Ibidunni Ighodalo, whose full name was Pastor Mrs Ibidunni Olajumoke Ighodalo, first became popular after she emerged the winner of the maiden edition of Miss Lux Beauty contest at the age of 18 in 1998. However, following the win, she also made many other notable advancements in her life. We will chronicle them in the full biography of Ibidunni Ighodalo, which is what this article aims to achieve.
Ibidunni Ighodalo was also popular for her family-focused organisation as well as her business as an event planner. You can find a summary of some of the most important facts about Ibidunni Ighodalo in the next section after which we will go into full details about her life.
10 facts about Ibidunni Ighodalo
- Ibidunni Ighodalo was born on 19th July 1980 and died at the age of 39 on Sunday, 14th June 2020 of a suspected cardiac arrest in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
- She grew up in Lagos State and graduated from the University of Lagos with a degree in Microbiology.
- Ibidunni Ighodalo was the winner of the maiden edition of the Miss Lux beauty contest. She was just 18 years old at the time.
- She also attended the Lagos Business School and received a degree in Business Management.
- In addition, Ibidunni Ighodalo was a Fellow of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, a professional body for marketing professionals engaged in marketing-related fields.
- She founded her own event management company in Nigeria called Elizabeth R. She was the CEO of the reputable company that boasts of high-class individuals and brands in its clientele until her death.
- Ibidunni Ighodalo also founded a non-profit organisation called the Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation (IIF) that focuses on helping couples having infertility issues.
- She married Ituah Ighodalo, a divorcee, in 2007 and both of them founded Trinity House after Ituah Ighodalo was dismissed from the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
- In the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Ibidunni Ighodalohad was involved in setting up isolation centres in Nigeria.
- In the event of her death, many notable Nigerian and leaders came forward to pay tributes to her including the President and governors of several states as well.
Ibidunni Ighodalo Biography: Early life and education
Ibidunni Ighodalo was born as Ibidunni Olajumoke Ajayi on the 19th July 1980 into the family of Olaleye Ajayi. Her family was originally from Ibadan but she grew up in Lagos State. She had her early education (primary and secondary) in the Nigerian southwestern state. On completion of her secondary education, the ex-beauty queen moved on to attend a higher education institution.
Ibidunni Ighodalo got admission into the prestigious University of Lagos (Unilag) to study Microbiology during her late teens. During her days in UNILAG, she contested in the first edition of the Mix Lux beauty contest in 1998. She won the competition and many media houses carried the news giving her fame in those early days.
Ibidunni Ighodalo Biography: Career
Despite winning the beauty contest and having an indisputably beautiful appearance, Ibidunni Ighodalo did not go into modelling and showbiz full time as many expected. Instead, she went into business. After obtaining her degree in Microbiology from Unilag, she attended the Lagos Business School where she obtained a degree in Business Management.
Later, Ibidunni Ighodalo became a Fellow of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, a professional body for marketing professionals engaged in marketing-related fields.
In 2003 she founded an event management company in Nigeria called Elizabeth R. She was the CEO of the reputable company that boasts of high-class individuals and brands in its clientele.
Besides handling events, Elizabeth R. also offers public relations services for clients. Among the company’s list of clients are personalities in the entertainment industry as well as big names in the oil sector as well.
However, she made the most impact on the lives of others through her non-profit acts. We will look at these in the next section.
Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation (IIF)
According to the founder of the Foundation – Ibidunni Ighodalo herself -, the non-profit organisation was established to assist couples going through infertility issues as she did. She said in an interview with Arise News in 2018:
“I have done 11 IVF treatments in total. It is a rollercoaster, the injections that they give you make you moody.”
Thus, understanding what couples go through, she founded an institution that will help as many people as she could. The Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation also creates awareness on infertility and provides grants for couples who need fertility treatments such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intrauterine Insemination. According to the Foundation’s statement:
“The Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation is here to make your dreams of pregnancy and childbirth come true by offering financial aid for infertility treatments to those that qualify. Grants through the Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation are either in kind (donated services from our medical partners) or monetary, typically valued at NGN1,500,000 each for the cost of the required treatment.”
Following her death, it was revealed by celebrity photographer TY Bello that late Ibidunni Ighodalo had planned to help 40 families have children in celebration of what would have been 40th birthday. TY shared a screenshot of a WhatsApp message Ibidunni sent to her.
“Sweetie, it’s my 40th next month and I want to help 40 couples to have their babies. What do you think? That’s all I want. No party, no surprise nothing. I just want to make 40 homes happy,” the text reads.
In her caption of the screenshot, TY Bello noted that the message revealed the selflessness of the late philanthropist.
“This is who she was … this was what she had on her mind. She never forgot others going through the pain of waiting even at the very end #IBIDUNNI,” TY notes.
Many beneficiaries of the Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation have also come forward to appreciate the help they have gotten from the institution. You can find many of these testimonies on the foundation’s website.
