Yemisi Eleto: Celebrated as Nigeria's loyal cultural ambassador as many gathered in candle-lit night

Yemisi Akande (akaEleto)

The countdown to the burial of Nollywood actress and Nigerian culture promoter, Yemisi Omowonuola Akande(aka Yemisi Eleto)  commenced on Wednesday with a candle-lit ceremony in memory of the departed who died on Saturday June 25 this year.

Yemisi Eleto remembrance Night

The gathering at London South-East Penarth Center was amazing with friends, relatives, colleagues and many sympathisers coming together in one spirit to bring back the memory of a much-loved socialite, whose life was terminated at a young age of 39- just as she recovered from a rare liver- triggered ailment.

Emotions rose, and tears flowed like  rain water droppings with  many sympathisers,  lost in their feelings and filled with unrealistic dream of bringing back Yemisi, the intelligent,  beautiful, kind and loving actress who until her death continued to put Nigeria on the world map of tradition and culture celebration.

“She was a loyal and passionate nation’s ambassador who worked tirelessly to promote her country to higher height, promoting Nigeria  tradition and culture abroad”, a sympathiser told EMnnews.

Yemisi's last public outing before her departure, cutting cakes to celebrate Diamond's Awards on June 10 2011

Wednesday’s remembrance memory will linger in the memory of many due to the nature of the celebration which saw the largest assemblage of celebrities and people of note in London Nigerian community, gathering to reflect Yemisi’s past. Some even came from Nigeria.

There were sympathisers from other countries who heard about Yemisi’s demise and called in to register their sympathy celebrating her departure to eternal life.

They came, they reflected and they all wept in consternation.

Celebrated broadcaster,  events organiser and motivational speaker, Bunmi West was handy to douse the tension and discourage the tears-filled eye-sockets from shedding, but the scars and pains of Yemisi’s departure was too deep to dissuade such tears from shedding. It was a moving environment.

A colourful personality and loyal friend to her friend, Yetunde Oduwole

Bunmi, who lost her husband of 20 years to cancer only a few months ago fought back tears as she cracked positive jokes to carry sympathisers along and to discourage more tears from flowing. She continuously consoled grieving sympathisers with many of her matured counselling, though with little impact.

She passionately narrated how she coped with grief when her beloved husband of 20 years was given just one year to live after he was diagnosed  for cancer.

Bunmi also  narrated how she coped with the tension of her husband having limited years to live. She doused every emotion, charging all to take heart and see it all as an act of God almighty.

Bustline Yetunde Oduwole, Yemisi’s soul mate and life partner who remains inconsolable was there to welcome guests as the head mourner, whose emotions had brought along many other sympathisers who had known the duo as inseparable mates for long.

Mr Rotimi Aberuagba,London-based Nollywood actor and broadcaster while paying his tribute described Yemisi Eleto as very hardworking lady with a great passion for theatre and entertainment. He narrated his last telephone conversation with the deceased where she appealed to him to appear in her new film. But,  Aberuagba, who  could not accept the offer due to heavy schedule as he was on his way to Nigeria for urgent appointment had to apologise for letting her down.

Toyin Aimakhu, Nollywood Star who flew from Nigeria to pay her last respect was  weeping uncontrollably and covered with emotions as she tried to put herself together to say something about the departed.

She explained that when she arrived sometimes ago  to shoot her film, Yemisi Eleto was quickly contacted and she was ready to help when they spoke on phone. It was then that  Toyin noticed her falling state of health from the tone of their telephone conversation.

Lady Lola Aliu described Yemisi as her ‘younger sister’ explaining  they both instantly transformed to the level of  ‘blood sisters’ relationship when they met many years ago.

With emotion-laden voice,she explained how the deceased struggled to promote Nigerian entertainment/film industry right from her first day in England.

“When I heard the sad news on that fateful Saturday,I locked myself in my bedroom and informed my children to step away while I wept heavily in memory of my younger sister,Yemisi Eleto and also tendered my

The assembly on Wednesday was  indicative  of the stars warmth nature, passionate love for all and her commitment to her life calling as an actress and entertainment promoter.

Yemisi was loved, adored and cherished by her teaming fans, friends and close professional colleagues.

In Memory

Late Yemisi Akande was the founder and life president of Eleto Association of Theatre and Entertainment Practitioners UK(EATEP) and all her members also attended the event to pay their last respect.

Prominent among the members of the Nigerian entertainment community in London that graced the occasion are Prince Hakeem Adetoro,  Mrs Banke Adetoro ,Mr Razaq Ayinde(Anabi Jones), Ms Morenike Abiona Akinsanya and  Alhaji Isiaka Kokumo Mogaji.

Others include Prince Osinusi, Pastor Akande(Yemisi’s elder brother), Mr Rotimi Aberuagba and his wife, Queen, Lady Abike Ade ,Lady Bunmi West, Mr Ayo Stanza,Yetunde Oduwole(Yemisi’s bossom friend),Fatai Atiba, Lady Lola Aliu and many others.

Several musicians also performed at the event to eulogise Yemisi and bring a positive tough of the gathering.

Sunny Melody, Solek, School Boy Fuji, Funmi OmoJesu and other gospel musicians were there to add musical touch.

The event was brought to an end around 11.20pm with a closing prayer that Almighty God shall provide for the needs of her two little boys and that the Almighty should put a end to sudden death of young but promising people in the society.

Yemisi Eleto was survived by an aged mother and two sons(both sons still under 8 years old)but her legacy of promoting Nigerian music and movies in diaspora shall live for ever for both present and unborn generations.

The programme of events continues on Thursday with a wake keeping service.


 WAKE KEEPING -Thur, 7th July 2011 6-11pm @ unit 22 Penarth centre,Penarth st off ilderton rd,SE15 1TR.

BURIAL- Fri, 8th July 2011 @ WOOD VALE CEMETERY, FOREST HILL Rd, SE22 0RU. Time- 9.00 AM.

For further info-07950917238, 07904204294



By Dare Lasisi, EMNnews columnist