It was in 1992/93 at the University of Ibadan during my postgraduate programme, I was thinking of what to do next that Papa Mike Oye came for a ministration at the Ibadan Varsity Christian Union (IVCU), Postgraduate Fellowship, Awolowo Hall. After his ministration on a particular night, we had a lengthy discussion on my burden for the ministry and the choice of travelling out of the country on mission. Today, the testimony is, all glory belong to God.

Very Rev Dr Mike Oye of Nigerian parentage was born on Tuesday 8th August, 1939, and was raised in Ghana.  Papa Mike Oye is ‘one of the fathers of Pentecostalism and evangelism in Nigeria. He criss-crossed tertiary institutions in Nigeria in the 1960s and 1970s to breed some of the present generation of Nigerian preachers who are today making waves all over the world.’ Reared within the Roman Catholic Church and later had some experiences with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Eastern religion, Papa Mike Oye had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ ‘after a young girl witnessed to him.’

After his conversion experience, Papa Mike Oye with others like Professor Ishaya Audu and Reuben Ariko as strong supporters of revival at the Nigerian higher institutions ‘got deeply involved in the revival movement that was beginning to burn during those earliest days of the Nigerian Civil War Revival – Northern students.’ Papa Mike Oye ‘eventually became the president of the Intervarsity Christian Union (IVCU), which was the more evangelical alternative to the Student Christian Movement (SCM).’ Papa Mike Oye’s missional emphasis points to ‘repentance & holiness.’ Papa Mike Oye and his friend Muyiwa Olamijulo both as preacher of holiness worked together ‘in the late 1960s and into the 1970s.’ At the Chapel of Resurrection, University of Ibadan, Papa Mike Oye as the President of IVCU was a member of the Chapel Committee. Patriarch Professor Bolaji Idowu, the Patron of the Student Christian Movement (SCM), University of Ibadan, was the Chairman of the Chapel Committee. His Eminence Dr Sunday Mbang, a former prelate Methodist Church Nigeria and a former President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and Most Rev Rogers Uwadi, a former Secretary of Conference, Methodist Church Nigeria and the pioneer Methodist Archbishop of Umuhaia were also members of the SCM. While the IVCU were fundamentalists, the SCM were liberals hence, the Chapel Committee meetings with Papa Mike Oye, His Eminence Sunday Mbang, Archbishop Uwadi, and Professor Bolaji Idowu in attendance were always eventful with sound deliberations to the extent that Professor Bolaji Idowu labelled Papa Mike Oye as ‘Martin Luther.’ Patriarch Professor Bolaji Idowu later became the first Patriarch, Methodist Church Nigeria. Papa Mike Oye experienced ‘the moving of the Holy Spirit in campus revival at a time when ‘there was no sense of either denominationalism or tribalism.’

Papa Mike Oye was not born a Methodist. It is on record that ‘he became one simply because he wanted to please God.  He had been requested by the Methodist Church Nigeria in the 1970s to work with them to reach a very difficult community – Kaiama – located between Kwara and Kogi state. It was this same time that an American mission agency had invited him to come and plant churches for them all over America, with a very juicy offer. Brother Mike’s response was: “There are so many evangelists already in America who can do that. Let me go to the unreached land of Kaiama.” In fact, this was part of the reasons some people then labelled him “Mad Mike.” The point however is that he got into the Methodist because he saw an opportunity to reach the unreached.’ Archbishop Mike Stephen, a retired Methodist Archbishop of Ibadan, and a former Secretary of Conference, Methodist Church Nigeria explained with the background of his father’s memory while working at Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa that he grew to like Papa Mike Oye. According to Archbishop Stephen, Papa Mike Oye as the Travelling Secretary Scripture Union (1969-70), was on many occassions invited to Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa, for Christian events.

