says, Touching lives is my target and that is what I want to end my life with,
Mr. Oluwagbenga Peter Atunbi is the Vice Principal of the Baptist Girls Academy, Obanikoro, Lagos, and also an Assistant Leader in The Risen Christ Baptist Church, Ijegun, Lagos State. In this interview with Golden Heritage magazine, Atunbi narrates his background, salvation experience, health challenges, and why he established a Non-Governmental Organization. He also talked about his vision for the NGO among other issues. Excerpts:
Can you give a brief of your background?
Thank you very much. Let me start by giving you the details of my name; it’s just a revelation-name from God. I was born into the family of Atunbi and the name given to me at my birth is Peter Olugbemiga, the son of Atunbi and the generality of my life up till now is a recent revelation that was given to me by God Almighty because of the issues of life that have gone through then the Lord gave me a new name known as Anuoluwapo. I was born into the family of Atunbi on 13th April 1961. I was born on a farm settlement known as Agago, very close to Ago. It is not far from Shaki in Oyo State. Though, my parents are from Elero under Kajola Local Government. I was born into a Christian home. Although, my parents were going to church on Sundays; they worship God Almighty but that did not stop them from going to idols known as Ogun and Oro. So when we are coming up, we were trained in that way; we would go to church then but when we would come back home, they would do another thing.
Whenever they are worshipping their idols, they would invite us or would take us to worship the idol too, so those are just the little background of where I was coming from until when we grew up and God revealed Himself in reality. With the help of God, we acquired a little education, then the knowledge of God now came into reality and we gave our lives to the Almighty God. So, my elder brother first gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ and we looked at his lifestyle, it tutored us in the way of the Lord and the story of the whole thing changed. Through the challenges of life, we met with the Lord Jesus Christ and that transformed my life to where I am today I’m still longing to meet the standard of God but sincerely, God is faithful to my life.
How did the name, Atunbi come?
The name our father was bearing then was Ogundijo Atunbi James. When we started primary school, l was just bearing Ogundijo Peter Olugbenga. The word “Atunbi” came to the family as a result of the experience of my father. He was the 14th child of his mother that did not die at birth. You know then they always called them “Abiku”, my father was exactly the 14th child his mother gave birth to, then they named him “Atunbi;” which is the genesis of Atunbi. So incidentally, many members of the family are bearing Atunbi because it’s the family name but when you come into the knowledge of God, it becomes the reality.
Meanwhile, those idols that our parents used to worship then are still but my elder brother went home one day and our father was late but the younger brothers of our father were still coming to the compound to worship the idols then my elder brother told them, come and carry your property; the father that you people used to come and give respect for this idol is gone, we don’t need it in our father’s house. It was a thug of war but my brother have to call some prayer warriors from the church, we went home during Christmas time and they prayed, they did vigil, and they brought all of those things out and they were set ablaze. We burnt everything to ashes. Many people who thought the idol will consume us, none of them are living again; the Lord has called them home and since that time we got our total freedom from worshipping idols.
What is your educational background and how did you attain this height?
The journey of my life started from the village I called Agogo close to Ago Are near Saki. My late mother, Esther Atunbi used to be on a trade journey to Ibadan but my father was purely a hunter, it’s the family line of work. Later, my father was called back to his hometown, Elero that he should come and take the title, “Olori Ode” which is the head of the hunter. That was what made all of us relocate to the home town and when we relocated to our home town, then we still have some other farms not far from Baba Ode which will take us some kilometers. When we used to go there, we used to stay there for months before we would come back home. But in the year 1967 precisely I was asked to come back home to start school on getting home, I started school from primary one not up to a term, I fell sick with a serious stomach ache after battling with it, I landed at Our Lady Hospital, Isehin still in Oyo State. I was in that hospital for three years; 1967, 1968, and 1969. It got to a stage my parents sold most of their property and farm activities because of me. Meanwhile, it was European doctors that used to take of us but in late 1969 I was discharged, it was like they couldn’t handle the case, that I should go back home and my parents should look for local herbs probably that will cure the sickness because they didn’t know what to do again. They conducted a series of tests on me after getting back home, they even scraped my hair to make local soap that they used to bathe me for months but