Who is the idol of my open meditation ? He is no other person than Pa Modupe Oduyoye whom I have consistently described as ” a man ,who to me, is more and means more than ten universities .” It is a sweet music to our two ears that ,here is a man who has been a pride to Student Christian Movement , SCM when in the 60s ,Student Christian Movement was indeed SCM in Nigeria.
Here is a man who commands the largest Hebrew vocabulary in Africa, yet he does not go about with pomp and pageantry even though he has arrived perfectly into the world of Bible translation where he has earned accolades the world over. Here is a man who gave out his car free to his gardener in frank simplicity so that the poor also may drive as they deserve some good things of life. Here is a man who practises One hundred percent precept of all what he has taken the pleasure in teaching others in the Bible. Few years back,even after his houses had clocked the years of jubilee, Oduyoye ,in accordance with the dictates of what the book of Leviticus commanded in the Bible, did dispose off the property accordingly. He would dare not hold them in perpetuity as far as their tenure could go,even in line with the spirit of God’s word.
I remember how many times he had offered free accommodation to tenants who had been thrown out into the streets by Shylock landlords while he has not for a day closed his eyes to the plights of the poor who had come near his gate. All of these are sweet music to our ears and he is still the same man who has taken Day Star to the apogee of its strength yet the robust tutelage he offered to the place has not been well reciprocated as that abode of angels has gone slowly into moral and financial oblivion. Few years after his retirement from there , the place is now a poor shadow of its glorious past .
No doubt he is celebrated among the best of scholars at home and abroad but the plunder attending his resources daily does not glorify the energies he has invested in too many a geniuses at home and abroad. Today is going to find him freely yielding all of his books of real gem, free to all the members of the public to do whatever they like with them ,as if to allow too many plagiarists who have been daily milking him online accelerate their conscienceless plunder . He has chosen to donate this largesse that scholarship might be advanced especially among the poor .
Is there no way this idol of a man could be compensated and be better appreciated ? A good book is a legacy which posterity can never squander but here in Nigeria, this idol is a good book this nation delights in squandering simply because he invites all to free meal . As I meditate upon how his 85th birthday would turn out to be , I ask myself: ” Would his friends remember him and drop by to wish him well ? He would be going to his father’s village at Tigbori to bless them on that day as it is usual with him .
My consolation in all of these however resides in the realization of the warmth which the generous heart of One Bishop among Bishops has been extending to him ,showing to him unequalled compassion which I have found unusual in Nigeria and a brotherly love uncommon among Christians in this part of the world. God bless Bishop William for his large heart