Hilda Victoria Joanne Adefarasin: An Icon of Godliness Goes Home In A Blaze of Glory 


The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo led prominent dignitaries to the funeral of Mrs. Hilda Victoria Joanne Adefarasin, the mother of the Senior Pastor of Guiding Light Assembly, Pastor Wale Adefarasin and the Metropolitan Senior Pastor of House on the Rock, Pastor Paul Adefarasin.

Mama Adefarasin died on February 5, 2023, and was aged 98.

The nonagenarian was laid to rest on Friday, March 27, in Lagos amid encomiums and prayers at the funeral service that held at Guiding Light Assembly, Ikoyi, Lagos, founded by her first son, Wale Adefarasin. 

In his tribute, Paul Adefarasin described his mother as a mentor, not only to his children but to everyone that crossed her path. He added that she was a disciplinarian, who was gentle and firm with all in her care and company.

He said his mother was a public servant, humanitarian and women’s right activist who dedicated a great part of her life to the right of women which she believed in.

Adefarasin said not once did she fail to wisely speak truth to power, on equity and equality of women, as she was a firm believer in the ethic of nation-building and was committed to devoting her time, energy and resources to anything that would help Nigeria to live up to her potential.

“It was this devotion that brought her to the attention of the then President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR (rtd) who nominated her to be one of only two female members of the 1986 Political Bureau. The Bureau was inaugurated to conduct a national debate on the political future of Nigeria, an exercise deemed to be the broadcast political consultation conducted in Nigeria history.”

He added, “Mummy taught us both respect and respectability, she insisted on the importance of showing respect to elders. She was particular in how she taught all of us self-respect, underscoring the axiom, which says, ‘how you treat yourself determines how society will treat you.’ She taught us courage, how to tackle life audaciously and to never let anything hold us back. She was generous to a fault and never hesitated to pour herself into the many young men and women she mentored through the course of her life.”

The vice-president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo described Mama Adefarasin as a true Nigerian patriot who devoted her life to active public service from her youth, being one of the earliest nurse and active social activist being a former President of the National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS).

Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon described the deceased as a virtuous woman, who was dedicated to the things of God, and wellbeing of the people, while the chairman of First City Monument Bank, FCMB, Otunba Subomi Balogun described her as “a gracious woman.”

In his homily, titled, “The Memory of The Just Is Blessed,” the Founder and Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, Dr. David Oyedepo said Mama Adefarasin displayed lots of godly character in her lifetime, lived an impactful life and was full of positive character. 

He said, “I met her 27 years ago and what I saw was an overflowing love for God in her life. She was one who loved God dearly and this reflected in her attitude to life. She was always carrying a smile. Love is the overriding spiritual virtue in the kingdom of God, everything works together for love and this is reflected in her lifetime. No wonder she lived long because being in love with God guarantees a long life.”

Prominent Nigerians at the funeral included, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and wife, Dolapo; General Yakubu Gowon and wife, Victoria; Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and wife, Ibijoke; Otunba Femi Pedro; Elder Felix Ohiwerei; Olusegun Awolowo; Jimi Agbaje; Olori Ladun Sijuwade; Otunba Olasubomi Balogun and wife, Abimbola; Hajia Abah Zainab Folawiyo; Maiden Ibru, Toyin Saraki, Olorogun Oscar Ibru, Yetunde Abraham, and Ekua Abudu. 

Others were: Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams; Pastors Tunde Bakare; Ituah Ighodalo; Idowu Iluyomade; Mensa Otabil; Victor Adeyemi; Dotun Ojelabi, amongst other dignitaries.

About Mama Hilda Adefarasin 

Mama Hilda Joanne Adefarasin (nee Petgrave) was born into a family that had emigrated from West Indies. She schooled in Lagos, Accra and London, starting with secretarial training before switching to midwifery and nursing. It was in the course of her career in nursing that she, along with others, founded the Professional Association of Trained Nurses of Nigeria (PATNON).

It was as a representative of PATNON, which she was not only a founding member but the secretary, that she joined the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS). Upon resigning her job at General Hospital, Lagos in 1968, she focused on the professional activities of the NCWS. 

Mama Adefarasin was elected as a treasurer in 1971, serving for nine years and later elected in 1984 as president, going on to serve for a remarkable four years, which thrusted the NCWS into national prominence, pushing onto the front burner the programme on immunisation, while laying the foundation for bringing onto national consciousness the issue of Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) VVF, which was largely unknown then. She would later serve as one of only two members of the Political Bureau, set up by President Babangida to chart a new political future for Nigeria.

It is a testimony to the enduring nature of the relationship that she and her family had formed with the Gowon family during the period the General served as the nation’s Head of State. This saw her playing the role of a Matron of Honour at their wedding in 1969 while Pastor Paul served as the ring-bearer. This explained why General Gowon and his wife found it expedient to be physically present for the funeral service. 

Mama Adefarasin was married to Honourable Justice Joseph Adetunji Adefarasin, a prominent lawyer and High Court judge. He was studied law at University of London from 1946 to 1949, and  was the Second Chief Judge of Lagos. 

She will be remembered for raising godly, biological children with global visibility and heritage for God’s kingdom. Her first son, Pastor Wale Adefarasin, is the senior pastor of Guiding Light Assembly, Ikoyi, Lagos; her second son, Reverend Yemi Adefarasin, pastors Kingdom Lifeline Apostolic Ministries in Abuja while her last child, Paul Adefarasin is the Senior Pastor of House on the Rock and the Convener of “The Experience”, an annual, free gospel music concert 

Mama Adefarasin’s two daughters – Bola Adefarasin and Yinka Ogundipe, are also involved in full time ministry. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *