Rev. Samson Ayokunle Olasupo
Rev. Samson Ayokunle Olasupo

In July 2022, the 7th president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Samson Ayokunle, ended his tenure as the leader of the umbrella body of all Christians in Nigeria. The one-time President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention handed the baton of CAN leadership over to Archbishop Daniel Okoh, the General Superintendent of Christ Holy Church International, Onitsha, Anambra State.

Ayokunle who was elected in 2016, hails from Isheke, Oyo state, and was born on January 25, 1957. In 1986, the clergy enrolled for a post graduate diploma in Education. He went further to study and got a Masters of Divinity degree in Theology in 1992 at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomosho, Oyo State. For his love for learning and thirst for knowledge, he went back to the University of Ibadan for another master’s degree in Guidance and Counselling.

The former CAN President enrolled in Liverpool Hope University, England, for his third Master’s degree in Theology and Religious studies in 2003. With the successful completion of the programme, he went ahead to commence his Ph.D. programme at the University of Liverpool in 2004, which earned him a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Theology in 2008.

Ayokunle, who worked at the Federal Civil Service Commission as a public Administrator between 1989 and 1992, opted to work full-time in God’s vineyard. Between 1992 and 1995, he was Pastor at the Estate Baptist Church, Oyo State.

His work in God’s vineyard was not restricted to Nigeria. While he was in the United Kingdom in search of knowledge, he co-pastored at the Pentecost Baptist Church, Kesington, Liverpool, within the same period.

He became the president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention in 2011 and served as the Pastor of Jubilee Life Baptist Church, Ibadan, before his election as CAN president in 2016.

Apart from being a former president of CAN and the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Ayokunle holds various positions across the world, a testament of his impact in Christendom and humanity at large. He is a Fellow of Andrew Walls Centre for the Study of African Christianity; a member of the Nominating Committee and Executive Committee of the Baptist World Alliance, a global movement of Baptists networking to impact the world for Jesus Christ. Ayokunle is also a member of the Nominating and Governance Committee of the World Council of Churches, located in Geneva, Switzerland, and a member of the Central Working Committee of the World Council of Churches – the highest decision-making committee of the World Council.

All through his tenure as the leader of the umbrella body of all Christians in the country, he spoke against injustice across the country. He challenged Christians to actively participate in politics and also encouraged them to vie for elective positions. It would go down in the history of Christian participation in politics that the former CAN president rang it to all Christians in the country that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) do not count prayers but votes, therefore while Christians pray for the peace and leaders of the country, they must also not slack in doing their part of voting whom they believe would do the will of God in governance into power.

In spite of being the top Christian leader in the country, he limited his visit to the corridor of power in order to maintain his objectivity and stand by the truth no matter whose horse was gored. He also ensured that in spite of the sensitivity of religion in the country and the penchant of the elites and politicians to use religion as a weapon to wreak havoc, that the Christian body maintained a cordial relationship with the Muslim body in the country.

During the meeting of the leadership of the Christian body with the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, at the National Assembly, Ayokunle cautioned political parties in the country against fielding same religion presidential ticket.

He said, “Concerning 2023 elections, we’d admonish you, politicians, not to heat up the polity in any way as the campaigns are opened by guiding the utterances that would be coming out of you. There is already tension in the land because of insecurity.

“We equally want to urge you on presidency that a balance of both religious practitioners be considered. We don’t want Christian/Christian ticket or Muslim/Muslim ticket,” he said.

Ayokunle is married to Deborah Ayokunle and they are blessed with three children.


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