Pastor Bimbo Odukoya
One crash too many, is the best description fit for the tragedy of December 10, 2005. That eventful Saturday afternoon, 109 Nigerians, most of them, young students, lost their lives in the Sosoliso Airline plane crash close to Port Harcourt Airport. Included among the victims was a commissioner in Governor Peter Odili's government of Rivers State, and the respected woman of God, Pastor Bimbo Odukoya of Fountain of life church, Lagos.
Some 49 days earlier, a Bellview Airline aircraft went down mysteriously at Lisa, Village in Ogun State, killing all the 117 occupants that included top government functionaries.
Meanwhile, the death of Pastor Bimbo Odukoya came as most devastating to many Nigerians, in view of her contributions, through her pet programme, single and married, adjudged to have helped solidify relationships in many homes and redirected the focus of most youths who seek life partners and lasting relationships.
Some months back, the adored woman of substance celebrated her 45th birthday in a low-key event with few friends and a handful of church members. She started teaching singles and couples 13 years ago, having sought divine help to be able to minister to souls that suffer broken relationships and those that look forward to sweet affairs in life.
A well-travelled woman, Pastor Bimbo was elected as the Vice President, Christian Union in 1978 during her 'A' Levels at the Federal Government College, Ijanikin, the year she became a born-again Christian. She left school to go serve as curator at the National Arts Theatre, Lagos, and then left finally to take up the work of ministering to souls for Christ. Her sudden death penultimate Saturday was, indeed, shocking to the public. Global Excellence's Folorunsho Hamsat was at both the late Pastor's church at Ilupeju and her family house on Herbert Macaulay Street, GRA, Ikeja in Lagos where he captured the mood of the sympathizers and the woman's widower, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya.
SYMPATHISERS REGISTER AT THE CHURCH
Mourners, mostly youngsters who are either members of Fountain of Life Church or the beneficiaries of her television teachings, were seeing signing their messages on the three registers opened for both the deceased Pastor and one of her two aides who died with her in the crash, Mr Olaitan Ogundipe, the church book sales coordinator.
NO PRESS TALKS
At Work Station, the media department of the church, the man in charge, one Pastor Sam, refused to speak with the media men, insisting on the statement made earlier that there would be no press interviews until further notice. He, however, presented the journalists with a press release from the church that reads; The Fountain of Life Church announces with complete submission to the will of God, the passing on to glory of Pastor (Mrs) Bimbo Odukoya as a result of the ill-fated air crash of Sosoliso Aircraft in Port Harcourt on Saturday, 10 December, 2005. She was accompanied on the trip by one of her personal assistants, Mrs Bunmi Amusan, and the Book Sales Coordinator with the Church, Mr Olaitan Ogundipe.
THE ILL-FATED JOURNEY
Pastor Fred Ohiani, a prayer coordinator and top pastor in the church, told the pressmen that the pastor was on her way to Port Harcourt for the completion of the second session of a special programme earlier held at Abuja a day before.
A CELEBRATION OF LIFE
The husband of late Pastor Bimbo, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, has said that rather than mourning her beloved wife, people should help celebrate her as she lived a fulfilled life as wife, mother and a leading light in the Christian world. He said this, while most of the visitors to his GRA, Ikeja home, could not contain their emotions and were weeping uncontrollably.
THE EARLY CALLERS
Among the early callers at the Odukoya's GRA, Ikeja, home, was Bishop Mike Okonkwo and wife, Pastor Sam Adeyemi and Wife, Pastor Femi Emmanuel, Very Reverend Yinka Omololu of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Bishop M.O. Adekoya of Praise Chapel Church, The Ibidapo-Obes; Mrs Dolapo, Titilayo and Babatunde, Mr Henry Adetope, Professor Fola Aboaba of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. The sympathisers also include Agatha Amata, Shola Shittu, Pastor Adeboye's representatives; Pastors M.O. Ojo, J.A.O Akindele ad P.O. Ojo and D.A. Ilori. Others are Pastor Deji Folarin of Christian Love Bible Church, Paul Adams of CCIC, Lekki, Pastor and Mrs Paul Ogedengbe of The Lord Reigns Ministries, among others.
THE LAST ATTEMPT
Unconfirmed reports have it that the late Pastor Bimbo, indeed, attempted an escape to safety with one of her staff. When it became obvious that the plane was heading for disaster few minutes after the pilot's announcement, the lovely woman, with Mr Olaitan Ogundipe, attempted an escape through the available exit, but unfortunately was unsuccessful.
Miss Amusan, her special aide, however, survived and is said to be responding to treatment at a hospital in Port Harcourt.
HOW SHE MARRIED A VIRGIN
Before she died, she granted an interview where she spoke about how she married a virgin. “When I met my husband I was a virgin. I met him through his best friend in my part one in the University of Ibadan.” Furthermore she said, she prayed to God to let her meet her husband early as that would keep men away from her. “When I met my husband, I didn't think he was the one, but the closer we became and the more we got to know each other, the more I realized that he was a God fearing man. You see, only God knows the heart of man. So, I had told God to choose a husband for me. One day, while we were with some friends inside a car, the Lord told me that the young man sitting with me in the car was the man I was going to marry.
She indeed lived a fulfilled life and we thank GOD for that....