still, the problem persisted. it would go today, come tomorrow until one day, my father put me on the bicycle and took me to our family house in another town Okeho. The compound is Ilejadefo because I have an uncle that used to do a medicine vendor, he would use a bicycle to sell medicine to the villages and the towns around. On getting to the man called Yemi, he is late now, my father explained what we have been battling with for some years, he gave me some drugs, told my father to go and get pap, my father went outside to get the pap, I drank the pap, they gave me six tablets, I managed to take that pap because I needed to take the drug, I took the drugs, I slept off. After a while in the afternoon, they woke me up, they asked what would I eat, I requested Amala, and they gave me amala. I was able to take the amala so I used another two drugs. In the night, they asked me again what I would take, I said I would like to take cold pap and ekuru and they gave me that tablet and I slept that night like a baby. The following day, I was looking at myself, is it the same person that was written off! Those that knew me then used to call me “Kokumo”, so brother Yemi now told us that we should be going back home, that if the pain still comes back, we should come back to him. We requested the drug, he said there was no need, and in early 1970, sincerely to God be the Glory, I was free from that pain of the stomach for years until the year 2019, 7th October. I was in the office, I was treating malaria fever, and that morning, I asked my wife to prepare pap and vegetables which she did to take to the office. After taking it, it’s like there was a poison in that food but we ate it together. I had to call her to confirm if she was feeling anyhow she said none that she did not feel anything. I told her about my experience. Then I called my doctor he asked me to take a medicine which I did, then later I called her again so she went to the nurse in her working place and the nurse said I should take Andrew liver salt which I did but the thing could not even come down. Then I called my wife around 3 O’clock and said it’s like this thing is becoming another thing, I have to go to the hospital and she said okay on my way going I should come and pick her, so around 4 PM, I just took the key, I entered and drove down to her office. I picked her up so I went straight to the hospital. On getting to the hospital, I met doctor David, I told him my experience, and the man said okay I should be going home probably on my way to work the following day I should stop at the hospital. I said doctor, you don’t know the way I am feeling; my house is not a hospital please I need some attention. He then asked me what I would suggest. I said whatever you feel. He asked if I was suggesting admission, and I said Yes! He further asked me the level of the pain was between 0 and 10, I said 10, he said no, that if it is 10, I would not even be the one to drive myself to the hospital that even the women in the labour room cannot experience up to seven. I said the thing is paining me and that how I was admitted that night it was as if I won’t be able to see the following day because the doctor could not even handle but God Almighty intervene so the following morning they took me to x-tray, they discovered that I had an abnormal obstruction. So, they said they would call the surgeon, he booked me an operation. I signed and my wife signed, the third day was exactly at noon, I was taken to the theatre.
On my way going to the theatre, my firstborn was around and I was afraid because going to the theatre was the first time in my life, I said me going to the theatre what is the assurance of coming back to life. When I was going to the theatre, what came into my mind was that I was looking at my wife and firstborn, I was just waving to them and I was singing within me “AOPADE LESE JESU” because when I was going, it was as if the end had come but to God be the glory at the theatre, it took them more than five hours but the Lord performed a miracle, I came back alive. I was taken back to the ward the following day it was hectic, some of my church members came when they saw me, in fact, many of them could not get closer to me. I was seeing them from far but I just managed to wave my hand, and shook my hand, so I passed through the pain for some days, and I was discharged.
When I was discharged; I came back home but there was a lot of calamity within the community, in fact, the day I entered, the following morning I wanted to call a friend of mine within our estate not up to an hour, another colleague from the estate, Pastor Adekanbi now called me because that one did not know what I was passing through. He asked did I hear that Mr. Tijani died early this morning? I was shivering in bed, I just cut the call, my wife was not around, it was one of my daughters that were around, I was shivering in the bed as if the end has come. So I tried to call a friend of mine from Ikorodu, Doctor Olufolabi but his number didn’t go through because I thought probably there was a spirit entering different homes to kill people because that was my thought then that if my friend come and take me away from these place but then another set of people came to me, they were narrating the level people are just dying, I was afraid but to God be the glory, the Lord saved my life.
