Today, I am inspired to celebrate two daughters of Zion with identical history in part and in whom God is manifesting His word, power and favour.
The word of God says,
“Ye are the light of the world.”
This scripture is true in the lives of Evangelist Alaba Sola Gloria Bamiloye and Mrs. Motunrayo Oluwatosin Olayinka Ogunde. Coincidentally, the two sisters were born in 1964. Again, they both had their early lives in the old Western, old Oyo and Old Osun States, Ilesha being the exact rendezvous.
Gloria and Yinka, the twin sisters from different wombs, are obviously favourites of the Almighty; God indeed marvellously helped them till they became very great. Miss Gloria Alaba Obembe married the pioneer of Christian drama in Nigeria, Brother Micheal Abayomi Bamiloye, in 1988. They have three children. A bit earlier – precisely in 1986 – Miss Motunrayo Olayinka Adetunji had married Wemimo Ogunde, the son of Adesewa and Hubert Ogunde (the pioneer of conventional indigenous drama, mostly of the opera genre, in Nigeria). Yinka and her husband, Wemimo, also have three children. And as God would have it again, these two of a kind I celebrate today both studied English at their tertiary educational level.
However, neither of these godly amazons attained the lofty heights or the mountainous grandeur by sudden flight. On the contrary, while their contemporaries were sleeping, they were busy praying and backing it up with diligent endeavours. More so, both of them discovered their purpose on earth very early in life.
Another common denominator of the sisters is beauty; both are extremely beautiful even as they approach their 60.
“Pastor Segun, be careful!”
No wahala, I am close to both husbands. What more? Both wives are as extremely faithful to their husbands even as they are extremely beautiful. So, it is no concerns to their husbands.
“T’omo eni ba dara k’awi.”
The two sisters are wonderfully and fearfully made. Yet they are humble. What an amiable and extroverted pair!
On his part, the author of this tribute played Bambulu, the teacher in James Ene Henshaw’s This is our Chance in Secondary School at Abeokuta in the Summer of 1964. In celebrating the birth of these twinkle twinkle twin stars, permit me to split them into their individual biographies in the coming chapters. I will use their maiden and marital surnames interchangeably.
GLORIA BAMILOYE: EARLY LIFE & EDUCATION
Gloria Alaba Sola Obembe was born in Ilesha, Osun State, on February 4, 1964 to the illustrious family of Papa Ojo & Mama Olabisi Obembe. She attended Mount Olivet Primary School, Bodija, Ibadan and Christ Apostolic Church Secondary School, Ilesa. Her majors were English and Christian Religious Knowledge in Education at the higher institution. She was most popularly known as Sister Sola on campus, particularly among her Christian fellowship brethren and in the drama club. After her graduation, she went for the one-year mandatory Youth Service.
MRS. GLORIA BAMILOYE: A PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE
When young sister Gloria Alaba Obembe prayed for a husband, she gave the specification in her LPO to the Most High thus:
“Father, give me a partner that will help me discover my purpose on earth”.
And in 1985, she took delivery of her request; God had preserved one Brother Micheal Abayomi Bamiloye for her.
Brother Mike had approached other sisters with his rehearsed fairy tale:
“I believe God wants us to work together in drama Ministry.”
They all turned down the request not only because they did not believe in him, but also because God has promised Sister Gloria:
“In that day, sing ye unto her, ‘A vineyard of red wine, I, the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment lest any hurt it. I will keep him night and day.'” – Isaiah 27,verses 2 and 3.
When Brother Mike arrived at Sister Gloria’s hall of residence and asked for her, she rushed out and said, “Yes, l am here sir.”
Bro Mike’s words were short and sharp, “Will you marry me?”
Sister Gloria reported how shocked she was,
“Bro Mike for that matter; the leader of our drama fellowship! We are not even close. Why? Why will…”
About a month later, Brother Mike came for her response. He waited for the service to be over and accosted her. She led him to the house and wrote on a piece of paper,
“I will marry you.”
This woman of destiny believed in Bro Mike and his vision for Mount Zion, a ministry without financial capital but only backed by God and his word: “The just shall live by faith.”
They prayed for a year and the group started with stage plays. Their first stage play was “Hell in Conference”. They toured churches and the country for four years. Their stage plays included songs as well. In 1990, they started preaching with movies.
Mrs. Gloria Bamiloye loves God and believes in a Christian home. She believes that a good Christian home where Jesus is Lord is the sure foundation for success in ministry.
The Mount Zion Ministry is a group replete with mutual respect among members which I believe this woman of God played a key role in its entrenchment. They even wear uniform attires known as and-co in local parlance. I saw that when I visited them at their 30th anniversary where I had the honour of being in their group photograph on Thursday night of the anniversary. I was also their guest at the ANCEDRAM 25th Anniversary held at the Redemption Camp. They have also attended RCCG drama convention on many occasions teaching and ministering to the fellowship.
Mount Zion has produced over 200 movies and Evangelist Gloria Bamiloye acted in majority of them. She wrote and produced many of the Mount Zion movies, particularly those that bordered on the family. She is a passionate actor who interprets her role so well as to evoke believability from her audience. An instance was her weeping so convincingly in “Busy but guilty.”
