Leadership in difficult times: The BAF Example
The popular axiom that "tough times never last, but tough people do," has best describes the challenges and difficulties many leaders are facing at this time.
In recent months, the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has negatively impacted the business of governance all over the world and leaders are taking very tough decisions to manoeuvre the situation and prepare for the future.
At some point, every business of government seems to have reached a rough patch, and while leaders must make tough decisions to improve the situation and save lives, they must as well pay close attention to improving the welfare of the people particularly the poor and the vulnerable ones during this Covid-19 lockdown.
In Nigeria and in particular, Ekiti State, this hasn't been an easy task. It can be hard to see the positive and good efforts of government when everything seems to be falling apart. But every government goes through rough patches and growing pains, and it's during these times that a state like ours should appreciate the dynamic and creative leadership of Dr. Kayode Fayemi and his team for providing and dictating the necessary direction at this difficult time to help navigate the storm.
I am most particularly grateful to the wife of the governors, Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, (BAF) who has been working very hard day and night to ensure the people of Ekiti State navigate through the tough times.
As an experienced policy maker and development expert in the contemporary Africa, her "Food Bank" concept which she conceived and developed during her husband's first shots in office between 2010 -2014, and which has also gained momentum since her husband became governor again in 2018, turned to a thing to sought after.
At this difficult time, Erelu Fayemi has no doubt set a good leadership example. She has been guiding her actions using the principle of the Antarctic explorer, Ernest Shackleton, who believes "Difficulties are just things to overcome."
With the first confirmed case relating to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria on 27 February, 2020, when an Italian citizen in Lagos tested positive for the virus, caused by SARS-CoV-2. Erelu who was then on a foreign came back into the country and moved straight to Ekiti State. She immediately set an example by going into two weeks self-isolation and thereafter tested negative to Covid-19.
Perhaps this was what people heard in some quarters and misinterpreted to mean that she has been ill. Anyway, that is not the focus here. But it is also important to set the records clear and straight that Erelu is as strong as ever and working beyond her normal schedules to support her husband to reduce the pains and pangs of the poor and vulnerable people in Ekiti State.
However, as one of the measures to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, both the Federal and State governments directed their officials to work from home. Erelu being a law abiding person, adjusted to the new order by working directly from the government house. She is working day and night to support the government of her husband navigates the current climate of uncertainty in order to make life easier for everyone in Ekiti State at this difficult time.
Erelu is creating the balance, especially at this time where we can't easily conduct business as usual, predict timelines or make the types of plans we're accustomed to rolling out. To say it princintly, Erelu is tremendously impacting a lot of people in her humanitarian activism since the coming of Covid-19 pandemic - which is why she is spending more time and resources these days to reach out to the poor and vulnerable people.
Erelu is presently the Coordinator of the Ekiti Food Bank that has so far provided food for 55,000 households in all the sixteen Local Government Areas in the state.
She has also provided cash support to over 300 people during this pandemic and paid hospital Bills to many nursing mothers and other patients that couldn't muster their bills. In all of this, the traditional "Ounje Arugbo" project has been on uninterrupted, feeding over 1000 elderly every month.
It is indeed a busy time for this uncommon enigma at this difficult time. Her weekly Loud Whispers column has been on without fail, and yet on May 1st, 2020, she participated in a national Webinar on Life and Livelihood during Covid-19. She also supervises the rehabilitation of Gender Based Victims (GBV) as well as abandoned children.
So far, Ekiti State has been globally and widely adjudged as one the best states in the handling and management of the Covid-19 palliatives in Nigeria. Without any equivocation, that honour and credit goes to Erelu Bisi Adeleye Fayemi our Mother-General.
Great leaders find ways to connect with their people and help them fulfill their potential in times of needs, so says Steven Stowell. This is exactly what the Mother General stands for in this difficult time of Covid-19. Not minding the trouble of the moment, Erelu like any leader in difficult times, is working relentlessly to translate huge challenges into incredible opportunities so that her husband could leave a better legacy of good governance in Ekiti State.
In her up coming explores, which is a wonderful template for leaders in difficult times - the Erelu's example is a great way to encourage and inspire the world and those who are aspiring to leadership positions.
Alhaji Dauda Lawal wrote this piece in appreciation of Erelu Bisi Adeleye Fayemi at handling the Covid-19 palliatives in Ekiti State.