Biography of Mrs. Yewande Abebe Imasogie (1937-2007)
Yewande Abebe Imasogie (nee Akinwumi), possessed love and passion for the Lord and the Good News of the Gospel ministry. She was married to Reverend Professor Imasogie, the first Nigerian President of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, arguably the largest theological seminary on the African continent.
Together, Mrs. Yewande Abebe Imasogie and Professor, Revend Imasogie strove to establish a Christian home filled with the love of God, beauty, joy, laughter and demonstration of God’s goodness and mercy, which many admired. The Imasogies were blessed with four children, Dr. Eghosa Imasogie, Professor Osagie Imasogie, Mr. Osahon Imasogie and Ms. Ivie Imasogie.
Yewande was born to the family of Rev. Gabriel Omokolade and Mrs. Efunwale Esther Akinwumi on the 20th day of September 1937. She was the third of nine children. As a pastor’s daughter Yewande grew up in a Christian atmosphere where she learned to love Jesus in the Baptist tradition. She committed her life to Christ early in her life, and sought to serve Him until her last breath.
Yewande was educated both at ldiaba Baptist Girls’ School and Baptist Teacher Training College, Abeokuta from which she graduated in 1956. Upon graduation, she was posted to teach at Ilare Baptist Primary School, lle-lfe (now in Osun State) where her father served as the Minister-in-Charge of the First Baptist Church, Ilare, lle-lfe.
On April 22, 1958 Yewande was joined in matrimony to Rev. Osadolor Imasogie. Following the marriage, she was transferred to Ogbe Baptist Primary School, Benin City where her husband was serving as Pastor. Here, as she did everywhere, she was recognized by others as a selfless, diligent Christian servant, both as a teacher and as a pastor’s wife.
In 1962 she joined her husband at the Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Oklahoma, USA. During the one year she studied there, she won first place in an essay competition arranged by the Mission Department of the university.
In the summer of 1963, she accompanied her husband to Mill Valley, California where her husband enrolled at the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and she in the University of San Francisco. In 1964, she interrupted her education to return to Nigeria with her husband because of the two children that were left in Nigeria, with the hope that God would make it possible for the whole family to return to the USA to enable her to complete her university education.
Rev. Imasogie returned to Central Baptist Church later in 1964 and resumed his responsibilities at the church. Yewande was assigned to Uzebu Baptist Primary School where she taught until the family left for the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomosho in December 1965. While in Ogbomosho, Yewande served as lecturer in the Women’s department of the Seminary where pastors’ wives were educated. As always, she endeared herself to the women studying there.
The prayer that God would give her another opportunity to complete her interrupted university education in the USA was answered in 1964 when her husband was awarded a World Council of Churches Scholarship to study for a doctorate degree in the USA. With additional funds from the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention of the USA, it was possible for the lmasogies to take their four children along with them to the USA. Thus in 1969, Yewande and the four children joined her husband who had gone ahead in August 1968 to prepare the way.
While in the USA, Yewande was admitted to the University of Louisville, Kentucky, as a sophomore on the basis of her transferred credits from the earlier two years of university study. With summer school courses in addition to regular courses, she was able to earn both a B.A and M.A in English Literature in 1972. As a testimony to her academic excellence, she served as a part time remedial English teacher in her department during this period.
Upon returning to Nigeria in 1972, she was employed by the Western Nigerian Government to teach English Literature in Ogbomosho High School. From here, she was promoted to Vice Principal of Adeniran Grammar School. Soon after, she was promoted to become the Pioneer Principal of Orioke Committee High School. As a hard working, disciplined principal, she led the school to an enviable position in academics and sports before she voluntarily retired after having put in thirty-five years in teaching service.
Her religious duties were not limited to her local church where she was a member but extended to the association, conference, convention and Baptist World Alliance levels of commitment and service. In all of these arenas, Yewande showed leadership and dedication motivated by existential dedication to Christ, her Lord.
The recognition of her leadership ability and organizational skill prompted the Oyo East Baptist WMU to elect her president of the organization. Later on the WMU of the Nigerian Baptist Convention elected her president of the Union in 1983.
Asked what he would like to say about his wife, Reverend, Prof. Osadolor Imasogie said that he saw her as the perfect wife portrayed in Proverbs 31:10-31.
- Also in 1979 through 1985, Reverend Professor Imasogie was elected President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention. During this period, he also served as a member of the Standing Committee of the Christian Council of Nigeria. Professor Imasogie was an examiner in Philosophy for the West African Association of Theological Institutions and was a member of the Executive Committee of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship. He also served on a number of study commissions of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and as a Vice President of the BWA from 1995-2000.
Osadolor Imasogie, Life in the Service of God, Dickson Uwagboe, 1995;
Baptist Roots, A Reader in The Theology of a Christian People, Curtis W. Freeman, James Wm. McClendon, Jr. and C. Rosalee Velloso da Silva, 2009
Pedagogy, The Church, Leadership & Theological Education in Africa, Papers in Honour of Professor Emeritus Osadolor Imasogie, Ph.D. at 80, 2009.
This article was written by Osagie O. Imasogie, adjunct professor of law at University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. Beyond his role as professor, Osagie Imasogie LLM has over 30 years of experience in the fields of law, finance and business management, healthcare, and the pharmaceutical industry. He is currently chairman of the Board of Advisors of Penn Carey Law school. For more information about him or how to contact him, please visit https://www.law.upenn.edu/faculty/oimasogi.
Yewande and Osadolor Imasogie at their wedding, April 22, 1958.