We are grateful…

The last one month has been a rollercoaster of sorts. Not just in the events but in the attendant emotions generated. If there is an expression that aptly describes it, it would be that it doesn’t rain, it pours. But in it all, the faithfulness of God has stood and proved unshakably strong.

On Saturday the 5th of September, my wife and I traveled to Ibadan from our base in Ado-Ekiti to felicitate with my younger sister who turned 60. It was planned to be a surprise visit and we were to return the following day after my Sunday online service. We never made that return journey together. On Sunday morning when we planned to return, she had diarrhea that snowballed rapidly into a full-blown sickle cell crisis. We thought it was one of those episodes that would resolve after necessary therapy. After all, she lived with it for 65 years! Unfortunately, things just went downhill. One week later on the morning of Saturday 12th September, my wife, mother, friend and companion of 33 years went to be with the Lord. It was emotionally devastating. She was a part of my life in a way that no other person was. Not just because we were married for that long but because she gave me her all without reservation and endured me and with me in a way that no other person ever did.

Her body was finally laid to rest on the 25th of September in Ibadan, the city where she was born and raised even though her parents were from Ijebu-Ode. We met in Ibadan, got married and raised our children in Ibadan before ministry assignments took us to other places.

The events leading to her funeral ceremonies and the several testimonies of people at the events underscored in no unmistakable way the aphorism that those who light up other people’s pathways will themselves never walk in darkness. Instead of building monuments, wise men build bridges. This is because they know that at some junctures in life, you will have to cross the river of life using the very bridge that you built for others. In her quiet, unobtrusive way, my wife touched people and struck a cord in them in ways that I had no way of knowing until after her demise. I thought I was the connector. But she upped the ante and proved that to touch the world, just touch one life at a time.

I am eternally grateful to the God of all comfort who has shown Himself gracious in all of the events but who, most importantly, gave me grace and capacity as well as the privilege to be married to one of the world’s most amazing women for the time I lived with my wife.

As the scriptures teach us, he that has friends must show himself friendly. The level of support that I received from family and friends was, to say the least, humbling. It would therefore be appropriate at this point to express gratitude to everyone who stood with and by us in those critical moments, reaching out to us in cash and in kind.

On behalf of the entire Popoola and Adelaja families, I would like to especially acknowledge and thank the entire Management Team of the African Newspapers of Nigeria, publishers of The Tribune titles. My thanks go to the government and people of Ekiti State under the able leadership of Dr. Kayode Fayemi whose wife personally attended the Service of Songs in Ado-Ekiti along with several high-ranking government officials including the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Niyi Afuye and the Chairman of Ado Local Government, Mrs Motunde Fajuyi, as well as several others that space would not give me room to mention individually.

The entire members of the Popoola and Adelaja families were simply awesome. Nobody could have asked for better in-laws than God gave me in the Adelajas. My immediate Church family, The Business Church in Ibadan and Ado-Ekiti, may God bless you abundantly for all you guys did and still do. You guys really rock!

My father in the Lord, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Apostolic Overseer of The Citadel Global Community Church and the Global Apostolic Impact Network, was extremely supportive. Members of the network showed up from different parts of the nation to be with us. Only eternity can reward you. What shall I say about members of the Unity Ministers Forum, a body I was part of for many years before leaving Ibadan? Thank you all for formidable representation. The Residents Association of the Estate where we live in Ado-Ekiti, the leadership of the Ekiti Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, my protégés in and outside Nigeria, the Great Ife Alumni Association and many other groups that I am associated with, I say thank you very much. I am also immensely grateful to my beloved ‘egbon’ Apostle Sunday Popoola, his amiable wife and all the entire members of Word Communication Ministries for making their facilities available for the Ibadan end of the ceremonies.

My plan was to rest in Ibadan for a few days and return to base after about a week. But as they say, man proposes, God disposes.

I write this from the Infectious Diseases Centre in Olodo, Oyo State where I requested to be taken over the weekend when I developed symptoms later discovered to be in tandem with COVID-19. Initially, it began with a pounding headache and diarrhea, I thought it was just a fever or bacterial  infection that must have been triggered by the stress generated by the demise of my wife and the attendant funeral ceremonies. I went to the hospital and ran a few lab tests and got treated for malaria and typhoid. About two days later, my daughter started complaining about tightness in her chest as well as a headache, we decided to present for a COVID-19 test at the Oyo State Health is Wealth Centre.

The service was prompt and the staff diligent and courteous. Three days later, we got a call from the centre that the test was positive. Upon hearing the result, my mind literally went on a storm. So many thoughts flashed across my mind and of course, my appetite, which was just building up, took a nose diving hit. I did not sleep a wink throughout the night.

Having come through the kind of traumatic experience I have had in the last few weeks, you will understand where I am coming from. The following day, I called the emergency number and requested to be taken into the isolation centre for proper medical monitoring. My daughter opted for self-isolation and I am glad to report that we are both doing fine. At this point, I must commend the Oyo State Government for its handling of the pandemic. The committee under the able leadership of Prof. Tope Alonge, immediate former CMD of UCH, the facilities, the medical personnel and their prompt response when called are quite commendable. I trust that I will be out of here and fully back in circulation in a few days. Keep us in your prayers.

 

Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!

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