Celebrating Erelu Fayemi, philanthropist, humanist, at 55

Erelu Bisi Fayemi 

By Gbenga Sodeinde - June 14, 2018

Truly, her birthday was June 11, but her admirers, people whose lives she has affected positively, the women in the state, market women, motherless babies’ homes, residents of Ekiti State, who have in one way or the other had encounter with Erelu Fayemi have not stopped celebrating her for what she is and what she stands for in their lives.

Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is the beautiful, charming, caring, and adoring wife of the current Ekiti State Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Kayode Fayemi, but beyond this, she is a merciful mother who has always strove to ensure freedom of women from poverty, oppression and intimidation.

She is a philanthropist per excellence, woman of virtue, strong, and full of encouragement with robust and undiluted passion for better life for Ekiti people both men and women, reason for which she had gone a milestone in support of her husband’s administration during his first term in office.

Erelu Fayemi, who has totally sold her entire life for the betterment of humanity, could still be remembered for and being celebrated for the following unbelievable feats as the first lady of Ekiti during the first term of her husband; monthly disbursement of funds to indigenes of Ekiti with personal crises, medical bills, school fees,  Micro-credit finance for about 180 women groups across the 16 local governments in Ekiti State, construction of a crèche Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Ekiti State chapter and support for the union’s widows and orphans.

She is also being celebrated for scholarships for female students of Ekiti extraction in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, through the institution’s Centre for Gender Studies and Social Policy, Co-convening of the first Ekiti State Gender Summit with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Social Development and Gender Empowerment, donation of an 18-seater bus to the Erelu Angela Adebayo Children’s Home, Iyin-Ekiti, sponsorship of Women in Leadership Capacity Building Programme, assistance to orphans across the State.

Others are co-sponsorship of Leadership Development Workshop for Forum of Women in Leadership, Ekiti State at the African Leadership Centre, Nairobi, co-funding the Statewide Orphans and Vulnerable Children *****apping exercise in collaboration with Ministry of Women’s Affairs, EKSACA and other institutions, Treatment of 50 Hernia patients, maternal health record keeping: A Mother and Child Health Records book to be used by expectant mothers in Ekiti State. This document keeps records for up to four children and will go a long way in helping to address maternal health issues.

Some others feats she is being celebrated for in Ekiti now are Breast Cancer Awareness Programme, which includes a Breast Self-Examination Kit, as well as a public enlightenment campaign, also in collaboration with other well-meaning Ekiti indigenes, had laid down the legal frameworks to make life easier for Ekiti women and children. She was actively involved in seeing to it that Ekiti has a Family Court which mandate is to promote peace in the family and give succour to families seeking redress over perceived injustice.

Erelu Fayemi also co-sponsored the Bill Prohibiting Gender-Based Violence which has long been signed into law. Under this law, both male and female are protected against physical and psychological abuse and violence. The law which also frowns at harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and widowhood rites, imposition of dress codes under any guise and child marriage. Because of this law, a man would think twice before laying his hand on his wife in Ekiti.

This is apart from several personal and private interventions in lives of individuals in the state who were in dire need of help or assistance for debt relief, and sponsorship of motherless and orphans which she did not usually publicize.

Women who were being relegated in the state got their places in Ekiti State and in Fayemi’s government because of Erelu’s fight for it. She had endeared herself into the heart of people of Ekiti State such that she would be continued to be celebrated as she deserves this and more.

Born in June 11, 1963, Mrs Fayemi is a feminist, gender specialist, social entrepreneur, policy advocate, writer, and social change philanthropist. She co-founded the African Women’s Development Fund, (AWDF) – the first Africa-wide grant-making foundation for women and served as the founding Executive Director from 2001-2010. AWDF has played a key role in the promotion and protection of women’s rights in Africa through its support of grassroots initiatives, policy engagements and movement building for social justice.

She is currently Principal Partner, Amandla Consulting, specializing in leadership development for women, and she runs an online community called Abovewhispers.com. She is a UN Women Nigeria Senior Advisor, and was recently appointed as a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College, University of London. She serves on the Executive Boards of the African Women’s Development Fund, and the Global Fund for Women USA, where she chairs the Program Committee. She is Chair of the Advisory Council of the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund and also serves on the Governing Council of Elizade University, Nigeria.

Let all people of goodwill in Ekiti, Nigeria and all over the world join in the celebration of this dynamic humanist, Erelu Bisi-Adeleye Fayemi who has touched lives in Ekiti and beyond in a way that such people and their relatives as well as such communities will never forget.


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