The account of Daniel’s faith found in the book of Daniel chapter 6 involving an incident commonly referred to as “Daniel In The Lion’s Den” resonates with the testimony of Rev Dr Biodun Ogunbeku, a Nigerian Methodist priest who was abducted for six days in the kidnappers’ den. Rev Ogunbeku, a Tent-making minister in Methodist Church Nigeria is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine {University of Ibadan} and as the Veterinary Medical Director/Lead Consultant-Bovea Ventures Ltd, Ibadan, 1998 till date, he looks after his farms across Ibadan environs. It was in one of his regular visits to one of his farms that he was kidnapped four years ago.

While sharing his experience, Ogunbeku said, “To share my experience, I was kidnapped by young armed Hausa-Fulani boys on Thursday, November 10, 2016 at about 6:30 p.m. while I was at my farm at Kufi Area along Olorunda-Aba road in Ibadan, Oyo State. My kidnappers were unkempt and uneducated young Hausa-Fulani boys who spoke not very clear ‘pidgin’ English. I don’t understand Hausa, so I missed out on a lot of the conversations.  However, the boys know the value of money. They spoke about millions of naira. We trekked through thick bush for six days without food or water. I did not have a bath. After we left Olorunda-Aba, we met five other fully armed Hausa-Fulani boys aged between 18 and 24.” Daniel’s enemies catch Daniel praying, but the kidnappers catch Rev Ogunbeku working on his farm and they pressure him to pay ransom or be killed.

Just as the king was hopeful that Daniel’s God will deliver him, the church in Nigeria, families and friends, home and abroad were hopeful in prayer and fasting that God Whom Ogunbeku serves “continually’ will deliver him. For six days it appears Ogunbeku’s kidnappers have won just as Daniel was in the lion’s den and it is sealed. The good news is that no “seal” by man will ever keep God from accomplishing His plans, even the “sealed” tomb (Mt 27:62-66). Rev Ogunbeku followed the Daniel’s zero diets for the six days in the captivity. According to him, ‘Thank God I am a minister of God. I am used to not eating or drinking water.” On how to overcome the issue of kidnapping in Nigeria, Ogunbeku ‘want the government to note these three things. One, the Hausa-Fulani youths should be educated and given employment. Two, cross-state border movement should be looked into. Three, the State Security Service should look for better ways of arresting kidnappers who specialise in moving round thick bushes.’

Born on 19th December, 1962, to Mr Josiah Agboola Ogunbeku and Mrs Victoria Ababa Ogunbeku, nee Ogunsina, both of blessed memory, Rev Ogunbeku attended Methodist Primary School, Oke Oja, Osu, and Atakumosa High School, Osu. Rev Ogunbeku obtained his Post Graduate Diploma, Master in Business Administration (Agricbusiness), Federal University of Abeokuta. He worked as Veterinarian- Mafromid Nig. Ltd, a Veterinary Pharmaceuticals Company – 1990-1992. He was the Nigeria South West Area Technical Sales Representative- Merck Sharp & Dome (MSD), a Veterinary and Human Pharmaceuticals Company – 1993-1997. He is an Agribusiness Management Consultants, Livestock/Poultry Farmers, a Manpower and Market Development Consultants, and Veterinary Pharmacy and Hospital Services. Happily married to Adenike Ogunbeku, nee Adejumo, on Christmas Eve, 24th December, 1991, the marriage is blessed with God fearing children.

Rev Ogunbeku was the pioneer President, Great Reformers Club, Osu. He is the current National President of Osu Community Development Council (OCDC), and Deputy Director General, Ijesa Felates Club. Rev Ogunbeku served as National Publicity Secretary and Internal Auditor, Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association. He was the Vice Chairman, Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Oyo-State chapter, Past President, Association of Private Veterinary Practitioners of Nigeria, Oyo & Osun States.

After many years of excuses, Rev Ogunbeku yielded to God’s call and was commissioned in 2004. He did his ministerial training at Methodist Theological Institute, Sagamu. He was appointment as the the pioneer minister in charge of Evangelism in the Diocese of Agodi 2006-2012 during which about 5 local churches were established and about 30 lay preachers were trained and recognised. Rev Ogunbeku was ordained as a priest in Methodist Church Nigeria in 2010. Rev Ogunbeku is on a return to mission work again at the Evangelism department of the Diocese of Agodi having been reappointed since 2018 as Minister of Evangelism and Coordinator for Rural Evangelism, Agriculture, and discipleship.

