By Vera Wisdom-Bassey
The funeral service of the late Hilda Adefarasin, mother of the general overseer of Guiding Light Assembly (GLA), Pastor Wale Adefarasin, and the senior pastor of House on the Rock, Paul Adefarasin, was held at GLA, Ikoyi, Lagos, recently.
The programme was graced by high-profile individuals, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and his wife, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Oluof Lagos State, general overseer of Faith Tarbanacle, Bishop David Oyedepo, senior pastor of Trinity House Church, Ituah Ighodalo, and Pastor Tunde Bakare and wife, among others.
Madam Adefarasin died on February 5, 2023, at 98. She was born in Lagos to the family of Wilford and Ethel Petgrave in 1925. Her father, who was born in Jamaica, worked with the Nigerian Railway in Lagos, and her mother (née Ambleston) was born in Antigua.
She was a founding member and secretary of the Professional Association of Trained Nurses of Nigeria and soon joined the National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) as a representative of nurses. In 1971, she became the council’s treasurer, holding that position until 1980.
The NCWS, during her tenure, promoted an expanded programme on immunization and operational theatres for young girls with vesicovaginal fistula.
She was one of two women nominated by President Ibrahim Babangida as members of the 1986 Political Bureau, and convinced the former head of state to introduce the Women Affairs and Better Life for Rural Women programme.
She was described as a nation-builder, a woman activist, disciplinarian and embodiment for what a Nigerian woman stands for. In his sermon, Bishop Oyedepo, reading the holy scripture from Romans 7:10, called on the congregants to uphold the banner of love and se
rvice to God. He said: “We live by faith, overcome by faith; our life should be characterised by faith.
“She lived a life of faith, love, and she loved God”.
He said love never fails and, therefore, called on the congregants to get into loving people, for “love is patient, kind, not envious but contented, meek, rejoices in the truth and not in evil, believes all things”, for that was what the late Adefarasin stood for till she passed on.
He called on the people again to repent of their sins, believe in Jesus, for he came to give us, not to take from us: “For the time of refreshing will come soon from heaven. People should, therefore, receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, for it is all for free.” He prayed for long life for everyone present at the funeral.
Pastor Paul Adefarasin used the medium to call on clergymen to know that God was waiting for them to take the country to a higher a level, not the politicians: “God is waiting for you, not the political class, to tell the people the truth in their congregation, and through them the country will be a better place.”
Dr. Nkem Okoro, founder of The Wife, described Madam Adefarasin as a mother and mentor whom she had known for over 25 years. She also described her as a nation-builder and a woman who was always ready on the home front. She called on Nigerian women to balance their home, not just working without looking into their homes.
“Make sure there is a balance in all you do as a woman, as our late mother balanced everything, home front, her husband and work, church and the nation,” Okoro said.