So, after three months, I was able to go back to the office. People will take me down to the office another person will bring me back home; just keep on managing my life then the year 2021 September 7, I came back from office, I asked my wife to prepare pap and vegetable which she did and I took it that night before the daybreak, I was not understanding my system at all and I told her I think I had to see the doctor because I am not getting myself, so I went to the doctor, they gave me some drugs which I took. I came back home throughout that week, I was just going to the hospital, later they said they had to run a test which they did they said it is an ulcer and that they needed to admit me. So, I was there for about four days, the day they discharge me, on getting home, my wife prepared amala. But before she finished preparing the amala, I was not feeling comfortable. I just managed to eat the amala, the situation was not good at all that night. Before I could get to the hospital, it was as if I would not reach the hospital. The pain was just too much, as they saw me, they asked, what happened again, did you go against the rule? I had to call the owner of that hospital, so the following day the man came and he said to Mr. Atunbi what is happening? When he touched my stomach, he said you will need to go and do a scan. At Surulere, the way I vomited that day it was as if the end has come thinking that the result will come out that day and they will start the treatment but they said they can’t start treatment until they see the result. So, the following day the result was sent, and they said obstruction again. I said where did it come from again, and what is going to be the solution, they said they will pass a certain thing inside my nose that goes directly into my stomach, that the thing will be there for 72 hours hoping it will open and I will be relieved. They tried that for three days, then they removed it but I was there for 14 days before I was discharged.
On October 1st, I went back to the doctor, I said I am not feeling okay and you said you discharged me, I should go back home, home is not the hospital. Then I told God, you know you are the one that created me, the pain is too much God, I am giving you an option: it’s either you kill me or heal me! So, the doctor came, the nurse came, they gave me some injections maybe I will sleep, I slept not up to 30 minutes after a while, I asked my wife to go and bring a potty, she brought it, I sat on it and the thing started coming out. I was getting relieved till the next morning, I came back home on October 3rd, that night till Monday, it was another thug of war. I said what is happening, I had to call a doctor friend living around, doctor Thomas. Everybody said I should calm down but I am not feeling fine not up to 9 am, the situation was changed, I’m I going to die in the house where there is nobody? so I had to call a senior friend, Mr. Adebisi to start coming with his car, there is a need for me to go to the hospital now. By that time, I was making up my mind to change hospital, on my way to the hospital, there was traffic. I could not even talk again, my breath was slow, on getting to the hospital, I was told to do another scan.
The following day, I had to call my elder brother. So they brought the car, and took me down there. Those we met at the center, were pitying me that there is a need for me to go back to where I did the first operation; on getting there, they prepared my referral letter that time, I was confused because the pain was so much. The following morning, I expected the doctor to come early on my way to the theatre operation, I was not scared, I didn’t know where the boldness came from. When I got to the theatre room, I put off my shoes myself, I climbed the table by myself and I closed my eyes and I said, Lord just have your way. I did not sleep at all. When I was having the second operation, God is just being faithful; three days after my elder brother arranged for some pastors in my apartment to pray to God, where is this battle coming from? God, have your way, they prayed. Suddenly, l I was called on Saturday unfortunately, one of the pastors that spoke with me for 42 minutes when I was in the hospital that the man was gone and I said God if not because of your mercy who am I. My being on the solid ground today with everything, I have passed through is God Almighty it’s the mercy of God that is keeping me to this moment.
Tell us about your salvation experience?
To God be the glory, I gave my life to God in the year 1982. I was still at Elero then under a crusade that was organized by my former church, Alafia Oluwa Baptist Church, Elero. The preacher on that day was Rev. Ogundiran that was invited to the revival. Although my mother because of my challenges right from the beginning joined Deeper Life Bible Church, we were still going to Baptist church. To the glory of God, my late mother was a prayer warrior, she said this is not ordinary that it is a battle that one needs to pray effectively but upon that when God revealed Himself to me that ”my son I need you,” He deserves all glory.
How would you compare your relationship with God when you first gave your life to Christ and now?
By the special grace of God, I am growing every blessed day. Though I have not attained the peak, my level of faith now is higher and my covenant with God now is far higher than the level of the covenant with Him then because of a lot of things the Lord is revealing to me. Recently, I am seeing God in a new dimension in the journey of my life when I started reading through the Bible from Genesis; I looked at Pharaoh, I looked at what Joseph went through; I know it’s just the story of my life because of my early challenges in the late 60s which also affected my education. But, after a while, I needed to come back to school because I was taken to the farm but when we came back to the town, I met some of my friends, they were already in primary five and we started primary one together. They were trying to make jest of me and calling me names. One of my friends then Solomon Oyewole now retired as a Director in Ibadan recently called me are you not going to school again on getting to the farm I was confused.
What is the vision behind the NGO you are inaugurating?
