A combination of grace, sophistication and intelligence, Ituah Ighodalo is indeed a man of many parts. A chartered accountant with over nineteen years of experience in Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Advisory services, he is also the pastor of Trinity House, Lagos. He speaks to EXCEED about his journey to fulfillment, his thoughts on success and his plans for the future.
The Early Days
Ighodalo grew up in Ibadan as the last of three children. He fondly remembers his growing-up years as “simply happy”. One could say he had dedication, hard work and family values modeled before him. His father was the one-time Chief Accountant of the Mid-Western Nigeria Development Corporation and his mother was the first female Permanent Secretary in Nigeria.
Ighodalo attended King’s College, Lagos before going to England to study Economics and Accounting in the University of Hull, from which he graduated in 1981.
Charting His Career Course
A sound and reliable advice from his father to have a profession first before venturing into business encouraged him to study accounting, which was a ready choice as he had grown up under the guided influence of his father. It proved to be a smart choice, one which has greatly impacted his career today.
Ighodalo worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers from 1982 to 1984, after his National Youth Service programme. He then took a giant leap and started his business in 1985 -it was a management consulting company combined with a video rental and video/film production company.
In 1987, he started his accounting practice, Ighodalo and Co., which merged with three other firms to form SIAO in 2005. Today, SIAO is a one-stop shop for financial advisory services and business assurance. The company has consulted for various clients at all levels, providing a broad range of services, including strategic planning, financial advisory, project evaluation, and financial systems design and upgrade.
One-time Managing Partner of the firm, Ighodalo has twenty years of experience in providing auditing, accounting, taxation, human resources and financial advisory services. A seasoned professional in more ways than one, he is an associate of the Nigerian Institute of Management and the American Institute of Management. He is also a fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and the Nigeria Institute of Taxation.
Church And Ministry
Most people probably know Ighodalo as the suave, passionate and intelligent Pastor. He fits the profile so perfectly that it is hard to think he did not grow up planning to be one.
“I did not plan to be a pastor,” he says. “I did not even plan to be a church person. All I know is that I came to a stage where life was not working the way I wanted it to and there was a bit of frustration. I thought I needed to serve God and I needed Him for direction, so I got born again.” He credits his mother for her influence on his life in this regard.
Giving what must have been his normal dedication and diligence to the church, Ighodalo began to hold several leadership positions. First, he was head usher, then he became a fellowship leader and then began working to help plant church parishes. Eventually, he was offered a parish to pastor and thus his spiritual journey progressed.
Today, Ighodalo pastors Trinity House in Lagos, with a vision to change lives and transform nations. Trinity House is designed to be a ministry where the full potentials of individuals’ abilities in Christ Jesus can be realised. It is a church that goes beyond the walls of the church to reach society and transform nations, with a clear commitment to the wellbeing of mankind and the salvation of souls. This commitment is evident in the various activities and platforms the church has set up.
On God-given Success
“Success for me is an ongoing thing,” Ighodalo says. “Before I got born again, it was hard work, focus, passion. After that, God became fundamentally responsible and in charge of my decisions.”
He says one must have God, one must pray, believe, have faith and have great vision. He also emphasises the place of positive living and belief that nothing is impossible. Honesty, integrity, passion, and hard work, according to Ighodalo, are all key ingredients to walking the success path. Ultimately, he believes that success is living in God’s purpose for one’s life.
Recognising And Fulfilling One’s Purpose
Ighodalo believes that the process of finding out what we are supposed to be doing with our lives is never cast in stone. We find out in different ways, given the different circumstances that we operate in and the ways in which we go seeking our purpose.
According to him, like Joseph you may have a dream, a vision, a passion -something driving you- or like David, you may be anointed and have a mentor like Samuel, who comes, shows you and guides you into what you ought to be doing. Yet still, you may be like Samuel who was pushed into his call by his parents, especially his mother who had a made a covenant with God about what she would do with her son. There are various ways through which you can discover who you are, but in everything there is God playing a significant part. Ighodalo believes that you discover your purpose through your gifts. Joseph had the gifts of dreams and administration. David’s gifts were music and war, while Moses’ gifts were administration and protecting people. Through their gifts, each of them discovered his purpose.
“And so you find that God has equipped you in your make-up for that which He wants you to do. That is why different people have different talents and you should use that talent to the glory of God and for the benefit of mankind,” he encourages.
On Bouncing Back
People face adversity at different moments in their journey to success; however, not many have learnt how to bounce back from moments of adversity.
Ighodalo analyses the causes of failure and the steps to take in forging on. “We try to bounce back when we have found ourselves in a mess that could happen for various reasons, some of which are: we did not understand what we were doing or we lacked knowledge; we made mistakes or wrong assumptions; or we did not know what we were up against. All of these lead to loss and frustration.”
According to him, there a few steps to the recovery process:
• Learn the lessons of the failure. What did you do wrong?
• Admit your faults. Admit the wrong things that you did. A lot of people tend to blame other people for their own circumstances instead of admitting the role that they played in getting themselves to that position.
• Seek advice and counsel.
• Ask for God’s position on the matter. A good bounce back also needs the strength, the depth, the person and the direction of God.
• Find out what you need to do and what steps you need to take to get you back to where you want to get to, and each little step will make a big difference.
Ighodalo recognises that there are some people for whom a bounce back might not come easy. For these people, it may be a bit too late to go back to do the right thing because they probably chose the wrong path in life. For instance, there are lawyers who became engineers, farmers who became doctors. Maybe people advised them wrongly or they had the wrong notions and now years have passed them by. For these people, it will be beneficial to consider what the next best thing that they can do is –something close to their potential.
“I am very passionate about Nigeria and what I am committed to spending the significant part of the rest of my life doing is to see how we can bring about fundamental, truthful and effective change to Nigeria, in order to put Nigeria and Africa on the platform where they should be. I think what we need to do is to have the right kind of leadership in an environment doing the right thing,” he says.
Ighodalo belongs to a group called Church for Change, dedicated to exploring ways in which the church can impact the nation and cause sustainable change in Nigeria. He is also passionate about charity, as evident in the number of charities he has established and continues to support.
Five Lessons From His Life
Trust In God
Ighodalo recognised his inability to chart the course of his life by himself. He therefore trusted wholeheartedly in God by surrendering everything. It pays to look away from ourselves in the journey to destiny and look upon God instead.
Only a wise man will consider good counsel as truly beneficial to his life. A simple yet profound advice from his father went a long way in making him the man he is today. The adage, fools rush in where angels fear to tread, still rings true. Ighodalo took the time to work in an established firm and gain solid professional footing before striking out on his own.
As evident in the different leadership positions he has held in the church and even in the business place, Ighodalo is disciplined and highly reliable. This is a very crucial quality for success in whatever field you may find yourself.
Marian Anderson hit the nail on the head when she said: “If you have a purpose in which you can believe, there is no end to the amount of things you can accomplish”. The feats he has accomplished today are indeed pointers to Ighodalo’s strength of purpose.
Only a man who feels the pain of others will go out of his way to think up ways to alleviate them. The following are several platforms (NGOs) through which Ighodalo has chosen to touch and transform lives: Stephen Adams Social Reformation Foundation; The Lydia Grace Foundation; Trinity Leadership School; Courage Education Foundation; Heritage Homes; Eden’s Field Health Initiatives; and Jordan Transformation.
According to Nelson Mandela,
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination”.
Ighodalo typifies this all too well.