On a day to celebrate love, many young men and women gathered at a corner of Alausa in Ikeja Lagos, they were invited down for a purpose— to meet their mentor, and helper who has given them hope and thrown lifelines at them in the midst of intractable challenges. She had told them to bring their boyfriends and girlfriends along. Some dared to, others felt maybe it was better they came alone.
It was a day to be remembered for many undergraduates and graduates alike as well people who came to really confirm whether what was said about Funmi Ayinke Humanity Foundation Founder, Engineer Funmilayo Waheed was true. Prior to the event many had read and or heard about her philanthropic activities, even those who had benefited hardly had the chance to meet her in person and so when the Valentine Hangout came up, they all saw it as an opportunity to personally meet and hear from the young lady who has touched the lives of many and has continued to help the indigent.
It was a meeting in which tears flowed freely, even from the elderly, young and steel-hearted talk less of women who are easily moved by emotions. Yes, they were tears of joy from people who never thought help could come, people who needed just a little to make life more meaningful and Funmilayo Waheed rose to their rescue.
They came from all parts of Nigeria, the East, the North as well as the South South. The South West, especially Ogun people were not left out.
Indeed, the National Association of Nigerian Students sent in a powerful delegation to honour her as their matron. Their chronicle of her achievements for them had to be cut short by the Masters of Ceremonies as they continued to reel out her interventions on behalf of students at every level, from primary to secondary and tertiary who ordinarily would have dropped out of school.
In her welcome address, young and pretty Engineer Funmilayo Ayinke Waheed who was there with her Engineering Professor husband, a former DVC of FUNAAB was all smiles as she went down memory lane to why she started the FunmiAyinke Humanity Foundation. She also gave details of how far she had gone with videos showing what she did for widows as well as single mothers in Ogun State towards the end of the year.
According to her, the Foundation
caters for students at every level of their education from the primary to the
tertiary and she is happy with the way Nigerians have responded to her show of
She also had a word for those who knew of her activities for the first time at the Vals’ Day event. According to the FHF boss, first comers would fill the registration form in order to collect their data for the Foundation to help them.
The Registrar of Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta was on hand to give a lecture on ‘Charting your own Course and Destiny.” It was a moving lecture as the learned fellow shared his own story how he became an orphan at age six—his mother died while he was 4 years and his dad passed on on the exact day he came back from school with his first elementary school result. Undaunted, today, he holds a PHD and also occupies an enviable position in the society.
Then, there was the awards and appreciation moment when many of the young and old who came around with gifts for the humanitarian shed tears as they gave testimonials on how they initially doubted that help could ever come from someone who didn’t know or have never met them, yet they were bailed out by the Foundation. Many did not have the opportunity to share their experience because of time constraints. But the most awed were indeed those who never knew Funmilayo Waheed herself as they saw her dancing and mingling with members of FHF family and sharing jokes devoid of airs.
A major highlight of the day was the electrifying performance by former BBNAIJA star and guitarist, Debbie Rise. Her performance left the crowd asking for more as she seemed to have something for everybody.
The youths were awed by her electrifying steps. They just could not have enough.
There were other performances on the day as talented members of the FHF family also came out to perform. The torrents of gifts that Funmilayo Waheed received spoke volumes. She has always been the giver but it was Valentine and those who were touched and had something to give back came, with paintings, cake, roses, and various other gift items.
Even the Masters of Ceremonies had to comment
that the gifts were reminiscence of a society wedding. It was sheer expression
of love and appreciation in its pure form and it was mutual.
In a private chat with her husband, one thing however stood out at the event. It is one thing to have a husband, it is another to have one who backs you up unconditionally as you pursue your dream and is always there to watch your back and stand in. Professor Waheed Adekojo was there to fully support his wife and in the midst of it all, he couldn’t hide emotions as people appreciate how his family has touched their lives for good, given them hope in a society where hopelessness pervades every sector and homes.