Pastor Nike Adeyemi is passionate about women and girl issues which inspired her to start the Real Woman Foundation while also functioning in the capacity of the Daystar Christian Centre’s Senior Pastor’s wife.
In a recent interview with Punch, Nike Adeyemi talks about how she got inspiration to start her foundation after encountering prostitutes in the streets of Lagos and her visit to a brothel. She also speaks about her marriage to her husband, Pastor Sam Adeyemi.
Enjoy excerpts from the interview:
What inspired you to set up the Real Woman Foundation?
The Real Woman Foundation was an inspiration I got as far back as 1997. I encountered prostitutes on the streets of Lagos; particularly my area in Ikeja/Oregun. You’d see them moving about aimlessly at night. I began to notice them and became concerned. I would say to myself, ‘‘This is someone’s daughter or sister selling her body.’’ I wasn’t even so concerned about the kind of clothes they wore, but the thought of them selling their bodies made me cringe. At that time, people had just begun to become aware of HIV/AIDS and many people still thought it did not exist. I was genuinely interested in their welfare and that was when I noticed that I had the gift of compassion. One day, someone told me that he discovered a brothel where some of these girls lived and I asked him to take me there. I wore my jeans and without holding any Bible, I went into this brothel which was a face-me-I-face-you bungalow. I walked in there and I was looking for someone to talk to. The first girl I met said her name was Sandra, and I told her that I was looking for my sister. I began to describe an imaginary person and when I saw that I couldn’t go any further because I am not an expert in telling lies, I had to come out with the truth. I asked her what she was doing there and I began to talk to her. A little while after, she opened up to me and the rest is history. She invited me into her room and my heart was further broken when she told me that she pays the owner of the brothel N100 daily. That means in a month, her rent was N3, 000. They paid on a daily basis, so it was quite a flexible arrangement for them. I remember telling her at that time that around Ogba/Iju area, she could get a three-bedroom apartment for N30, 000/N36, 000 per annum. Sandra became my first friend and from that day onwards, all of them there became my friends. I went back there in December 1997 because I had my second child in February of that year. I went there after church on Christmas Day after my husband had gone home with our two kids. I cooked rice, put it in a cooler and went there with drinks. I told them, ‘‘I’m not here to talk to you today, just enjoy the season, eat and keep my mineral bottles.’’ They became my friends and it started a whole new career path for me because I remember going to the United Kingdom shortly after that to be part of a four-day conference which dwelt on trafficking and I met with people from other parts of the world.
Would you say that it’s been easier to make a success of your marriage because you are married to a pastor?
I don’t know because when you get married, the success is not determined by the fields you and your spouse are in. I think it’s about two friends coming together and deciding that they want to grow together for life and that is huge. One thing that my husband and I have in common is that we love helping people, though maybe in slightly different ways but many times too, in common ways. I am very hands-on and he is also a giver and has a large heart. That is our weakness and it keeps us growing and keeps our relationship aglow too. We are always talking about people and God knows that it is such joy to help. I am very happy to be married to a pastor.
How did he woo you?
He felt that there was something special about me, and of course, he began to gravitate towards me and we became just friends. At that point, I didn’t even think that he’d become my husband but at some point in time, I knew that there was some serious chemistry going on and God kept telling me to pay attention and that’s likely the person for me. I paid attention and I liked the idea. In those days, it wasn’t a flashy thing to marry a pastor and I was a corps member at that time in Lagos because I deferred my youth service programme by a year. I was a member of the church that he was pastoring. A year and a half after our marriage, we moved out and started Daystar Christian Centre together. I must tell you that marriage is serious work but it has also been fun at the same time serving God with him and now, we are wiser and make out time for ourselves. Sometimes, we are just ‘missing’ and you just don’t see us in church or we are abroad. It’s still part of the ministry, but when we are away, we are not only ministering, we are able to take out time for each other. I can sometimes walk on the streets of a certain city without anybody recognising us and that is bliss for us. Even though we may have ministrations lined up, we have one or two days where we are just all by ourselves, but here in Nigeria, we can hardly walk on the road together or go and watch a movie together. In all, I’d say I’ll do it all over again with him.
How would you describe your husband in three words?
My husband is independent, he is a firm thinker and very humble/simple.
Are there any differences between his life as a pastor and that of a husband/father?
There isn’t much difference because what you see is what you get. At home, he is still that same simple and firm thinker. It’s just that at home, he is more laid-back while in the ministry, he is more hands-on, so if you don’t know my husband very well, you will think that he has a choleric temperament because he loves knowledge and he must impart and share it. You’ll also think that he is a workaholic. When we got married, he came across as an ambitious man to me, but now, I know better, that he is just passionate about what he does. The children are very free with him and many times, they don’t see him as that pastor high up there because he is very simple and he helps around the house; especially if you ask him to. I also have to allow him to focus more to be able to hear that message or write that sermon. We are always studying at some point in time and I prefer short certification courses and just finished one recently while he is studying for a PhD right now and he’d be finishing this year. The last four years have been very busy and I’ve had to bear with him, tolerate and, sometimes, understand the non-availability of time.