POWER Pentecostal Church General Overseer, Bishop Bolanle Odeleke’s 60th birthday revelry was a two-day affair. The charismatic preacher was serenaded by her children and friends of her late husband, Colonel Odeleke at the Shell Hall, Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos on Saturday, June 19, 2010. The occasion also witnessed the launch of her NGO, Bishop Bola Odeleke Foundation (BIBOF) amidst pomp and ceremony. On Sunday, June 20, 2010, however, at her church in Okota, Isolo, Lagos, her teeming congregation was on ground to wish her good things of life at 60. The official cloth for the day which was 90 per cent complied with was a flowery purple Ankara fabric sewn in dazzling designs.
Later in the day a moderate reception was held in her honour in the same church premises, chaired by Odua Peoples Congress, Dr. Frederick Fasheun, it was indeed a time to remember for long.
Blessed with a glowing composure and sweet face, the 60 year-old was born Margaret Omobolanle Kofoworola on June 19, 1950 to Chief and Chief (Mrs.) Aboderin. She was educated in Ilesha before venturing into business, she got married to late Gen. Lasun James Odeleke on April 8, 1973 at CAC, Oke Ayo, Ibadan. After her missionary call in 1974, she started the Power Pentecostal Church and she was consecrated as a Bishop in 1995. Bishop Bola Odele is blessed with children and grandchildren. She had a brief chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly inside the church building…
At 60, what are those things dear to your heart now?
To help the poor, this second half of my life. I want to help empower people, help them, lift them up. The church and our partners, we pay teacher’s salaries so that children of poor people can come to our private school because I don’t want them to
end up as street urchins. If they go to good schools and graduate up to the university then they will be able to become useful to themselves. That I want to do and we have already started, it’s running here at Kiibati. The second one is the inmates fellowship, we go into prisons, pray for them, give them materials needed, those awaiting trial we want them also to be released because they have never gone to court, no judge has ever condemned them. It is only injustice that put them there, 651 alone in Maximum Prisons, if you go to women prison, you have 79 of them that are awaiting trial. I want to stand up for these things by the grace of God. When they come out we want to have a home for them, psychologist will be there, to let them know that is not end of life, they can still be somebody and we will have in-house pastors that will be praying for them, we will have ex-prison warder that knows the way, the reason and then give them a vocation, learn something before we turn them back into the society.
How did you spend the day?
I prayed to God, we had a party yesterday, that one was put together by my children and the friends of my husband. The Senate President, David Mark was my late husband’s course mate. The church did that of today.
What’s the greatest lessons life has taught you at 60?
No one is perfect and no one is God and you cannot trust people but trust God. We cannot forever have straight road, there will be bends, there will be pot holes but when challenges come, pick yourself again and move forward. That is the lessons I learnt about life.
Which is the best birthday gift you have received since yesterday?
Every gift is beautiful, everybody has been giving what they can give. I have received a car and other lovely things.
At 60, you are still looking radiant, what is the secret?
Jesus now, I give myself rest of mind. I never allow anything to trouble me, honestly, I don’t brood over problems. In few minutes, I am thinking about anything by the time you come back in ten minutes I am dancing and rejoicing because I know that time can never last, it will expire and if it’s going to expire why should I cry over it? I should be optimistic about my tomorrow, that’s the way I live my life.
You have spent 36 years as a preacher, was there anytime you felt like giving up?
That was when the press started writing all lies and nonsense and I said to myself, is it because I am a woman? Is it because I am a preacher? I nearly said okay God take your pulpit and let me be an ordinary person. I am not the first person the husband will die and marry again, a widow can marry and I got married, so what’s the problem? But that’s over now, I have no regrets whatsoever because God made me happy again by the miracles that I see helping people. Helping people is my joy, when I help people and they are happy, that is the time I am happy. So, when I start doing that, I forget about the past.
- FOLUSO SAMUEL
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, June 29, 2010