The couple teach regularly at the Mount Zion Institute in Ile-Ife. Joshua and Damilola, their sons, also teach at the Institute, as well as write and produce movies, just like their parents. This woman of God is really doing well at the home front.
Evang. Mike and Gloria Bamiloye are prayer champions. Their friend from Kaduna told us in a video at their 30th ministry anniversary in Ibadan that he left Daddy and Mummy Bamiloye at home praying while he went to work and some other places. When he came back home to ensure their lunch was served, he met them still praying; they had not even touched the breakfast prepared for them.
The Bamiloyes have preached in major cities of the world. They have touched millions of souls and millions of souls in return love them. It is difficult to break through to them on their birthdays. (I will not tell you the method I use to reach out to them on their birthday anniversaries!)
I want to mention just 23 of the Mount Zion films our honourable mother-in-Israel, Gloria Bamiloye, has acted in: 1. Stormy Seas 2. Back to Zero point 3. Haunting Shadows 4. Blood on the Altar 5. The Forgotten Ones 6. Broken Pitcher 7. The Prodigal Ones 8. Mother-in-Law 9. Enemy of my soul 10. Captives of the Mighty 11. Shackles 12. Secret of the Moment 13. Lost Forever 14. The Spell 15. The Great Mistake 16. Agbara-nla 17. The Story of My Life 18. Fruitless Tree 19. Ide Esu 20. Wounded Heart 21. Foundation 22. Busy but Guilty 23. Abejoye. She has touched millions of souls across the globe.
On a personal note, the Bamiloyes are humble servants of God with great interpersonal relations which I can testify to. I am usually happy and proud when we honour each other’s invitation. I was at Ilesha for Mama Olabisi Obembe’s funeral in February 2017, and I had the honour of praying for the family during the service. They also were there to witness and support the inauguration of RCCG National Drama in 2008. In addition, both were guest speakers at my birthday anniversary a few years ago. These great servants of God even passed the night in my house at the Camp on a few occasions. What an honour!
As I bring down the curtain on the Bamiloyes’ side of this my tribute to the living, there is no gainsaying the fact that Drama Daddy and Mummy Bamiloye are an amazingly selfless pair; they want other drama ministers to succeed. Like Elijah, they are committed to committing God to give double portion of their anointing to their mentees.
YINKA OGUNDE: EARLY LIFE & EDUCATION
Motunrayo Oluwatosin Olayinka Adetunji was born on May 29, 1964 to the family of Chief Adepoju Adetunji from Ibadan and Mama Modupe Adetunji from Abeokuta. Yinka Adetunji was born in Lagos. Her parents were later posted to Ilesha in 1967 and were there for five years. Late Chief Adepoju Adetunji was the Sole Administrator of Ilesha Local Government for the period, while her mother was the Head-teacher of Otapete Methodist Church Primary School, Ilesha. Young Yinka therefore attended Otapete Methodist Primary School for five years.
If young Gloria Alaba Obembe had not been taken to Ibadan for her primary school education, the two sisters would have probably met at Otapete, or at worst at the youth day parade, if they happened to attend different primary schools. Unfortunately, by the time young Gloria Obembe came to Ilesha for her secondary school challenge, Yinka Adetunji had escaped to Lagos.
Yinka completed her primary school at Our Lady of Apostle Primary School, St. Agnes, Yaba Lagos. She attended Our Lady of Apostle Secondary School and Methodist Girls’ High School for her Higher School Certificate. She studied English at the University of Lagos and holds a Master of Science degree in Mass Communication of the same UNILAG.
All these happened right before my very own eyes. I met Yinka, her younger sister, Folasade, and their parents in Ilesha in 1968. I went in company of my fiancée at the time, my late charming wife, Grace Solabomi Taiwo, to visit her elder sister, Mrs Modupe Adetunji. I remain very close to them all; to their eldest sister, whom we teasingly call Sister Queen Street, and to Wemimo and Yinka Ogunde.
MRS. YINKA OGUNDE: A PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE
Wemimo Ogunde, born in 1958, studied Law at the University of Lagos. He worked at Gani Fawehinmi Chambers and later with some friends before establishing his own law firm. He is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Yinka Adetunji married Oluwemimo Ogunde in 1986 and they have three children.
During their courtship, those of us in the family circle would tease,
“ Omo Ogunde is coming today.”
Ironically, I met Chief Hubert Ogunde long before meeting Wemimo.
I was writing reviews of stage plays for Daily Times, Daily Sketch, Morning Post and Daily Express then. University of Ibadan (UI) had trained us to review drama productions, plays and novels. In the process, young Segun Adegbiji had the privilege of meeting the older Ogunde, and other theatre giants like Moses Olaiya (aka Baba Sala), Kola Ogunmola and Adeyemi Afolayan (Ade Love).
