A first among firsts, her list of first is unending. The first Female Bishop and first female Archbishop in Africa, she pilots the affairs of Church of God Mission International, with thousand of branches across Africa, Europe, North America and Asia. The first female Chancellor in an Africa University, She is lauded as one of the most influential preachers in Africa whose impact is felt worldwide.
Apart from being a wife to late Archbishop Benson ldahosa, who till date is known as the father of Pentecostals, her bravery has paved way for other women to be crowned titles beyond bishopric.
Conceived on 29 July, 1943, Archbishop Margaret Benson Idahosa was born into the revered royal blood in Benin kingdom. Due to her influential background, she was educationally grounded both nationally and abroad.
She earned a Diploma in Home Economics from Leeds Polytechnic in the United Kingdom. She obtained a master’s Degree in Divinity from Friends International Christian University. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies and Masters of Education Degree which she acquired from Oral Roberts University, Oklahoma, USA, as well as an Honorary Doctorate, Oral Roberts University, Tulsa Oklahoma, USA.
As every young beautiful girl’s fantasy, she met her prince although they were friends for eight years before charming into intimacy which was later blessed with a marriage that birthed 4 children. She later went on to adopt 3 kids.
She married a “poor man with a vision who later sprouted out to become a phenomenon preacher. Her husband transcended to glory in her 50’s … She had to face the massive ministry, one of the most influential ministries.
In her words- “When my husband died, I had my own agenda. I understood I was living in a man’s world, so, I began planning how I would manage my life after my husband’s funeral.
” My plan was to travel to my children’s places and maybe come to Nigeria once a year to see my mother and others. The ministry was not in my agenda. So, when I was put in this position, I cried to God and explained how timid I was and how male-dominated the world was. But God did not answer until I had made up my mind. He said to me: “Margaret, I’m not moved by tears or your needs, but by faith. If your faith says yes, I God will not say no”.
In order to be prepared to handle the divine mandate, she built up her faith by reading a couple of books and also interceding in the place of prayer.
“I held on to the word God spoke to me that said If I made the appointment, I will release in you the ability to perform and excel .”
Despite her fears to cope in a world domineered by men, she summoned courage to advance the divine mandate her late husband left.
Even though there were other more qualified clergymen in the ministry who were grounded in the word of God, She went ahead to be her own kind of preacher which was spiced up with grace.
Archbishop Margaret Benson Idahosa was ordained into the ministry on the 24th May, 1983 and consecrated Bishop on the 5th of April, 1998. This position made her the first female Pentecostal Bishop of a ministry of this magnitude in Africa. In November, 2009, She became an Archbishop which also marked her as the first female to be ordained in such position in Africa.
Being the first female Bishop in Africa attracted a lot of criticism but in the midst of the trials, she kept calm while holding on to erstwhile pieces of advice from her late husband and yielding her trust in God.
“My husband always taught me to understand that people will always talk about anybody as long as that person has the breath of God in his or her nostrils. He also said if l talked back at them, it meant l am on the same level. So, whatever anyone said, I committed it to God because He put me in this position.”
21 years have crept by, and Archbishop Margaret Benson ldahosa still upholds the remarkable vision and exhibits uncommon wisdom in piloting the affairs of the ministry.. With her exemplary leadership qualities, she is seen as a pacesetter to women of younger ages who may be called up to handle any sensitive position be it politically, spiritually or social.
It is no doubt that the Archbishop has her footprint in the sand of time through her incomparable achievements in Church of God Mission lnternational. With God’s grace , the ministry is still stabilized after decades of its establishment and it is one of the Churches that is propagating peace nationwide.
Under her administration, the Church boasts over 4000 branches across Nigeria with 20,000 capacity auditorium called the Faith Arena, as well as the International Headquarters of the Church located in Benin.
There is also a massive Church camp which serves as an outreach to lost souls. She has led so many crusades across the globe in attempt to win souls for Christ and also instill godly principles in people.
Through her love for education, she has constituted more than 108 schools of the Word of Faith Schools which involves Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary all over Nigeria.
She is the brain behind the International Leadership Resource Institute (ILRI) set up to teach leadership ethics and principles to pastors and other categories of leaders and Church workers.
The renowned evangelist also established an orphanage called “My Sister’s Place”.
She is the Chancellor of Benson Idahosa University and an Executive President of All Nations for Christ Bible Institute which awards degree programmes for local and international students.
As an author, Archbishop Margaret Benson Idahosa has the following books among others in print: The Womb of Harvest, The Female Minister, Tearing the veil, Go for it, Empowered for Radical Change , Season of Harvest and Born naked Not empty.
She turned 76 on 29th July 2019 and She remains as vibrant and gorgeous as the lady in her young age. It is no doubt she has lived a fulfilled life due to her impact in Nigeria and the world at large