Sev-Av Foundation, a dream conceived and realized by Arc. Yemisi Dooshima Suswam
By Asawa Joe
A fulfilled dream of Mrs. Yemisi Suswam
This is a dream conceived by Architect Deaconess Dooshima Yemisi Suswam, former First Lady of Benue State. It was hatched Wednesday January 16, 2008 by Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua when she gave a Federal Government seal by personally inaugurating Mrs. Suswam’s pet project, “SEV-AV FOUNDATION”.
Sev-Av, a Tiv word translated to mean ‘a new dawn’ is Mrs. Dooshima Suswam’s dream project of moving Benue state to greater heights. It consists of three projects; Sev-Av women Coalition Against HIV/AIDS, Agro-processing Centres, and Sev-Av Skill and Craft acquisition Village.
Mrs. Suswam got the vision to establish the foundation during her husband’s gubernatorial campaigns round the state when she came face-to-face with the plight of the citizens especially women and children. She wondered how the people were in ‘The Food Basket of the Nation’ yet with the attendant waste of the agricultural produce wasting away with people having nothing to show for it.
Yemisi was also not pleased with the unwholesome attitudes of the people such as; drunkenness, indiscriminate sex, crime, among others. These acts were a direct result of HIV/AIDS ravaging the state.
The former First Lady resolved that she would do something drastically to arrest the situation. Realizing that the state is blessed with food and cash crops like yams, cassava, cereals, groundnuts, soyabeans, beniseeds, citrus fruits and vegetables, the First Lady saw the low mechanism. This led to losses after harvest as the result of lack of modern ways of preservation.
It was against this background that Mrs. Yemisi established the agro-service and farm produce processing centres in the three senatorial districts in the state. These would make agro-business more lucrative, attractive and purposeful.
The centre in Zone A, situated in Katsina-Ala is facilitating processing of Yam into derivative products of Yam flour for value addition and longer shelf life thereby boosting yam production in the Sankera axis and the state generally.
The Sev-Av Foundation in Zone B (Gboko centre), among other services facilitate processing of mango, tin tomato and orange juice, and Otukpo centre in Zone C is to encourage palm oil and kernel produce.
Now that the three centres are fully operational, the centres are fast offering agricultural services, such as farm machinery and equipment rental, trucks for farm produce transportation and extension services at subsidized rates.
The centres are also providing improved seeds and seedlings. Each centre have state of the art computers, a conference hall etc. Mrs. Suswam adopted the sogan, ‘No Farm, No Food’.
To critics who may wonder why the choice of Katsina-Ala for the Agro-Processing centre, the First-Lady noted that first, it is the capital of her immediate constituency and the spring board from where her husband, Governor Suswam made his debut and shot into lime light of national politics.
Secondly, the town is the head quarters of the axis that has produces the highest quantity of yams in the whole world. Besides, she said the town had modern infrastructure facilities. She urged the people to continue to support, protect and patronize the centre.
In October, 2016, the over Two Hundred Benue indigenes that under took vocational training in various skills from the Sev Av foundation , an NGO have graduated from the foundation institutes across Benue state with the graduation ceremony at its Headquarters in Makurdi with a charge to them be productive and self sustaining.
The chairperson of the BOT of the foundation and the immediate past first lady of Benue state,Yemisi Suswam gave the charge during the graduation ceremony for the trainees as she also tasked them to be good ambassadors of the foundation, adding that if their trainings were put to use, it would earn them a fortune and a stable life.
Mrs Suswam who announced that the foundation will increase the number of trade offered by the institution in view of the prevailing economic situation called the graduands to continue to further seek improvement in the skills acquired by them from the foundation for the good of the society.
The Federal Complaints Commissioner in charge of Benue and anti corruption crusader ,Abubakar Tsav ,in his remarks congratulated the trainees for successfully completing the programme and also called on them to give back to society the knowledge they had acquired.
Tsav tasked the graduates not to sit back at home but rather committ themselves to what they had learned and be resourceful by applying the skills acquired to make themselves self employed.
He called on other social deviants ,cultists and people with aberrant behaviours to seize the opportunities provided by the institution to become useful to themselves and the society so as not to be engaged for unwholesome acts by politicians in the state.
In a remark ,a former minister of Interior,comrade Abba Moro admonished the graduands to be agents of change especially at this period the state is passing through very difficult times and commended the initiator of the foundation for her foresight.
Moro urged the initiator of the foundation to continue her good works in human development and contributions to the development of Benue state in particular.
Numerous empowerment items were distributed to graduands to aid them in their various fields training like sewing machines, grinding machines etc.
The event was attended by several dignitaries including former governor of Benue state,Gabriel Suswam,former NAFDAC boss,Paul Orhii. Others include Ademu Entonu ,MHR and John Ngbede state chairman of the PDP and other dignitaries amidst pomp and pageantry.