The fundamental differences between us humans and our animal cousins—-if one should wager—-are not only our ability to be aware as well as recognize the different trajectories and the vicissitudes that defines our lives, but also the recognition that they constitute the totality of our existence. Our innate disposition to deploy these different trajectories and vicissitudes and how they reflect who we are, and the power to alter our moods, based on them, at any given time, sets us apart from other animal species.
Thus, those positives such as how we came to be members of the human family by way of our birthdays automatically attract good feelings and ennoblement while that which we believe or perceive as negatives at certain junctures of our lives would undoubtedly attract pensiveness.
Erelu Bisi Fayemi, like millions of people around the world, finds herself in the column of one of those positives as she celebrates her birthday on this day.
The First Lady of Ekiti State and “mother general” (as she’s fondly called by her admirers around the world) because of not only those uncommon virtues that has long been identified as integral to her very essence but which she has also demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, is a phenomenon whose international recognition to our humanity is legendary and as compelling as the awesomeness with which she has affected, and continues to affect her local environment.
So much has been said—-and more will most certainly be said—-about Erelu and her breathtaking accomplishments. But what may not have been sufficiently interrogated is someone that became a person of interest to the universe (or perhaps she was the one that put the universe on notice almost immediately after her arrival that she intended to interrogate its different contours), having finished her elementary schooling at age 8 when most children at that age, like yours truly, are ‘unaware’ and ‘unformed’ and with no inkling as to why they’re here.
Perhaps the best way, it seems to me, to discuss Erelu on this auspicious occasion is not necessarily to regurgitate the “known knowns” of her life’s trajectory, but to juxtapose her several callings with her sub universe, however brief, to see if both of them can ever find accommodation with each other, not to talk of them being be the best of friends.
As an unabashed feminist public intellectual, a gender specialist who stands astride some bulldozers as her Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on a mission to level the grounds that has been carefully configured by equally unabashed patriarchal society that guides jealously what it considers its glory, her quest to permanently banish societal misogynistic tendencies that we have come to regard as, well, that’s just the way it is, talk not of being the nightmare of sexual offenders, it is probably a matter of time before this duel gets ugly. Somebody must gain some grounds while the other must yield its cherished space.
How this will eventually pan out is in the realm of “unknown unknowns.”
While it can now be safely said that there’s no turning back in fulfilling this life mission, it can be said, however, that Erelu may have caught up with her sub universe at that intersection where the latter must make up its mind to embrace modernity (and lose its old and debilitating holdovers) but become better for it or get overwhelmed by greater forces far more compelling than it can ever imagine.
Erelu Bisi Fayemi is without a doubt in a class by herself who will hold her own anywhere in the universe. She is remarkably credentialed with spiritual, moral, native and academic intelligence and, with her husband the governor of Ekiti State His Excellency Dr. Kayode Fayemi, there seems to be something “Clintonian” about this great couple.
But whether or not her sub universe—-which thinks nothing of roasting its best minds for lunch while it elevates the pathologically depraved into the stratosphere—-will give her a passage to change it for its own good remains in the womb of time.
But for those of us mere mortals, we can only wait for her to tell us where exactly on the dotted line we should sign in order to save us from ourselves. Until then, we will continue to be on the sideline cheering a history that’s unfolding before our very eyes, a history being written loud and above whispers by this very unusual amazon.
Happy Birthday Erelu Bam Bam!
FEMI “Adakeja” ODERE
Thursday, June 11, 2020