Permit me to take a detour to describe in particular one of my chanced encounters with one of these greats – Kola Ogunmola. Particularly, I met Kola Ogunmola as a student of UI and we worked on The Palm-Wine Drinkard together. On our way to show The Palm-Wine Drinkard in Ijebu-Ode, in UI student bus, we stopped over and paid a courtesy visit to Tai Solarin. Ogunmola’s troupe and I were served cake. One funny part of the visit I cannot but reminisce among the older contingents was when we were about to leave MayFlower and there was still cake in the plate. Kola Ogunmola looked at me, pointed at the cake and said humorously,
“Se e?” (Should I… “take” it?)
I knowingly signalled him to go ahead.
Now to the iconic Ogunde himself, Chief Hubert Ogunde. Like I mentioned earlier, my review works brought me close to him. And as a witness to my closeness, I registered my presence at Ogunde’s heartthrob, Mummy Adesewa Ogunde’s burial at St. Jude’s Anglican Church in 1970. There I had an unlikely partner-in-tears in Baba Sala; Moses Olaiya and I wept our eyes out. The 12-year-old Wemi, Yinka Ogunde’s future husband, sat among the children of the departed. His sorrow had the better of him as he refused to greet me; he was too young to know that destiny would bring us close.
Yinka Ogunde is truly a woman of many parts. She can be described as a seasoned marketing communication professional and entrepreneur with keen interest in the education sector and social transformation
She began her professional life with NTA Enugu as a news reporter before moving to the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State in the 80s.
Her sojourn into the world of advertising began after her MSc degree in Mass Communication at the University of Lagos. She worked with various top agencies before venturing into the world of entrepreneurship by setting up Goals and Ideas.
She made her mark in the advertising industry by pioneering several initiatives, a remarkable one being the “Stepping into the Marketing Communications Industry” programme for fresh graduates.
She also served as Chairperson, Women in Advertising; Council Member, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria; and Board Member, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria.
Her coming into the education sector through her company, Edumark, has contributed a great deal to the transformation of the private education subsector. Edumark has pioneered numerous initiatives in the education sector. The company has created self-sustaining programmes that are transforming the education sector even beyond Nigeria, some of which are:
- Total School Support Seminar/ Exhibition: now regarded as Africa’s biggest education show with over 10,000 visitors from more than 26 states in Nigeria and other African countries. The programme which has been running for 12 years also brings together more than 100 exhibitors from UK, Nigeria, Finland, Togo and South Africa. The programme also provides a great learning platform for the development of teachers and school-owners both in the public and private sectors.
- We Are The Future of Our Nation (WATFON): a youth programme that has impacted more than 100,000 final year students nationwide since inception more than 15 years ago. The programme is focused on 3 core objectives: Inspiring Patriotism, Promoting Unity and Raising Role models. Since inception, WATFON has been supported by distinguished Nigerians such as General Yakubu Gowon, Late Chief Gamaliel Onosode, Prof J.P. Clark, Tonye Cole, Folashade Adetiba, Dr Leke Pitan and Liyel Imoke, to mention but few.
- Publications: School Tips and more magazines.
- International Schools and Colleges Exhibition.
- My School Search Board
- Leadership Training: for school-owners, teachers, and school leaders, both in the public and private sectors.
- Consultancy Services: for various schools.
Public Sector Milestones
A noteworthy mention of her public sector activities must be made for this piece on this illustrious daughter of God to be complete. These include:
- Organising, alongside Oyo State Ministry of Education, the 2nd Oyo State Education Summit. The summit helped to provide a framework for the Governor Ajimobi Administration at inception.
- Training of Oyo State teachers in various local government areas.
- Adopting a school programme with Lagos State Government during the tenure of Dr. Leke Pitan as the Honourable Commissioner for Education.
- Creating Support Our Schools programme. This is a Lagos State programme during the tenure of Princess Sarah Sosan as the Honourable Commissioner for Education.
Mrs Ogunde’s online activities are quite extensive:
- She created a group about four years ago known as Concerned Parents and Educators Network whose cardinal objective is advocacy for Education Reforms. The group currently has over 162,000 parents and education professionals across Africa.
- Her organization has also created an active education-focussed blog –www.allaboutschoolsng.com
On a final note, it is amazing to note that Mrs. Yinka Ogunde coordinates all these ventures without breaking a sweat, and with smiles and aplomb.
Mrs. Yinka Ogunde is as well an inspiring speaker and a mentor to a lot of female professionals. She has received numerous awards from various organizations for entrepreneurship, education sector development and corporate social responsibility.
I pray that the Ogundes and the Bamiloyes attain greater heights and conquer more territories and nations. I pray they all survive me on earth; I will not bury any of them. It will be so wonderful, if the twin sisters from two wombs attend each other’s 60th birthday anniversary in February and May, 2024.
I thank Pastor Abiodun Soretire, a veteran drama minister and a linguist who edited this essay and handled the page planning.
This tribute is to celebrate with Evangelist Gloria Bamiloye, whose husband and destiny partner turned 60 recently, and Mrs. Yinka Ogunde who marked her 56th birthday anniversary last Friday.
Pastor Segun Adegbiji
(08033026473, for WhatsApp only)
Chairman, Primestone Hidden Pearl: *Drama *Movies *Broadcasting
Retired Pioneer Director of Drama, RCCG.