Ibidunni Ighodalo COVID-19 efforts
In addition to her activities in the infertility health of people, Ibidunni Ighodalo was actively involved in handling COVID-19 isolation centre projects during the 2020 pandemic in Nigeria. According to a report from THISDAY newspaper’s blog, she had been in Port Harcourt, Rivers State handling isolation centre projects in the state before she unexpectedly died.
Ibidunni Ighodalo Biography: Personal life
In 2007, Ibidunni Ighodalo married Ituah Ighodalo and the couple started Trinity House Church together shortly after their marriage. Trinity House is a Pentecostal Church located in Lagos, Nigeria.
The couple’s marriage had led to some controversy that we will briefly discuss. Ituah Ighodalo had been a pastor at Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and had been previously married to one Lucy-Ann Suinner.
However, he and Suinner divorced, to the chagrin of the church, which summarily dismissed him from the church according to DNB Stories.
Following his dismissal from RCCG, Ituah Ighadalo and his bride went ahead to establish their own church, Trinity House.
As already mentioned, the couple struggled to have children and they opted to adopt instead. Thus, Ibidunni and Ituah Ighodalo first adopted their daughter Keke and later adopted Zenan as well. She and her husband appeared to have had a happy marriage and were raising their children together, showering them with love. The happy mother of two once gushed over her children in a 2018 post she shared on Instagram.
Ibidunni Ighodalo cause of death
On Sunday 14th June 2020, news broke that Ibidunni Ighodalo had died of suspected cardiac arrest in a hotel in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. She was aged 39, a few weeks shy of celebrating her 40th birthday.
For more details on this, see: Ituah Ighodalo speaks of the moment his life shattered at a funeral [Video]
The church announcement of her death on Twitter reads:
The Ighodalo and Olaleye Ajayi families are deeply saddened to announce the sudden loss of our beloved wife and daughter Mrs. Ibidunni Ituah-Ighodalo who passed away in the early hours of today. pic.twitter.com/DZwYDPNA1z
— Trinity House (@trinityhouseng) June 14, 2020
Tributes to Ibidunni Ighodalo
Following the death of Ibidunni Ighodalo the ex-beauty queen and founder of Elizabeth R. and the Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation, many notable individuals began paying their respects. We will mention a few of them below:
President Muhammadu Buhari sent a message of commiseration to the widower, Ituah Ighodalo saying:
“Please accept my condolences. May God give you the fortitude to bear the loss, and strengthen you at this trying time.”
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar said via his Twitter page:
The life of Pastor (Mrs) Ibidunni Ituah-Ighodalo, late wife of Head Pastor, @trinityhouseng, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, may have been short, but it was impactful.
— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) June 14, 2020
Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Centre, Sam Adeyemi also posted on Twitter:
Our prayers are with our dear Pastor Ituah Ighodalo and family, and Trinity House, on the passing of Mrs Ibidunni Ituah-Ighodalo. We pray for God’s comfort and strength. Heaven gained an angel, but it’s a great loss for us on this side of eternity. It is well. #Ibidunniighodalo
— Sam Adeyemi (@sam_adeyemi) June 15, 2020
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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila said:
“It is painful that she had to leave us at this time. I send my sincere condolences to her husband, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, who is a perfect gentleman. At this time of grief, one would only pray to God to grant late Mrs Ighodalo a peaceful resting place and her family the fortitude to bear the loss.”
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who also visited the Ighodalo’s residence in Lagos said:
“Mrs Ibidunni Ighodalo was an inspiration to many. I pray for strength for Pastor Ituah, their children, loved ones and the many she has touched.”
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and his wife, Betsy Obaseki also sent their condolences to Ituah Ighodalo, saying:
“Betsy and I received the news of the passing of your dear wife, our dear sister, Ibidunni Ighodalo with great shock. We are deeply saddened by this devastating loss. As close friends, our grief is hard to describe in words. Ibidunni was one of the finest among us; she was full of life and gave herself to causes that edified life and living. In her personal capacity and through the Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation, she impacted society, helping to bring joy and happiness to peoples’ lives.”
A former presidential candidate and publisher, Dele Momodu also wrote:
“Now I know it is not how long you live that matters but how impactful. Good night, Aburo mi atata.”
There are even numerous other tributes that were written in the event of her death and we could not capture all of them in a single article. One thing is obvious; Ibidun Ighodalo was not an ordinary woman, she touched many lives.
Final thoughts …
Reading through the biography of Ibidun Ighodalo will likely leave a foremost imprint on the mind that this was a woman who selflessly sought to make the world a better place. She managed to turn her struggles into strength to help others not go through what she endured. Besides her evident beauty, more people were attracted to her wonderful heart.
Ibidun Ighodalo died before her 40th birthday and she had managed to catch the attention of leaders in the society. In whatever way one remembers her, be it as an ex-beauty queen, as an entrepreneur or as a philanthropist, it is certain that she lived a fulfilled life.