The book, a biography has two parts. The first part chronicles the life history (step by step analysis) of Revd John Adegoke Okesiji, JP, from cradle to adulthood. It also dealt with his humble beginning in life as a teacher, his call to serve in the vineyard of God, his trial and travails, the high and low points as well as his retirement from active ministerial service. The second part is a collection of people’s view, feelings and comments from different perspectives on the man of God.

On a general note, the author has been able to show that for every man that is truly called to the gospel ministry, there must have been a bright and fruitful beginning (past) as a qualification for the task ahead. Like the early disciples of Jesus Christ and the great martyrs’, Peter and Andrew were profession fishermen, Matthew was a tax collector (probably a qualified Accountant), Paul was an accomplished legal luminary, while Luke was a physician etc. In his own case, Revd John Adegoke Okesiji was a teacher and a son of a clergy of great repute.

All these antecedents helped to mould his work life and fantastic record keeping habit. His education helped him to combine Church Administration with Spiritual Leadership, which is a rare combination. It was fascinating reading about this octogenarian, through the views of people, from within his nuclear family to the ageless Pa T. A. A. Ladele who was his teacher and guardian in Primary School.

The sum total of all the comments is that, we are celebrating a man of God, who like Paul, has fought a good fight. The life and times of Revd John A. Okesiji has already consigned into the archives the say that ‘The good that men do lives after them’. I believe very sincerely that God has spared his life to witness this day when his good deeds is been celebrated. Heaven is already rejoicing over an achiever, a true man of God and a devoted Baptist.

To the author, I have this to say:

You have done the right thing not only for yourself or the man (Revd J. A. Okesiji) himself but to Christendom. You have done justice to the Yoruba adage which says ‘ko si asegbe, asepamo lo wa’ meaning ‘there can never be a secret that will remain secret forever’. Whoever is reading this book is being reminded of the fact that whatever they might have done, whatever they are doing presently and whatever they are going to lay their hands on, will become history. The question is: what will people say about you and me?

Olutayo Irantiola, you have unknowingly written a part of your own history for readership in generations to come with the publication of this collection.

Once again, accept my best wishes and congratulations for a successful job done!


TITLE: True Calling: The Life and Times of Revd. John Adegoke Okesiji, J. P.

AUTHOR: Olutayo Irantiola

PUBLISHER: Gavima Press Limited

PAGES: 215

REVIEWER: Tim Amosun

The book traced and did a critical analysis of the historical antecedents of Revd. John Adegoke Okesiji who hails from Alasia Compound in Isia, Okeho, Oyo State. His father, Moses Majaro, later became a pastor and had his magnificent contributions in both civic and spiritual aspects of human endeavours. 

The Life and Times of Revd. John Adegoke Okesiji was thoroughly researched into and well documented to learn from by one of his grandsons cum the author of the book, Mr. Olutayo Irantiola who meticulously gave detailed attention to the writing of the book. It contains a biography of an exemplary man of God who lived his altruistic life in the service of God and humanity. It chronicles his life from childhood till the life after retirement though not tired in the profession he has sown his entire life into. Revd. John Okesiji, is popularly called “Revd. Olokemeje” because he came from Okeho. He worked in Oke-Isokun, Oke-Isoko, Ori-Oke, Okelerin, he is ‘Goke by name and Okesiji as his surname earned him this. He lived within the former western States with particular attachment to Ogbomoso and Oke-Ogun area of current Oyo State. It is also very evident that he traveled far and near to learn by experience and exposure in his passion to fulfill his God-given vision.

The book contains the testimonies of a man with humble beginning raised to the status of a force and a power to reckon with in the service to God and humankind in all the areas he touched. Revd. John Okesiji caught his vision early in life and he pursued it single-mindedly. Having received the call of God, he sacrificially developed himself thoroughly along the line by unshaken faith in God for the best. In the book, he is described as a loving, kind, quite but disciplined, assertive and brilliant pastor. He is a prolific writer, song composer, and a peacemaker. He is an instructive teacher blessed with pedagogic capacity and very result-oriented with passion for excellence in his approach to issues.

Among his many achievements are: spreading the gospel, planting and funding churches. In various capacities under the Nigerian Baptist Convention, he was appointed into the Oyo State Pilgrims Board (Christian Wing). He was the elected Chairman, planning Committee toward the actualization of the Western State Baptist Conference in 1971, appointed into the Western State Schools’ Board, Treasurer of Oyo West Baptist Conference, Chairman, Nigerian Baptist Pastor’s Conference, Chairman, Ogbomosho Baptist Association to mention but few. He was a contributor to the book titled, “Oyo-Okeho Baptist Association from 1858-2008” to mark the 150th anniversary of the Association.

He selflessly contributed his quota to the home front in various undisputable ways. He was a foundation member of the Okeho Council of Elders. He contributed to the writing of “Iwe Itan Okeho” as a member of the Research Committee. Also, the History of First Baptist Church did not come to limelight without his contribution in a bid to mark the Centenary anniversary of the church. His connection and influence brought Post Office to Okeho and he made his moral, material and financial contribution towards the construction of Okeho Town Hall where he hails from. The Okeho Anthem that was approved and adopted by the Okeho Council of Elders in October 2007 was composed by him.

