Why I took a degree in Theology---Late Toto Abuga’s Widow, Abiola Oredein | Says “Yes, God might call me but…”

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The GDA takes a parting shots with Madam Toto Abuga at the close of the interview
The encounter wouldn’t have taken place at all as this bold and beautiful London based socialite, Madam Abiola Oredein Olatunji was not in the mood for any journalist’s inquest. The mother of four (Two Lovely Girls and Two handsome boys) was only in town to attend to some of her high net-worth customers who patronize her high quality wool and textile shop, Olori Fabrics at Magodo GRA, Lagos.

 The widow of late socialite, Alhaji Lookmon Alade Olatunji aka Toto Abuga  who graduated from University of Middlesex, London on June 13 with a degree in Theology  was in Nigeria for the  transaction with her high net-worth customers and return to London where her kids are all schooling. Of course, she was home with all four of her lovely kids (Jadesola, Mojolaoluwa, Mazeed and Marzourq) who are all on holiday from their British schools.
 But when your soar away Africa’s number 1 Celebrity encounter blog Asabeafrika called her Lagos office, she was said to be engaged in some meetings with customers. “Call her back for your appointment’ Mr. Kunle her Property Manager advised us on phone. Our repeated calls showed that Madam was quite busy and by the time we drove into her posh office in Magodo GRA, Madam was already resting at the Massage section of her office and wouldn’t want an interruption for her shot rest; “Are you aware Mum is tired and resting?” informed her well endowed first daughter, Jadesola who is a fashion and style student at a high brow university in the UK. Her stern countenance didn’t deter us as we waited patiently until some 45 minutes later when Madam was informed of our presence by her manager. She immediately ordered that we be brought into her ambience and after exchanging pleasantries in presence of her two boys we hit her with barrages of questions that jolted her out of her heavy-eyed mood. It was a great moment and the session was as refreshing as every other encounter we ever had with “Madam Abuga” in the past.  Take a seat with your favorite drink as you enjoy another exclusive encounter from your Africa’s number 1 celebrity encounter blog, Asabeafrika. Enjoy!

MRS. ABIOLA OLATUNJI OREDEIN aka MADAM TOTO ABUGA
How would you define the moment you were handed your certificate as a graduate of Theology?
I think it was a rejuvenating moment. Of course I was very elated and I equally fell on top of the world. But above all, I think it was a process of re-birth for me. It was a process of great re-birth and there is nothing that can be compared to knowing much more about God
Why Theology and not sociology or philosophy?
In fact, I must confess to you now that I actually did many other courses before I settled down for theology but I think God wanted Theology for me because it deals with holiness. There was a time I wanted to study law, I started it and I left, there was a time I wanted to study nursing, I was already on it but equally stopped. Then I took a stock of myself and I asked myself ‘what next?’ I am a business woman, I have seen both the bad and good side of life as a wife, mother and business woman and in whatever way you may see it life has screwed all of us in one way or the other; so I decided I want to know more about God and Theology became it; today I am done and as I am talking to you, I am already preparing for my Masters degree program in leadership.
Oh, Church leadership or what?
Leadership is a general term; it can be church leadership but in any way that one is valuable to the course of God. It does not necessarily have to do with me moving unto the altar and acting the role of a Pastor or Lady Evangelist because I don’t have the calling yet.

Mazeed Olatunji late Toto Abuga's first son welcoming the GDA to Mum's office

What if God decided to call you, do you have the gut feeling that you may be called to work in the vineyard of God?
To be honest with you, I have the gut feeling but on a very sincere note I don’t think I have the calling. I am trained to speak in the congregation, to address people and enlighten the broken hearted ones, I can do that but basically I think if you don’t have a divine calling you don’t assign yourself to ecclesiastical duties. That will amount to courting trouble. Because no one can help God do his work except he assigns you and back you up.
“He told me something which I find equally interesting because I have not done it before. He said I should just go and lock myself in a place for three days; put off my phones and cut away human communication, total solitude. That something will talk to me and I will know if I have a calling”.
Madam Abiola Olatunji with her two lovely daughters Mojadesola and Anjolaoluwa

