NIGERIA'S oldest Christian evangelist Pastor Samuel Sadela the founder and president of the Gospel Apostolic Church has died in Lagos just a week short of his 114th birthday.
Pastor Sadela, who was due to celebrate his birthday on August 31, passed away in the premises of the church in Lagos. A condolence register has been opened in the church premises in the Gbagada district of Lagos.
He reportedly died few hours before commencement of a special revival programme that would have culminated in the celebration of his 114th birthday on Sunday, August 31. His pastoral calling started in 1928 when he visited the famous Prophet Moses Orimolade of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church.
When Pastor Sadela marked his 113th last year birthday, he expressed the hope that he would live up to 200 years of age. Ever controversial, Pastor Sadela, who claimed angels taught him to read the Holy Bible when he was only two years of age, raised few eyebrows when he married a 30-year-old woman in 2007.
At his birthday celebrations last year, Pastor Sadela said: “I feel happy to be this old. Actually, I feel like a young man and I still enjoy my meal of pounded yam, eba and bush meat.
"I sleep whenever I want to and wake up stronger, so I want to live longer to prove to all that God remains the same as He was in times past. If Methuselah could live for 969 years, God can make me live well beyond 113 and if Noah could be 950, it is not too much for Him to make me live up to 200.”
Pastor Sadela first got married in 1934, with the marriage lasting for 21 years but none of the couple’s seven children reportedly lived beyond their infancy. A second marriage consummated in 1965, was blessed with four children, but only two survived, although his second wife died in 2001.
A native of Ondo State, Sadela attended St Paul’s Anglican Primary School, Ifon, Osun State but had to drop out when he travelled to Sapele, Delta State to work as houseboy to one Captain Pullen, a district officer. In 1918, however, Pastor Sadela returned to primary school and obtained his Standard Six Certificate of Education in 1920.
Clerics from across Nigeria have paid tribute to the elderly clergyman. Among them were Reverend Elisha Ogundiya, the chairman of the Osun State Christian Association of Nigeria and Reverend Dipo Filani, the founder of Christ Overcomer’s Assembly.