By Tope Templer Olaiya
THE Sunshine Foundation, founded by May Ellen Ezekiel (MEE) Mofe-Damijo, has honoured its initiator 20 years after her demise. Popularly known as MEE, she was the publisher of Classique Magazine, editor of Quality Magazine and host of Mee & You Television Talk Show before she died after a fibroid operation in Lagos on March 25, 1996.
The foremost journalist, author and writer kept many glued to television sets watching her show on NTA 2 Channel 5, until her death in 1996. MEE was the first female publisher in the country with her celebrity magazine, which had the likes of Dele Momodu and Richard Mofe Damijo as associates.
The foundation president, Mrs. Rose Odiete, said it is difficult to describe MEE as late because of her genuine humanitarian gestures to the less privileged. “We are remembering her for many reasons, most importantly for setting up this foundation to bring smiles to the lives of so many people.
“She lived for just 39 years, but she was able to put together lots of things that is still affecting society positively till date. She lived for so many people in her short stay on earth and was especially very passionate about children and the elderly.”
Odiete poured encomiums on Pastor Chris Okotie for his strong unfailing support to the foundation since the death of MEE. “It has not been easy keeping the foundation going. When we started, we had 22 members but now it has been reduced to only five.
“The few committed ones, especially Pastor Okotie have ensured the memory of this beautiful woman lingers on. He has always supported the foundation with N1.5 million every year, which is why we decided to bestow on him an award of philanthropy as a special recognition for keeping alive the memory of MEE.”
The only daughter of MEE, Onome, who is based in the United States of America (USA), recalled how as a nine-year-old, she couldn’t understand why her mom was giving money away to unknown people when her own needs haven’t been met.
“Today, when I look at the life she lived, I am always so proud of her. At that time, I didn’t understand her because I was always bitter seeing her give people money when I need her to get me stuffs, but now I know better. And the only tribute I can pay is to keep her memory alive,” she said.
Speakers after speakers all reminisced on the live of MEE and her legacy. They all enjoined Nigerians to always support noble causes and touch lives in little ways.
A close associate of MEE, head of Marketing at PZ Industries, Mrs. Bukky Bandele, said the reason MEE was so passionate about women was because she always believes a woman helped is a community helped. “Her belief was that a woman assisted will in turn affect the lives of at least 10 other people – her husband, four children, two people in her family and two from her husband’s family.
“As her accountant, I knew how passionate she was about putting other people first. Everything MEE earned always goes to charity. She never gave out of her profit but her earnings. Ten percent went to Household of God and 15 percent to the foundation. In fact, when she started Sunshine Foundation, we at Classique magazine kicked against it because we felt it was getting too much.”