The towns of Oye-Ekiti and Ikole-Ekiti, headquarters of Oye and Ikole Local Government Areas of Ekiti State, stood still for the wife of the state Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, on January 4, 2011 at the start of a state-wide tour of the sixteen local government areas of the state.
In both towns, women trooped out in their thousands to welcome and appreciate the First Lady with songs and drums for the wonderful work she had been doing since the inception of the Dr. Kayode Fayemi-led administration in the state.
The tour is aimed at thanking the people at the grassroots for their support for the administration in the last one year as well as to empower various women groups through the Ekiti Development Foundation (EDF).
The governor’s wife, who is also the Initiator and President of EDF, seized the opportunity to disclosed that well over N12 million had been disbursed to the people of the state in grants and assistance since the foundation was formally launched in June last year.
Erelu Fayemi stated that the tour would afford her the opportunity to interact with and appreciate the people of the state for their unflinching support for the Dr Fayemi-led administration in the state in the past one year.
She explained that her office was collaborating with EDF, State Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA), Ministries of Women Affairs, Social Development and Gender Empowerment; Youths and Sports; Health and Ekiti State Enterprise Development Agency to ensure that the people of the state have a new lease of life.
She said, “The women and various women’s groups, who will be the main focus of our tour are extremely important because, I have always argued that we cannot achieve full development in our country without the active participation of women.”
While affirming the fact women constitute at least 50 per cent of the Nigeria population and the fact that women were better managers of resources, she stressed the need to educate and empower women to assume positions of authority to assist in solving the developmental problems confronting the various communities from the local to national levels.
“This local government tour will provide a platform for me to introduce the EDF which I formally launched on June 10, 2011, since the administration of my husband came on board in October, 2010. Even though it had not been launched then, EDF had been providing assistance both in kind and cash to the needy people of the state.
I just want to inform you that the EDF had so far disbursed over twelve million Naira to associations and individuals across the state.
Today in Oye and Ikole, I will be assisting various organizations with grants from the EDF. The groups that we are going to be giving awards have been carefully chosen based on their reputation in their various communities as well as their commitments in terms of involving themselves and their communities.”
The governor’s wife said that the grants should be used for the purpose for the women to expand their business and not for social engagements.
“The grants we are going to be disbursing are not meant for personal expenses, such as payment of school fees, payment of debts or payment for ceremonies. The grants that we are giving these groups are for the groups to be able to work together in solidarity to develop themselves to enhance their businesses and to ensure that they develop their full potentials.”
Erelu Fayemi promised to improve the grants given to the groups when more resources became available for disbursement adding that those who could not benefit from the current disbursement would have their turns next time.
She reiterated the commitment of organizations like Globacom to partner the foundation towards empowering more people particularly women across the various local government areas with at least ten call point centers worth N50,000 each in all the local government areas of the state to develop themselves and their families. She said the foundation committed N10m to this cause, which would benefit 200 women across the communities.
Erelu Fayemi added that the tour will bring about sensitization and awareness of the implementation of various laws and policies of the state government, especially those concerning women and the girl-child.
She noted that policies and laws like the Child Rights Act, the Female Genital Mutilation Law, gender-based violence, breast cancer awareness and other range of issues would be addressed.
“I will like to emphasise that this is a critical part of this tour; because it is not enough for us to have laws and policies in place and people who those laws and policies are meant for don’t fully understand them. So, part of this meeting will be used as an opportunity to disseminate information to people at the grassroots.”
She urged all and sundry to support the Governor Kayode Fayemi-led administration in its efforts to transform the state and take it to an enviable height in the comity of states.
The governor’s wife, who appealed to well-meaning Nigerians especially the corporate sector to support and assist the EDF in its drive to bring succour to the less-privileged in the society expressed her appreciation to those who had supported the foundation one way or the other.
On the entourage of the Governor’s wife were the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Social Development and Gender Empowerment, Mrs Fola Richie-Adewusi; the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Peju Babafemi; and Executive Chairman of Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State, Chief (Mrs) Ronke Okusanya, Female members of Ekiti State House of Assembly, wives the Secretary to the State Government (Mrs. Modupe Owolabi), Head of Service (Mrs. Kehinde Famosaya), Chief of Staff (Mrs. Toyin Adaramodu), Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries; State AIDS Control Agency team, health officials and other state functionaries.
Last modified: January 5, 2011