How Dr. Olukoya’s prophecy saved my school from extinction-Akeredolu

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Mrs. Joanah Idowu Akeredolu is the proprietress of Sapphire Stones Schools (formerly Molayo Children Schools). She was born on February 5, 1936 in Owo, Ondo State. After her primary and teacher training education in Nigeria she travelled to the UK where she attended Pitman’s Secretariat College, West Central, England.

Akeredolu worked abroad before she returned to Nigeria to joined Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria where she retired as secretary in the Pension Office in 1985. After her retirement, she delved into the education sector where she has successfully stamped her feet. She has since handed over the school she founded to her two daughters, Mrs. Oluyemisi Olusakin and Mrs. Olufolayemi Elegbede.
In this interview with Wilson Adekumola, Akeredolu who is an elder in the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry reflects on life after quitting the classroom. Excerpts:

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Mrs. Akeredolu

After your graduation from Teachers College which of the schools did you teach?
I taught in Local Authority School (L.A) in Ijebu-Owo. I was later posted to one village in Owo. I taught in several schools including modern school at that time. I also worked as Permanent Secretary after my Grade3 as it was stipulated at that time. I later travelled to U.K where I did my secretariat studies. I worked in British Railway and also worked in their Post Office during holidays. When my husband became a Chartered Accountant we had to come back to Nigeria. He was employed in Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN while I joined Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN in 1966 and retired in 1985.
Why did you retire that early?
At that time, after creation of the States, the years we spent in teaching were added to our years. I retired as a secretary in Pension Office. I was the one in charge of the Pension Office throughout the Federation. But when I wanted to leave we had started training people for the States.
You schooled both in Nigeria and abroad, how can you compare the experience?
In U.K, if you have to work you must work. But when I returned to Nigeria I observed that people took sick leave to do something else. That cannot happen over there. They had no time for nonsense. Europeans are also proud of their job. The road worker will not see himself as inferior to government worker. People mind their businesses. The UK government also makes provisions for loans at minimal interest rate.
After your retirement, there were lots of lucrative businesses you could have explored, why did you venture into school business?
I love this question. If I had acted in the flesh I would have opened a supermarket. My husband was helping me to buy things that I needed there. But God never allowed me to do that. As a matter of fact, I had four different dreams. Before I had those dreams where I saw myself turning back along the road I had had three dreams which I did not know the meaning. If I had known the meaning there would have been no need to make inquiries from people.

In the first dream, I was doing assembly prayers for some children. They did not say Amen where they were expected to say so. I then asked them whether their parents were not taking them to Sunday Schools where they should have learnt how to say “Amen” to prayers and I woke up. Secondly, I took some children out to cut grass in front of a school. I told them not to back the road so as to avoid accident from careless driver and I woke up.

The third one. I took some children out on excursion to a ministry. We had finished and I was gathering them from floor to floor telling them we had finished and it was time to return to school. I then woke up from the dream. I did not know how to go about the dreams. I told my husband. He himself was a worker in the church. He told me to better go and pray about it. I started praying. I now told a minister of God, Apostle Nathaniel, about the dreams. He asked me to list what I wanted to do. I wrote seven different things.

Unfortunately, he marked all of them wrong. He said as he was praying for me he said he saw children surrounding me. I said ok. But when I was travelling out of the country there was no private school in my State. Although, it has started in Lagos but it was not common then. I told my pastor that I would be selling things to children. He said okay. A friend, who was a member of Young Women Association of Nigeria where I belong, that was the only association that united all denominations together then, we had our office at Moloney Street, Lagos, she asked what I wanted to do I told her. She said I should not do it. She wanted to take me to where I would make oven where I would be producing bread that I would be selling in the supermarket.

