Reverend (Dr) Mrs. Edith Adefunke 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. The quiet and unassuming respected woman of God behind Church of Evangelism and proprietress of Edidot International Private School, Lekki-Ajah, speaks candidly about her just concluded prayer tour of Nigeria, praying for the country’s peace, unity and sustainable development…
You just returned from the nationwide tour of the 36 states of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory, praying for the country. How did you conceive this idea?
The idea was not conceived by me; it was the Holy Spirit that gave me an instruction in December to go to all 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Nigeria and pray for the country and make pronouncements and anoint the soil of each state.
Was security a concern? What measures did you put in place before embarking on this journey?
As the Bible says: If the Lord gives you instruction, He would definitely make a provision for you. God is our security. Before embarking on the journey, I assembled my prayer team and we prayed, fasted, had a three day-and-night vigil and committed everything unto Him. At the beginning, I was a little concerned about my team’s safety journeying to recently troubled states such as Yobe and Borno states, but this was exactly the reason why the prayers are needed. With God on our side, we made the pronouncements and anointed the soil of Borno and Yobe states with no fear. Though the atmosphere was not too friendly considering the sensitivity of the communities, God saw us through.
When you informed your family about this journey, what was their reaction?
Some were scared, others understood immediately and were supportive. But I was able to convince them that nothing would happen to me and they prayed for me towards the journey.
Your experience about the tour, was it a bitter experience or a sweet one?
It was indeed a sweet experience because what some feared would be a difficult task turned out well according to the laid down plans. I want to commend my logistics team who worked tirelessly to achieve this assignment. We started our journey on Sunday, February 28, 2016.
We left very early in the morning and our first port of call was Lagos, moving to Ogun State enroute Ondo State to cover all other states in the South-Western region of the country before proceeding to the South-South and South-East regions. From there, we continued to the North-Central region before moving ahead to other far northern states.
In Yola, the Adamawa State capital, we were given a grand reception despite arriving late at night into the city. We were well treated by one of the notable pastors called Bishop Mayor who owns a big church in the heart of the city. He commended our religious effort and prayed for success of our journey.
Yobe and Borno States, the perceived hotspots of Boko Haram activity, which many had thought would be difficult was problem-free for us to anoint through God’s presence. We did not go beyond our limits; we dressed in their normal babariga and our women wore their native outfit: there was uniformity in our local attire. We anointed the soil, made pronouncements and left for other adjourning states. Sokoto State was our last stop before returning home safely.
What were the impediments or challenges you faced during the tour?
Were there any big challenge? No, I don’t think so, except for the normal challenges of driving for 18 to 20 hours a day on roads in need of repair and the high cost of fuel. At a point in Gombe State, we had to buy fuel at N250 per litre to meet up with our time frame for the tour. But notwithstanding, we received the favour of the Lord; at most of the states we touched. To my surprise, people came out en masse to be part of the prayer and that alone strengthened the impact of our mission.
Who accompanied you on the tour?
I had Pastor Oluade Adeniran, Pastor (Mrs.) Blessing Imohkhai, Pastor Chuks Bernard and Pastor Rotimi Rokefah, amongst others. We were about 16.
Due to national intent and scope, was there any support from government?
I didn’t get any financial support from the government, but the God I serve made it possible in His own way. Before the trip, I spoke to some of my friends and associates about God’s mission for the country and they were all encouraged and contributed in no small measure to support me. And now that we are back without any form of casualty or problem, I greatly appreciate them all. It was not an easy task going round the country with a large team for that period factoring in their feeding, medical care, transportation, daily accommodation and other expenses.
You have spent, sweated, and risked your life going around the country praying for Nigeria. What do you stand to gain from this mission?
I personally do not stand to gain anything. At my stage in life, I’m not looking for any financial gain as far as this journey is concerned. My satisfaction is to be sure that this country becomes great again. What Nigeria stands to gain from this just concluded mission is absolute peace. The downward trend of this nation over the years has always saddened my heart, but we thank God for the change the present government is trying to put in place.
I pray that their agenda of change continues until Nigeria takes its rightful position in the world. Nigeria is called the giant of Africa, and my prayer is that Nigeria should remain the giant of Africa, a role model of economic robustness and good leadership for other Africa countries to emulate.
You must have spent so much on this trip. Can you give us the figure spent?
I don’t think it’s necessary to start mentioning that in the pages of a magazine. The mission was bigger than one person. Whatever the cost was, as long as it brings peace, stability and prosperity to our beloved Nigeria, it was worth it.
Having gone this far in the Lord’s vineyard, how would you like to be remembered?
I have a long way to go before I would be concerned about how I want to be remembered, but what is most important is that I am a child of God,and that is what people should be most concerned about in life.
Briefly tell us about yourself…
I am Reverend Edith Adefunke Okubanjo, born and raised in Lagos, as were my parents. My grandfather, Reverend Daniel Adegbite Tella, was a renowned Baptist Minister for several years in Lagos and we grew up in a Christian home. I am the General Overseer of Church of Evangelism with three branches in the Lekki, Ajah area of Lagos State. God has used me to found a school, Edidot Group of Schools. It’s a Christian school located in Badore, Ajah and Awoyaya, Lekki areas of Lagos State.
Tell us about your husband.
My husband is late now. His name is Oloye Olanrewaju Oladotun Okubanjo. He passed on peacefully in 2012. We were together for about 40 years before he passed on. His absence is felt strongly in me even now. He was a great man, a loving husband, a caring father to our children, and an enduring inspiration to all who knew him. He made me who I am today, his influence resonates in all my achievements and I will never forget him.