PROFILE OF DR. ELISHAMA ROSEMARY IDEH
Dr. Elishama Rosemary Ideh was born in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital in 1964. Her father was an officer in the Nigerian police, while her mother was a businesswoman. Both parents hailed from the community of Ewohimi in Esan south east Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria.
She had her early education at the legendary Mayflower Primary School in Ikenne, Ogun State, and at the Federal Government Girls School (FGGC), Onitsha, Anambra State.
She thereafter left for the United States, where she enrolled at Bowie State College in Maryland for a degree course in Mass Communications.
On her return to Nigeria, she ventured into the challenging but exciting world of real estate. Armed with her American experience, her sagacity and innovative business acumen were soon rewarded with outstanding success. She focused her trade on low income traders and market people who ordinarily could not afford shops in upscale or medium-income locations. For example, she built low-cost shopping complexes for the disadvantaged in the Ogba business axis in Ikeja LGA of Lagos State, as well as upgrading part of the Ogba Retail Market into an ultra-modern business hub, a development which has gone a long way to enhance the economic capacity of market people (especially women) in that locality. This engagement with low income women and families in the area of affordable space – and economic empowerment – was the seed that has over the years grown into the philanthropic movement for which she is known today.
She later ventured into the oil and gas business, achieving further success in this very challenging sector as well.
But even in the midst of this high-flying business profile, Dr. Ideh had by this time come to realize 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 actualize 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 actualize her burden for social mobilization and empowerment, Dr. Ideh founded Christ the Ever-Present Ministry (CTEM) and the Elishama Ideh Ministries. Both are faith-based humanitarian organizations formed to support, strengthen and rehabilitate lives – especially among vulnerable groups such as women,widows, orphans and the destitute and to raise leaders to serve in the various strata of our community.
Of particular interest to Dr. Ideh is the plight of ‘area boys’, especially in the Lagos catchment area – a group of otherwise virile and able-bodied young men condemned by chronic unemployment and poverty to a menial existence, a socio-economic underclass whose activities have bred a dangerous street (and one might even say, underworld) sub-culture that increasingly threatens the peace and security of the populace. The quest to rehabilitate ‘area boys’ and restore their dignity and humanity has, over time, taken on the dimensions of a crusade, to which Dr. Ideh has applied herself with characteristic passion.
Her activities through these organizations 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 organizations have also provided mentoring, counseling, shelter and business support for countless individuals and families in these areas. Their engagements with area boys in various locations in Lagos and beyond have yielded tremendous fruits. Not only have many of these young men been helped materially to enable them renounce the life of the street – with money, jobs as well as educational, business and career opportunities; they have been reoriented into a new consciousness of their divinely-ordained purpose in life, and have found a new sense of direction.
This vital role by Dr. Ideh in social reengineering and the repairing of broken lives, hopes and dreams has not gone unnoticed by relevant stakeholders in the physical and spiritual betterment of society. She was honored with the award of an honorary Doctor of Mission degree by the Freedom Bible College of Holmes School of the Bible in the United States, as well as a Certificate from the International Executive Leadership Course (1-CEU 120) of the University of Sounkd Doctrine, also in the USA.
Over the years, as her profile metamorphosed into that of a veritable voice for the voiceless, her concern for suffering humanity and her passion for empowerment has grown into a deeper concern for the state of her country as a whole, and a passionate desire for far-reaching and fundamental change in her nation. The contract of obligations, responsibilities and rights between the government and the people, and especially the role of government providing for the people’s welfare and security, is one she feels has not been properly consummated – hence the need for the awakening of a new consciousness on the part of all stakeholders in the Nigerian enterprise in the quest for national rebirth.
To this end, Dr. Elishama Ideh set up the Partnership for a New Nigeria (PFANN) a social advocacy group aimed at promoting this rebirth by restructuring both the polity and it’s institutions on one hand, and restructuring the attitude of Nigerians (leaders and led alike) towards building a culture of patriotism and a stronger sense of civic duty on the other, not just to the society and the nation, but to our neighbors as well – especially to the less-privileged.
In addition to the aforementioned honorary doctorate degree, Dr. Ideh is the proud recipient of numerous local and international laurels, among which are:
– The African Leaders of Integrity award
– Time news Award
– African Women Stars Award for Excellence
– Mercy International Award
– Africa International Achievers Merit Award
– 2nd Lolem Distinguished Merit Award
– Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria Award
– Distinguished Service Award
– African Youth Global Network Award
– Nelson Mandela Pan African Exemplary Leadership Award
– Ufuk Dialogue Award
– Rotary Omole Ojodu Philanthropic Service Award
Known by her teeming admirers simply as Elishama, Dr. Ideh is a simple, down to earth and graceful woman – a combination of attributes which complements her boundless energy, her razor-sharp intelligence, her audacity in the face of formidable odds, her passion for people, her unflinching focus on what really matters, and her love for her country, a patriotism which sees all Nigerians, whatever their background, as members of one national family and one commonwealth.
Elishama sees a Nigeria whose colorful 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.
Elishama sees 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 actualization and national greatness.
As her legacy, Dr. Elishama Ideh seeks to bequeath to future generations a nation, and a society whose wealth (both material and social) is built on the principle of SHARED values, SHARED vision, SHARED responsibility, and SHARED benefits.