Bidemi Adeyemi, nee Bamidele, is an Ekiti girl who lived most of her life in Lagos, she is married to Femi Adeyemi, a Yewa man. This ambitious woman grew up in Akure but had her secondary school in Jos, then later proceeded to Obafemi Awolowo University where she had her first degree, and moved to Abeokuta after she got married. She started working with OPIC as an officer in personnel, after that she worked in the HR department, and she later headed the HR for about three years, right now she is Head of Business Development OPIC. She is also the President of OOPL Mothers Club, an association funded by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Mrs Abidemi herself. The association is just a year but they are popular and have impacted in many lives especially the girl child. In this interview with Bunmi Mustapha, Mrs Abidemi otherwise known as Tammy’s Event, an event outfit she manages for her daughter opened up on how OBJ’S Mothers Club started, her event management career and fashion.
A lot of people knows Abidemi Adeyemi as an event planner but this is something you have not talked about?
The event part is tricky, when I moved to Abeokuta, I wanted to have my daughters 1st birthday and I brought people from outside Abeokuta, from Ibadan to be precise. First thing that I realized is that most people in the service industry could not speak English, it was a children’s party and there were lots of bad English and I didn’t get the service I wanted, but as a civil servant I could not start a business and events runs in the family. My parents were party and event people, so as their legacy they left a business to my daughter, so I picked it up for her and started running it for her till she is old enough to take over, but event is my world, and I can’t be at a party even if am not working and things are not going on well, I won’t sit down, I will go round and make sure things are going on well.
Another thing I want us to talk about is the OBJ’S mothers club where you are the president of the association, can you tell us more about the association?
The club was born by Baba Obasanjo and I. When the children fun place started at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, even before we started laying the foundation, I remember at a meeting, Baba and the committee members were saying, mothers will bring their children, they need somewhere to sit and talk, and instead of just having mothers all around, why not have a club where people can register and be part of that club ,so when they drop their kids they can share ideas and people can see that whatever you are going through is not peculiar to you alone.
so that was where it started , so when the fun spot at OOPL was built we got an office there and we had an inauguration and our aims and objectives is to bring mothers together ,mothers that are married because we are also careful, we do not want to bring in women that have children but do not have husband thereby creating an atmosphere where its seems like the place where we are just bringing in people and promiscuities will start, and our husbands are associate members. Every husband is an immediate associate members that is part of our constitution which means minus our inner focus meeting all our events our husbands are involved.
It’s a family oriented club our society does not allow women to just gather without the love and consent of their husbands. If we are not careful they will frustrate us , so when we call them they will support us financially ,emotionally and physically. They know that this is what we are doing and we are very passionate about empowering and giving out ,we are just about a year old and that one year we had welfare for children, it is a home for children that are disabled not just children that are dumped .
These children some are blind, some can’t talk, so last year December we took all the children and we brought them to the OOPL Fun Spot. They saw Santa ,we gave them gifts, they ate, we played with them ,it was saddening to see children that are dumped because they have a disability or the other. Since then every month we take things to the home and just give them food and provisions and after that we had event for women because we realize that if a woman has food to eat in the house the whole family have food.
So we brought this women we gave them used clothes, gave them rice, gave them oil, gave them salt, just the basic things they can cook with and gave them cash, Mama Obasanjo was there with us, she was the one that helped with the handing over and we catered for about 100 mothers. We picked mother that are under privileged so at least they have food to eat for the season and we had fun time for ourselves where it’s just ourselves and our husbands, Baba is always with us.
he would come play with us dance, we had another empowerment programme for secondary school children, we gave them sanitizers ,talk to them about body odour ,we just want to touch women, so that even the younger women that are growing to become mothers they’ve already known what they are prepared to do. But most of all we help ourselves, we meet monthly we talk.
we share issues and we have a forum where this is happening to you don’t worry and our rules are very tight, we do not just take in any member. We had a lot of applications we’ve turned down based on character we don’t want people gossiping, we want to minimize it as much as possible so that’s the mothers club.
