By Woman of Substance with Oluremi Adeoye
Dr Salamatu Atinuke Ajede, our woman of substance this week, is a lecturer at the Tai- Solarin University of Education. She is also the Olori of Oba Isiaka Olajide Ogirimadagbo- Akin Ilodo Ijebu Mushin Early life
We are from Ilorin but I was born in Warri. My father was the chief imam of Warri. I attended Cavajina Primary School Warri, before we moved back to Ilorin in 1976. This was because my dad was getting old and he wanted to go back home. I completed my primary school education in Ilorin and went on to Queen Elisabeth School, Ilorin. On graduation from the school in 1985, I proceeded to Kwara College of Technology, which is now Kwara State Polytechnic for my A-levels. I got married after my A- levels and the same year I got admitted into the University of Lagos through direct entry. I studied sociology and graduated in 1990. After my national youth service programme, I went for my master’s degree. While I was doing that, I was assisting my husband at work. He is a Mechanical Engineer by profession. It was about that time that he was also called upon to move back to Ijebu after the former Oba’s demise. He was elected to take over from the former Oba. So we moved back to Ijebu in 1994 and he was crowned as the first crown Oba of Ilodo with full status on the 4th of January 1997.
There is a lot of difference from our former lifestyle. Royalty has so many complications too many requirements, so many things attached to it. You don’t have privacy, the very vital part of it is that you have to be very accommodating at all times, not minding your inner feelings, even when you are down you must always put up a cheerful and accommodating face. One thing about the palace is that the gates must always be open. So many visitors, there are always visitors. People will always come in for one thing or the other and you are expected to be accommodating. There is usually an endless need to provide food and drinks, entertainment at all times. At times we entertain people till as late as 12 mid-night or even 1am, until the last person leaves or retires.
It also has the good sides, but it’s a very demanding life style. The Olori (Queen) has a whole array of responsibilities towards the town; towards the King, the Chiefs and towards the women in the community. No matter how young an Olori is she automatically becomes the mother of all in the community, the women and even children. She is seen as a role model to guide the women as well as to mentor the children of the community.
After my husband ascended the throne, the first thing I realized was that there’s so much poverty in the rural places, so many old people are suffering. With my husband’s support I set up the women’s wing of the Iludun Association, to cater for the needs of the women and the children of the community. Later in partnership with Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) of the Catholic Church, we set up the Egbe Omo Obirin reere. I later set up my own NGO, ‘Empowerment of Women, Youth Development, Care and Rehabilitation of the Aged (CEWOY CARA) it was established in 2001 in Ilodo Ijebu Imusin.
However, my major priority area is the care of the aged. Over the years on a quarterly basis, we have earth and awareness day celebration in conjunction with many pharmaceutical companies. They have been very helpful, Mopson Pharmaceuticals, Fidson Pharmaceuticals, Safety Health Drugs and of course The Eye Foundation. Dr Sam of The Eye Foundation has been of very helpful. Most times they give us free eye glasses for old people. We get drugs from Mopson to give to nursing mothers and the aged and the women in the community, including the children. This has been going on since 1997. Initially it was quarterly, then it became an annual thing but now it is bi-annual because of the economy.
In the last four years many of the pharmaceutical companies have not been forthcoming with their assistance with drugs and because of the exchange rates, drugs have become so expensive.
Be that as it may, from my little earnings I get some drugs buy at discounted rate at the pharmaceutical companies and with assistance from the Eye Foundation we have kept on. In the last seven or eight years, we introduced the welfare aspect where we give items to the needy, items like clothing, working equipment like ovens and so many others from time to time
In this area, so many of our friends have been so helpful. The Omojolas and the Omolayoles have been so helpful. I have a very good friend and sister too, Olori Khadijat Taylor, she has the KHADTAY group of companies, she has been very helpful too. A wonderful philanthropist, the Ambassador Folake Marcus Bello, has also been helping our foundation. Otunba Kunle Hassan of Eye Foundation has been very wonderful. Of course I mustn’t forget my school, Tai Solarin University of Education where I lecture, the health center of the school has been very helpful. The medical director of the center in particular has been very supportive which is why we gave him an award recently. He has been the one providing us with doctors whenever we want to do check- ups, like sugar level and BP level.
The youths are no longer as ambitious as they used to be. So many of them are now lazy especially when it comes to reading and doing research. When we were in secondary school, we used to line up at the library to collect books and novels to read.
The reading culture has really deteriorated. I think the advent of mobile phones and the internet is partly responsible for that. Most times you find them fiddling with their phones.
What should have been an advantage for them because they now have more access to more information that we never had, they are misusing. They are not making use of the facilities and opportunities open to them.
They should be up and doing. At my center, we also have the youth development department where we counsel our youths on how to build viable careers.
Source Leadership Nigeria