By Ebun Sessou
Rt. Reverend Peter Awelewa Adebiyi was born on April 27, 1943, at Osi-Ekiti, to a fairly educated father, Chief Samuel Ogunmola and Madam Alice Fatinuwe Adebiyi both of blessed memory.
He joined the priesthood 46 years ago in the Anglican Church. He served humanity as the Vicar at Archbishop Vining Memorial Diocese of Lagos West, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion for 46 years.
He was a Bishop for 20 years at the same church.However, he will be retiring on April 27, 2013 when he would be 70 years old. His retirement was announced during a farewell service which held at the Church recently.
Rev. Adebiyi applauded media practitoners for publicising news about the Church since he was consecrated Bishop 20years ago. In this interview, he talks about his personal experiences and plans after retirement.
My retirement became necessary as it is stipulated in the constitution of the Anglican Communion that after a Bishop has attained the age of 70, he should retire and that is what I am going to do on April 27, 2013. I will be 70 years old on April 27 and that is when I will be retiring as a Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West.
The constitution of our church says, a new Bishop should be elected six or three months before the incumbent Bishop goes away and so Bishop James Olusola Odedeji was elected in January and consecrated on February 24 and when I retire on April 27, he will be resuming as the second Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West on April 28.
You will continue to see him more than you will see me and I am sure that you will have interest in the Diocese while I am away. There can be no success without a new successor and you will do me the favour and honour to cooperate and bring the activities of this Diocese to the news-stands.
For 20 years, you have given me the support that I needed. Even though, people have nailed me as a controversial person, I believe, I am representing the voices of the people.
I resumed in this cathedral in 1987 as a priest and archdeacon of Ikeja archdeaconry where I was elected Bishop in 1993. I have had great encounters with principalities and powers in this country.
Several times, I have been accosted by men of SSS when I was a Vicar. Even at Owo, Ondo State, I was confronted by the then Governor, yet I have not stopped talking and preaching and searching for the good of the country.
I am looking further to a better and a profitable country where the people will rejoice. Where, there will be enough food to eat.
I’d enjoyed a little privilege in my early times and my university days. I remember that when I completed my course at the university, seven organisations came looking for me. I was given employment opportunities in six but I turned down all of them because I wanted to be a priest.
So, I went back to the church to work and later, I became a Bishop after sometime.
Right now, Nigeria as a country is producing graduates who are roaming the streets on a daily basis in search of job, food and security. Whereas, when we were young, security was given prominence.
I have written several books but the most important of all is “Let the Nations Hear”. I wish Nigeria becomes a better country. The killings that are going on in the country are very unprecedented.
The situation in the country is growing worse and life is becoming more sorrowful. The situation is becoming so tensed, life is becoming so unsafe while hunger and death are nearer to everyone. Nigeria is said to be a top producer of crude oil in the world but we are working like an elephant and eating like an ant.
I am using this medium to appeal to media practitioners to be fair in their news judgment because they have a role to play in the attainment of a new Nigeria. Journalists do not need to be intimidated in any way.
My experiences so far
It is only God who has been protecting me since all these years and I know that the same God will see me through. I look forward to a better country. There are no wife or children then.
But now, I am blessed with a wife, children , grand children and even great- grand children. I have no challenge whatsoever in my family unlike in the service, that I was faced with numerous challenges.
For 47 years, there were odd moments of life that I had experienced but I believe those were challenges attached to the service. I remember when I was about buying the church land and there was no money. But with the help of God and His people, we are where we are right now.
My advice to Nigerian leaders
This is very heavy for me. I don’t support tribalism. For the past 99 years, we have been living together as a one but it is unfortunate that, it is all on a deceptive ground. The fact that there are troubles here and there and the lives of Nigerians are no more safe call for serious attention. Today, we can no longer walk freely on the streets of the country.
Until Nigerians come together and decide if they are ready to stay together, then, we should not call ourselves a nation.
Nigeria is more than a nation that can live on its own. I am not advocating for disintegration but if we had lived in a country for 99 years and we are still afraid of one another, then, it is nothing to write home about. Things are getting worse on a daily basis.
We have done so much evil to one another in this country. We are no more safe to live with one another. Yorubas do not have the confidence to live in other states especially in Maiduguri, Borno State.
I do not know what will not happen or what will happen but I know that things cannnot continue this way, something will have to happen.
Life as a Bishop
I have done the little I could although, there are lots of things I would have done which I did not do. That is why I am not satisfied but I am fulfilled. There are a lot of work to be done in the Church of God. There is no work without its hazards and regrets.
I have been in the service of God for 46 years. I was a students for six years in Emmanuel College and a Bishop for 20 years.
I have been through difficulties that is beyond comprehension.
There were times of personal agitations, misgivings and sorrows but I thank God that I am a successful man. Now, we can recall lost of successes in the area of administration, evangelism, economic development.
I have gone through both good and hard times and I thank God for giving me the grace to contribute my quota to the growth of the church both physically and economically.
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