The life of Mrs. Deborah Ijaduola Dahunsi was a life that was brought up from obscurity into the light. Her life was characterized by a high sense of dedication and faithfulness to God, to her husband, and to the teaching profession which she exercised for almost thirty years. She was a good teacher, a good principal, and a good spouse, and she maintained her faith in Christ in spite of all the difficulties that befell her.
Historical background and education
Mrs. Deborah Ijaduola Dahunsi was born at Eruwa in the Ibaarapa Division on December 8, 1920. Her father’s name was Daddy Omikunle and her mother’s name was Ruth Egundeji Iyalode. She was the third of four children of the family. She was not born a Christian but it was while she was in High School that she made a profession of faith in Christ Jesus. She was baptized by the Rev. J. A. Adediran at the First Baptist Church in Ijaiye, Abeokuta, in 1932.
She received her primary education at the Baptist Girls High School in Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, from 1930 to 1937. She completed standard VI successfully in December of 1937. She did her Grade Three course and passed the examination in December of 1939. She also enrolled for her Grade Two Teacher Training Program and passed the examination in December of 1942. During all those years, it was a missionary mother at Idi-Aba, Miss Susan Anderson (of blessed memory), who took up Deborah’s care and sponsored her through High School and through the Teacher Training College.
In August of 1950 she left with her husband, Mr. Emmanuel Ajayi Dahunsi, for the United States of America, for further studies. She studied at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia from 1950 to 1952 and also at the University of Louisville, in Kentucky, from 1952 to 1954, obtaining a B.A. She also studied at the Carver School of Missions and Social Work (now absorbed into Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Kentucky) and obtained an M.A. in religious education in 1956.
Her teaching career started at the Baptist Girls School in Idi-Aba, where she taught from 1940 to 1943. She was also a teacher at the Abeokuta Boys School, Lafenwa, Abeokuta (now the Premier Grammar School) from 1946 to 1947, and at the Baptist Day School in Ijaiye, Abeokuta, from 1948 to 1950. Upon returning from the United States with her husband in May of 1957, she worked as a teacher in the women’s department at the Nigerian Baptist Seminary, Ogbomoso, from 1957 to 1962, as a teacher at the Baptist Academy in Lagos from 1963 to 1969, and also taught at Ogbomoso High School from 1970 to 1972. She served as acting principal of Ogbomoso High School in March and April of 1972; as principal, Class IV, Ogbomoso Girls High School, May of 1972; principal, Class III, Ogbomoso Girls High School, January of 1973; and principal, Class II, Ogbomoso Girls High School, September of 1974. [note: the term “class principal” is equivalent to the modern term “Head Teacher.”] Throughout her teaching career, she was a faithful and concerned mother to her students, a sympathetic adviser, and an affable principal. Mrs. Deborah Dahunsi retired voluntarily in December of 1975 after serving as a teacher for about thirty years.
Deborah Ijaduola married Emmanuel Ajayi Dahunsi, who was then a teacher at the Baptist College in Iwo, on December 30, 1943, in the chapel of the Baptist Girls School in Idi-Aba, Abeokuta. In spite of her high status in society, Mrs. Dahunsi remained humble, and she was a good wife. Both she and her husband had their share of life’s difficulties, as their marriage was childless. In spite of this, they both continued to love the Lord, to love people, and to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. Dahunsi did not use her predicament to cause problems for her husband, but rather used it to support him in the ministry. Even when she became a childless widow in January of 1979, she remained faithful to the Lord.
Her roles as a leader in the WMU
Dahunsi was the associational adviser to the Women’s Missionary Union of the Ogbomoso North Baptist Association for several years before she moved to Lagos in 1962. She was the leader of the WMU of the First Baptist Church in Lagos when her husband was the pastor of the church from1962 to 1969. Once, she led a group on a mission trip to Sierra-Leone. After the death of her husband, she donated his library collection to the library of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso. It is known as the Emmanuel Ajayi Dahunsi Collection in the J. C. Pool Memorial library today. Probably between 1975 and 1980, Dahunsi was the president of the Women’s Missionary Union of Nigeria, where she made her contribution to the development of the organization.
Mrs. Deborah Ijaduola Dahunsi died on July 9, 2001, and was buried in Abeokuta, her husband’s hometown. Dahunsi was a good soldier of Christ who represented Christ well and served her generation to the best of her ability. She made a good name for herself through the grace and guidance of God and through her own good conduct. Even today, she remains a revered Baptist woman in the Nigerian Baptist Convention.
Sunday A. Oyeniran
Akande, S. T. Ola. Sermons of Hope and Solace. Ibadan: Agbo Areo Publishers, 2009.
Bulletin of Carver School of Missions and Social Work, 1955.
Nigerian Baptist Vol. 54, no. 1, January 1976.
Nigerian Baptist Vol. 54, No. 6, June 1976.
This article, submitted in December 2010, was written by Sunday A. Oyeniran, Ph.D. candidate at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, under the supervision of Dr. Deji Ayegboyin and Dr. Leke Ogunewu.