When you are talking about this society what is the role the whole organization is playing to ensure that probably the girl child gets an education or any other empowerment programme?
A s the president, for our first anniversary we have in the pipeline plans to give scholarship to one girl child to signify that we are a year old, and we have gone to public schools to look at schools because if the child is empowered, especially the girl child, we have less promiscuity and that is what we are building upon so we hope that we would have the inauguration by December by God’s grace, and we are not just sending the girl to secondary school alone.
we will sponsor her to any higher institution of her choice and each year we will continue to include another child every year, but if we are buoyant enough we can take more girls because we don’t want to start what we can’t finish, but right now we go to schools and as much as possible we buy sandals, talk to the girls. During the international girl day recently we arranged for about three thousand secondary school girls to talk to them in batches, so we are hoping that, by the time we are two year old, we can pick five to ten secondary school girls that we can say that we have impacted.
Where do you get all the zeal and passion from?
Obviously I am a Christian, so I give everything to God, and again I am a mother, when I see something that is affecting people, and I see that we can impact in, if I don’t finish it I don’t know how it makes me feel so I will keep at it to the end. And I like to keep an association of people that are like minded, because I can’t do everything by myself, when I see things and I feel we can impact others.
I go to people of like minds, and tell them let’s do this, like mothers club is not funded by OOPL, it is self funded, we raise the money ourselves. I am a very passionate person, I will rather not start than start and not finish, I love teaching people, my husband have always told me I would have been a secondary school teacher, because I love talking to people and mould them before we get to a level where we cannot unmold anymore, I am also a very patient person, no matter how long it takes, when I know that there is hope somewhere I keep at it.
Can you give us an insight into your educational background?
My first degree in Obafemi Awolowo university was in education, I think that was where I started from, then I veered into English, social sciences, when I met myself in personnel, in HR, I went for my MBA in human resources management, then my MSC in human resources management, then I attended metropolitan business school where I got my business degree, also in human resources management and I think that is one thing that affects my relationship with people, I am really passionate about people, I will rather deal with people, than the technical part, once I saw that it was my line, I look at what is the highest degree I can get, and right now I just started my PHD at Babcock, though the time is not really there for me because PHD is research methodology, so am hoping I should be done with that in few years.
Let’s talk about the uniqueness of your fashion, every time you step out you are always looking good and one can tell you are very stylish, what inspires your style?
The irony of my style is that I was a very conservative young girl I remembered that on my wedding day I used white powder and lip gloss, then we didn’t have all this make overs, I had the lip gloss in my purse and I kept applying the lip gloss, but my fashion sense developed as I grew, I find myself liking certain things, then I liked simplicity, I do not like things that are loud, if I wear red I want to wear it all through, I don’t like too many colors at once, style etiquette, I watch and learn.
I got married very young, I was twenty one when I got married, though I had finished serving, but I had to learn, my watch word is I stoop to conquer. I behave like a fool and I just watch and learn and grow, because when people feel you are in a competition with them, they have the lead to pull you down, but if you are just watching and learning, they won’t know when you will grow and even grow past them, and its like you having to introduce yourself like, do you know who I am.
Then you have failed because your presence should already announce itself, that is me. I like simple things, I want to enter somewhere and people should remember me and say this is the woman that impacted in my life. I believe in looking good, I will rather go somewhere over dressed than underdressed, I do not like to go and look shabby, because it is the way you look that people will talk to you and because I married young.
I had to carry myself quickly in a way to meet the status of my husband, because I remembered when I got married, I am always wearing jeans and T-shirt, my husband will tell me go and sew some Ankara, I liked the way I dressed. I believe in culture and respect, I believe no matter how you treat people, humility takes you places. The higher you go the more humble you must become, I am not perfect but I try to make sure that when I leave a person’s presence the person remembers me for good, I like to look good but not expensive.