John Augustine Abayomi Cole was a West African doctor, farmer and traditionalist whose parents were originally from Sierra Leone but settled in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He was one of the most eminent agriculturalist and herbal medicine researcher during his time; he was sometimes called professor, an alias he had gained through various efforts including the establishment of a psychical institute. Though, he was raised in a Christian extended family and later acknowledged some benefits of Christianity such as frowning at polygamy and idolatry. He was also a critical promoter of African tradition and religion. Sometimes, proclaiming African religion more suitable than Western religion. However, to some critics, he was controversial and full of contradictions.
Abayomi Cole was born in the 1848 to a Muslim father from the Oyo area. He spent most of his life in Sierra Leone, Nigeria and later Liberia, his experience in the three West African countries gave him more strength in the belief of Pan Africanism. He was also an advocate of African leadership in matters affecting spoken and written language.
He started his education in Lagos and later went to C.M.S. Grammar School, Freetown. He continued his studies privately, reading books about the classics, Arabic, Hebrew and Theology. He started his career as a teacher and thereafter worked with some Christian missions in Sierra Leone. He was able to travel to America where he was exposed to the teachings of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. However, he left the church and founded his own mission.