Cover Stories, Interviews

Encounter with Debbie Osarere’s mum(2)

1-Mother Celestial silifat Idiagbonya

Her mother

… Friends speak about her last days

The death of Deborah Osarere Idiagbonya still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of many. Both friends and family members have showered encomiums and left condolence messages on all her social media pages.

ENCOMIUM Weekly visited her mom, Mother Celestial Sulifat Idiagbonya, at their church, Celestial Church of Christ, Akoka, Lagos, on Thursday, April 7, 2016, where she has been since the news of her daughter’s passing on was broken to her. She seemed to have taken the incident in good faith. She looked calm but could not say much to us about her bitter experience so as not to bring back memories.

However, we were able to speak with two of Debbie’s church members who were like big brothers to her, and have been around Debbie’s mom since her passing on. They were also aware of Debbie’s journey from the beginning until when she passed on. Mr. Tunji Oyebode and Mr. Felix Eretan spoke with us extensively about the life and times of Debbie Idiagbonya, who died at 31 and is survived by her mother and two older sisters…


‘She still lives in our heart’ -MR. TUNJI OYEBODE

1-Tunji oyebodeThe problem started around 2011, when she discovered she had lumps in her breast. She confirmed in a hospital around and she had an operation to remove the lumps. After the operation, she was taking medication, but the lumps developed again and she went to LUTH and that was when she was told she had cancer. We donated money and joined the #SaveDebbie campaign. We also did #WalkForDebbie where everyone walked the street of Lagos to get funds for her treatment and to the glory of God, people from everywhere donated and the money was complete.

A day before her death, I still spoke with her sister. The doctors wanted to discharge her and remove the oxygen mask but Debbie did not allow them discharge her. She wanted the will of God to prevail.

She studied Laboratory Technology in Yabatech. She was working in a laboratory and later she wanted to be a model.

One word from her that I can never forget was There is no other acceptable worship to God than to save lives. Then I had a ruptured appendix and the surgeon wanted to go and worship. He was a muslim. She held the doctor and told him that he couldn’t go anywhere until after he had done the operation. That was when she told him, There is no other acceptable form of worship to God than to save lives. The man carried out the operation. If she hadn’t done that I probably wouldn’t be here. And I am grateful to her for that.

Even at the point of illness, she gave to people from the little she had. She gave to the sick. She was strong but not dead. She still lives in our heart. I believe she is rejoicing with her Creator. She was always ready to help no matter the situation. She’s intelligent, hard working and industrious. You would never find her idle. She was going for modelling, training and learning makeup. She was always busy.

Initially she thought she had survived it.  For a year plus she was okay. No chemo and all, just normal treatment until around December when she fell ill again and they had to start draining fluid from her system. She was a wonderful person. Everybody around here knew her. Even on the internet, people have good things to say about her.

Her mother is also a very strong woman. When Debbie died , her sister that was over there with her called and said we shouldn’t let mummy know. So we had to call mummy to come to the church that there are some prayers we want her to be a part of. When she was eventually told, she said she already knew the moment they called her to come. She just wanted to come so that people won’t disturb her.

Her mom really tried. Is it the pain she has gone through. Money is nothing compared to the pains and sleepless nights.

Debbie told me to always thank and appreciate her sister, that she really tried for her. When Debbie’s case became critical in December, her sister had to quit her job to fully take care of her. I believe it wasn’t cancer that killed her, it was just her time.

A day before she died the doctors told her sister that they wanted to remove the oxygen. She told them no, that she should decide herself. The following day, before she gave up, she opened her eyes, looked at her sister. She shook her body and smiled. After she smiled, she nodded and died.

Prophesy said she would be great. We thank God that the prophecy came to pass. She was known worldwide. Even people that did not meet her have great things to say about her. She attended seminars and workshops all around America.


‘She was very caring and loved kids’ -MR. FELIX ERETAN

1-Felix EretanFew days before she gave up, she called me. We had just closed from service in church. She asked to speak with the people around and I passed the phone around. It was as if she knew she was going. She spoke with them one after the other and encouraged them and that was the last time I spoke with her. Basically, she had a very strong faith. Even to the last breath, she was hopeful. Most times when we spoke with her she encouraged us. While she was in church here, she was very active. If we should count committed youths, Debbie was amongst the top five.

Her burial is April 30, 2016. The burial over there would cost a lot and they are trying to raise funds. From our end too, we are trying to raise money to send to them for the burial.

The very day we heard she died, I told some people that the only thing I believe about her death is that she actually gave up herself. It was when she gave up herself that she actually died. That’s the spiritual perception from which I see it, because Debbie was a fighter.

Her mom is still in church because she feels at home here. A lot of people have been coming here to see and greet her. She is a strong woman too. She is okay and she has overcome the shock.

We attend the same church. She is faithful. She wass a strong person that was always giving hope to others no matter the situation and irrespective of the age of the person, she will continue to give you hope. Even before the sickness, she was that way.

She was very jovial. You would hardly find her in a sad mood and it is difficult to get her angry. She absorbs everything you say to her. She was very caring and she loved kids. Irrespective of who the mother of the child is, she doesn’t discriminate. She was one of the excos of the youth wing of the church at a time. She was a very nice person. She sang well, she was a member of the choir. She had a very good voice.


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