Praise the Lord, what plotted the issue of NGO is a divine instruction. We came to this world with nothing and we shall go with nothing so there are a lot of people outside there if you look at our fingers you discover that our fingers are not equal and God wants us to partner with each other so that his purpose should come into reality so touching the lives of everyone around. This is my target and that is what I want to end my life with, it is a divine instruction and to the glory of God when the revelation was revealed to the people around me, the majority of them captured the revelation. The vision of NGO came so the people that heard about it and we are in the process of registering it, we believe that it will go all over the world even this my 60th birthday that God is doing for me already, the revelation that came in is that it is not a social gathering but it will touch lives.
How do you intend to run this NGO without going off the track?
With the number of people that we started together to actualize this NGO, we know ourselves. it’s not about enriching oneself. After the registration, we have an account and the target we want is to go into touching the lives of orphans, widows, and widowers and give scholarships to the less privileged. Some people have focus and they have the passion for the vision because we have seen the reality of life and our agenda is to touch lives.
I want you to mention your vision for the next five years of the NGO?
One of the names we have submitted for approval for the NGO at CAC Abuja is “Giving to God Through Humanity” and our vision in the next three years to come is that we want to make sure we touch the lives of the less privileged, the aged ones, giving people scholarships within the area.
For men of God who have the resources but they are not doing what is expected of them, I want to advise them because that is our calling, the calling is to touch lives.
Advise the young men out there and those within your age group?
My advice to people within my age bracket is to see that we are getting towards our evening. So, whatsoever you could not acquire in our early 50s should not be a thing of the target for now. This is the time for us to give our lives to God Almighty and serve humanity. We should be thinking of eternity and stop running about for the things of this world. I just pray that the people should learn and know there is a need for us to focus on God and serve humanity.
What is the secret behind this bond in your marriage?
She is not my wife, she is my mother. The reason why I said she is my mother was when I sighted my eyes on her at a tender age, her brother used to be a friend of mine; her life and dedication to God made me propose to her. She troubled me so must before she agreed after three years. She said I have heard we courted for
13 and half years before we took ourselves to the altar. She got married to me when I was nothing but her marriage to me opened the door of opportunity the marriage is 25 years plus now with three beautiful children.
Meanwhile, Golden Heritage News also had a chat with the wife Mrs. Atunbi on why she supported her husband, stood by him during the crisis, and her advice to other wives, the community, and particularly, the Christian homes. She has this to say;
Why are you still standing by him despite going through such an experience?
I bless the name of God for how far He has been keeping us on the journey of life because the marriage is for better and for worse, so I need to stand by him. When he was passing through the challenges of life, I didn’t say it was for only him because he is part of me. I needed to stand by him and through the grace of God, we can scale through, as a woman I felt the challenges and pain so much but I kept on praying within me. Sometimes, I may be tired but I need to keep on praying, looking unto God the author and the finisher of our faith.
What is your advice to women out there?
I will advise our women that marriage is for better or worse, we need to stand by our husbands in whatever they are passing through because with the support of our efforts and with prayer God will lead us through.
What will be your advice to the women whose husbands are involved in domestic violence?
Before it got to that stage, she might have passed through some stages, she is supposed to let the spiritual father know when something gets to that stage. She should stay apart for a while before it gets to the stage of cutting her life short.
What is your advice to people facing the same situation as the one you have passed through?
The first thing, you must know your God, when you know your God, everything will be easier. With my experience in life and the level I am today, I have discovered that I am nothing before him and I have left everything unto him, made up my mind is to serve God and humanity.
Why are you in agreement with this decision he made?
Thank God for the man I married and he knows me from the beginning that I am not an extravagant woman and I am not a party person. Maybe the way I was brought up; it’s because my grandmother brought me up in a way that even before she allowed me to go to a party I had already passed out from secondary school. So, I am in line with him to build human lives and thank God I am into one ethics lifestyle and this is one of the things we have been doing there. We are a group of women in the church of God that he has been using us to touch lives.
Also, one of the close-friend to the family who also shared the turbulent period with them revealed his concern.
Your name and how you came across pastor Atunbi and a little thing you can say about the family?
