Pastor Bimbo Odukoya is the best-known woman evangelist. She ministers specially to spinsters, bachelors and middle-aged couples whose marriages are floundering. Her TV programme, Single & Married, draws large audiences nationwide. Her emphasis is on old-fashioned marital fidelity.
Although Bimbo Odukoya primarily uses television to get her message across, like many pastors she also uses the internet. Her conservative approach to marriage and relationships is reflected in the site's content.
She is a talented evangelist, motivational speaker, marriage counsellor, and mentor for many Nigerians youths. Bimbo Odukoya, senior associate pastor of The Fountain of Life Church has touched the lives of her teeming fans through "Singles & Married," her popular radio and television programme.
The programme which is aired on 16 television stations in Nigeria as well as in Ghana, Kenya and England has been effectively used by Odukoya to present her life-changing teachings. The amiable pastor has a soft spot for bachelors and spinsters. She derives joy in counselling them on the choice of life partners in accordance with scriptural injunctions. What makes her teachings very captivating is her eloquence. Indeed, the revered pastor makes her teachings practical by highlighting scriptural passages relevant to people's life challenges and needs.
Odukoya's passion for evangelism started in 1978 when, as a teenager, she was studying for her Higher School Certificate, HSC, at the Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos. It was at that school that she started attending scripture union fellowship and gave her life to Christ. "Two weeks after I gave my life at FGC, I was chosen as vice president of our fellowship. This was what convinced me that God wanted to use me. The position meant that I was to lead other ladies in the fellowship, most of whom had been born-again before me," she said.
It was at the University of Ibadan where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology and History that she got more deeply involved in evangelism. She was an active member of the campus fellowship. By the time she graduated, she was totally convinced that God was going to use her.
It was, however, while serving as the head of the counselling department of the Household of God Church in 1987 that her calling eventually came. Indeed, the experience she gained while heading the counselling department of that church prepared her for the great contributions she has made to the society today through her "Singles & Married Ministry."
She recalled that it was while serving in that capacity that she had a vision where she followed Jesus to a beautiful city called "The City of David" into a street on which there was a sign post with the words "Street of Practicality." "Looking back now, I am not surprised when people say my teachings are practical because Jesus took me through the "Street of Practicality," she said.
In 1992, Odukoya was ordained a pastor by Mike Okonkwo, bishop of the Redeemed Evangelical Mission, TREM. It was after her ordination that she decided to devote more attention to the "Singles & Married Ministry," particularly the spiritual growth of the youths.
Apart from her life-changing teachings through the "Singles & Married " programme, Odukoya is also a prolific writer and author. She has over the years, maintained regular columns in several national and international newspapers and magazines, including ThisDay, City People, and Leadership and Life Style based in the United Kingdom. Her columns dwell primarily on true life experiences of the blissful and awry sides of both married and unmarried people. Many of her articles are laced with biblical injunctions on courtship, and practical steps which couples must follow in order to enjoy their marriages. This explains why many young men and women desirous of choosing life partner regularly throng her church in Ilupeju Lagos to listen to her inspirational teachings.
Recently, Odukoya published a book titled: How To Choose A Life Partner: 165 Questions To Ask. In the 191 page book, the quintessential television evangelist provides answers to some of the nagging questions which many spinsters and bachelors often ask about courtship and marriage. She believes that in choosing life partners, youths should look out for such qualities as relationship with God, humility, patience, self-control, trustworthiness, prayerfulness, courteousness, integrity and kindness. She noted that although looks are important, they should be secondary.
On the other hand, she identified personality types to avoid as those who are overtly possessive, continually dissatisfied, temperamental, meticulous, flirty and persons with superior and proud attitudes.
Odukoya who preaches against premarital sex said that it limits a person's ability to choose a good life partner. "Sex before marriage limits your ability to choose a good partner because it blinds you to the person's faults and instead of building a strong relationship, you concentrate on seeking pleasure in the relationship," she said.
Odukoya has no doubt excelled in her calling. She, however, attributes the immense contributions she has made on the lives of people to the grace of God and the immense support she has received from her husband, Taiwo, a mechanical engineer turned pastor. He is the senior pastor of the church. "I have a wonderful and understanding husband who allows me to walk in my call.. I respect him dearly and he is my mentor," she said. The Odukoyas have three children.
Surely, Odukoya who is in her 40s has through teachings, charismatic disposition and exemplary conduct become a role model to millions of Nigerian youths.