BIOGRAPHY OF MADAM GRACE OLUDIMU
Madam Grace Oludimu was born Sekinat Adesola Adufe Adebiyi Bello on January 18th, 1932 in Abeokuta, now Ogun State, Nigeria. Her parents were Abdul-Nosiru Akanni and Kehinde Alirat (nee Babarinsa) Adebiyi Bello. Her Lagbedu family were wealthy Ijaye-Kunrunmi Egbas-- her father Abdul Nosiru, was a contemporary of magnates such as Sir Louis Ojukwu and Chief Adeola Odutola. She is the only daughter with three brothers (Tajudeen, and two half-brothers; Moftau and Fasiu).
Her parents invested in her education which was rare in those days, even for male children. She attended Ebeneezer Baptist School for her primary education and then Baptist Girls' School, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State. Thereafter, she attended Teachers Training College in Ilesha before becoming a full-time educator, first at a Baptist school and then at Nawair-Ud-Deen school in Abeokuta. Given her Muslim background, her father partnered with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Lagos to build an Islamic school where she served as the head teacher.
In 1942, as a student, she met our dad, Rasheed Ayoola Aremu Sodimu, and they were married about 10 years later. Shortly after their wedding, she went to Black Pool, England to study Domestic Science.
Upon her return, the couple moved to Ebute Metta, Lagos where Dad was employed by the Public Works Department (PWD) and Mom worked in a high-level position for the Federal Government of Nigeria. She worked with at-risk and special needs children nicknamed 'awon omo welfare'. Mom was called 'mama dome' which translates into domestic science teacher!
In the very early 1960's the couple moved to Ijora GRA. Mom was one of the pioneers of the Ijora Women’s Club GRA /Julius Berger Quarters. Alhaja, as she was referred to, organized community events such as sports competitions for kids, dads, and moms.
Alhaja Sodimu was a devout Muslim and Women's Leader both in the Nawair-Ud-Deen movement and in Nigeria in general. She was an executive member of the Nigerian Muslim Council, and the Federation Of Muslim Women’s Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN). She was an early advocate for Islamic women's empowerment and education policy. Her parent groups advocated and lobbied Governor Jakande and Chief Awolowo on such education policies.
As educational opportunities opened up, Mom through her brother Professor Tajudeen Adebiyi would obtain and process university, admissions, and US student visas for as many people as possible in the United States. Mom made sure and did her best to see that our university tuition was paid and that we were well taken care of. Like her parents, Mom also invested in all her children, especially her ‘girls’ education, and her rationale was to empower her daughters. Mom hired after-school ‘lesson teachers’ for us, Monday to Friday.
Therefore, while the other kids played outside, we had English, Math, French, and Arabic. While at the time we hated not being able to play with our friends, we did learn to appreciate her effort.
In 1987, Grandma Grace gave her life to Christ after numerous appeals and ministrations by her daughter, Pastor Abby Daramola. She had a personal encounter with Jesus in her sleep during which she experienced the power in the blood of Jesus. Upon her rising from sleep, she asked her daughter to lead her to Christ. From that moment she became a radical for the Lord. The passion and tenacity she invested in the Muslim religion she transferred to evangelizing the Gospel. Her knowledge of the Koran gave her leverage to lead many Muslims to Christ. She lived her life as an evangelist and an intercessor with a passion for souls. Her major burden and focus of prayer were for nations where the gospel has not reached, missionaries, pastors, and ministry leaders. As she will say if we don’t pray for our pastors they will fall. Therefore, for her, it is critical she upholds all under-shepherds.
Any time she has an opportunity to hold the microphone in any church, her message is simple: she will declare two things:
· Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
· Pray for you Pastor.
Many lives have experienced the power of God through her faith and consistency in prayer, miracles have been recorded in her life, the barren has been fruitful through her prayers, marriages healed, singles married, the sick healed, etc. She lived her last days praying for souls till she took her last breath. Grandma Grace loved Christ and enjoyed telling everybody about Him and praying for people.
In June 1987 after the death of her mother, she emigrated to the US. She was the parental caregiver (catechist) of all her grandchildren and then some. She formed and joined local and international prayer groups literarily around the clock. Her group prayed for countries, people groups, families, and individuals. Alhaja Sodimu became Grace Oludimu after she had another encounter with Jesus changing her name.
Finally, her legacy is one of loving God and serving people. The seed you have sown will continue to be harvested by your children, grandchildren, and your descendants till Jesus returns.
Erin Wo; Rest In Peace.
Orun Rere Mommy!