Her audacity in the face of formidable odds, her passion for people and her love for her country, have never been in doubt. Dr. Elishama Ideh’s decades of social engineering and entrepreneurship are metamorphosing into a bigger national service, writes Azubike Ogbonnaya
Dr. Elishama Ideh has been a social entrepreneur, a path she has traversed for decades. She further believes that looking out for one another as Nigerians is the right attitude to imbibe in order to make impact and promote selfless service amongst the leaders. This has reflected in her social entrepreneurship for decades and her willingness to touch others has now defined her politics.
Elishama Ideh is a strong and purposeful voice across the several meaningful endeavours her life and time are distributed over. She has gained the attention of both the local and international media and has been called upon to speak on a plethora of issues ranging from work and career, to business and human development, as well as the socio-spiritual.
She believes that the place of women in the history of the governance of nations is quite strategic, as nations and societies in the throes of misgovernance and decrepit leadership have, in many instances, landed the fortune of strong women who bring sanity and order to the national quagmire.
“Our national lore is replete with the exploits of these iconic women which include: Queen Idia of the Benin Kingdom; Queen Amina of Zaria; Princess Inikpi of Igala land; Queen Omu Okwei of Onitsha; Moremi of Ile-Ife; Margaret Ekpo; Funmilayo Ransome Kuti etc.
“And in contemporary history, women like Madame Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the former President of Liberia, Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May of the United kingdom; and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, just to mention a few. It is becoming increasingly known, backed by the authority of empiricism, that women are best suited to serve a nation in need of a rebirth,” she said.
Dr. Elishama Ideh is acutely aware of this burden for national rebirth. She has carried it for many years. At this point in Nigeria’s history, she has decided to take responsibility for the birth of a new Nigeria under a unified vision, mission and mandate to make this nation an enviable patch of paradise in the global space. This is the summary of her leadership leanings – orchestrating unmissable change.
Her core advocacy is a New Nigeria unequivocally founded on patriotism and justice; prerequisites for building a sustainable and united Nigeria. In recent years, she has repeatedly championed the dignity of the National flag and the need for it to be the rallying point for Nigerians as well as the symbol of unity.
She has spent millions of naira on partnering with individuals and organisations across the different religious groups and tribes in a bid to find a common ground for a prosperous Nigeria – a Nigeria where peace and justice reign, as expressed in the national anthem.
The enormity of national rebirth is never lost on a woman of Elishama Ideh’s make. The sophistication of her mind infrastructure and the sheer audacity of a fiery and humane reformer unite behind her noble ambition to usher Nigeria into a new day.
In her words, “Nigeria will cease to be a potential. It will become one of the most pleasurable experiences on earth”. These words propel her towards 2019 where, with every Nigerian citizen, the work for a truly great Nigeria begins.
Elishama sees a Nigeria whose colourful and dynamic cultural diversity is a potent source of strength and a catalyst for greatness. She envisions a strong socio-political entity built on strong institutions in which the citizenry invest their confidence, strong institutions, which engender in the people a strong sense of patriotism, in our journey towards Nigeria’s evolution into a united, just, and prosperous nation.
She has further seen her public stewardship as a natural extension of her spiritual service to her Creator and Source. Her work is a vital aspect of her worship, and her service to her fellowmen is an extension of her service to God.
She seeks to spread hope among Nigerians, based on her belief in the Nigerian enterprise, and in the capacity of the Nigerian youth to achieve great things, given the right environment and the right opportunities for self-actualisation and national greatness.
With her experience in real estate, oil and gas, Mrs. Ideh didn’t take long to discover her passion for social entrepreneurship starting with the assisting and helping of the downtrodden and other socially vulnerable persons in Lagos and other parts of the country.
Her vision and passion have been to give new life and confidence to the rejected, oppressed and destitute; those generally regarded as dregs of society, restore hope to them by sharing God’s love, not just by word of mouth, but also by practical demonstration.
As the only girl in the family, Elishama was the centre of attraction and affection of not only her parents, but by the siblings as well. Her primary education at the high-profile Mayflower primary school Ikenne, Ogun State, and secondary school education at the Federal Government Girls College (FGGC), Onitsha, before proceeding to study Mass Communication at Bowie State College, Maryland, USA equipped her to face the challenges she carved out for herself. On her return from the USA, she went into business and was doing wonderfully well. Consequently when the nudging began to go into social work, she hesitated.
But even in the midst of this high-flying business profile, Dr. Ideh had by this time come to realise that her true calling was more in the socio-spiritual sphere – an area in which she could more fully invest in people and help them actualise their potentials, restore their humanity and dignity, and set them on the path to their God-ordained destinies.
It was then that she resolved to become a change agent and a positive force in society, to impact lives, and to help transform her community as well as both her physical and sociological environments.
In her quest to actualise her burden for social mobilisation and empowerment, Dr. Ideh founded Christ the Ever-Present Ministry (CTEM) and the Elishama Ideh Ministries. Both are faith-based humanitarian organisations formed to support, strengthen and rehabilitate lives – especially among vulnerable groups such as widows, orphans and the destitute.
“It must be emphasised strongly that coming from this background of my work in the socio-Spiritual sphere, I was able to witness the stark reality of the decay and poverty level of our people and how special social security schemes or infrastructure are not in place to curb the debilitating situation which is why my heart and my passion has been stirred up to rise first as a citizen of this great country and become a change agent that the nation desperately needs,” Dr. Ideh said.
Her activities through these organisations have been instrumental to the creation of numerous opportunities in the areas of education, skill acquisition and vocational training and entrepreneurship for vulnerable groups, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Lagos and other cities and communities across Nigeria. Her organisations have also provided mentoring, counseling, shelter and business support for countless individuals and families in these areas.
“We have watched the lives of these people transform dramatically in a very short space of time. Most of them have been empowered economically and are doing well,” she said.
Her social entrepreneurial work no doubt has brought her face to face with the stark realities of poverty. “In Nigeria right now, poverty is on the increase, and this is because we’ve failed to understand that poverty arises as a result of the mismanagement and failure to properly harness our God-given natural resources and the insensitivity of past and present government to the welfare of its people,” she said.
It’s based on these that Dr. Ideh is offering to contest and serve Nigeria in 2019 as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She envisions a strong socio-political entity built on strong institutions in which the citizenry invest their confidence, strong institutions, which engender in the people a strong sense of patriotism, in the journey towards Nigeria’s evolution into a united, just, and prosperous nation.