A former beauty queen and the wife of a well-known Nigerian preacher has died, causing shock and sadness throughout the country.
Ibidunni Ituah-Ighodalo died early Sunday morning in Port Harcourt, in the country’s southeast.
According to the family, the cause of death was cardiac arrest.
Ighodalo, 39, was set to turn 40 next month and had been traveling across the country to build isolation centers for coronavirus patients, according to her family.
In addition to co-pastoring Trinity House Church in Lagos, Nigeria, with husband Ituah Ighodalo, she also ran upscale, luxury events services Elizabeth R, the country’s leading event management company.
Her husband called the news of her death “the call that shattered my life.”
“A lot of you know I shouldn’t be here,” he said during a funeral service he presided over on Sunday.
“I received a phone call at 2 a.m. this morning that shattered my life… Life is a deep mystery, and no human being, no matter how wise, can claim to understand it… Accept the mystery that is life. Most things in life are beyond our control “He stated.
I was shocked when I received the news that my friend, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo had lost his wife and partner, Mrs Ibidun Ighodalo.
Mrs Ibidun Ighodalo was an inspiration to many. I pray for strength for Pastor Ituah, their children, loved ones and the many she has touched. pic.twitter.com/BSHVJjiGis
— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) June 14, 2020
Many people spoke about how Ibidunni Ighodalo, through the Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation, helped women pay for IVF treatments and helped reduce the stigma surrounding IVF in Nigeria.
Ighodalo was candid about her own fertility struggles, revealing in an interview that she had undergone 11 IVF procedures before adopting two children with her 13-year husband. She also discussed conceiving twins and having a miscarriage at three months.
“It’s such a wild ride… It’s emotionally exhausting. It’s quite pricey… I had stopped living and was only existing…, “She stated this in an interview with Arise Television.
Life! Ibidun Ighodalo?
Just gone ……. like a candle in the wind.
Too much of a heartbreaking news.
May God comfort our very dear Pastor Ituah and rest of family in the way that only He can in Jesus name. 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/Dg57xkat44
— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) June 14, 2020
“My previous attempt was successful. I was expecting twins but miscarried at three months. It’s one thing not to get pregnant, but it’s quite another to eventually get pregnant… and then lose it.
TY Bello, a well-known Nigerian photographer, told CNN that she received a message from her friend the night before she died in which she discussed her birthday plans.
“Sweetie, my 40th birthday is coming up next month,” she wrote in the WhatsApp message.
“And I’d like to assist 40 couples in having children… That’s all I’m looking for. There is no party. It’s not surprising. Nothing. I simply want to make 40 families happy “She continued in one of her final messages.
Shocked and sad to hear of dear Ibidun Ighodalo’s passing. Spoke with her a few days ago. May Pastor Ituah and their children be comforted and filled with peace in the days ahead #ripibidunighodalo
— Nike Adeyemi (@NikeAdeyemi) June 15, 2020
“I’ve known her since university, but only in passing. We both struggled with infertility, which is what brought us together “Bello stated.
CNN quoted Bello as saying: “She was very generous. This message she sent me before she died was who she was; there’s nothing else to say about her.”
People expressed their shock and sadness at her death on social media, prompting an outpouring of grief. Nigeria’s President Buhari was among those who sent condolence messages to the family.
“The President shares the family’s pain and sorrow at the sudden death, and prays for God’s comfort for the entire family, friends, and Trinity House members,” his aide said in a statement.
Adebola Williams, another friend, paid her a heartfelt tribute on Instagram, writing, “I’d miss your kindness, if generosity had a name, it would be Ibidunni.”