As a change agent with passion for humanity, a social entrepreneur out to mend broken lives, her ambitions are more than dreams. Her forays into real estate, oil and gas, faith-based organisations, and other endeavours always have the touch of pulling people and businesses from the brink. She believes she has what it takes to save Nigeria from the brink of a looming peril. Her audacity in the face of odds, her passion for people and her love for her country, have made Dr. Elishama Ideh to offer herself as a redeemer that will get Nigeria out of the doldrums to a state of prosperity. Azubike Ogbonnaya captures Idehâ€™s passionate desire for a united and prosperous Nigeria, what makes her tick and her 2019 presidential ambition
Dr. Elishama Ideh is a social entrepreneur â€“ a path she has traversed for decades. She believes that looking out for one another as Nigerians is the right attitude to make impact and promote selfless service among the leaders. This has reflected in her social entrepreneurship. Today, her sense of social entrepreneurship has led her into politics.
Ideh is a strong and purposeful voice across the several meaningful endeavours her life and time have touched. 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, career, business and human development to the socio-spiritual.
She believes that the place of women in the history of governance of nations is quite strategic as societies in the throes of misgovernance and crumbling leadership have, in many instances, landed the fortune of strong women who bring sanity and order to the national quagmire.
â€œOur national lore is replete with the exploits of these iconic women- which includes; 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,â€ she said.
Ideh is aware of this burden for national rebirth. She has carried it for many years.Â At this point in Nigeriaâ€™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 â€“ orchestrating an unmissable change.
Her core advocacy is a new Nigeria unequivocally founded on patriotism and justice. These are 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 partnering individuals and organisations across the different religious groups and tribes in a bid to find a common ground for a prosperous Nigeria â€“ 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 Idehâ€™s stature. The sophistication of her mindâ€™s infrastructure â€“ the sheer audacity of a fiery and humane reformer unites behind her noble ambition to usher Nigeria into a new day making her to say: â€œNigeria will cease to be a potential. It will become one of the most pleasurable experiences on earthâ€. These words have propelled her towards 2019 where, with every Nigerian citizen, the work for a truly great Nigeria begins.
Ideh sees a Nigeria whose colourful and dynamic cultural diversity is a potent source of strength and a catalyst for greatness. She envisions a strong sociopolitical entity built on strong institutions in which the citizens invest their confidence which engender in the people a strong sense of patriotism, in their journey towards Nigeriaâ€™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. Her work is a vital aspect of her worship, and her service to humans 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, Ideh didnâ€™t take long to discover her passion for social entrepreneurship starting with propping up the downtrodden and other socially vulnerable persons in Lagos and other parts of the country.
Idehâ€™s vision and passion have been to give new life and confidence to the oppressed and destitute â€“the dregs of the society â€“ restore hope to them by sharing Godâ€™s love in word and deed. As the only girl in her family, she was the centre of attraction and affection of her parents and siblings. 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 US, she went into business and was very successful. Consequently when the nudge began to go into social work, she hesitated.
But even in the midst of this high-flying business profile, Ideh had by this time, come to realise that her true calling was more in the socio-spiritual sphere â€“ an area she could more fully invest in people and help them actualise their potential, restore their humanity, dignity and set them on the path to their God-ordained destinies. It was then that she resolved to become a change agent and take her social roles a notch higher in the society to impact lives and transform her community.
In her quest to actualise her burden for social mobilisation and empowerment, 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.
â€œIt 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,â€ Ideh noted.
Her activities through these organisations have been instrumental to the creation of numerous opportunities in the areas of education, skills acquisition and vocational training and entrepreneurship for vulnerable groups, especially in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Lagos and other communities across the country. Her organisations have also provided mentoring, counselling, shelter and business support for countless individuals and families in these areas.
She added: â€œWe 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.â€
Her social entrepreneurial work no doubt has brought her face to face with the stark reality of poverty.
â€œIn Nigeria right now, poverty is on the increase, and this is because weâ€™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,â€ she noted.
It is against this backdrop that Ideh is offering to contest and serve Nigeria in 2019 as the president. She envisions a strong sociopolitical 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 Nigeriaâ€™s evolution into a united, just, and prosperous nation.