God used Rev Ogunbeku to plant Methodist Church, Akobo, Ibadan, in 2009, a very spiritually vibrant and growing membership. Rev Ogunbeku’s description of himself as “an hesitant Pastor “in the order of Paul’s writing in 1Timothy 4:12-16 is very passionate about personal and corporate consistent improvement of knowledge, capacity building and character because faith is a progressive process. Rev Ogunbeku is grateful to God and to some people on the roles they played in his ministerial journey. The supportive and evidential role of his wife, Adenike, a secondary school principal in Ibadan, his children, the Rt Rev Olu Akinola, and Baba Adura Dr Segun Otemuyiwa among others remains inspiring to Rev Ogunbeku.

Rev Ogunbeku’s absolute trust in God since his infancy is the secret of all his endeavours in life coupled with his understanding wife, Adenike and his children. Unlike people from privileged backgrounds, faced with little adversity, Rev Ogunbeku studied through faith in God and build up a sense to pray and think outside the box on a daily basis not just to survive but to be a model in the community and in the church. Rev Ogunbeku learnt to embrace the struggle from his early years, turning his negatives into positives, and channelling his anger into positive application and into energy of being charismatic, convincing, thoughtful, and a model. The testimony about Rev Ogunbeku is that, growing up with disadvantages, can lead to significant advantages in life, just as growing up without a silver spoon, (though they don’t sell it in our community market), does not make you less of a success. Rev Ogunbeku’s trust in Divine Providence is unshakeable, believing that God’s sovereign guidance, and control over his life is enough and sufficient to carry him through the challenges of life without looking back. To Rev Ogunbeku, God governs him as a loving Father and provider, working all things for his good. One of his favourite hymns we love to sing together in some of our darkest days was by Georg Christian Neumark (1621-1681) in Methodist Hymn Book 504:

LEAVE God to order all thy ways,
And hope in Him whate’er betide;
Thou’lt find Him in the evil days
Thy all-sufficient strength and guide;
Who trusts in God’s unchanging love
Builds on the rock that naught can move.

Only thy restless heart keep still,
And wait in cheerful hope, content
To take whate’er His gracious will,
His all-discerning love, hath sent;
Nor doubt our inmost wants are known
To Him who chose us for his own.

Sing, pray, and swerve not from His ways,
But do thine own part faithfully;
Trust His rich promises of grace,
So shall they be fulfilled in thee;
God never yet forsook at need
The soul that trusted Him indeed.

Rev Ogunbeku’s ways are under God’s control, hence he can smile in the midst of storm. Rev Ogunbeku found his hope in God in the evil days when he was kidnapped and even when his farm was not yielding as expected. God is Rev Ogunbeku’s strenght and guide. Rev Ogunbeku trusts in God’s unchanging love and builds on Jesus, the Rock that nothing can move. I have witnessed some situations with Rev Ogunbeku, humanly speaking, very sad, but with smile face, Rev Ogunbeku always keep still his restless heart, sing, pray, and wait in cheerful hope, content, to take whatever God’s gracious will.

 On the rumour that his kidnapping was masterminded by someone who had a personal gruge against him, Rev Ogunbeku in his usual open heart and confidence in God said, “I don’t think anybody was after me. I think I was a victim of circumstance. From what I could gather from their conversation, my abductors were looking for someone else. They were going to another farm before they mistakenly came to mine. It is not that they just came; they had studied and monitored my movement over time, all in the name of grazing cattle. They knew I went to the farm in the evening on Thursdays and so knew the time to kidnap me. They had informants who they spoke with on phone. From their conversation, I could also gather that they also spoke with their family members.”

It is indeed a time of thanksgiving for Rev Ogunbeku and his family for his 16 years commissioning as a deacon, 10 years ordination as priest, and most especially his release, unhurt from the kidnappers den through Erunmu village at about 9:00 pm on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. Just as Daniel was delivered from the lions with no injury found on him because he believed in His God, Rev Ogunbeku was delivered and released by his kidnappers with no injury found on him. To God be the glory. Worthy is the Lamb! Please remember him and his family in your prayers.