So, can one know if one has a calling from God?
During my course I had this lecturer who is versed in the issue of faith healing, Dr. Yayah Obozua and I went to him and asked him this same question you put to me.  I said ‘Doctor, how do you know if you have a calling?’ and he told me certain things which I found very useful. He said for me to have found myself in that gathering, I should believe I have a calling because I tried so many other courses but I only made it well with theology. Anybody that is doing law has the calling to be a lawyer. But I said to Dr. Obozua that I don’t think I have a spiritual calling and he said that I should hold on. He told me something which I find equally interesting because I have not done it before. He said I should just go and lock myself in a place for three days; put off my phones and cut away human communication, total solitude. That something will talk to me and I will know if I have a calling. Truth is that majority of my colleagues who did the course with me are now Pastors and church leaders. But I am still insisting that I don’t have a calling and until that happens, I won’t dabble into it, and there is nothing a Pastor will do that I cannot do. I pray and equally have the gift of counseling. I am very good in counseling and I think that is something nearer to it.
Meeting Madam Abiola Olatunji (Nee Oredein)

I guess you know a lot of people often run away from working for God because they think it is a spiritually dangerous job. If you are to hear the voice of God today that you should proceed to the vineyard, would you follow him?
Why wont I, I have paid my dues. What is it that I am looking for that God, the maker of heaven and earth will call me and I won’t respond? That God will call me and ask me to do something for Him and I will not do it, no way. I think I have paid my dues when it comes to business and philanthropy; so, why can’t I work for God? Why can’t I serve Him? We are all God’s servants. If I have the calling and it is really clear to me that “Biola, come and work for me in the vineyard”. Of course I will leave whatever I am doing and follow Him.
The GDA & Mazeed Catching fun before the interview

What was the culture shock like while studying as your school, University of Middlesex is a mixed culture school?
I learnt a lot. I am so happy I went to the school because it is a huge opportunity all together. The most expensive gift one can lose in life is a wasted opportunity. Over there I learnt a whole lot of ideas especially about this life, that it is vanity upon vanity. I also learnt about faith, that in whatever you do, you must always leave God to direct you. God is the author and finisher of our faith. And let me say this; since I started that course there has been this kind of overwhelming happiness that enveloped me, I found this radiating joy that just covered me up and it was like my life itself derives joy from doing that; everything I thought was impossible suddenly became possible. Things just kept coming naturally and that goes to show that in this life, you must believe there is God; there is God.
“I am very sure of God’s covenant with widows because I don’t lack anything. Gbenga, I won’t lie to you, God feeds me. At times things could get so rough but before I open my mouth, He will just reimburse me. So, I don’t lack anything good; the only thing I could say I lack is the physical presence of my husband”


Madam Abiola Olatunji aka Madam Toto Abuga
Marzouq Olatunji, Toto Abuga's second son catching fun while the interview last
(Cuts in) You are right ma, even the wife of our last President, Goodluck said it. She said Diaris God….
(Laughter) I don’t know what you are talking about. I know there is God and I believe He oversees everything. In my class, we have a topic which says “Does God exist?” it is a very interesting course under a module that we treated in the third year. The topic says “Does God exist?” You know some theologians despite the teachings believe God does not exist. They believe there is no God but thank God for those of us who believe. I believe there is God because I am a classical example of God’s manifestation. So, I believe there is God but some of the theologians argue that there is no God and that most things in the Bible are just mere stories; but that is their belief. Everything is about self enlightenment but if you do this course deeply, you will see a lot because some of the theology scholars believe there is no God, but for me, I believe there is God. I am a good testimony because I know the way I was seven years ago when my husband died, I know the way I was four years ago before I started the course and I know the way I am now. I return the glory to God.
If your husband was alive, as a devoted Muslim, do you think he would have allowed you to study theology?
Why won’t he allow me? You don’t know my husband; he was a self enlightened person, a man of peace. Even the day he died I was in church; he is the one that normally drop us in church, all my children even with their Muslim names we got them baptized in the church. So, my husband was not a fanatic because he believes that your own religion might not necessarily be a guaranty for his own salvation “Esin Baba o gbomola”. (A father’s faith is not a guarantee for the child’s salvation). Do whatever you like but do it in God’s line of interest. That was my husband’s philosophy.
The GDA raising a question for Madam Abiola Olatunji

