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57TH BIRTHDAY AND ERELU BISI FAYEMI’S OF IMPACTFUL ACTIVISM
By Ahmed Salami
The first lady of Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, by her strides and exploits, has become a recognised global citizen. She is not just revered for being the wife of a governor, but reputed for being a productive and politically savvy one.
A vivid deconstruction of the trajectory of her existence attested to the fact that she remains a reputed humanist, with her humanitarian services felt across the globe. Also an erudite scholar, reporter, writer and feminist, who places premium on gender equality, rather than the one anchored on insidious female chauvinism pursuit.
Periscoping her intellectual savviness, Mrs Fayemi remains one of the world’s most decorated female academics. Though, he is not permanently held up within the four walls of a university, but she had delivered record breaking scholastic lectures, which effects had reverberated round the globe.
As a feminist, she has fought hard and most appreciably against the rising scourge of highly pervaded gender inequality in Africa. The colossal effect of her gender activities had been felt in Africa Nations like South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and others.
Owing to political activities of his husband and Ekiti Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Mrs Fayemi’s activism has become a reference point in Nigeria. The Gender Based Violence Prohibition Law, has been a potent and veritable arsenal being deployed by Ekiti and other states to combat rape, child labour, prostitution, child trafficking and all forms of gender discriminations against all sexes and the vulnerables.
The GVB Law was co-sponsored by Mrs Fayemi and some interested civil society organisations on the floor of the House of Assembly during the first term of her hubby’s government to place Ekiti on the pedestal of a crime-free society and where domestic violence is widely perceived as a crime rather than a norm and practice.
Since the promulgation of the law and its subsequent implementation by the Judiciary, cases of rape, defilement and other moletations have been criminalised with scores already sentenced to jail for misconduct in this regard.
Before her timely intervention, perpetrators of rape always had a field day in Ekiti, committing the offence with reckless abandon and without opposition. But today, the fear of Mrs Fayemi and rape, is the beginning of wisdom.
The most exciting of her exploits was the amnesty programme she organised for local perpetrators of female genital in Ekiti. It was akin to the amnesty granted the Niger Delta Militias to lay down their arms by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
The beneficiaries of the amnesty programme were empowered to wean them from committing the heinous genital mutilation crime, because they boldly came out to surrender their rustic local arms owing to unwavering confidence they had in the first lady.
Taking cognisance of the activities being undetaken through the office of Ekiti first lady, it won’t be immodest and prejudicial to state that Mrs Fayemi stands taller than any other occupant of the plum seat. She has been charismatic, humble, dispassionate, benevolent and gregarious in approach, despite being born in Britain, a society that is aloof and shared no common culture with Nigerian society .
The highly coveted food bank policy, Social security scheme(owo arugbo), village kitchen (ounje arugbo), and other anti-poverty policies; like empowerment for vulnerables, were brainchild of Mrs Fayemi. Putting it in brevity, she has been a blessing to Ekiti and humanity in all ramifications.
Before her hubby’s foray into politics, she was a co-founder and Director of the African Women Development Fund(AWDF), a body that was ackonwledged for its outstanding contributions to poverty alleviation across the world with profound effects in Africa in relation to women issues.
The group substantially funded by private organisations and individials had dispensed favour for over 800 women across 42 countries of Africa continent before quitting in 2010 to join her husband in providing quality leadership for Ekiti people and the dream is gradually being actualised.
Mrs Fayemi’s life could be compared to that of Jesus Christ, who started having passion to serve humanity at barely 12 years.
The first lady was greatly influenced by the events surrounding the environment where she grew up after being brought to Nigeria by her parents and she never betrayed the dream and focus she had, having been recognised and garlanded as one of the foremost humanists in Africa Continent.
By my own understanding of her nature, Mrs Fayemi believes in being broke than seeing others in penury. She likes putting smiles on the faces of the afflicted. She is lovely, kind, benevolent, charismatic, homely and generous, even to a fault by my own estimation.
On account of all these enigmatic contributions, I join myriad of her supporters across the globe to celebrate this quintessential African woman and Ekiti first lady as she celebrates her 57th birthday.
I wish her long life and prosperity for her to be able to serve humanity better than she has done.
Congrats my Godmother.
The Ochiorah of Imezi Owa, Enugu State
The Erelu of Isan Kingdom
The Eyetuase of Ado-Ekiti
The Iyalode of Ilafon-Ekiti
The Oluomo of Ilaramokin