How Chris Okotie crashed his 4 year marriage.
When the going was good marriage to Stephanie was like a marriage made in heaven. Several times he described her as the most beautiful lady on earth. At other times, he described her as an Angel. He sang her praises to high heaven and told everyone who cared to listen that Stephanie could do no wrong.
So in love was he that he did not allow her work, turned her into a complete housewife and didn’t allow her play any role in his church other than the symbolic role of a Pastor’s wife. He rolled out a set of rules for her that she had to comply with. He would not let her go out all alone. She could not attend parties. She could not go out shopping alone without a full coterie of his bodyguards. He made sure he caged her inside their Omodara Street home at Opebi, in Lagos.
And for the 4 years that she lived with him, she had at her beck and call all the good things money could buy. However, besides the luxuries of life provided for her, she badly wanted her freedom. A highly dependable source who worked with the Okoties for many years told this magazine that Stephanie’s continued bondage got her so distraught.
According to the source, the only time she had freedom was when she travelled abroad. “All she does is sit in the house and watch films all day” explained the source.
Unknown to many, Pastor Chris had known Stephanie for almost 16 years. Chris came into Stephanie’s life when she lost her first husband who was also the Pastor’s best friend. He became a comforter to her and her son. Their relationship started years back when she was having problems with her second husband, a rich igbo businessman, Mazi Okechukwu and at that time, Chris’ marriage with his wife, Tina, had packed up so Stephanie rose to become one of Pastor Chris’ closest female friends.
One of Stephanie’s features that attracted Pastor Chris to her is her ravishing beauty. She is an epitome of beauty who commands eyes in her direction wherever she goes and her wedding day was no exception. She looked so angelic and radiant.
The three time presidential candidate, told his church their differences were irreconcilable and the couple had divorced.
“Stephanie and I are no longer married. We have separated. You can see she’s not in church today. It’s due to irreconcilable differences and you should please respect our wishes at this time because there is no going back.” With this terse statement, Okotie announced the breakup of the marriage.
The congregation couldn’t believe the shocking news they had just heard from the charismatic former pop star-turned cleric and politician.
While Okotie is divorcing for the 2nd time, Stephanie has now been married thrice and has 3 children from her first 2 marriages. Unknown to many, one of the reasons for the crash of the wedding was the teeming female admirers around Pastor Chris. It was the same reason his 1st wife, Tina gave for the collapse of their marraiage. For years, Pastor Chris has constantly come under intense criticism for having too many single ladies around him. He was accused of being too close to Vien Tetsola, an ex-beauty queen, so also Lady, Udy Umondak, Sola Salako and even this Stephanie.
Another of such women is one Chritine Ejiolor, who works at Okotie’s F.R.E.S.H office on Adeniyi Jones in Ikeja. There is also the story of a lady simply called Amaka, the wife of one of Okotie’s security guys (all of who are fiercely loyal to Pastor Chris). There is another lady, Favour, who is a sister of the HOD of Holy Police in the Household of God church. All these ladies’ closeness to Pastor Chris was said to have been a source of worry to Stephanie, just like it was to Tina, his first wife.
The eloquent preacher had also said that Stephanie has been under his watch for 5 years and did not mind the number of children she had from her previous marriages.
Mid-2007, when Okotie made his choice public, his church almost broke up as some female celebrities who thought they were the favoured candidates for “the post of Mrs. Okotie”, received the shock of their lives when he settled for Stephanie, the unassuming woman in his glamorous church. Queen Ure Okezie, who used to be very close to Pastor Okotie left in controversial circumstances. Now, she is back in his church.
Okotie’s marriage to Stephanie was his second attempt at matrimonial life. He was first married to Tina his longtime friend, but the marriage packed up after 17 years without any child. Okotie loved his first wife so much that there was hardly a sermon in which he did not mention Tina.
Long after they separated, he still spoke about her with deep emotions as if they were still married. So much did Okotie talk about Tyna that some of his admirers in the church became jealous. But when he announced that he was set to marry Stephanie, he hardly mentioned the name of his first wife publicly again. Stephanie then became his center of attraction. On one occasion, Okotie invited Stephanie to the altar for a formal introduction.
After dancing around her for some minutes to the delight of the congregation, Okotie looked at Stephanie as she was going back to her seat, looked at the church and looked at Stephanie again and said in igbo language “Lekwa nwanyi nka marama” meaning “look at her, isn’t she beautiful?
However, there are those who didn’t feel bad when they heard the news of the collapse of Pastor Chris’s marriage to Stephanie just like they didn’t quite like all the denials Pastor Chris made then when the media rumoured in 2007 that they were dating. Many also don’t like how Pastor Chris allegedly encouraged Stephanie, the widow of his close friend to move out of her 2nd husband’s home when they were having problems.
A source who witnessed the parting of ways between the celebrated couple say Stephanie did not leave the comfort of Okotie’s household empty-handed. She was said to have left with a black Kia –Sportage and Honda CRV Jeep aside some other undisclosed gifts from the funky Pastor.
Culled from The National Encomium