While many of his colleagues began their ministries in the southwest of Nigeria, Venerable Folorunso Oginni caught the vision of priesthood in faraway Sokoto.
A former employee of African Petroleum, Oginni had been posted to the state because of his activism in the workers union.
He was then the Deputy President of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers. While in Lagos, he and his colleagues had embarked on protracted strike action to fight the military as a result of the annulment of the famed June 12 1993 elections.
When the company’s management saw that his belligerent posture toward the then military government may have implications for the company, they transferred him to Sokoto.
It was while in Sokoto in the Diocese of Gusou that he began another form of activism. This time, it is to fight the kingdom of darkness. It was while there that he caught the vision to serve the Lord as a priest. He also experienced more of God’s goodness and mercy in that part of the country. The Lord opened doors of mercy for him.
Bishop Simon Bala and Bishop Joseph Akinfenwa were the two people who influenced and impacted his ministry while in Sokoto.
But in June 2000 he was transferred back to Lagos by the company. That also gave him the opportunity to continue in God’s service while also still working. Since then, he has not looked back.
Now a venerable and archdeacon of Ikorodu Archdeaconry of the Anglican Communion, Oginni says God has displayed extraordinary love for the Diocese of Lagos West.
“You need to see the new Bishop’s Court. It is hard to believe the project was conceived in the last couple of years. Bishop Odedeji announced to us that he wanted to build a new Bishop’s court. He only requested our prayers. The place was built without taxing any archdeaconry. The money came from individuals and with the goodwill of our bishop. The Bishop’s court is a pride of this diocese. It also bears credence to a man who prefers to wait on the Lord for what he wants than depend on the arm of flesh, ” Oginni said.
While praying that God will continue to strengthen him, Oginni described Bishop Odedeji as an enigma and epitome of humility. “He is a man that is down to earth”
Oginni noted that “the tradition before he was elected as Bishop of a big diocese like that of Lagos West, is to translate a bishop from another diocese. But that did not happen. It was God who made the election of Bishop Odedeji a reality. Some people were skeptical and felt he won’t be effective. But 10 years down the line, he has proved skeptics wrong.
He said Odedeji has succeeded in all available indices. “A panoramic review of the last ten years has been the story of one level of glory to another. Think of evangelism, developmental projects, and expansion, God has been helping us. It is actually difficult to single out one striking hallmark of Bishop Odedeji’s achievements in the last 10 years because he has touched practically every aspect of our lives in the diocese.
“Many churches have been established in the last 10 years. The number of priests has also increased astronomically. There is growth in every sphere that we can think of. Those who were skeptical about his ability to perform are the people now singing his praise. It simply goes to show that when your way is right, God will make even your enemy be at peace with you.”
Oginni noted that “the pioneer Bishop of the diocese, The Rt Rev Peter Adebiyi set the ball rolling. He laid a solid foundation for the diocese which Bishop Odedeji is building on. The leadership style Bishop Odedeji has made it easy for the priests working under him to be successful.”
The ex-unionist also recounted how God has helped his ministry since he came to Lagos. There is perhaps no parish where he served that God did not use him to transform.
Oginni gave testimonies of gigantic projects worth millions of naira that have been executed under him against all odds in several of the parishes where he was vicar.
Ikorodu which is considered a rural place has also experienced transformation since he got there. “The Holy Trinity Anglican Church where I operate from as the archdeacon of Ikorodu was founded in 1898. We started remodeling the church. It cost us N18 million. The church now has a gallery. It looks quite modern now. The work is ongoing. We are also building a four-floor plaza. Since we came, we have started three new churches.”
Oginni noted there “is every cause to give glory to God for how far he has taken us in the diocese of Lagos West. Our prayer is that God will continue to give our Bishop the grace and anointing to lead us on.”