Getting your certificate amidst a group of mixed race, how does it make you feel?
Like I said earlier, I was elated but it just goes to show that humanity is one if we are not to rate it by skin color or mother’s tongue. But one thing that really hit me that very day was the absence of my husband. I said ‘how I wish my husband was here with me?’ because I was so happy and I just thank God for giving me the privilege to finish the course because it was a bit rough, I was shuttling Lagos-London-Lagos back to back catering for my kids’ education on one hand and raising business for my staff on the other. I was a student, business woman and mother. At times I will just board the next available flight because of few courses, just to attend the lecture. So, I give glory to God because it is not easy being a single parent. Doing all these things at a stretch is just by the grace of God
Madam Abiola Olatunji to Asabeafrika....'Going to study Theology is the biggest good thing that happened to me'
As a widow, do you see yourself using your knowledge of theology to solve the problems of widowhood?
I don’t really see myself as a widow because Jesus has remained my husband. I know God is there for me. In my church, we have a widow’s society and I am one of the resource people for that group. I keep encouraging them; at times we have fresh widows, I pay visits to them and console them. If I can’t visit, I make telephone calls and give words of encouragement. Even this afternoon the first sale I made was by a widow.  She was here to buy some of our textiles and she kept asking me for discount, saying ‘it is not easy o, I am a widow’ and I asked her ‘how many years?’ she said ‘three’ and I said ‘I am a widow of 7 years, so, yours is fresh” I counseled her and I said “God will take control” because what the Bible confirmed is that ‘God is always at the side of the widows, especially plain minded ones not fraudulent ones. I am very sure of God’s covenant with widows because I don’t lack anything. Gbenga, I won’t lie to you, God feeds me. At times things could get so rough but before I open my mouth, He will just reimburse me. So, I don’t lack anything good; the only thing I could say I lack is the physical presence of my husband. I am not seeing him physically but I believe he is always around with me spiritually. So, widows should be focused. Be focused and know what you are doing. God is always there for widows, I believe that because when my husband died, people will come around to counsel me saying ‘oh, read this verse in the Bible, do this and do that’ everything came to pass. They said if I can focus, get myself busy, face my children and keep praying to God and dedicate myself to God; that is all that you get to do, just dedicate yourself to God and He will take charge of your life because He is the father of the fatherless and the husband of the widow.
Madam Abiola Olatunji to Asabeafrika...'That i studied theology does not mean i heard the voice of God to start a ministry'

You were one of those who supported the Change Campaign of General Muhammad Buhari through your various twitter & Facebook hash tags. How did you feel when President Buhari won the election?
I felt so relieved, I felt so happy because this country does not belong to a group of people who believe in squandering our common wealth. You know the month of May was a very pregnant month in Nigeria and everything that happened in that month was not by anybody but God’s power. So, this clearly showed everyone that there is something money cannot do. It was God and nobody. Prayers and again we give kudos to the efficacy of the social media. Apparently you can see that the change we voted for is manifesting. Right now in my office you can see we are under air condition. We are enjoying AC because power has been steady for a while. I used to run the generator, heavily spending fortunes on diesel but the story is now changing. At time I even think maybe I am dreaming.