After she travelled the revelation came again. I told her that my husband never wanted me to sell bread because of the noise of the machine. She asked why I didn’t go into Nursery/Primary School. I told her I would discuss it with my husband. I then asked my pastor whether I should be selling children things or go into Nursery/Primary Education, he said yes that I should go into education but could still sell children things. It was close to the beginning of the session. I had not gotten my gratuity as that time. But since it was on divine order God intervened. One insurance I did was already mature. I invested the money on it. That was the birth of Sapphire Stones Schools in September 1985. I started with 5 pupils in a ware house.

How was the experience?
The experience has been awesome. It is what I will want every other woman to emulate. Because as a teacher, there is no where you go you will not get work to do. There is hardly any village you go there won’t be need for a teacher. Even if you don’t have school you can be holding lesson and teaching others. Teaching will help you to care for your children. It will help you to know their weakness and where to come in. As a house wife, you will be able to take care of your home while your husband is away or come late. You will be close to the children and be able to take good care of every single thing in your house. I can tell you teaching is the mother of all professions. Teaching does not end in classroom. When I see my old students outside, their warm embrace gives me joy. Some of them I don’t even recognize again until they describe themselves. There is no MFM church I will go that I will not meet an old students. The job of a teacher cannot be quantified.

From your experience what can one do to become and remain a high-performing school?

Number one thing is prayer. You have to pray and involve God. Secondly, you have to endure because sometimes you will feel like closing it as it happened to me in the past. The population of the school was few that I had to be using part of my pension to pay salary. You know what that means. Sometimes parents can discourage you particularly, church members. They will say don’t worry they will pay. The money will accumulate and when you ask them again they will take their children to another school without paying your money. I was about giving up on the school business if not for the prophecy of Dr. Daniel Olukoya of Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministry. Twice he saw the vision but the one that amazed me was that he mentioned my name “Idowu” that I was about to close my school.

He instructed me to have a rethink that God would intervene and turn things round. As that time I had already told my son who is an architect to convert the building to self-contain. It was when I was leaving his place I heard bus calling ‘prayer rain’ that was a programme in Prayer City. I had unconsciously joined the bus as the spirit led. Fortunately, I got there during the prophetic time. That was when the man of God mentioned my case. But God really proved his supremacy that is why we are still in the business till today.

How will you describe education in Nigeria?
Education in Nigeria is good if only we want to be honest with ourselves. In our days, we fear our teachers and parents. If you offended your parents at home and they threatened to report to your teachers you would be begging but today students don’t fear their teachers. Some parents will tell you not to beat their children. That is one of the things that messed up our educational system. If the children know they have somewhere to hide they will not be serious with their academics again.
Some parents’ pay as much as N25, 000 for ‘special center’ for their wards so they could pass exam. Such parents aid and abet examination malpractice. There was a day a parent came and asked if we could allow somebody to come from outside to sit for exam on behalf of her child. I told her we don’t do that here. That is impersonation. We train and prepare our own children for exam. If you do that, if nobody sees you God sees you.

When you wanted to quit classroom you brought in two of your daughters. Did they have special interest in education?
In fact, two of them have formed an impregnable team to reckon with. I had encouraged Oluyemisi during her days in the university. So when she graduated and there was no job I encouraged her to join me. Her younger sister, Olufolayemi later joined us when the need arose. They have built on my vision. They have been very wonderful. They have combined their experience to move the school forward. Like somebody said then that she could not put her children in a school under shop.

We thank God for what and where we are today. We are the first private school in Meiran, Lagos. It was a remote area then. No good road, bush everywhere. But by His grace we are able to maintain and sustain our vision. I want my children to know that Rome was not built in a day and that the beginning of anything that is going to be successful is always difficult. So they should not think they came at this time and met the school where it is and relax. They should think of what to do for their children. That will cause them to use their energy, wisdom or thought.

You have recently celebrated your 83rd birthday, are you looking up to 90?
(Laughs)! Let me tell you I never expected to be 70 not to talk of 90. If it pleases God, so be it. I only pray to God to give me the grace to spend each day as if it is my last. Each time I woke up I thank God for giving me another day. Any time He calls me I am ready provided my name is written in the book of life.

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