Archbishop Stephen’s relationship with Papa Mike Oye continue when Papa Mike Oye was appointed as Agricultural Extension Officer in order to continue the good work of Mike Royle, a qualified agricultural worker in Kaiama/Borgu area. According to Archbishop Stephen, Mike Royle was leaving Nigeria back to England and there was no one to take over the expansive and brilliant agricultural initiative over a wide extension of land given to the Methodist Church Nigeria. The whole area of Kaiama/Borgu was regarded as a ‘Mission Field of the Nigerian Church’ by the Methodist Missionary Society.

Archbishop Stephen said, “The long awaited help came in 1972 through the assistance of Papa Mike Oye. This was very unusual at that time, especially for person of Papa Mike Oye with his academic distinctions and qualifications to come to Kaiama/Borgu, a very remote area. Papa Mike Oye is a real genuine Christian, head and shoulder with his late wife, Rachael. They threw themselves to the work. My father, Pa Stephen was working in that area and when I came for my vacation job from Immanuel College, Ibadan, 1972/73, I worked with Papa Mike Oye and his late wife.’ Archbishop Stephen explained further that, Papa Mike Oye and his wife did not lived in the luxurious house the white man left behind. Papa Mike Oye and his wife lived in the village with the villagers, drinking with them from the same local stream. Papa Mike Oye and his late wife built small hurt for themselves to live and continue the agricultural work and mission engagement with the people in all the villages around them. Papa Mike Oye’s Bible exposition and lifestyle is an example second to known. His faith conviction and exemplary lifestyle are parts of his legacy worthy to emulate and celebrate.

When Professor Bolaji Idowu saw Papa Mike Oye’s mission work and dedication in Kaiama/Borgu in 1973 and with the memories of their encounters at the Chapel Committee, Chapel of Resurrection, Ibadan, Professor Bolaji Idowu decided to ordain Papa Mike Oye as a Methodist Tent Making Minister in 1976 after his part- training at Immanuel College, Ibadan. Papa Mike Oye’s ordination was opposed by some liberal Methodist priests on the argument that Papa Mike Oye did not do all the training at Immanuel College but Patriarch Bolaji Idowu put his foot down in support of Papa Mike Oye’s ordination.

Many of the liberal priests who opposed Papa Mike Oye’s ordination when they saw the effectiveness of his mission exploits from diocese to diocese, local church to local church later suggested a regular full time ministry for Papa Mike Oye. It was Archbishop Audu Achigili, the pioneer Methodist Archbishop of the North in defence of Papa Mike Oye who asked the Methodist Conference to leave Papa Mike Oye alone and ‘let him do what God asked him to do in order for the church to get much out of him.’ Indeed, Papa Mike Oye’s 80th birthday points to the testimonies and legacies of only what God do. On Sunday 24th January, 2018, a former prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Sunday Makinde recognised Papa Mike Oye as a presbyter in Methodist Church Nigeria.

His Eminence Dr Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria described Papa Mike Oye as a minister of God, a God’s general, a Christ Ambassador, an ‘Iroko’ in the Christian circle and most especially in Methodist Church Nigeria. His Eminence Uche first meet Papa Mike Oye in 1970 as a the first indigenous Scripture Union of Nigeria Travelling Secretary (1966-1972) when Papa Mike Oye visited Methodist High Ihube, Okigwe in the then Eastern Central State, now Imo State. Papa Mike Oye took up the position of the Scripture Union of Nigeria Travelling Secretary from John Dean in 1966.

His Eminence Uche explained that he answered the altar call in response to Papa Mike Oye’s soul searching preaching in 1970 at Methodist High School, Ihube. Papa Mike Oye was at the forefront of Methodist Evangelical Movement (MEM) with Most Rev Dr Joseph Sunday Ajayi, Rev Oladele, Engr Fakolade, Bro Femi Osundahunsi, J K Udensi, Paul Udenyi and many others. Papa Mike Oye according to His Eminence Uche was an anchor to Cecil Williamson Mission, moving round the country, preaching the gospel and planting churches. Bishop Amos Ogunrinde, the Methodist Bishop of Osogbo also affirmed the involvment of Papa Mike Oye in the Christian World Misison, USA, in church planting and growth in Osogbo diocese in 2014 with 10 churches planted mostly in Muslim dominated area. Methodist Church, Ofatedo, Osogbo is credited to Papa Mike Oye.

