Before it was allegedly declared a scam, the online campaign to save the ovarian cancer patient, Shukurat Mayowa Ahmed, was hugely supported and spearheaded by five notable and well-meaning female Nigerian celebrities. Though not many people knew it, the campaign was able to go viral within two days of its launch and generated over N34 million in three days thanks to the passionate social media crusade of these ladies. According to a recent investigative police report, which cleared the air on the allegation, freeing the family of Mayowa of fraudulent intentions, Mayowa will be flown to a hospital in South Africa for her treatment. The efforts of these ladies got the sympathies of Nigerians into donating money to the tune of N81, 278, 954.81 and $100,000. Here are the actresses that put together what has been considered the fastest and largest internet fund campaign in Nigeria.
Nollywood actress, Toyin Aimakhu is regarded as the chief campaigner of the #Save Mayowa internet initiative. The campaign which has generated a lot of media, public and police attention began when on July 26, 2016 the actress visited Mayowa, a 28-year-old graduate of the University of Lagos, diagnosed ovarian cancer, on her sickbed at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, and made a video soliciting financial assistance to support Mayowa on her Instagram page. The video went viral within two days. Toyin and Aramide Kasumu, the founder of Lifestyle Foundation and the Mayowa family would later be engulfed in the allegation of scam due to what the police called “the inability of both parties to communicate appropriately”. Toyin also led a counter-campaign in another video after she learnt that the Ahmed family would not fly the dying girl the US for treatment. She apologised later after the media and police intervened. However, among others, Toyin is responsible for the unprecedented publicity the #Save Mayowa Online initiative generated.
Yes, Nollywood screen goddess, Genevieve Nnaji, was hugely involved in the Mayowa internet fund solicitation. She took over the gospel right after Toyin Aimakhu’s video dropped on air and continued to believe in the authenticity of the campaign against all odds. She used her over two million Instagram followers to spread the message and thanked her fans after the money was already in. Addressing her Instagram fans who made it happen, she said, “I just want to say thank you all. Let’s keep the spirit of being our brother’s and sister’s keeper alive. God bless your generous hearts.”
Nollywood actress Rita Dominic was the third Good Samaritan on the passionate mission to save Mayowa. She was involved in day two of the launch and used her 1.5 million followers’ strength to pull support for the cause. She wrote on her Instagram page: Please guys every little helps [sic]. Let’s all do what we can to save her life, bless…[email protected] Our GOAL IS N32,000,000.00 OR $100,000.00. We don’t have much time. Yesterday we raised 6.5 million. So in just thirty two hours over 7m was raised. We thank you all, for praying, for sharing and most especially donating…. So we all can encourage each and every one to make a donation that no amount is too small. May I remind you, it’s just us (average Nigerians) that donated this, no politician yet, no organizations yet, we are stronger collectively, we can achieve far more if you encourage others who doesn’t have MILLION to contribute, THOUSAND and those without thousands to contribute HUNDRED it will go along way and make a huge difference in a short time”.
Another prominent soul that joined the race to save Mayowa was the super-talented actress, Kate Henshaw. Kate got into the fray much later, even while the allegation of fraud was ongoing. Her push helped in adding more zeroes to the efforts of three days. She used her 608,000 followers worth Instagram account to campaign for a renewed support for the Mayowa cause. She wrote the following in a post: “I know we all have our burdens to bear. No one knows what the other is dealing with in these times but whatever we can do…let’s do in truth. P.s I just received information that Mayowa’s cancer is stage 4. That it is malignant and spreading. The hospital in the US has given a bill of USD 100, 000 but yet to give a letter that will aid in getting a visa. Also that airlines will be circumspect about carrying her since she is extremely weak. No amount has been specified for after care while in the US or when the trip is slated for. So the donations are for….? If anyone has this facts, I need to hear from you asap….pls… Thank you.”
Ihuoma Linda Ejiofor
Ihuoma Linda Ejiofor, like Kate Henshaw joined the campaign in medias res. She, however, showed a lot of solidarity to the campaign with her words of appreciation to Nigerians, who made genuine efforts in a post to her 125,000 followers on Instagram. She wrote: “There’s NOTHING that God cannot do! There’s power in working together! There’s success in coming as one and helping! The target is met! Praise God! But if you haven’t…it’s still not late. Even if it’s N100/$1. I pray that God reverse this sad news into a rejoicing news for her and us all”.