Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa’s birthday celebration
As part of her 50th birthday celebration, Lanre Alfred and Funke Olaode writes on how a benefactor to many children in Ikorodu spent quality time with the kids
Calling her a torch bearer who others follow would not be wrong. Often times she has been referred to as Mother Theresa because of her milk of kindness which flows ceaselessly. It was not surprising when children in Ikorodu and its environment trooped out in their thousands to celebrate a woman of excellence, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa who turned 50 recently. To these young pupils, Dabiri-Erewa is a mother in a million. Prior to her foray in politics, she carved a niche for herself in broadcasting; her effort in touching lives through various charitable programmes cannot be over-emphasised.Some women are like sapphire. Abike is an emerald cut.
The event began with opening prayers by Semi Bello and Faith Orere
Thereafter, Patience Obahi gave the opening remarks. Patience is one of the hundreds of beneficiaries of the Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa’s computer training centre. Obahi expressed a huge gratitude to a woman who in her words has touched her life and that of many Ikorodu youths positively. One of the graduands of that programme who now makes a living by designing customized mouse also expressed her appreciation. “You have been a loving, compassionate mother, our benefactor and philanthropist. You are indeed a rare gem. You are a person who encourages and lifts people up, who spends energy on others rather than on herself, someone who touches each life she enters, and makes a world of difference.
To celebrate this woman of excellence, there was a well choreographed performance by pupils of Ewu Elepe Primary school, Ikorodu. This was in appreciation of Dabiri-Erewa’s continuing intervention in the school. Eulogizing the veteran parliamentarian, the principal of the school, Mrs. Oladeinde Kudirat Bolanle said celebrating her was their own little way of saying ‘thank you’ to a woman who had done so much for the school. Enumerating some of her intervention to create an enabling environment for learning, Oladeinde said Hon Dabiri-Erewa made provision of several text books, chairs and tables, classroom furniture, fans and donated a block of classrooms.
As the children entertained, the elated celebrant danced with them to what everyone described as a really good performance
Then there was an interesting newscast by Oyindamola Ogunleye who attempted to bring back memories of Abike’s broadcasting years with the Nigerian Television Authority. As she took her seat with poise and panache, she began. ‘here is Newsline presented by Abike Dabiri.” She held every one spellbound with her mimicry of the Honourable glorious days as a Newsline presenter. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, Oyinda retorted that she wants to be a lawyer.
Another highlight was the scholarship award to three kids who lost their parents just a few days before the birthday celebration. Hon Dabiri-Erewa on the spot offered them full scholarship and assured them of being with them all the way through. They are Raqeeb, Zahirah and Zafeerah Andu.
This would have been a surprise if it came from other legislators. Coming from Abike, it was not a-too--surprising-instant-gesture for a woman who is currently supporting the education of several children. Abike believes that the circumstances of one’s birth should not prevent any child from going to school and constantly appeals to all to do whatever they can for kids in need. Also present, the Anyalele triplets.
When they were just nine years old, they attended the Hon ADE coaching scheme eight years ago. She wanted to give scholarship to the 10 best kids at the coaching scheme that year. The triplets from the same family came first, second, third and after much deliberation with the coordinator of the coaching scheme, Alhaja Abiodun Ogunniyi, Hon. Dabiri-Erewa offered scholarship to the triplets: Chima, Chidozie, and Chukwuma. That kind gesture has seen two of them who had no hope of furthering their education beyond secondary school are now in the university .One of them is studying Petrochemical Engineering at Federal University of Technology, Owerri and is in his third year, the other is at Imo State University studying History, while the third is waiting for his admission this year. As the boys reeled out their gratitude to the Hon. For giving them hope, a few eyes got misty with tears as theirs was a touching story of how stretching a helping hand can move mountains
It was fun galore as the kids had so much fun they would not forgot in a hurry. Various rides, water games, candy floss, popcorn and lots were in abundance. There were also take away packs such as school bags filled with several exercise books, Mathematics sets ,pens, cheese balls, drinks, cleaning cloth, water bottle and lunch bowl.
No child left without these gifts from the celebrant. ADE showed her dexterity in dancing as she boogied down with the kids. No doubt, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa’s birthday celebration would linger on for months to come in the minds of Ikorodu pupils.