I Am Toyinbo Olushola, I see daddy and mummy as my parents, they are wonderful people God brought them together under the covenant of Christ Baptist Church which makes us a big family. They are both well-respected leaders, God-fearing and they know who they are in the Lord. Daddy used to call me “my dear brother” and I will call him “my daddy”, mummy calls me “Mr. T” and I will call her “my dear mummy” God has been using us to do so many things together that people find it difficult to even break us apart. So, we give all the Glory to God because we are nothing but tools in the hand of God. The purpose of life is to worship and we bless God for this day, we thank God for the life of daddy. Though many people thought the end has come in fact at a time in our church, daddy is one of our former deputy head chairmen, (sometimes when you make jokes,) a reasonable person will pick a point. We lost one of our former deputy chairmen, Mr. Adedokun, and it was during the pick of his sickness. One of our fathers in the church was saying that Adedokun has gone, see what Atunbi is passing through but we bless God for his life today that he is still alive.
What is your advice to him at this moment?
He should calm down, he has seen things, he has seen God face to face and the mandate that God has given him now is clearer, therefore, he should take things easy because he is no longer growing younger. Although sometimes I used to tell people “leave daddy alone he is just proving his name now and you know those days when you first give your life to Christ, we used to have SU. So, daddy is living his life as if he has a specific date that God has revealed to him which he refused to tell anyone, that is my point of view.
Now, daddy should take care of himself, take care of mummy, the children. This is the season for celebration. Daddy and mummy, people are following you, people are looking at your steps; both in the church, in the family, in the community and I pray God will not use you to disappoint anyone in Jesus’ name amen.
The last born of Pastor Atunbi also has this to say about his dad;
My name is Atunbi Oluwadamilare. I am the last born of the family. What I can say about my daddy is that first of all we thank God for his life and the grace to attain this particular age that he is celebrating. Also, we thank God for his life because daddy has gone through a lot which I happen to witness in some of his experiences in life but we thank God for the victory and breakthrough. What I have to say about daddy is that he is caring, and always ready to help people. So, we just thank God for his life generally and I pray God should give him more strength and grant him a long life.
If he happens to be his dad, what he would like to do the same way, he said;
What I will like to replicate in him is his lifestyle; like he is ready to help people, ready to listen to people, ready to do what he can do for people because I am also a person that like helping people even though I bear the name LOVE I am a very loving person I try to extend love to people and very caring so I think that’s what I will like to replicate.
My advice to him is that as he has attained this new age, he should take things very calmly even though he is adjusting as he is advancing but he should take things very calmly more than before.
Mrs. Adedokun is one of the members of the NGO; Golden Heritage searches for the light on the vision behind the Organization and the visionary, Mr. Atunbi. Excerpt;
Well, my name is Adedokun Esther Abosede nail Oyedeji Olaosebikan from Oyo state Afiji local government.
Pastor Atunbi, what do you know about him?
Baba Atunbi is someone I can say he’s a man of himself, he is a disciplinary person, his yes is yes and his no is no and he is ready to help when someone is in trouble when you are passing through challenges of life he is ready to assist you, he is ready to stand by you, he is ready to assist physically, financially and spiritually, in fact, he is a man of God.
Can you tell us what you think is sustaining him?
Is the grace of God when someone is having challenges of life or you are facing tribulations one should believe in God, you have already found the solution so that is what I can say concerning Pastor Atunbi he knows the God he is serving that whatever he is passing through whatever may be the challenges his God is always there with him.
Your word of advice to him as he is celebrating his 60th?
Well, I just want to say the Lord would help him more to stand on the rock which is Jesus Christ and he should continue the work of God that God has given unto him to do.
Do you think he has what it takes to establish NGO as a member of that NGO?
Haaaa it’s God because I don’t think he sat down and think, let me establish something of this nature. If I want to say, this is a revelation from God. Maybe God wants him to carry out this assignment which is why he purposely preserves him and makes a way for him from the sickness.
Why are you in agreement with that establishment?
I am because as you are looking at me; I am a daughter of grace. So once you receive grace, why not be ready to help others. I am a daughter of grace and I believe whatever I am passing through, whatever I am now, it is by God’s grace and whatever we are having we are not the owner; he just purposely keeps it in our care maybe we will use it very well or we will say this is my money, I work for it, I suffered before I could gather all these things. But I tell you, it is a lie. Whatever we have in this world it’s grace, it’s an opportunity.
Advice for people out there to be part of this establishment?
I will say if you can think deeply, you are alive for a purpose and you must accomplish the purpose before you go back to your Creator definitely you must be ready to be part of these.