Part of Papa Mike Oye’s outcomes of his campus revival was the creation of indigenous missionary organisations, including Calvary Ministries (CAPRO), of which he was a former international chairman. Papa Mike Oye was a two time Board Chairman of RURCON, a pan-African Christian organisation committed to rural and urban development. With a positive impact in about 30 countries in Africa, Papa Mike Oye was a facilitator in RURCON for over 35 years using his ‘expertise as an agriculturist, naturopath, and pastor.’ He studied General Agriculture in University of Ibadan and graduated with Bachelor of Science Honours in 1966. Between 1962 to 1966, Papa Mike Oye ‘whose life spans the rise of the Nigerian Charismatic movement and the emergence of modern revivalism’ was the President of Student Musical Society, and President, Ibadan Varsity Christian Union, 1965-66 session.  Papa Mike Oye, a living legend is a prominent father figure that God used to nurture the vision of the Coming Alive, a quarterly weekend marathon Prayer and Fasting, Methodist Praying Partners, and most especially the Methodist Campus Fellowship (MCF) from its inception till date.

Papa Mike Oye’s research project on the Autecology of Euphobia heterophylla won a Commonwealth Scholarship for a doctoral research on Chromolaena odorata. Papa developed deep insight into plant Taxonomy and Ecology. Papa did both his Master of Science in Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology in 1982 and his PhD in Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology in 1992 both at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. In 2011 Papa did another PhD at Clayton College of Natural Health (CCNH), and his field of study and research was Traditional Naturopathy. Papa’s theses at all level were distinctions.

Papa Mike Oye as a pastor of pastors, a prolific enterpreneur is ‘a great testament to good health even in his senior years.’ Like the label of “Mad Wesley” and “Paul,” the origin of the prefix, “Mad Mike,” is linked to Papa Mike Oye exemplary ministry. Papa ‘was completely sold out to Christ and turned down juicy offers of livelihood as a university graduate when a senior civil service or private sector employment guaranteed fresh university graduates saloon vehicles within one week of assumption of duties in the 1960s. His conducts, and non-materialistic stance, like those exhibited by Biblical Paul earned him the appellation: ‘’Mad Mike’’ 

On some challenges facing Christianity today, Papa Mike Oye with his interdenominational instincts is of the opinion that, ‘There is a wrong misappropriation of Christian love in a global church. This is a kind of deviation from what it used to be in the early Christian life. There are times we do right things; and even with right motives in a wrong way, laying aside the concepts of honesty and integrity in Christian service.  Divisions have been the greatest havoc to the work of God and that, Non-denominationalism is of God; denominationalism is not of God! Listen, I am first a Christian and a servant of God before being a Methodist, and the day the Methodist Church tells me to obey something that is not Biblical, I quit. ‘’I don’t need their denomination to get to Heaven; I only need Christ to get to Heaven.’

The legacy of Papa Mike Oye as a preacher of repentance and holiness is needed in the Nigerian Church today for personal and corporate renewal. Nigeria today need ‘strong revivalists … men who know how to preach to the backslidden Church … men who can be counted on to call a spade a spade, but to do so under such an anointing of God that it is difficult to resist the power of Holy Spirit conviction that surrounds them. May God raise up in Nigeria more Mike Oye’s for the coming generation!’

