By Juliet Nwafor, Abuja and Roy Balliets, Texas
It is a dark day for Africa as one of her best departs to join her ancestors. Africa has lost a towering amazon and development catalyst, Princess Dr. Rachael Adefunke Wellington at the age of 102. She died at her residence in Lagos State on the early morning hours of Wednesday, 12th August, 2020 after a brief illness.
Former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, whose Presidential bid she financially supported, once described the deceased as “a shining pride of Africa and a resilient go-getter.
Whilst alive, Princess Wellington founded Children Palm City Foundation, an NGO in Houston, Texas, USA and at Igando, Lagos in Nigeria to take care of orphans and abandoned street children.
Due to her kindness, concern for a better society and detribalised approach to life as chronicled by a member of her NGO, Philip Osijale, an international NGO known as The Mighty One Empowerment Foundation (TEMOEFA), conferred the merit award of Mama Africa on 22nd December, 2019 at St. Jonas Orphanage, Momoh Sani Street, Gwagwalada, Abuja. She also won the award, according to TEMOEFA at the Christmas Party its sponsored for orphans and elderly citizens, on account of being the most productive, patriotic and impactful African octogenarian that was promoting development on the continent.
The patriotic call to aid Africa’s growth and development forced Wellington, a widely celebrated queen, to return to home after spending 40 years in America to establish the first microfinance bank and the first airline in Africa called llupeju lndustrial Bank in 1994 and Fassey Royal Airlines with five aircrafts. These companies provided jobs and huge business loans for many job seekers and entrepreneurs, especially for residents in Lagos State.
Born in 1919, this political scientist, originally hails from Epe near Ijero in present-day Ekiti State.
Princess Mrs. Wellington once disclosed to her consultant on media and public relations, Dr. Barika Dominic Saro-Laka, that each time she hears about the success and progress of Alhaji Aliko Dangote it fufills her being one of those that offered the business mogul credit and other forms of encouragement at the early days of his business adventures in 1980.
She was also an anointed prophetess and founded a church.
At another time, the late banker, disclosed to Dr. Saro-Laka, that when she prophesied to Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar that he would later, in his military career, succeed late Gen. Sani Abacha as Nigeria’s Head of State, Abdulsalami’s wife was terrified and disbelieved it, but she was filled with joy when the prophesy came to pass.
Mama Africa was also the first female Councillor in Nigeria during the era of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the Premier of Western Region. She read Political Science at Western Michigan University in USA.
During her lifetime, this rare gem had business, personal and working relationship with the top rank of powerful and influential figures in the society such as late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Sir Michael Otedola and Chief Bola Ige. Others were late Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Dr. Bala Usman, and Chief F. R. A. Williams. The rest were Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Dr. Mike Adenuga, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Bishop David Oyedepo, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ooni of Ife), Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio, Mr. Boye Samuel Kayode, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Prince Arthur Eze, Oba Frederick Akinruntan (Olugbo of Ugbo), Gen. B. A. Adeyemi, Captain Dele Ore and late Oba (Dr.) Okunade Sijuwade and late Pa Abraham Adesanya.
She is survived by three children – Olufemi, male, 70; Oluyemisi, female, 60; and Olusegun, male, 50.