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|A Tribute To A World-class Erelu @ 57 By Adesina Adetola by Adesinaayo: 1:52pm On Jun 11, 2020|
Political governance, today, means different thing to different people. To many, it is an opportunity to amass wealth, enlarge material coast or claim an unimaginable portion of the communal wealth. While many see it as a channel to settle political score, climb a pedestal to oppress rivals or boost personal ego; on the other hand, to some, it comes as an avenue to inject development ethics into the society, encourage values that will permanently makes the world a better place and also promote ideas that are beyond parochial interest and personal reward.
It is a fact that in a complex society like ours, having diverse characters in governance is not unexpected and using political office to achieve an array of mundane interests has become a notable part of the system. Public office holders, their aides, associates and more relevantly spouses are made of different characters, depending on whom fate has launched at a particular time on the people. Though, it could not be outrightly disputed that the nature of the society in most cases produces the kind of leadership it gets, but in some cases, it could never be wished away that leaders could emerge in isolation of what the society dictates. In the Nigerian context, leaders have emerged in different forms and the characters of the leaders have gone a long way in determining what befalls the society while they hold sway in public offices.
In Ekiti State, a leader has emerged at this particular time to bring to the fore, that a land of honour and fountain of knowledge as the state bears, needs nothing short of characters that would continually promote the values that have distinguished the state. Meanwhile, as this particular character emerges, he doesn't come like a lone ranger, he is well accompanied by a character of equal pristine value and stupendous quality. Governor Kayode Fayemi's character has been recurrently acknowledged far and wide. He belongs to a political class of his own; intelligent, outstanding and unpretentious. His wife, though, not really surprising, also belongs to this class.
Erelu Bisi Fayemi, the wife of the governor of Ekiti State has continually shown that, Nigeria has never lost the hope of having quality character in public governance and political admnistration. Ever since her husband has been re-elected as the governor of the southwest state, she has never looked back in ensuring that the people feel the presence of a couple that has devoted most parts of their lives, not just in empowering dreams, but also in contributing to the advancement of a just world, a society where everyone has equal right to life and more importantly in promoting good governance and democratic ideals.
Erelu Bisi Fayemi, as an internationally renowned feminist activist, as well as gender and development specialist, has continually made her worth to be felt as the first lady of Ekiti State where she has been actively involved in a range of policy advocacy, grassroots empowerment and social inclusion programs. This is not just in leading campaigns to enact and institutionalize laws that see to social development, welfare of the people as well as equity and just society, but also in making a lot of interventions in lifting the lives of the citizens beyond pedestrian level in diverse areas. Both in the first coming of her husband, Dr. Kayode Fayemi as Governor of the state, (2010-2014) and in this current administration, Erelu Fayemi, as a global brand and world-class individual, has been rendering resourceful support to her husband, complementing his efforts in ensuring that Ekiti is taken to the height it rightly belongs in the comity of nations.
Born on June 11, 1963, Erelu Bisi Fayemi has a BA (1984) and MA (1988) in History from the University of Ife, Nigeria (now Obafemi Awolowo University). She also received an MA in Gender and Society (1992) from Middlesex University, UK.
She served as the Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), an international development organisation for African women based in London, UK, with an Africa regional office in Kampala, Uganda, from 1991-2001. While she was the Director of AMwA, she established the African Women's Leadership Institute (AWLI), a training and networking forum for young African women. The leadership institute she developed has become such a powerful legacy that today, the AWLI has trained over 6,000 women across Africa, and most of these women are now in senior decision-making positions as Vice-President, Ministers, Members of Parliaments, academics, civil society leaders and employees of international organisations.
She co-founded the African Women's Development Fund, (AWDF) - the first Africa-wide grant-making foundation for women based in Ghana, and served as the first Executive Director from 2001-2010. She currently runs an online community called Abovewhispers.com as well as the Above Whispers Foundation. She was until recently, a UN Women Nigeria Senior Advisor, and is currently a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Africa Leadership Center, King’s College, London.
A social entrepreneur, policy advocate, and writer of repute, who has written hundreds of articles and essays on feminism, social justice, relationship, inter-generational issues, religion, culture, as well as governance, politics among others, Erelu Fayemi is the author of ‘Speaking for Myself’: Perspectives on Social, Political and Feminist Activism in Africa (2013), ‘Speaking above a Whisper’, (2013) an autobiography and ‘Loud Whispers’ (2017). She also co-edited ‘Voice, Power and Soul’, with Jessica Horn (2008) a compilation of images and stories of African Feminists.
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