By Mary Oso Omotoso
There is this unusual saying that when a tree brings forth good fruits all round the season, people will also constantly haul stones at it to get the best and most from it. The more fruits they get, the more they think they can get and the more stones they haul. Peradventure they have the feeling that some other persons are getting more fruits from the tree that produces for all, they’ll start bellyaching, not the people getting more in their assumption but the fruitful tree itself.
This saying goes well for the personality of Erelu Bisi Fayemi, the First Lady of Ekiti State and Chair of Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum. She is one tree that bears wonderfully attractive fruits. Just like one of her recent critiques has observed, she is, of course, smart. She is astute, clever, bright, quick, witty, fashionable and chic. Her core strength is her affability. She knows her worth and she is driven by an energy that goes beyond the physical.
But she will be the last person to bully or exploit anyone’s weakness with her strength, she would rather use it to protect as many as run for cover with her, and she knows when to set boundaries.
I’ve read series of articles recently, accusing Erelu Fayemi of taking stands against some people, most especially against the decision of her husband, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi and I started wondering if they’re talking about the same Erelu Bisi-Adeleye Fayemi that we know.
For free, I’ll tell whoever cares to listen that the Ekiti First Lady we know would never attempt to outshine her hubby, the governor. While she is not politically naive, she defers all of the time to him. Rather than compete with him in any way, she’s his Number One Cheerleader and would always line up behind him.
Yes, Erelu Bisi Fayemi is a feminist, but not at the risk of her role as a mother and a wife. Yes, she believes in affirmative action, the policy of favouring individuals belonging to groups known to have been discriminated against previously, and specifically her womenfolk and girl-children, but not enough to want to impose anyone on the other. She would rather things are process-driven and would never smother anyone. She is too honest to a fault. She carries this virtue into her relationship with other people in both her political and social lives.
Erelu Bisi Fayemi is mannerly, she has high socio-political skills, yet she follows all the appropriate rules of etiquette in her dealing, meaning she’ll be the last to jump the gun.
Let me take you into some secrets that show how politically vulnerable Erelu Bisi Fayemi can be: While she would always advocate that a substantial number of women should be appointed or elected into positions, as a form of affirmative action, she hardly had anyone in particular in mind and would leave the choice of who emerges to the leaders of thought in the area.
My advice therefore is that people should perish the thought that Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, the humanist-activist would impose any candidate on Ekiti State in the coming guber election. The only person she would love so dearly as to want him in the saddle is her hubby, the current governor of the state who is already wrapping up his second and final term as the governor.
Erelu Bisi Fayemi fondly lifts people up, she builds trust, she strengthens relationships between team members, she improves the quality of work being done, and she drives accountability, collaboration and cooperation. All along, this is the same person they all run to for help. So, what exactly is the problem now? If indeed those qualities itemised were ever possessed by Alhaja Kudirat Abiola in her lifetime, then we are glad that the two ladies of substance are being similarised.
We dare summarise thus that the Erelu Bisi Fayemi we know lives a balanced life. Her life, like everyone else’s, revolves around four major categories: family and friends, health, empowerment and spirit. Balancing them allows her to think clearly with imagination and optimism. That is the Ekiti First Lady that we know and care to talk or read about.
Mary Oso-Omotosho is S.A. Media to the Governor of Ekiti State