The book TOUGH TIMES NEVER LAST TOUGH PEOPLE DO by Robert H. Schuller aptly provides a glimpse of Sister Olanrewaju Jeboda nee Olusi’s testimony on her 60th Diamond Jubilee birthday celebration. Sister Jeboda, Mama Wole, at 60, beyond resilience and finding strength in the face of adversity, brings to memory my resumption in 1993 at Methodist Church Nigeria, Wesley House, Marina, Lagos, as acting Conference Editor. I was given an accommodation, precisely the former principal residence at the Methodist Boys’ High School, 11 Broad Street, Lagos. During the same period, Sis Jeboda was a teacher at the school and residing within the school premises. We share the same Christian evangelical conviction by divine providence, though she is an Anglican member. As neighbours, we shared experiences and conversations that resonate with us as Christians. Mama Wole’s family became my family, and my family became her family. Most of the time, we eat from the same pot as families. Mama Wole’s mum, Alhaja, took me as a brother to her daughter, and our family bond remains strong. Mama Wole remains very close to my wife, whom she calls OYIN.

My family and Mama Wole have had countless conversations over the Wesley House’s backyard fence, exchanging stories and laughter. Some moments of camaraderie that have brightened our days with a sense of gratefulness for our friendship include eating together and storytelling. Mama Wole not only are you brilliant, but you are also a compassionate, insightful, and thoughtful teacher and mother. Having such an incredible example to look up to and learn from has been my absolute pleasure. Not many people balance it all, but you have a fantastic carer and home. Not only are you a visionary, but you are also an analytical wiz, a friendly ear, a compassionate leader, and most of all, the world’s most incredible mentor. No wonder the Lagos State Government finds you helpful at the judicial customary court even after your retirement as a principal.

With Mama Wole at 60, we have laughed together, wept together, and overcome challenges together, and the bond that was formed through shared experiences remains inspiring to date. Distance was never a barrier to communication. As neighbours, we have supported each other during difficult times. I remember we lost my mother-in-law in the very early period of our marriage; Mama Wole was there for my wife. Her empathy and willingness to lend a helping hand have significantly impacted our lives.

Indeed, the Lord gave Sister Jeboda the guidance to know when to hold on and let go and the grace to make the right decision with dignity in her life challenges, marriage, and carer until she retired as a school principal in the Lagos State Teaching Service Commission. Born 7th February 1964 in Lagos to Oba Sanusi Olusi Royal family and Alhaja Sidikatu Olusi, Oke Aarin, Lagos, she continues to hold on until the light breaks, the tide turns, and the time changes for the better.

 Sister Jeboda tenaciously digs in and blooms in her teaching career to inspire people, colleagues and students with your cheerful attitude while you are going through such tricky times. Mama Wole did her National Certificate of Education (NCE) at Ijanikin, Lagos. She studied for her first degree at Lagos State University, Lagos, where she completed her master’s degree in educational management in 2007. After 35 years in the Teaching Service Commission, she retired in 2022 as the Principal of Victoria Island Senior Secondary School, Lagos.

Mama Wole at 60 is about Tough Times Never Last because she is not in the class of people who never take a chance and never get ahead. Through the toughest times, Mama Wole never surrendered to defeat or betrayal. Mama Wole never missed praying before any journey or action. The only thing Mama Wole would do during drought is to pray. Indeed, ‘nobody is a failure if he dares to try something worthwhile. Great people are ordinary people with extraordinary amounts of determination.’ As a converted Christian from a Muslim family, coupled with other challenges, Mama Wole had faith in hanging on to power. She did not give up. Mama Wole at 60 is about” When going gets tough, the tough get going.’ The faith and principles of when Christ is in the vessel inspired Mama Wole to accept whatever comes her way.

Using the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt for Mama Wole, ‘All we have to fear is fear itself. Desire, dedication, and determination are important for success. Turn millstone into a milestone. During tough times, your faith becomes real. It is not how you walk that counts, but who walks with you and who you walk with. It’s impossible to fail totally if you dare to try. What makes a person survive and thrive? Why are some people tough enough to win over the tough times? We must have hard-core principles that will work, which are tried, tested, and proven.’ Mama Wole, at 60, inspires us to put our problems in a spiritual perspective with faith in Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Mama Wole, at 60, tells us every living human has problems – young, old, employed, married, unmarried, all have problems, and every problem has a limited life span; every problem holds positive possibilities.

Mama Wole, at 60, warns us not to underestimate or exaggerate problems or play them down. Looking unto God, her maker, Mama Wole, believed that adversity has unexplored possibilities. She remains enthusiastic about life even when life seems empty. Doors open to enthusiastic people first. In her humble lifestyle, she is very frank. She trusts Jesus as the Saviour; she does not trust the shadows. She believes in her dreams and not in despairing thoughts. She has faith in her faith and doubts her doubts. She trusts in her hopes; never trusting her hurts.

Mama Wole, at 60, remains committed to a life of empowering others while forgetting to take a break. Mama Wole, at 60, remains a source of wisdom, strength, and inspiration to many. It is with great respect that I wish you a happy 60th birthday today. May this birthday bless you with everything you need to keep on inspiring. We need more people like you to help improve the world. Happy birthday, dear friend, and sister. You are a ray of sunshine. Mama Wole may your birthday today shine and sparkle as brightly as you do! The rest of your years shall be the best in Jesus’s name.