Madam Abiola Olatunji aka Madam Toto Abuga

With General Buhari on the seat, what do you think he should do for women?
I believe in the 35% affirmative act, you know our people up north give women little chance but I believe what a man can do, a woman will always do better because women have less to spend money on and you can be assured their stealing tendency is very low.  I am a very good example of the great thing a woman can do. That is why I supported the OVATION Publisher, Mr. Dele Momodu’s position when he recently visited President Muhammad Buhari that women should be given a role in government. It happened in my theology class, we discussed a module where it was asked that ‘is it proper to allow women lead in the church?’,  it is part of the women leadership series and when I did my presentation I came second because I did a lot of research into it both in the Bible and other sources and I discovered women had always played their role in every politics that led to change in ancient times. I saw clearly in my research that women, though weak at heart has the sixth sense. And I brought it out to them that of course women have the grace to lead in both the ecclesiastical and political environment.

Madam Abiola Olatunji aka Madam Toto Abuga

But it is agreed in some churches that women’s vulnerability to their monthly circle is a pointer to the fact that they should sit behind?
That is in the white garment churches not in my own church; even the church I attend in my neighborhood, a woman is the head of the parish. So, I think President Buhari should allow the 35% affirmative act to reign. Of course we have sad experiences like the Alison Madueke and Okonjo Iweala saga of recent but that shouldn’t be a yard stick to measure the quality of women in leadership.  Women should not be idle, we had the likes of Margaret Thatcher who changed things in Great Britain and right now America is coming up with Hilary Rodam Clinton. I supported the election of the APC Woman, Mrs. Jumai Al-Hassan in Taraba state and I believe that by the time the election tribunal have a final work on Taraba election, it will be established that she is the winner of that election. You know one of my friends Aisha Alubankudi really supported her. I and Aisha attended the same secondary school, St Theresa’s College, Ibadan. We have been friend for over 35 years.

The GDA with Madam Abiola Olatunji (Nee Oredein)

(Cuts in) In recent time, there have been allegations on social media that Aisha Alubankudi is a friend of President Jonathan who quickly switched loyalty to President Buhari when she saw the power swing?
No, Aisha Alubankudi is a family friend of President Muhammad Buhari. I don’t think she has anything to do with Goodluck Jonathan. She doesn’t because I have known Aisha for a very long time. We both grew up in Ibadan. I know her mum, and we usually go to their house to eat and she comes to my house to eat as well. We have been together since 1979. So, I know her. She is a very unique personality.
More High end fabrics at Madam Abiola's Olori Fabrics

A session of her Fabric Shop decorated with best of the best Lace Materials from Zurich

Your sons for late Toto Abuga, Mazeed and Marzouq are growing fast, I have just discussed with them and I can see how sharp these boys are? How has the journey been, raising them without dad?
I give glory to Almighty God like I used to say. I am so happy seeing them grow healthily. At times some people will grow but they won’t grow with happiness and good morals; they won’t grow with good health. But I thank God for the brand of children He gave to me. At times, people will say ‘you can’t have everything at all time’ but to God be the glory I have them all (Two Beautiful Girls and Two Lovely boys) except my baby, Lookman Alade Olatunji that I am missing. So, I really give glory to God for my children. Especially for my baby, Marzourq (2nd Son) he was a year old when his dad passed away. In fact, his birthday was the next day, June 9 and the man wished us a happy celebration and rushed into Lagos for a business meeting and he was felled on June 8.  It is not easy raising two boys and two lovely girls (From her earlier marriage), it is not a joke, raising young girls, you have to shine your eyes to ensure they don’t fall victims of bad relationship. We just have to keep lecturing them that not all that glitter is gold. Because you cant say ‘Oh, no man should come near my daughters’. They are tall, they are beautiful, people will come to them but what you put in their brain is what will help them to sustain and live out of every whims and caprices, you need to keep talking to them and teaching them and enlightening them. However, prayer rules above all strategy. Our children don’t necessarily belong to us. They are God’s properties given to us to care. So, how you raise them depends on your relationship with God. 

Another set of clothings inside her Olori Fabrics Headquarters, Lagos


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