Temitope Ogunniyi searched me out on the Social Media(Instagram) in 2014 or thereabouts and reached out to me about her calling and passion concerning raising a generation of teachers, who would be proud of their profession and do their work happily always. She thereafter became a member of our academy, went on to give full expression to her calling and became my dearly beloved sister, comrade and friend, with whom I shared deep fellowship and weighty matters of concerning her life and works. She was ever ebullient and redefined the teaching profession to the many she met in the course of her work. She loved and served the precious African Children selflessly, I testify today before God and His holy angels. I still called her 2 days ago and her line rang out. I was trying to reach Babara, her first daughter for an engagement.
Jennifer Ero, I met at Ibadan, Oyo State in 2010 during a UNICEF meeting. She stood out in the expression of her love and passion for the precious African children, almost in all ramifications particularly in the area of rescuing them from trafficking, even at the heat of COVID-19 Pandemic, when many hid their heads, Jennifer was on the field rescuing and rehabilating children. Her pace was unmatchable, her energy loudly and pleasantly announced her appearance and marked the prodigiousness of her contributions. She was an uncommon philanthropist to the causes of our precious children and humanity. Jennifer rose in her service to our precious children and she was the National Coordinator of the National Child Protection Network, an initiative of UNICEF. Our last meeting was in Lagos late last year or early this year and we spoke a couple of times on the phone thereafter. Jennifer was a great believer in our work from the very day we met in Ibadan and we were friends, comrades and fellow workers in the vineyard of Securing A Friendly and Protective Environment for children.
These ladies were both followers of our Lord Jesus Christ and I attest to the genuineness of their faith. I related closely with them and we see their faith in keeping faith with the works God called them to do.
The same day, Wednesday, September 29, 2021, I received the news that these amazons of selfless services to humanity passed on to glory in their midlife. They took a bow to be absent with the body and present with the Lord.
Death is an inevitable end, yet we mourn these great departed souls. They are great losses to our world and our work.
Making a meaningful contribution to the advancement of humanity is a noble choice and a sacrifice only a few people make. ‘The world is marketplace sacrifices are its rewards,’ was a saying of a sage I came across many years ago and I hold on to as my LIFE POSITIONING STATEMENT.
These amazons of immense proportion and positive propensity made this choice and sacrifice and they fought gallantly in their spaces, making life worth living for millions who came to the knowledge of their unique causes and the unforgettable impact of the same.
Relating with these women, I knew they were not without their personal infirmities and challenges, daunting enough to make them surrender to fate and nurse the wounds of their afflictions as excuses to be socially irresponsible, yet they rose above the odds and chose to make a difference till they drew their last breath.
Both of them taught me that you do not need to have it all or have it together to give of ourselves relentlessly and sacrificially to humanity in noble services. They taught me that it is not a sacrifice, if it costs you nothing, even when you seem to have nothing to give but your very life.
‘If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing,’ said Benjamin Franklin. I believe these great souls did both. For them, death came too late. They both live in their works and the lives they met and transformed, who are forever grateful today and forever. As the Lord lives and our world remains, their contributions remain indelible and will reverberate through posterity.
They chose to live forever in eternity and in our hearts by their union with Christ and services to humanity. They live forever in their precious children. I spoke to Babara and Anjola, today, the precious and gifted children of Temitope OGUNNIYI, both of whom I have had the privilege of relating with in the past. Their hopeful disposition and words are glorious and eloquent testimony to the purposeful and gallant life their mum led. ‘our mummy prepared us; it is painful but Christ knows the best,’ they said.
Today, I do not write cunningly devised fables of the lives they led, but celebrate the nobility and impact that their lives represented as examples of the believers in Jesus Christ.
‘It is not how long but how well,’ they say and I agree. As I conclude today, by the dictates of my humanity, I am shocked when vibrant colleagues like these depart this world. Yet, I speak to my shock and disallow it from robbing me of the lessons inherent in the news of the passage: the death of a colleague is a salient proverb to the living that ‘your life is a vapour’ and to number our days and apply of heart to the wisdom of striking a union with God and make a commitment to service to humanity relentlessly and sacrificially, beginning from our families, change the course of history for the better in our divinely assigned areas of intervention.
To live only for oneself alone is to live a colossally wasted life, squandering unlimited divine resources for which I believe God has a duty to hold us accountable.
Dearly beloved sisters, you have fruitfully laboured, now rest on till we meet to part no more at the feet of our saving Lord.
I am ONIWASU Taiwo AKINLAMI