By Abdullahi Shuaib
First, I would like to appreciate the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his empathy, humane and generosity extended to our dear brother and friend, the late Bishop Olusola Ore when he was indisposed and receiving treatment and the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi; the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Adebunmi Elizabeth Adekanye and everyone for being there to lend a supporting hand to him and his family.
According to Henry Ukazu, in “Adding Value: The Power of Relationships,” building a solid relationship is a sine qua non for success in life. My path crossed with the late Bishop Ore two years ago when I was appointed as the Co-Chair (Muslim) for the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), Lagos State Chapter where Bishop Ore was representing the Christian Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Lagos State Chapter, in his capacity as its Chairman. He also doubled as the Chairman, Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board (LSCPWB) and the presiding pastor of Love Aglow Ministry, Festac Town. Our relationship continued to wax stronger day-by-day until his transition to the ‘Kingdom of God’ on Monday 25 October 2020 when the inevitable separated us. The breaking of the sad news on Wednesday 27 October, to NIREC members, was shocking, not only to the body of Christ, Inter-Religious Council but to the faith communities in the state. The late Bishop Ore was the toast of all members at NIREC meetings because of his innocuous jokes. In the words of Robin Sharma, the author of the book, ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari,’ “the business of business is a human relationship, but the business of life is human connection.”
Without mincing words, Bishop Ore lived this inspiring quote and I hope to try to live it too. He was an extraordinary man, who had a mastery of how to connect with people and turn a moody situation to a lively one. Truly, he connected with Christians, Muslims and adherent of other faiths. Anyone who had interacted with him either for a short while or longer period would always testify to his electrifying gist. Aside from been a servant of God, he was an open-minded person. He was endowed with a charming personality and easily likeable by everyone. In the words of Prince Elegushi, the late Bishop Ore was “a jovial and lively person who touched so many lives with his kindness while alive.” Dr Maruf Shittu, a lecturer at Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MACOPED), Noforija, Epe, Lagos and member, NIREC gave credence to his sterling quality as “someone who loved to identify himself with people regardless of their faith.”
As a corollary to that, the Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and also a member of NIREC, Dr Israel Akinadewo espoused his quality as “a very serious Christian leader with a sense of humour.” To Alhaja Samiat Kolarinwa, a retired Director at the Home Affairs ministry and NIREC member, “He was an easy-going man and always full of life. Added to that was the fact that he was a curious learner who wanted to know more about Islam and this was corroborated by Alhaja Kolarinwa who again described him as “Always eager to know more about Islam.”
To the Co-Chair of NIREC, Lagos State who is also the Chairman of CAN, Lagos State Chapter, Prof Apostle Alexander Bamgbola, “Bishop Ore was an honest, simple and lovely man, who loved all people and made no enemies at all.” The Metropolitan Diocese of Ikeja and also NIREC member, Rt Bishop Stephen Adegbite chose to eulogise him as “a core man of God and a true person with whom there is no guile.”
The late Bishop Ore was fearless, blunt but exuded civility in his conversation. He was also a risk-taker, ever ready to take any risk in adding value to the life of fellow compatriots regardless of their faith. He was generosity personified. He was blessed with a generous soul such that he never met anyone in need that he did not seek for a way of helping.
He always saw good in people. I recall when he got to know that Alhaja Kolarinwa had enrolled for a course in Counselling as a result of the calling of her office, he was very excited and encouraged her to forge ahead and never allow age to deter her from achieving her goal. The late Bishop Ore was always there and asking what he could offer to help. What a wonderful disposition that many people who had interacted with him can attest to. He was a good example of a man of God, good husband, father, associate and friend. He always did his best to be patient with his family, church members, friends and NIREC members.
He was loved by all NIREC members. Bishop Ore was an exemplary pastor and preacher who set a shining example of how clergymen are required to unite humanity through good and bad times. The late Bishop Ore was a hardworking administrator and selfless man. Indeed, it was not an easy task to combine pastoral responsibility with Chairmanship of PFN and LSCPWB. Be that as it may, he excelled brilliantly in his callings. Apostle Bamgbola rated him “excellently” and said, “He has not disappointed the body of Christ.” He further eulogised him as “Godly, a dependable people’s man, faithful to God and man, truthful and a highly principled person.”
To Dr Akinadewo, scribe of CAN, Lagos State, Bishop Ore was never found wanting in all his responsibilities, while Bishop Adegbite concluded that “He discharged them to the best of his ability.” With pains and grief, one of his closest pals, Apostle Bamgbola opined that if he has an opportunity to have a final conversation with him before his demise, he would have told him “To continue to be whom he was because he has given joy to so many people and that God would give him joy too.” Dr Akinadewo’s remark also corroborated the former’s remark by “Telling him to continue to serve God and make people happy with his sense of humour.” Put differently, Alhaja Kolarinwa said “I would have told him that he was one of the few people I looked up to and keep up the good work he was doing.” In conclusion, Bishop Ore will never be forgotten as a dogged fighter, a seasoned preacher who preached balanced theology.
A lover of people, accommodating and ready to go an extra mile to ensure that the unity of people living together is attained. He was also a stabilizer and trail-blazer. In the words of Bishop Adegbite, “Bishop Ore would remain in our hearts for a long time” because “He has written his name with an indelible mark on the sand of time.”
We shall always miss our late Bishop Ore who always made us laugh, and was always there to assist to solve one challenge or the other, listening to someone when troubled and cheer up the person. In truth and indeed, he was an outstanding man of God. Our hearts are with his family. I pray Almighty God to grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss as well as all his friends. Au revoir Bishop Olusola Ore. Dr Abdullahi Shuaib is the CEO, Jaiz Charity and Development Foundation &Co-Chairman, NIREC, Lagos State Chapter