Nine years after the death of his wife, Bimbo Odukoya, the Pastor of the Fountain of Life Church (TFOLC), Taiwo Odukoya, is questioning the outcome of investigation into the crash of a Sosoliso aircraft.
Mr. Odukoya raised the issue on Tuesday in Lagos, when he spoke with journalists at the launch of the Fountain Initiative for Social Development (FISD), a social enterprise being championed by his present wife, Nomthi Odukoya.
Apparently reacting to acquisition of planes by church leaders and controversy involving the use of an aircraft belonging to a church leader in transporting money to South Africa, he said it was right for church leaders to own air planes for safety and to facilitate their work.
He said that his late wife would have been alive but for boarding the Sosoliso aircraft that crashed in Port Harcourt on Dec. 10, 2005, after it took off from Abuja.
“It’s been years, what is the outcome of the investigations into the Sosoliso air crash?” he queried.
He was referring to the recent arms deals in which cash was seized by the South African Government from the leased private jet of the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria’s (CAN), Ayo Oritsejafor.
According to him “If anybody whether you are a leader or not, and you do what is wrong, we won’t endorse it. I don’t agree that he was wrong.
“Nigeria is considered to be a country with the highest number of private jets, if not, we are known with a good number in the world.
“How do you handle that? For some, getting a private jet is for business.
“They give it to companies that will handle all aspects of maintenance including the hangar and then they run it as business. That was exactly what he did.
“Apart from that, why would such a person have a jet .You want me to tell you? Why would Baba Enoch Adeboye or Pastor David Oyedepo need a jet?
“My wife (late Bimbo Odukoya) is dead. She was going to preach when she crashed and died.
“Would we rather allow that our people die right all over Africa?
“What is annoying is that those who are criticizing Oritsejafor are Christians.
“We question their Christianity. You don’t want him to have a jet. You want another plane crash to kill him?
“My father in the Lord, Bishop Mike Okonkwo will travel by road from Lagos to Benin Republic and he would be delayed only to enter one rickety plane at the end of the day.
“We don’t want another person to die. If you want to buy Concord or space jet, buy it.
“It is the corruption in the system that allows people to get away with wrong doing,” he said.
About FISD he said, “We believe strongly that if you want change anywhere, you will be the change you seek.
“It’s okay to talk about problems but you have some sense of solutions. For over 20 years, our church has invested significantly in underdeveloped communities, creating jobs and businesses, providing affordable healthcare.
“The church has also invested in supporting students reach their academic dreams and providing lifelong skills.
“My unwavering conviction is that Nigeria has a great future based on our willingness to reach out beyond our comfort zones and in helping the less privileged realise that future.
“Our strategic focus and programmes has a critical role to play in that future.”
In her remarks, Nomthi Odukoya said the launch was the passing of the baton of decades of work by TFOLC to FISD.
“This is an autonomous social enterprise that epitomises the church’s commitment to contribute toward social development in Nigeria,” she said.