marriage anniversary,well, whatever you want, I will do it…,” she replied, as she hugged the husband and went on to kiss him as the audience erupted in excitement.
The inspirational story of the Apapa family of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, under their leader, Pastor Idowu Iluyomade started when he was the pastor of Kings Court parish. He took over in 2007 after the death of the head of Apapa family, Pastor Asuquo Ernest Mfon, best known as Pastor Eskor,
For a family that today comprises over 1500 parishes spread across Africa, USA, Europe, Asia and Oceania, Pastor ID, through a spiritual odyssey, cut a vision to create a rendezvous for a yearly convergence of these parishes spread across the globe.
He also presides over Excel Conference which has been in existence for 10 years. But beyond being a confluence of spiritual erudition and musical ministration, Excel turned out a divine revolutionary platform that triggered unprecedented Christian social responsibility, CSR and curiously raised a voice for Change.
They are well involved in community social responsibility and since the inaugural conference in 2008 with the theme Regrouping to Relaunch, the Apapa Family re-branded its social reformatory vehicles to become more relevant to society. Ten water bore-holes drilled for Nigeria Police Barracks at Alausa, MOPOL 22, Ikeja and MOPOL 20, Area F, all in Lagos, beamed a flood light into the beneficent heart of the Apapa Family.The Mercy Ship, a 67 bedded hospital in a ship which that year, berthed at the Port of Cotonou in Benin Republic.
In the same year, Apapa Family endowed N50 million Professorial Chair in Mathematics at the University of Lagos, in honour of their General Overseer, Pastor Adeboye, who indeed holds a doctorate degree in Applied Mathematics. The endowment was first of its kind by any individual or faith-based organization in Nigeria.
In 2011, the Apapa Family established the Cancer Screening and Diagnostic Centre in Surulere, Lagos with the Excel theme of Impact Through Change, which indeed has screened over 100,000 people at subsidized rates.With Change Catalyst in 2012, the Apapa Family raised the profile of their poverty alleviation programme, feeding about 60,000 people every Sunday in Lagos.
This humane venture called A Can can Make a Difference which mainly touches people on the lower wrung of the ladder delivered over 400 million packs of food in the last 10 years. This great family in a quiet revolution of hope, broke new grounds and raised the bar in Christian Social Responsibility, CSR, as they installed solar-powered lights in five streets at Akala in Mushin, a suburb of Lagos. Then came 2013, Excel called on Nigerians to Be the Change as they set up Healing Stripes- Dialysis and Diagnostic Centre, which to date, has attended to over 13,000 patients at subsidized costs, irrespective of religion or tribe. Still it gives 30 free dialysis sessions every month and has carried out over 3,500 free dialysis since officially opened in 2013
This massive medical initiative is complimented by Arise Women, an initiative of Pastor Siju Iluyomade, wife of the head of Apapa Family. Since its maiden conference in 2009, over 5000 women have been impacted and inspired to drive the needed change in their families while several thousands have benefitted from the Arise Women’s free medical screening in the areas of HIV tests, Eye tests, cervical Cancer, Blood Pressure and Sugar Level tests among others.
The Apapa Family also reconstructed and equiped an Intensive Care Unit, ICU, at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, to be named after the RCCG’s General Overseer and his wife, Pastors Enoch and Folu Adeboye. With Sustaining Change in 2016 leading to equipping of 350 primary schools’ libraries in Lagos with a promise to make it 500, the Apapa Family sits back after a decade of Excel to look at The Pains and Gains of Change.But for Pastor ID, it is all gain, for in his words, “it gives us infinite pleasure to contribute to God’s work, assured as in First Samuel, Chapter 2, that “those who honour God, God will honour”.
In one of Pastor ID’s interview, he talked about the giant strides of the Apapa family,In the area of education, the family has over 30 schools that we call Redeemers International Schools (primary and secondary); all the schools will come under a foundation called Excel Foundation and they will all be called Excel Schools and we’re believing God that we’re going to have an Ivy League university.
There is a school in Anambra State that we feed the pupils everyday and pay their fees. So you can see that we spread our tentacles all over the nation. We have some funds called Touching Tomorrow Educational and Commonwealth Fund, which we use for scholarships to help various students from kindergarten to university level. We have the Hausa community church, where we teach them how to read and write. We have constructed various bore holes for police stations all over Lagos and schools that are around us in all our zones.
Pastor Idowu IIuyomade attended the International School, University of Ibadan and trained as a Lawyer at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) IIe-Ife and the Nigerian Law School. He was subsequently called to the Nigerian Bar in 1982 and has since been in private legal practice.As a Lawyer, Mr Idowu is an advocate who enjoys the essence of advocacy and attends Court regularly, representing high net worth clients and blue chip Companies.
He is a Board Member of Aboil Energy Services Ltd – Managing Director, Axiom IT Systems Ltd -Chairman, Visible Assets Ltd – Chairman among other Boards appointments.
He has attended various International Seminars on leadership and training. He is also a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and Ikoyi Club 1938. Mr Idowu was the Vice Chairman, Pastor Enoch Adeboye Endowment Fund, University of Lagos and University of Ibadan.He is married with three children.
–TAYO FAJORIN OYEDIJI