Obaseki Launches 1st Christian Festival, Drops N50 Million For Grabs
The Executive Governor of Edo State, Dr. Godwin Obaseki says the state government will this 2023, launch a Christian Festival to be held for the first time in Edo State.
Speaking today at the 2023 edition of Mega Convention (MEGACON), a bi-annual programme of Church of God Mission International (CGMi) held at Balm of Gilead City, Benin, Obaseki said the Christian Festival is to be inaugurated in honoiur of Archbishop Margaret Benson-Idahosa, whose 80th birthday celebration was held amidst the MEGACON on July 29, 2023. This year’s MEGACON was held from July 24 to 30, 2023.
The Governor said the initiative was a motivation generated from the passion and commitment of Archbishop Margaret Benson-Idahosa for young people.
“I know the fundamental difference that has been in our lives as a people because of Archbishop Benson-Idahosa. She has sacrificed everything to make sure that the children of this state have a better future. That’s why she has continued to provide healthcare, to provide education for our people,” he said adding that “We will continue to immortalize you.”
Obaseki further said there would be a N50 million prize for the group that would win the Christian musical contest that would hold during the Christian festival.
“So, young men and women across Edo State, the stage is open. Go and begin to practice. Mama Idahosa will be there at the Christian festival,” he said.
Dignitaries at the 2023 MEGACON to celebrate with Archbishop Idahosa on her 80th birthday include the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Sir Monday Onyeme, the General Overseer of Living Faith Church (Winner’s Chapel), Bishop David Oyedepo, Bishop Mike Okonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), other anointed ministers of God from the United States of America and other parts of the world.
Archbishop (Dr) Margaret Benson-Idahosa (OON) was born in Benin City, Edo State, on July 29, 1943, into the family of Pa Lawrence and Madam Alice Izevbigie, members of the royal line of Oba Ereosoyen. She is known for her charitable and religious activities in Nigeria and abroad and she can be described as the founding mother of Nigerian Pentecostalism.
Her capacities have endeared her to many who look up to her as a role model, while others see her as a mentor. She has come a long way in her ministerial work since she took over the Church of God Mission International after the death of her husband, Archbishop Benson Idahosa, on March 12, 1998.
When she took over leadership of CGMI after her husband’s death, there were doubts about her ability to run the church but she has erased all doubts eventually as the church has grown from strength to strength. Infact, of all churches in Nigeria that lost their founders and had the founder’s wife take over leadership, it is only Church of God Mission International that has not only remained popular under Magaret but has continued to grow.
Benson-Idahosa, elevated to the position of an Archbishop on November 7, 2009, is also the Chancellor of Benson Idahosa University, one of the first government-approved private universities in Nigeria. The institution, which started as Christian Faith University in 1993, has metamorphosed into one of the top schools in the country, combining academics with a decent spiritual and moral upbringing. The church also runs a secondary and primary school where the church is situated. Her passion for education is high, as evidenced by the top-class administrators who run her educational institution.
At the foundation laying ceremony of the BIU’s College of Medicine, she pointed out that it was the desire of the founding Chancellor, the late Idahosa, that the University would have a college of medicine that would raise medical professionals who would practise the profession with the fear of God. Despite her husband’s demise, she never derailed from the ideals of setting up the school, proof of her managerial acumen.
The Archbishop is currently the Executive President of the Christ Bible Institute International, a Bible school that runs full-time and part-time diploma, bachelor, and master’s degree programmes for local and international students. The school intends to raise upright men and women of God who are strong in Christian doctrine.
She is the President-General of the Christian Women Fellowship International, a non-denominational body that is committed to teaching and empowering women to discover their true and God-given potential as leaders, wives, mothers, role models, and instruments for end-time evangelism. Branches of this body exist in Africa, North America, Europe, and Asia.
A multi-purpose facility named the Restoration Centre with a seating capacity of about 10,000 has been built for this purpose. The centre is also committed to rehabilitating and empowering destitute young women with skills to help them become useful to themselves and society.
She is also the Executive President of Faith Mediplex Hospital, one of the largest private hospitals in the Niger Delta region. The hospital currently has three chapters in Abuja, Uyo, and its headquarters in Benin. Thousands of persons patronise the hospital every week. The vision of the hospital is to combine prayer and medicine to heal.
Benson-Idahosa’s quest for knowledge knows no bounds. Her avid love for education has since surpassed her childhood dreams, and today her degrees are numerous and include a Diploma in Home Economics from Leeds Polytechnic, United Kingdom; a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies from Friends International University, California, U.S.A.; a Master’s Degree in Education from Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A.; a Master’s Degree in Divinity from Friends International University, California, U.S.A.; and numerous honorary doctorate degrees.
She is the author of several books, among which are The Womb of Harvest, The Female Minister, Tearing the Veil, Go for It, Empowered for Radical Change, Season of Harvest, Born Naked, Not Empty, Opportunities for Increase, Mending Your Nets, Fruitfulness in Christ, and Value what God values.
She is a member of some well-respected Christian bodies at home and abroad, among which are the National Advisory Council, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria Vice President, and the International Communion of Charismatic Churches with headquarters in Georgia, U.S.A.
She has also been conferred with honorary awards/tributes given in recognition of her contributions to societies both at home and abroad, including a certificate of special tribute by the Governor of the State of Michigan, U.S.A., in the year 2000; a certificate of special tribute from Senator of the 14th Senate District of the State of Michigan, U.S.A., also in the year 2000; a certificate of special tribute from the 43rd District of the State of Michigan, U.S.A., also in the year 2000; conferred with the Justice of Peace by the Edo State Government in the year 2001; and chosen as one of the 100 most influential Nigerian women in 2002 by Nigeria’s News Weekly Magazine.
She was also conferred with the national honour award of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) by the Federal Government on February 14, 2008, the Distinguished Peace Award for Humane and Exemplary Contribution to the Enhancement of Peace, as well as the unity and Development of the Niger Delta by the Nigerian Television Authority on October 7, 2007. She received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Theology, Republic of the Philippines on October 21, 2008; the Nigeria Union of Journalists Award of Honour for Outstanding Contributions to the Propagation of the Gospel on December 10, 2011, and the Global Network of Christian Leaders Award of Excellence in Ministry, in recognition of Exemplary Christian leadership to Humanity and to the Body of Christ on August 19, 2011.
Others include the Fellowship Award of the Nigerian Society for Experimental Biology on March 16, 2012, CEPAN Africa; Honorary Award as African Education ICON 2012; Enunuedo Award in Recognition of Her Contributions to the Prestige of the Benin Community, 2012; Doctor of Practical Ministry from The University of America, November 2014; and Certificate of Recognition, State of California Senate, November 15, 2014.
In addition, she got the award in appreciation of her contributions to the uplift of Women and the Educational development of the Girl Child by the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World, August 1, 2017; and Honorary Doctorate of Letters (D.Litt.) Honoris Causa, University of Benin, Benin City, November 24, 2018.
Benson-Idahosa is the proud mother of four biological children and four adopted ones. She is also a mentor to an uncountable number of spiritual children at home and abroad, who look up to her for leadership, motivation, and impartation.