Posted by By Nath McAbraham-Inajoh on
THE metaphor of the premature demise of a person as a candle flickering frantically, briefly in the face of hostile winds was popularised by the knighted British singer, Elton John, at the tragic death of Princess Diane.
THE metaphor of the premature demise of a person as a candle flickering frantically, briefly in the face of hostile winds was popularised by the knighted British singer, Elton John, at the tragic death of Princess Diane. Apt and poignant, it soon found a ready place in the lexicon and has often been used ever since to express the general mood at the death of a young person.
As I reflected on the sudden demise of Bimbo Odukoya, ebullient Associate Pastor of the Fountain of Life Church, this expression unobtrusively crept into my mind and unabashedly offered itself for consideration as a fitting description of her life and times. I had almost succumbed to its charms when something inside of me rebelled and rejected this depiction of her life. The more I reminisced on what I knew about her, the louder and more virulent the insistence inside of me that she certainly was more than a candle in the wind.
The imagery a candle in the wind conjures is that of a brief struggle for recognition and relevance against inimitable forces...a struggle whose outcome is the inevitable extinguishing of the helpless flame. Furthermore, as one looks at the flickering flame, one is also struck by the inconsistency of the flame as it darts from one side to the other, often in total submission to the dictates of the wind. Unable to make any meaningful contribution to the general good, it finally gives up and bows out, uncelebrated. This certainly does not describe the Bimbo Odukoya that lived among us.
I never saw Bimbo Odukoya physically, but I immediately took notice of her when she was thrust into the spotlight by her urgent and timely message: people deserve to have better relationships in their homes, beginning, of course, with the couple. In order to have better relationships they need to know what constitutes a good relationship. And this had been her message.
In a generation where everything good and beautiful about marriage is being defaced and the sanctity of that holy institution desecrated, hers was a consistent voice in pointing boys and girls; men and women; yes, the single and the married back to the basics of marriage God's own way. She was uncompromising and consistent; loving, yet firm as she taught, counselled and prayed for thousands who had come to her to seek solutions to their relationship and marital challenges. They came to her on the television, they came to her teaching sessions; they came in their mails, they came as individuals.
Her passion was soon to, naturally, bring recognition and she was not long afterwards a voice not only to Nigeria but also to the entire world. She was at once friend, confidant, mother, sister and counsellor to teeming thousands who were blessed by her mission to earth. Now that mission has ended. But not its impact. Bimbo Odukoya's contribution to our world can be seen in the marriages that were dragged from the precipice through her counsels; in the right decisions taken for right relationships that would nurture godly generations yet to come and, in the materials through which she would continue to speak, even in death.
At a wake I attended several years ago, people wondered why a person so young and full of life should have died so prematurely and so tragically. One gentleman got up and asked the mourners if they were consulted by the Creator before the deceased was created. The response was negative. He now asked why they thought they had better plans for the deceased than the Creator and concluded by counselling all not to meddle in matters that were clearly beyond humans. I was instructed.
Bimbo Odukoya was a meteor: she shone briefly but brilliantly and I choose to remember her not like a candle in the wind, but like a lighthouse. The light of her message brought hope to the despairing, courage to the fearful, self-esteem to the lowly and a greater challenge to the bold. Let us keep that light burning. No tribute could be greater.
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