Reverend (Dr) Mrs. Edith Okubanjo is the wife of the late industrialist and business mogul, Oloye Olanrewaju Oladotun Okubanjo, the founder and chairman of Intercontinental Distillers Nigeria Limited and former director on the board Ecobank Nigeria Plc who also served as the longest serving President of Nigerian- American Chamber of Commerce among his other business exploits. Quiet and unassuming respected woman of God, Edith Okubanjo, behind Church of Evangelism and proprietress of Edidot International Private School, Lekki-Ajah, speaks candidly about her life after two years of the demise of her husband.
This year marked two years after you lost your husband. How have you been coping?
It has not been easy but with the grace of God we’ve been coping very well.
Tell us what you have missed about him?
I’m missing him a lot because he was my friend and we did a lot of things together. He was my mentor, he brought me into business, he was my adviser and councillor. You can’t just forget a man that you spent 40 years with. I can’t just forget and let go like that and he would forever remain irrepressible in my heart.
What special thing have you done to keep his memory alive?
I have done a lot and I’m still going to do more to keep his memory alive. And I believe where he is now, he knows we have done more than enough to remember him. We will not relent in keeping his memory forever as long we live.
Has there been any pressure from his family to take over his property?
I’ve not encountered any pressure from his family because they are all wonderful people. And I thank God that my husband did the needful before his death to keep us together as a unit.
How old was he before he died?
He was 84 before he died.
How did he die?
He was sick briefly and died in his home in America.
What are the activities lined up for his second remembrance?
We lost him on August 22, 2012 and on the day, a quiet day to reflect his absence because we are still mourning him. There was no fun fare to mark the day, we just upheld his virtues.
How have you been handling his business ventures?
His business is doing fine and we will not allow it to die because Baba is no more.
So, how do you see life now?
One thing I noticed now is that many friends of my husband have all deserted us. You can imagine, when he was alive, here was always filled up with people coming around to see him for one thing or another. But all that is no more and we just have to move on with life as it comes and live in God’s direction.
Any plan to remarry?
No, I’m married to Jesus Christ.
How old are you now?
I’m 61 now. But it’s quite unfortunate that my husband is no more because he promised to give me a befitting 60th birthday. But all the same, we thank God he lived a fulfilled life. Just a couple of months ago, when I clocked 61,my children staged a surprise birthday for me in the United Kingdom and it was interesting having all the children together to celebrate the day.
At 61, what is the state of your health?
To the glory of God, the Lord has been strengthening me. The way you see me I’m I not looking healthy? Of course, yes. I eat well and I no longer stress myself for any frivolity.
You run a school, your church and at same time over see your husband’s business. How do you juggle all the roles?
It’s the love I have for my husband because we married when I was very much younger. So, he actually taught me hard work which is still in me till today. Though, I no longer do much. Aside running my school, I have capable pastors and church elders that run the church while few of the children run the family business so I just oversee it.
Would you say you had a perfect marriage with Oloye Okubanjo?
There is no perfect marriage but I tell you I had a fulfilled marriage with Oloye Okubanjo. Even as I’m talking to you now, I’m so emotional about him because he was a loving man that nobody could take away from my heart. After God, it was my husband and I gave my all to him.
Among your children, who do you see toeing the part of your husband in terms of his business acumen and behaviour.
I’m still watching them but they are all good children.
After your husband, how do you enjoy your life?
I never had a wild life right from the beginning so I still live a normal life. I’m more of a quiet person, I’m not a party freak that is why I have few friends around me.
You are reverend, when did you hear your calling?
I had my calling in 1982, during my university days in the United States of America. When I had it, I didn’t take it serious because I felt I was young to do that. I later went to my pastor, Pastor Carter to explain the revelation and he told me that I might end up becoming a pastor.
However, on my return to Nigeria, the Spirit grew stronger in me that whenever I prayed for the sick, they got healed, whatever I prophecy into their lives through God, always came to pass so that was how I discovered the potential in me. And that was how Church of Evangelism, Awoyaya, Ajah, Lagos, came into being and we thank God He has been using us as a vessel.
If you come back to this world, would you like to marry him again?
Yes, of course. If it’s possible I will marry him because he was a kind, caring and loving husband and father to us.