The Fountain of Life Church, Lagos held its first rally for 2019 ‘Discovery for Women’, themed ‘New Possibilities’. Pastor Taiwo Odukoya had an interactive session with the press on the Church’s focus on women empowerment and their role in nation building; SEYI JOHN SALAU was there. Excerpts:
This is the first 2019 rally of ‘Discovery for Women’; can you tell us what it is all about?
Basically what we do in discovery for women is that we discuss women; to encourage women, reminding them of the reason for their creation. You know God said let us make man in our image after our likeness and let him have dominion: then when He got to the turn of the women he said, I will make for you, talking to the man: a help meet needed, that is the one that will aid you in the task of your life, and so God made a man. So, what I ask myself usually is that why didn’t He tell the dog to become the help, why didn’t He tell the goat, why did He go back to make a help meet for the man. So, the woman must be prepared adequately to build a support that the man needs to have dominion here on earth. So, we discover that even the United Nations today realises that we are not giving attention to women – if you want to change the society; you want to stabilise the nation, educate the woman because they will in turn educate the children. They will be the one to stand and nurture the children. And, so that is why we are giving much attention to the women, so the best we can do is to help them be the best they can be, supporting humanity and make humanity do what God has ordained it to be on earth.
If I may ask, what is the focus of this year’s ‘discovery for women’?
For this particular rally it is new possibilities. And why we called it so is that life is about alms and flows, and usually when you get to the alms there are tendencies to get stuck, you don’t have to get stuck. You can have a flow, a continuous flow in Jesus name. So we want to encourage people facing setbacks; things not measuring up as planned usually truncate a lot of peoples’ dreams and thrive for the future. We don’t want that to happen to our women, so we can suffer some setbacks to enable them to go, to encourage them, and equip them adequately about all they need to know.
What outcomes are you expecting at the end of this programme?
We are expecting to see women that will be able to rise up above the challenges of the moment; women, not just rising above the challenges but carrying the children along, carrying the community along. I give an example, Rwanda, you know after the genocide: isn’t it amazing that it is the women that rally round to say now we are going to take our country back. For the first time we had an assembly, a national assembly that is dominated by women and today talk of development; talk of progress in Africa, you would want to talk about Rwanda. That’s not to say they are better than men but that is what they are created for; fill in where there are gaps, help the man to realise his stand again to go ahead. So, the man goes fighting, the woman stays stabilising. So the woman is needed: I don’t know if you heard an interview, somebody was interviewing someone on channels recently; he said what Nigeria has to do; we have to go back and educate our people and in the North particularly, the women. Otherwise, the problem that is prevailing in the North will persist. So we have a problem of education, but what about our women, they need to be educated too. For example, look at the places where Boko Haram has been attacking, the men go to fight, they are dead and gone; the woman will be left with the children, they are the ones that stay with them in the camps. So you want to preserve posterity; you want to project to the future; you want to develop an advanced mind – I believe that every woman should be educated, every woman should be empowered. Every woman should be able to stand by herself, for herself before even getting married. So, when she comes in, she comes in submitting to her husband; the two are one but they will have a formidable force, and so you can imaging the future of their product and their children; unlike now that in most parts of Nigeria, the women are just silent, that is bad. And so you just park them like sardine and make children like baby factories. So, when you tell the woman to go and give birth to twelve children, she has her life, she has her future. These are the kind of things we teach them; take hold of your life. From the Bible point of view and I have examples I can tell you from the Bible, Deborah. When the nation had loss direction completely, Deborah stood up and provided that leadership. So, you begin to understand why God will say that man needs a helper, a man really needs a helper. A man needs a woman.
In that regard, what plan do you have for the men in the church?
Oh yes, we have this equally for men; I think our first rally is in March; so we run the two, side by side. We have been running this for over twenty years, March 17th this year we have the one for men (Discovery for men). So, I like your question because we are talking to the women, and you are saying who is talking to the men. We talk to the men as well: as a matter of fact, we are taking the discovery for men into chapters, so we have two rallies in church, then we take it into communities as it were to encourage our men who are beginning to rise up, nurturing other men because men need to be encouraged because men are easily discouraged even much more than the women.
Basically, what should be the role of women in nation building?
Particularly like I have mentioned earlier, in nation building; one, when your homes are stable, your nation will be stable. When your homes are not stable then you are looking for trouble; God forbid that we raise children who are vagabonds, and then there is no future because our children are our future. So the woman must be equipped. Yes I am interested in my children, I stay with them, and I oversee what they do, but much more my wife. I remember when my children were growing up – some were trained here, while some were trained abroad; I will call them once a week but my wife will call them every day, so the things am yet to know, she knew. So, we must educate and empower the women; the woman who is not educated can only take a child as far as she can.
Away from the church, what is your take on politics in Nigeria?
Politics today is fine – fine in the sense that we are more people-interested; we are getting the youth more interested and more women are getting interested. They may not make the desired impact now, but interest is building up; so I believe we are on a positive direction by God’s grace, and another thing is that we need to pray for our politicians and pray that there will be unity in Nigeria; and pray that no matter who gets there the fear of God, number one; the love of the brethren: if we don’t see these two qualities in a man or woman, then they are not qualified to rule us – party is irrelevant.