By Theodore Oseremen
“Those that we love never truly leave us. There are things that death cannot touch.”
Jack Thorne, the renowned British screenwriter, captured it suscinctly with the above quote, portraying exactly the case of Princess Wilma Ebahi, a beautiful soul that could not be tamed by death, whose recent transition to a ‘better place’ has provided her relatives, friends, colleagues and well-wishers another opportunity to appreciate the true essence of life and love.
She was, to say the least, a lovely soul, an epitome of generosity and kindness. Her footprints of excellence were felt in various sectors of the Nigerian space and beyond, with abundant testimonies to the huge asset she had been to the system. Hence, the decision of her friends and family never to mourn her, but to celebrate her because she came, she saw and she conquered, even in death.
Princess Wilma Ebahi Nkemdilim Aguele was born on July 24, 1963, in Uromi, Edo State, to the family of Prince Solomon and Chief (Mrs.) Stella Aguele. She was educated at Okaigben Primary School, Ewohimi, before gaining admission to the prestigious Baptist Girls High School, Agbor, Delta State, in 1976.
Upon her writing her West African Examination Council school certificate exams and leaving school in 1980, Wilma got admission into Sacramento City College, Sacramento, California, USA, where she bagged an Associate in Art (AA) certificate in 1982 before proceeding to the very prestigious University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, from where she bagged B.Sc. in International Relations (Economic and Diplomatic Issues on Middle East and Africa) in 1984.
She was undergoing a postgraduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning (Planning for Public and Private Enterprises) at the same university before her return to Nigeria in 1987. She began her working career when she was employed in USA by the State of Michigan, USA, and deployed to Nigeria as their international trade specialist, from 1987 to 1989. She helped establish the State of Michigan African Office in Nigeria and Ghana.
She worked briefly with other private firms before she initiated and registered her flagship company Wilbahi Investments Ltd, in 1990. She was a compassionate entrepreneur, who went on to start other Wilbahi companies as special-vehicle business concerns to achieve her business goals.
These companies include Wilbahi Engineering Ltd, Wilbahi Systems Ltd, Wilbahi Farms Ltd, Wilbahi Oil & Gas Ltd, Merit Shipping Ltd, Merit Export Ltd, Amber Gas Ltd, Midland Petroleum Company Ltd, and Sedwil International Lt, among others. She was a director and shareholder in several other companies. Wilma became a mother with the birth of her first daughter Princess (Mrs.) Yasmin Amunara Dakota Shaneyfelt, nee Daukoru, in 1997 and her second daughter, Princess Samira Inala Daphine Daukoru, in 1998. She was the best mother for her daughters.
Wilma loved her country Nigeria and worked very hard to promote anything Nigerian. She served as a member of the Vision 20:20 committee and supported the agricultural policy of the Federal Government as an agro-allied investor and farmer.
She was a community leader, with great love for her native community and people. She brought Federal Government road projects to her people and also built an oil palm industry in her community to promote commerce and interest in agriculture. She was a mentor to many young people and a philanthropist.
Wilma was a member of the following associations: Nigerian-British Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nigerian-Danish Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, MAN Edo and Delta states, African Cashew Alliance, African Women Entrepreneurship Programme, Nigeria Agribusiness Group. Nigerian-ASEAN Chamber of Commerce, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nigerian-Canadian Business Association, and Women Chamber of Commerce Mines and Industries. She was well travelled and attended several international conferences.
On January 14, 2022, Wilma breathed her last at a German hospital, where she had gone to seek medical help to fight her lung cancer battle that began in 2018. She is survived by her aged parents, elder sister, many younger siblings, two beautiful daughters, nieces, nephews, cousins and many other relatives.