Emotions ran high on Tuesday at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Olive Tree Parish, Banana Island Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, as friends and family members of the late Lekki British School owner, Ms Biodun Laja, paid her their last respects.
Many in the congregation could not hold back their tears as the TOS Funeral Cadillac hearse bearing the remains of Laja in a dark brown coffin arrived the church.
The sombre air soon dissolved into hymns of worship as the clergy read scriptural passages to comfort the family members, workers and friends of the late educationist.
One of the officiating ministers, Pastor Kunle Osibodu, in his exhortation, said although it was in order for people to mourn, it should be brief.
While noting that Laja by the testimonies of people lived a good life, the preacher urged everyone to thank God for her legacies.
Osibodu said the deceased, who worshipped in the church, exuded “elegance and had a positive dominance wherever she was.”
He said her greatest achievement was that she was a born-again Christian who served God with all she had.
“As a memorial for our sister, let us forgive all those who may have offended us, no matter the offence. When Jesus said we should forgive. He never asked what the person had done. Let us reach out to all those who have offended us and forgive them. Forgive unconditionally,” he added.
The wife of the President, Mrs Aishat Buhari, in a letter to the family, said Laja would be remembered for her contributions “in different capacities, including transforming the private education sector in Nigeria over a period of 40 years.”
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in his tribute, said he hoped time would ease the sadness of the family.
“As the pioneering educator and proprietor of one of the leading schools in the country, Dr Laja’s contribution and impact on the overall development of the education sector, is felt far and beyond the length and breadth of our shores. Her loss is unquantifiable and we are indeed poorer without her,” he added.
The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God Worldwide, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, who sent a delegation to the funeral, said he had lost a “dear daughter.”
The revered cleric noted that he received the news of her death with shock, adding that he was sure she slept in the Lord.
“We attest to the fact that she was indeed a true child of God who moved with God-given visions and directions; a goal-getter, who never gave up in the face of challenges. She had a passion even for the poor. Her foundation, ‘Never Drying Fountain’ will speak after her,” Adeboye added.
Senator Florence Ita-Giwa said Laja was detribalised and she spoke “fluent pidgin like a Niger Delta native” because she interacted with friends from the South-South and the South-East.”