The Life and Times of the Late Rt. Revd. Rufus Morakinyo Okeremi

  • Korede Akintunde
  • March 19, 2024

The Rt. Revd. Rufus Morakinyo Okeremi, born on August 1, 1940, in Agun’s Compound, Lagere, Odeomu, to the late Gabriel Okeremi and the late Comfort Olubola Okeremi, led a life filled with service to church and community.

Early Life and Education

He began his education at St. Andrew’s School, Kinkinyinun, as a pioneering pupil from 1946 to 1949. He continued his studies in Odeomu, completing his elementary education in 1954. Following that, he became a Pupil Teacher at St. James’ School, Tonkere, from 1955 to 1956.

Driven by a thirst for knowledge, he pursued teacher training at St. Peter’s College, Ilesha, obtaining his Grade III Teachers Certificate in 1958. He then embarked on teaching stints at St. Peter’s School, Offatedo (1959-1960) and Anglican Central School, Lalupon (1960).

Determined to study science, he independently obtained his G.C.E. Ordinary Level qualification. This opened doors for him to enroll at Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, from 1964 to 1966, where he excelled, earning a distinction in Chemistry and a credit pass in Biology.

Teaching and Civil Service

Following his studies, he taught at Gbongan/Odeomu Anglican Grammar School (1967) before securing admission to the University of Lagos. He graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in Botany and Zoology in 1970.

He then transitioned to the civil service of the old Western State, working as a Fisheries Officer Grade II from 1970 to 1990. During this period, he served in various stations and played a key role in introducing the domestic culture of Heterotis Niloticus into fish farms. His dedication led him to an in-service training program at Grimsby College of Technology in England, where he earned a Diploma in Fisheries Management (1972-1973). He rose through the ranks and retired as a Director of Fisheries in 1990.

Ministry and Church Leadership

While still in the civil service, his calling to serve the church deepened. He was ordained a deacon in 1980, followed by his ordination as a priest in 1982. He rose through the ranks, becoming a Canon in 1992. He held various positions, including Archdeacon of Molete Archdeaconry (1995-2005) and Vicar of St. Anne’s Church, Molete, Ibadan (1982-1990). He also served as a non-stipendiary minister at St. Paul’s Church, Odo-Ona (1980-1982).

He continued his theological education at Immanuel College of Technology, Ibadan (1980-1982), earning a Diploma in Theology. He further strengthened his leadership skills by attending the Haggai Institute’s Advanced Leadership Training Program in 2001.

Significant Contributions

As Archdeacon of Molete and Vicar of St. Anne’s Church, he made significant contributions through various initiatives. These included establishing a nursery/primary school that grew into St. Anne’s Comprehensive College, a female hostel (St. Anne’s Female Hostel) near the University of Ibadan, and a government-approved Anglican Hospital now taken over by the Diocese.

He also served in various capacities apart from his Parish work: –

  • He was the first Chairman, of the Board of Governors, of St. David’s Grammar School, Odeomu, he was also Chairman, of the Board of Governors, of Vining Day Nursery /Primary School, Molete Ibadan, and mooted the idea of establishing a secondary school instead of fixing money in the bank. It was this move that led to the establishment of the new Bishop Akinyele Grammar School, Oke Are by the Ibadan Diocese. He was also a member Board of Governors, Bishop Akinyele Grammar School, and United Missionary Comprehensive College, Molete, Ibadan.
  • He served as the Executive Secretary of the Bishop of Ibadan, from 1992 –95. He also served as synod Secretary to the Diocese of Ibadan from 1991 –2005 and served as Secretary to many sub-committees of the Diocesan Board. At the same time, he was Chaplain to the Government House Chapel, Agodi, Ibadan, from 1990 to 2005. He was Chairman of the Pilgrims Welfare Board, Oyo State, 1994 and 1995.
  • He was Treasurer to the Yoruba Bible Translation Committee of the Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN) which resulted in the publishing of “Atoka Bible”. He also served as the Secretary of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) Western Block.
  • he was appointed Provost of the Cathedral Church of St. James Oke Bola, Ibadan before being elected, confirmed, and enthroned as the pioneer Bishop of Ife-East Anglican Diocese in 2008 and finally retired on 1st August 2010. The day of his enthronement and inauguration of Ife-East Diocese was historical as the Ooni, of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, first-ever set his feet on Modakeke soil after eighteen years of his enthronement and form tradition of enduring the peace between Ife and Modakeke Communities.
  • He has traveled to many countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and America.
  • His hobbies include Fish and Arable farming, jogging, and writing. He has authored many books including “Basics of Church Administration”, “Christian Conduct in the Contemporary World”; “Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Marriage” and very recently his biography titled, “A Life of Uncommon Grace from God”.

He is happily married to his heartthrob, Mrs. Eunice Olufunmilayo Okeremi, (Nee Olaopa), and blessed with children and grandchildren. He fought the good fight, on 17th March 2023, very peacefully and gloriously finishing his race on earth.

He was a loving husband, father, and uncle who would be dearly missed but his legacies will never be

forgotten. Though died, he would forever be remembered.

Podcast Series for the week