• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Meet Nigerian women manning the pulpit after their husbands’ demise

Christian group launches initiative to fight gender-based violence

A number of Nigerian women have stepped into their husbands’ shoes to become church overseers after the death of their husbands. For many of these women, manning the pulpit came naturally but for some it was a huge struggle fitting into the big shoes left behind by their husbands.

Those who had been co-managing the churches before the sudden departure of their husbands had it smooth migrating into overseeing the ministry. But, for others who have been on the background and off the radar before the death of their husbands; it was a herculean task stepping into the new role created by the sudden death of their husbands.

Annually, the world celebrates women and their amazing work they do across all sectors on March 8, for the International Women’s Day (IWD) and on March 10, the world celebrates mothers (Mother’s Day) Themed, ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’ with a focus on addressing economic disempowerment.

Read also: IWD: Here’re 10 women to watch out for in 2024

The 2024 IWD intensifies global spotlight on the strides made in the ongoing pursuit of gender equality. It is on the back of this and in celebrating the 20214 International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day in commemorating a week dedicated for women, that we spotlight the women and the amazing works they have been doing with the ministry across the country.

On the spotlight today are:

Margaret Idahosa

Margaret Idahosa, the wife of the founding Archbishop of Church of God Mission International (CGM), was called into ministry after the death of her husband Benson Idahosa to fill the vacuum created, since her husband did not announce any successor before his death. She took over the leadership of the Church in March 1998, a day after he returned from a foreign trip, and became the first African female Archbishop and also the first female Chancellor of the Benson Idahosa University, Benin. Idahosa, who recently celebrated her 80th birthday has presided over the Church of God Mission in the last 25 years, and also have her first son, Feb Idahosa as the presiding bishop of the headquarters church in Benin.

Mercy Ezekiel

Mercy Ezekiel officially became the general overseer of the Christian Pentecostal Mission (CPM) in 2021, after the death of her husband, Obiora Ezekiel, founder and general overseer of the ministry in November of the same year. She had been managing the church in her capacity as the senior pastor before the death of her husband. The 78-year-old Ezekiel battled with some health challenges, which resulted in his blindness about 20 years before his death. However, Mercy Ezekiel took charge of the ministry fully after her husband was confined to a wheelchair and has been at it since then.

Janet Onaolapo

Janet Onaolapo, wife of Kola Onaolapo, founder and presiding bishop of Abundant Life Gospel Church, who died in 2012. The church has seen some tremendous growth since she became the bishop of the ministry, including hosting one of the many Ministers’ Conference convened by William Kumuyi, the general superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry in Lagos. Onaolapo, who is known for her undiluted Bible teaching, Christian values and soul winning, was also able to complete the ultra-modern worship centre in Agege, Lagos. Her late husband started the construction of the worship centre but could not complete it before his death.

Nkechi Anayo-Iloputaife

Nkechi Anayo-lloputaife is the wife of the late Harford Anayo-IIoputaife, founder and presiding bishop of Faith Revival Ministries World Outreach, popularly known as Victory Christian Church with headquarters in Satellite Town. Following the assassination of her husband in 1995, Nkechi, who is referred to as Apostle, has been in charge of the ministry till date. Mike Okonkwo, the presiding bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) was one of those who stood by her to guide her through in ministry. Since she took over as the general overseer of Victory Christian Church, IIoputaife has stayed true to the calling of her late husband. Against all odds, she has steered the church to the height it has attained today.

Evelyn Joshua

Evelyn Joshua, wife of Temitope Balogun Joshua (TB Joshua), the founding prophet of Synagogue Church of Nation (SCOAN) who died on Saturday, June 5, 2021. Evelyn, now called prophetess, has been off the radar before the death of her husband. However, since assuming office as the leader of the SCOAN, she has been able to stabilise the church in her capacity as the prophetess and senior pastor of the ministry.

Sarah Omakwu

Sarah Omakwu is the wife of Inalegwu Omakwu, founder and senior pastor of Family Worship Center, Abuja. The husband died in Los Angeles, United States of America in 2003, after battling brain cancer for three years. His wife Sarah has since taken over the leadership of the ministry as the senior pastor, steering the church to an enviable height, and also serving as the chief operating officer of the Christian Broadcasting Network International.

Roselyn Oduyemi

Roselyn Oduyemi took over the leadership of Bethel Ministries Incorporated after the death of her husband, Gabriel Oduyemi, who died 16 years ago. She introduced her own innovations into running the ministry and even had to sell off her husband’s private jet. She disclosed then that when the need arises for her to own a private jet, the Lord who handed over the ministry to her would provide another jet.

Olive Sulola Adejobi

Olive Sulola Adejobi is the wife of Emmanuel Adejobi, the late primate of the Church of the Lord, Aladura. She has committed herself to the ministry in honour of her late husband by growing the church over the years.

Joy Ajanaku

Joy Ajanaku, wife of Ireti Ajanaku, the late presiding prophet of Christ Revival Victory Chapel who died in August 2013. She has been able to manage the affairs of the ministry since then opening new branches of the church across Nigeria.