Sunday, April 21, 2019 12:26 pm
The presence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Governor-elect of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and other top dignitaries at the funeral of Pastor Tokunbo Olorunnimbe, Principal Secretary of Pastor Enoch Adeboye, at the City of David Sanctuary, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Victoria Island, Lagos indicated the high regard people had for him.
But that and the tributes showered at the occasion do not tell the full story of the man whose demise last month has locked many people in shock.
Words are hardly enough to show what manner of man Toks really was. He was best appreciated in a real-life encounter and I enjoyed every moment with him. He was a rare gentleman, whose favourite garment was humility.
One of the memorable encounters was on a day he woke me up with an early morning call. Three significant things happened that day.
It was an invitation to attend a morning service at the RCCG Headquarters on Cemetery Road, Ebute Metta, at which Pastor Adeboye was to lay hands on people.
Some people who had experienced it spoke of how they felt anointing flow from the General Overseer’s hand like current to them. I needed that experience so I rushed to the service, where Toks was looking out for me.
At the end of the service, he invited me to his office on the 5th floor of the headquarters. As I laboured up the stairs, Toks disappeared, sprinting up the stairs, leaving me amazed.
Panting on arrival at the 5th floor minutes later, I noticed his calmness. He didn’t tease me. He welcomed me with a smile and led me to his office.
The experience was significant because from the book I was trying to write on him, I knew that years before he had been seriously ill and had only been healed by God through Pastor Adeboye. Running up the stairs showed me he was as fit as fiddle.
The third experience that morning was a big one. He delivered a big gift from Pastor Adeboye to me. For most of the day, I was saying “heehe” to myself because of the significance of the gift.
There is another incident I was always remember. I had interviewed Toks twice for the book I was working on, but as work progressed, my spirit nudged me to write about his boss first.
When I told Toks about the switch, I was pleasantly surprised he showed no sign of bitterness. Rather, he supported me throughout. The book, “Stories of Pastor E.A. Adeboye: The Power of Testimony,” has been published.
Tall and slim, he was friendly, without being too playful. His spontaneous smiles were complemented by sharp eyes that brimmed with intelligence. There was always that understated hint of a rich pedigree for people who took his quietness for granted and those who look down on secretaries. Toks was not an ordinary secretary.
He was the Principal Secretary and Chief-of-Staff of Pastor Adeboye, but like his boss, he wore no airs – just his disarming simplicity.
Toks, as unassuming as they come, was born in the United Kingdom, the eldest son of Justice Ishola Olorunnimbe and the late Simisola Olorunnimbe. He was trained as a lawyer at the University of Lagos and Cambridge University. He served in many ways at the RCCG, especially as pastor of several parishes, including City of Palms.
It took me a few one-on-one encounters to know the perspective of his wife. In her tribute, Mrs. Modupe Olorunnimbe, described him as honest, humble, diligent, patient, generous and considerate.
She said her husband ran a good race and was fulfilled and ready to meet his creator. If you ever met Toks, you will agree.
He served God wholeheartedly from the day he went with his friends to a service of RCCG, where he answered a call to the altar by Pastor Adeboye, the same man he would later serve as a secretary.
Toks shared his story with me. His account:
“That morning, after much reluctance, I told his friends,
‘I think I’ll go along with your group and see first-hand what happens in this one-hour service.’
“I had not taken my bath and never intended to be part of this new movement. Certainly not that morning. Not ever. Still a force appeared to override my feeling. I felt I was being compelled to go and see what was happening at the RCCG located in Cemetery street.
“So, I pulled a Tee shirt over a pair of trousers, did a quick face splash and squashed myself into the overcrowded beetle and off we went.
“The Church could not have been more pedestrian and unexciting. Three hundred odd worshippers or so were clapping and singing heartily. It was just as I imagined and I kept asking myself why I came.
“Soon, there was a prayer session, after which the place became a bit more settled and the preacher started his sermon for the day.
“I Can’t remember what the message was about, but in about half an hour he was done. He then invited people to come forward and accept Christ. I was waiting for him to round up so I could leave.
“Again, a force kind of kept me from leaving and a strange thought suggested I respond to what I now know to be the altar call.
I resisted with every muscle in me, almost shouting ‘No way!’
“The struggle must have lasted for a while but before I knew it, I found myself in front of the altar.
“I cannot say up till today whether I walked, flew, crawled or was carried. Soon we, about five or so, were asked to kneel down for prayers.
“As I knelt for the prayer, I felt a surge of live current surge from my head throughout my entire body. It was so sudden and surreal that I thought I probably imagined it.
Then it happened a second time. By the third I wanted to get out of the church as soon as possible.
“We were taken away for counselling and a short word of welcome to the family of God and the Body of Christ.
My friends were ecstatic. They threw their arms round my neck, hugged me, congratulated me, rejoiced with me and could not contain themselves. I really wondered what all the fuss was about. I was thinking, ‘So what?’
“Yes, I was dragged out by an irresistible force but I was determined to nip this strange phenomenon in the bud.
I was quiet and feeling sorry for them as they were in for a rude shock.
“At the end of the service we left for home. But in spite of the mute objections in my head, Pastor E.A. Adeboye was going to be the major influence on me for the rest of my life.
“Strangely, I missed church only once that year. By December of that year, we had gone through New Believers’ class and were baptised by immersion at the Unilag water side.
The significance of what had taken place was lost on me. Several years down the line, I am still thanking the Lord Jesus for saving me by force.”
Toks was a gentleman fuelled by love for God and mankind, as I knew him to be.