Tribute to Archbishop B.A. Idahosa
Benson Andrew Idahosa (September 11, 1938 – March 12, 1998) affectionately called PAPA or BA by his followers, was a CharismaticPentecostal preacher, and founder of the Church of God Mission International with headquarters in Benin City, Nigeria.
As the first Pentecostal archbishop in Nigeria, he was renowned for his robust faith. T. L. Osborn remarked on him as the greatest African ambassador of the apostolic Christian faith to the world.
Born to non-Christian parents in a predominantly non-Christian community, he was rejected by his father, John, for being frail and sickly. He constantly had fainting spells as a child, and on one of his spells, his mother, Sarah, abandoned him at a rubbish heap presuming him dead. Hours later, he came to, and began wailing and was rescued by his mother. He grew up in a poor household. Like most of the surrounding houses, his family home was a mud house. This reality denied him access to education until he was fourteen years old, when he was able to attend a local government school.
As a youth, he got converted to Christianity by Pastor Okpo, and joined his fledgling congregation as one of its first members. He was very active in proselytising and converting many to Christianity. After experiencing what he believed to be a revelation from God calling him into ministry, he began to conduct outreaches from village to village, before establishing his church in a store in Benin City.
By 1971, he had established churches all over Nigeria and Ghana. Known for his boldness, power and prosperity-based preaching, as well as an enormous faith in the supernatural, he was instrumental to the strong wave of revival in Christianity and marked conversions from animism that occurred between the 1970s and 1990s in Nigeria. He is regarded by Christians’ foes as the father of Pentecostalism in Nigeria, and was the founding President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). Many prominent Nigerian pastors like Ayo Oritsejafor (Current PFN President), David Oyedepo, Felix Omobude, Fred Addo and Chris Oyakhilome were his protégés.