(MIKE OYE – THE REAL DEAL!)
I probably heard about Mike Oye for the first time in 1995 while serving in Kano. Then, during a short stint with CAPRO last year, I was privileged to have skimped through his autobiography on one of the shelves. As the Americans would say, “They don’t make ’em like that anymore. He’s the real McCoy!”
Mike was born and raised in Ghana by Nigerian parents. He could have had his university education in Ghana on scholarship, but opted to pay his way through at the University of Ibadan (UI), Nigeria, until Providence smiled on him in the form of another scholarship because he was quite brilliant. When he finished his first degree in the mid 60s, his project supervisor – a White man – was so impressed with his work that he went ahead to secure him a grant/scholarship for a Master’s Program in that field ABROAD! Mike turned it down, as well as a Federal Govt. job, choosing rather to take up the work of Traveling Secretary (TS) for the Scripture Union (SU), Nigeria, which enabled him to reach many students in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions pan Nigeria.
His extensive labour as the first indigenous TS in SU impacted greatly on the young lives of men like Enoch Adejare Adeboye, Francis Wale Oke, Samuel C. Kanu Uche, Ayo Oritsejafor, Cyril Okorocha, Sam Kputu, Yusufu Ameh Obaje, Emiko Amotsuka, Matthew Owojaiye, G.F. Oyor, Remi Awopegba, Joel Emmanson, and countless others who are today’s ‘giants/generals’ for the Lord in Nigeria.
He did ‘it’ again in the 70s when an American Mission Agency called on him to come and help them plant churches all over America, with a very juicy offer. He turned down that tempting offer to RELOCATE to the USA, choosing rather to answer the call of the Methodist Church to help them reach/Evangelize a very DIFFICULT COMMUNITY – Kaiama, Borgu LGA of the old Kwara State. He served there as an Agricultural Missionary with his wife, Rachael, opting to live in a hut among the VILLAGE people, instead of occupying the luxurious house left behind by the White Missionary who had just returned to his home in England.
These two unique sacrifices, his Faith conviction, his exemplary lifestyle, rare conducts and non-materialistic attitude towards life, earned him the sobriquet/aka ‘MAD MIKE’.
There’s a thousand and one other things I could write about Mike Oye, but time and space (and your attention span🤭) limit me. However, it’s pertinent to note that this rugged, one-in-a-billion soldier of the Lord lost his only son, Temitope, in 1998, and still left Osogbo for Abuja the DAY FOLLOWING his burial to honour a speaking engagement. He said, “I can’t lose my son and lose the opportunity to PREACH THE GOSPEL!”
What a MAN! What a CHRISTIAN! We’re not RAISING MEN like him anymore. The Christians of today are not likely to turn down SCHOLARSHIPS or the OPPORTUNITY to relocate to the USA on a platter. Those are ‘Great Testimonies’ in the vain gatherings we call churches today. A negligible FEW would even bother to cross/double check with GOD before accepting scholarships or relocating abroad, and FEWER still would agree to decline the offer if GOD told them to. What a shame! My heart bleeds for the Nigerian, nay, African Church.
Only CHRISTIANS like MIKE OYE can reverse the ROT in Nigeria, in the Church!
That is the TRUTH!
NB: Uncle Mike Oye is 80 years old this August, and he’s still FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS FOR THE LORD JESUS and His Church.
And, if you read up to this stage, you’re a lover of Truth. Your type is an endangered specie in Nigeria. Rare breeds like you and me are the ONLY HOPE of Nigeria.
Keep LIVING for the TRUTH, and don’t stop SPEAKING it!