By Kelechi Ogunleye
Rev. William Okoye, the General Overseer of All Christians Fellowship Mission (ACFM) and former Chaplin of the Aso Villa Chapel clocks 70 years on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Okoye was born on Sept. 9, 1951 and served under former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former President Goodluck Jonathan for a total of nearly nine years.
Mr Clement Iloba, the Media Lead/Aide to the General Overseer, in a statement on Thursday, in Abuja said Rev. Okoye would be marking this biblical milestone, his platinum age, with an event.
“The event will herald the presentation of his updated biography, first written in 1996, at the Cathedral of Compassion, ACFM, Maitama, Abuja, on Saturday.
“The birthday event tagged, 50 years as a Born Again Christian, 47 years in the service of God [Ministry], will climax with the presentation of his biography titled, Called To Serve; A Legacy of Service With Integrity,” he said.
He noted that Rev. Okoye, was popularly referred to as the Radio Pastor in the early days of the development of Abuja, in the ‘80’s, as the new FCT.
He added that he is a man known for his uncommon character, integrity and passion for national transformation based on Christian values.
“These values are what Rev. Okoye believes have transformed nations.
“For more than 36 years, Rev. Okoye has championed the campaign for national transformation and his first book on the subject matter titled, “The Role of the Church in Nation Building,” was published in 1985 among several others.
“He also pioneered “Be the Change You Want To See” but not before he facilitated an “All African Conference on Religion, Leadership and Good Governance”.
“The conference brought to Abuja, no fewer than 200 high-powered representatives from 27 African countries including President Pierre Nkurunzizza of the Republic of Burundi and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and other representatives from the U.S. and the Middle East.
“The purpose of the conference was to create a platform for African leaders of integrity who are committed to the transformation of the continent to address the issue of good governance,” Iloba said.
He quoted Okoye as saying that, “the challenge of transforming Nigeria’s enormous potentials into meaningful development to improve the conditions and welfare of the citizens has been a recurring concern for many Nigerians over the years.”
“Okoye identified that the lack of consistently God – centered, people – oriented, focused and purposeful leadership was at the heart of Nigeria’s problems.
“He has also advocated for “urgent and critical need for a new breed of courageous and visionary leaders of integrity who are able to lead transformation in all spheres of society.
“He believes that Nigeria can be transformed in spite of the fact that values that drive us today as a people are materialism, greed and selfishness anchored on the notion that money is everything.
“Rev. Okoye says it is not. His stint at the Villa and ministry amongst the top political class for almost nine years and exiting without as much as a blemish on his person is a pointer to his integrity.
He is convinced that, “The single most important factor responsible for our miseries and shadow boxing, either as individuals, church or as a nation is our distorted sense of values and misplaced priorities,” he said.
He quoted Psalms 12: 1 – 8, adding that Rev. Okoye had since become the message because of the values he has been expounding and promoting over the years with his favorite scripture.
He noted that the word ‘integrity’ had become flesh and alive in the biography of Rev. [Dr.] William Okoye that will be presented as the highpoint of the event marking his birthday.
“It is a narrative and testimony that says it is possible to serve God and humanity with integrity especially in our present day Nigeria that has been described as “very religious but ungodly.
“Okoye is quick to point to the transformation of countries like Great Britain, where William Wilberforce, a member of the British Parliament in 1780 and a recent convert then, championed the abolition of the slavery and the “reformation of manners.
“Also, is Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore who, in less than three decades transformed Singapore from a “Third World country to first” based on values of transparency, justice, fairness and integrity that are the bench marks of good governance anywhere in the world.
“Also is Dubai, a recent phenomena before our very eyes. It took Dubai 30 years to develop and just six years to build and transform. Today, Dubai is a must – to – go destination.
“For Rev. [Dr.] William Okoye, these are the thoughts based on facts and values that should dominate and be projected to mark his 70th birthday,” he said.(NAN)