Retired Archbishop and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye, 83, is dead. He died 1 a.m. today at his hometown in Odo-Owa, Ekiti State.

His son, Adeola Adetiloye, confirmed the death to P.M.NEWS. Adeola described his father as a man who dedicated his entire life to one dream, one purpose, one vision, the church.

“He often tells us that his failed marriage was a blessing in disguise and that if it hadn’t failed, he wouldn’t have devoted his life like he did to the church.Infact, he was married to the church,” he said.

In his own tribute, Venerable Levite Egbuchulem Okpara of the St. Paul Anglican Church, Kirikiri, Apapa, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, described Adetiloye as a great man.

“We’ve started mourning him. I used to go to his home town to talk to him. He made me what I am today. He made me a Canon. I was like a member of his family,’’ he stated.

On what he would remember the deceased for, he said: “I will remember him for his punctuality at every event. He neve came late to any meeting. He also fought the gay movement and started the creation of missionary dioceses in the country. He was an upright man.”

Reacting to his death, Dr. Ola Makinde, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, said the nation has lost a great man of purity and a church administrator.

“We have lost a great church administrator, a theologian, a noble man and a man who dedicated his life to the service of God.

“The Christians in Nigeria have lost a man of humility. The Methodist Church Nigeria sent its condolence to the Anglican Communion,” Makinde stated.

Pastor Akin Akande of the Men of Purpose Ministry described Adetiloye as a man who did exploit in the nation, saying that his achievements could not be forgotten.

According to Akande, Adetiloye represented another brand of Christianity that “we cherish in this nation. The nation has lost a great man.”

Adetiloye was born on Christmas Day, December 25, 1929, in the small town of Odo-Owa, Ekiti State. He hailed from an economically depressed area and from a poor home. His father, a polygamist who also could prescribe herbs for treatment and cure illness, died when he was just three years.

Therefore, he could not enjoy the privilege of formal education until he was eight years old, when he started his primary school education at Ijero-Ekiti from 1937 to 1942. He later took a  teaching appointment until 1950.  The former primate started his church ministry in 1951 when he gained admission into Melville Hall (Anglican Training College), Kudeti-Ibadan. After his training, he was made a deacon in Lagos in 1953 and served as a curate at St. Peter’s Anglican Church Ake-Abeokuta from 1953 to 1956 when he left for England for further studies. He returned to Nigeria and was placed at Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan during the 1961/62 academic session as a lecturer. He served until 1965.

He became the provost of St. James Cathedral, Oke-Bola Ibadan in 1965 and got married in 1967. But his dream of a happy married life was changed eleven months later when his wife fell ill and died. The marriage was blessed with a son,  Adeola Adetiloye, who later qualified as an engineer.

He became the second bishop of the Ekiti Diocese in 1970 and served until 1985 when he became the sixth bishop of Lagos. In 1988, he became the second archbishop and primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the position he held until his retirement from active service in December, 1999.

In a condolence message, President Goodluck Jonathan commiserated with the family, describing Adetiloye as a great man of God who would be missed not only by members of the Anglican Communion, but all Nigerians.

The President noted that Adetiloye will be long remembered for his zeal and passion for evangelism and planting of churches and his interest in not only the spiritual life of church members but also their education, health and economic well-being.

Eulogizing him further, President Jonathan said that the former Primate lived a good life devoted to unconditional service of God and humanity.

Recalling the notable achievements of the late Primate, especially his promotion of religious tolerance in the country, President Jonathan said that Archbishop Adetiloye whose tenure coincided with military rule in Nigeria, exhibited immense courage in his robust interventions in national discourses as he spoke forcefully against undemocratic governance .

.Updated at 8.30 p.m Friday