Papa Mike Oye as ‘an Independent Alternative Medicine Practitioner and an experienced Christian Minister for over five decades, ‘have a track record of effectively dealing with many chronic, physical, mental, and spiritual human disorders in a holistic way.’ Papa Mike Oye’s broad and comprehensive education and deep interest in the well-being of humankind are the basis for his practice, preaching and spirituality. For Papa Mike Oye, God’s plan for us is about living well and long. Papa Mike Oye as a writer, write at least once a week to still impress upon his ‘readers that there are many natural resources around them that can enhance their health and quality of life.’ In Papa Mike Oye’s ministry, there are ‘testimonies of how versatile and multi-purpose herbs are in healing diseases and boosting the immune system. While each herb may be known to be effective in the treatment of one or two health disorders, almost invariably, there are evidences of POSITIVE SIDE-EFFECTS, phenomena of God’s design in putting together complex phytochemicals that serve as building blocks for the whole body.’

Papa Mike Oye in partnership with others like Dr Cecil Williamson (Christian World Missions) ‘has planted over 200 new churches in remote areas of Nigeria as well as Ghana. His ministerial approach includes spiritual awakening, sound health, and self-reliance. Under self-reliance, he has used his expertise to develop the CAMP-AGGAMMAL formula to help the poor progress in productivity and health. For over four decades he has helped some of Africa’s neediest people through the practice of sustainable food production and preventive medicine.’

Papa Mike Oye as kingdom general with many marks lost his wife Rachael Afolake Oye on January 9th, 2012. They have a daughter and three grandsons living in the United State of America. They lost their only son Temitope Oye in 1998. When Brother Temitope died in Ilorin, Papa Mike Oye at the invitation of a former Methodist Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence Makinde was preparing for the Cathedral Easter Revival. Papa Mike Oye asked those who brought the news of his son’s death to bring the corpse to Osogbo for immediate burial so as to be able to attend the revival at Abuja with his wife.  Papa Mike Oye said, ‘I cannot loose my son and loose the opportunity to preach the gospel. During Tope’s burial, we sang some of the songs he composed and Pastor Essiet from Ilorin preached the sermon. Our consolation is that except the seed falls to the ground, it cannot bear much fruit. I left Osogbo with my wife the following day to Abuja for the Methodist Cathedral Easter revival and we left our daughter, Toyin and her husband to attend to the visitors. I did not disclosed the death of our son throughout the Cathedral revival until the Easter Day, the last day of the programme, and when I announced it, the news brought many people to Jesus Christ. Up till today, Prelate Makinde is yet to get over news of my son’s death and my presence at the Cathedral Easter revival.’

Papa Mike Oye is the founder and Managing Director of Mirato Ventures started as far back as 1992 with the aim of making public his accumulated knowledge as naturalist on how to live well and long according to natural principles. Mirato provides health care in a very scientific, natural and holistic way making use of herbs, diets, lifestyle, and the art of effective counseling. The practice focuses on restoring and maintaining healthiness and balance in the spirit, mind and body. Mirato offers counseling in domestic, social, occupational, and spiritual problems and sell herbal and other natural products such as Vitex, fortified turmeric, and Strawberry capsules, Cinnamon, Oils, pure honey, and books on medicinal plants. 

Among Mirato’s philosophies are: Detoxification of the body systems and boosting of the immune system is our primary approach to treatment. And you find out that when this is done, virtually all diseases can be eventually cured. You are what you eat. Our observation is that using medicinal herbs without paying strict attention to diet is of no lasting effect. For this reason, we advise and encourage some serious cases to be treated with our supervision in our clinic.

Exercise is extremely important to health. No movement, death! Human being is a fusion of three (3) parts -spirit, mind, and body. 
These different parts must be kept in optimum health and harmony for the general well-being of the whole person. Among their publications are: Twenty Tropical Medicinal Herbs and Their Health Benefits; 20 Tropical Medicinal Shrubs and Their Health Benefits; 20 Tropical Fruit-Trees and Their Health Benefits; 20 Tropical Spices and Their Health Benefits.

Papa Mike Oye is married to mum Mildred Akinyi Oye, a seasoned Theologian with sound knowledge of naturopathy, and is also a certified Health Counselor in women affairs. Papa, happy renewing 80th birthday celebration to you.

Deji Okegbile, Nigerian Methodists Chaplaincy, United Kingdom.