Happy 61st birthday to an incredible being! Hon. Dr. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Mama Diaspora, Mother Theresa, The Ace Journalist and more.
Today, I and millions of people celebrate not only your remarkable milestone but also the unwavering love and dedication you have shown to people around you and your country throughout your life. Your deep patriotism and commitment to your nation is truly inspiring.
A Nigerian amazon, an outstandingly brilliant broadcaster who later transmitted to an outstandingly, brilliant parliamentarian. A worthy, compassionate, fair, firm, respected and courageous leader. Fondly called ”Mother of Teresa of the tube” because of her compassion for the less privileged, and now ”Lady Diaspora” for pioneering efforts in putting Diaspora Affairs on the front burner.
Her 15 years of meritorious service at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) where she stood out for her ability to use journalism to bring succour to millions of Nigerians especially children, women and the less privileged. We can’t forget the story of Mary, the miracle baby, story of a girl being claimed by 3 mothers, which Abike painstakingly investigated for 8 years to a logical conclusion can be overemphasized.
The way she care for people, and go all out to resolve issues that sometimes seem to defy all solutions, is incredible. You work round the clock as if you were some superhuman. Maybe you are!
When people say angels live among us, you are an example of that statement. You embody selflessness, clothed in humility, adorned with courage.
It has been a honour working with you over the years. You have been a guiding light, instilling in us the values of love for our land, culture, and heritage. Your passion for our country has been infectious, and we are grateful for the love and pride you have shared with us.
Your unwavering support, encouragement, and guidance are second to none, Your dedication to the betterment of our nation has inspired us to work towards a brighter future.
Today, we celebrate and honour you, Mama Diaspora, for your unwavering commitment, your remarkable achievements, and the positive influence you have had on our lives. Your strong spirit and determination are a testament to the power of standing up for what you believe in.
Some of the many achievements of Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa
- Educate Africa Institute (EAI) Merit Award, 2021
- Centre for Ethics and Self Value Orientation Award as Integrity Icon of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Gold Medalist in Public Administration, 2021
- FOI Award of Excellence, 2021
- Ansar-ud-deen Youth Association (ADYAN) Northern States Council Congress Merit Award, 2021
- Global Excellence Award by Afroglobal Television, Toronto, Canada
- The 2021 NEWS DIRECT Award of Excellence for Exemplary Leadership by News Direct Newspaper
- The Most Outstanding Female-led Head of a Government Federal Agency, a Guardian Award as part of the Guardian’s Women’s Day Summit, 2021
- Royal Award by the Ayangburen of Ikorodu Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Oba Kabir Adewale Shotobi
- Award of Excellence by His Excellency, Dr Benson Alfred Bana, the Tanzania Ambassador to Nigeria, 2021
- Induction into the Center For Black and African Arts and Civilisation’s (CBAAC) Black and African Hall of Fame, 2021
- The Guardian’s Award for the ‘Most Outstanding Female-led Federal Commission, 2021
- The Frontline Defender Award for Human Rights and Sustainable Development by Drum Major of Social Justice and Awards, 2021
- ThisDay Style Magazine’s list of ’50 Women We Admire: Titans of Our Time’ (Mother’s Day Edition 2021)
- Donald M Payne (US House of Reps) Award and Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition
- Most Productive Female Representative of the Year 2010 by Igbogbo Community in Ikorodu
- African Parliamentary Award, Committee Chairman of the Decade, 2010
- Catholic Youths Organisation of Nigeria (CYON), Garki Deanery Award, 2010, and
- First National Waves Gold Award for Achievers as the Best House of Rep Member of the Year, 2008.
Working as the NIDCOM Chairman/CEO, I have seen you execute tasks with your resources with Zero budget, yet you wouldn’t complain. You even used your private car in your first year in office, yet you got on with the job. You have worked at giving Nigeria a credible image through absolute openness and transparency. Your relentless advocacy for justice and fairness for Nigerians abroad has been noted here and across the globe.
Amidst several national and international engagements, you are always quick to respond to humanitarian issues, which I believe is why under you, NIDCOM has, with assistance from other agencies, successfully carried out the evacuations of stranded Nigerians, especially our girls, from countries like Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, Sudan etc and just yesterday 10th of October, you had another meeting on the move to intevene to rescue over 30 Nigerians in Czech Republic and the need to investigate the arrest of the Nigerians in Cyrups (The Happie boys).
Through the way you have impactful engagement and administration, some Nigerians on death row have been rescued, and those in trouble have been given succour. NIDCOM has suddenly become an office Nigerians are proud of today.
When issues happen, and the Commission is notified on social media, despite your busy schedule, you always find time to respond to them. This is a prime example of people having confidence in you and the commission.
From the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, you have on numerous occasions intervened in the rescue and justice-seeking for Nigerians affected by xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
In 2019, I remember how tirelessly you worked to rescue two students of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Abia Alexandro Uchenna and Eboh Kenneth Chinedu, from a refugee camp in Bosnia when the duo travelled for an international table tennis competition in Croatia. Before this incident, your intervention in the attacks on Nigerian traders in Ghana was also publicly noticed.
In 2020, I also remember the role you played in rescuing two Nigerians, Adams John and Victor Obialu, who were stranded in Kenya as a result of irregular migration and visa overstay. In the same year, your interventions led to the rescue of singers Omah Lay and Tems when they were arrested in Uganda.
Your leadership at NIDCOM, coupled with partnerships with other local and international agencies, led to the evacuation of hundreds of Nigerians living and studying in Ukraine when the country was invaded by Russia, we stayed out at midnight waiting for their arrival, and you are an Amazon that never gets tired of waiting to rescue Nigerians in distress and also the evacuation of Nigerians in Sudan even when a kobold was not released to you, the lives of those students were so precious to you that we had to stay out there waiting to receive them. You stay true to the course even in the new administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
As you celebrate this special day, may it be filled with joy, love, and fulfilment. May you continue to be a beacon of hope and inspiration to all those around you. We are proud to call you our godmother and grateful for your presence in our lives.
Wishing you a very happy birthday and many more years of health, happiness, and success.
With heartfelt wishes.
Akinsola writes from Abuja.