No doubt, he was an ideal family man who put God first, family second and finally the ministry to ensure a transactional sense of balance. He is a sacrificial pastor of no mean repute who is conscious of others in his actions and reactions. He attached little or no importance to materialism. He is interested in capacity building by affecting, influencing and mentoring lives that comes across his way.

By and large, the book is a must read for all who desire great achievement in life and ministry. The 215 pages book is well branded, packaged and written in simple English language in such a way that it communicates the central message of the book to the readers. The author created a lot of suspense by giving a hint of what to expect in the next chapter from the previous chapter. To add spices, he used inspiring quotable quotes from men of worth. He published some photographs of Revd. John Adegoke Okesiji at different stages of his life to buttress some of his points. The author began the nine chapter book with a prologue and concluded it by publishing some commendation letters written by eminent personalities such as Revd. S. Ola Akande, the Onjo of Okeho, Soun of Ogbomosho, the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon to express their perception of Baba as a man of integrity.

Foreword also was written by the present Governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao Akala, who was baptized by Baba and remained close to Baba’s family till date. I humbly enjoin all and sundry to buy copies of this book for personal reading, as gifts for the individuals and for Libraries knowing fully that the secrets of blessing, long life, satisfaction and fulfillment is embedded in it.



PUBLISHED BY: Gavinma Press Ltd, 2009.


The book is a biograghy of Revd. John Adegoke Okesiji, J.P. It is divided

into two parts. The first consists of eight chapters, while the second part

has only one chapter. The first chapter takes us back to the memory lane

–the beginning of Baba’s life. It relates his early life, how he grew up

under the love and care of his maternal grandmother at Okeho, Oyo State; and

his adolescent adventures.

In chapter two, the focus is on his educational pursuit and challenges.

During his school days in First Baptist Day school, he was noted for

diligence and excellent performances in his academic works. Thus, he was

loved by his mates and teachers. The chapter also reveals the kind of

challenges the less privilege kids are facing; he and his friends took up

manual jobs to pay school fees. He is a focused and courageous person who

would not allow anything to hinder his educational pursuit; as a result he

was given a scholarship to realise his dream to become a pastor. Meanwhile,

chapter three discusses the beginning of his pastoral work at Iwofin Baptist

Church and his relentless efforts to spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus

Christ in Oyo and Ogbomosho town and villages.

Furthermore, chapter four dwells, on Revd. J. Adegoke Okesiji’s major

achievements and exploit at Okelerin Baptist Church where he spent over

three decades in dedicated, committed and faithful service unto his God and

humanity. More so, chapter five through seven helps us to know that Papa is

a devoted, upright and a true man of God. Though, he faced so many

challenges in life, family and ministry, his strong faith in God saw him

through; hence, was able to make tremendous success and impact. He held

several honourable and leadership positions in the Christian Association of

Nigeria, Nigerian Baptist Convention, and the Western State of Nigeria. He

was actively involved in the establishment of churches, pastors’ schools and

many Christian organisations.

A popular adage says, “Behind every successful man is a woman.” This is

played out in chapter eight as Mrs. Sarah Okesiji tells us about her loving

husband. She describes him as a caring, understanding and sincere man.

Thereafter, other members of Papa’s family testify to his enviable character

as man of integrity, kind hearted and godly. His life is worthy of


Lastly, the final chapter, herald the testimonies of people from all walk

of life who have come in contact with Papa and whose life he has influenced

greatly in one way or the other. These people range from king, traditional

rulers, friends, co-workers, fellow pastors, neighbours to mention a few.

In conclusion, this piece of work serves as a pointer to us that we are

playing a script in life; and shall give account of how we live, be it to

man or God. Therefore, we should be challenged through the exemplary life of

Rev. John Adegoke Okesiji to live a life of integrity, selfless service to

God and man. A good name, they say, is better than riches. One day, somebody

will write or say something about you and me; what would they write?

why good men must die,

I do not know

He came to the world like a baby,

He cried out loud from mama’s world,

He came into his own world,

A world of fantasy.

He came to a fulfilled world,

He fulfilled his own world,

He was a teacher, who trained the world,

A doctor, he saves life,

A gardner,who watches over people. 

An engineer who…. 

A planter, who sows good seed always. 

A writer who wrote his genesis well. 

Yes he is indeed more than what, 

I can say, write dramatise, 

Grave is a silent place that no one dares to go.

Yet, papa left for the gentle grave 

He left the world of worry and doubt, 

The world of anxiety and distrust, 

A world that murmurs evil, 

he left 4 a lonely place 

d bossom of his dare futher 

we will meet to part no more, 

we will all meet to sing psalms and hymns

soon and mabe sooner than anyone thinks 

since no one wants to go 

Moving to the silent place is not what matters, 

what people have to say and write matters. 

your past and present will shout after you have gone, 

papa left us what we are proud of, 

your life is not wasted, its a legacy for us to follow. 

we luv you but God loves you more 

O DI GBA………….

Abioye, Tomilayo

A Fantastic FEAT!

really my brother u’ve done a fantastic work. the book is enriched with your noble

knowledge and writing aptitude through self develpment. someone once said “if u find

a path with no obstacles, it probably leads to no where” which happened in your own

case but u never give up till the vision comes in to papa he lead an

exemplary life as a pious christian. i learnt to keep calm even when you’re right

4rm him in a new way.honestly, my thought and knowledge is blessed.keep it up!.

Alawode Olaide.
(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria
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