HID Awolowo Foundation: Inspiring women, rekindling hope

One of the pressing realities of modern Nigeria and the globe in particular has been the increasing influence and the stimulating presence of the total woman. This phenomenon has not only garnered far-reaching acknowledgment but has generated within itself an authenticity obviously impossible to controvert.

Cast in such form was the person and personality of the inimitable Chief (Mrs) H.I.D. Awolowo. Her life is captured in these few words: she believed she could, so she did. She not only lived a well rounded life that remarkably validates the ideals and ideologies of her husband which the peerless Chief Obafemi Awolowo encapsulates, she extended the narrative of their collective search for a better nation and a richly benevolent  world. Indeed, they were both eclectic ideologues.

Exactly a year after her passage, the establishment of the HID Awolowo Foundation was borne out of the philosophy of ‘perpetuating the edifying legacy of Yeye Oodua HID Awolowo, the origin of which was complementary, and contributed significantly to the success of the life mission of her husband, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.’

At the inauguration of the foundation’s advisory council, held at the Efunyela Hall, Obafemi Awolowo Residence, Ikenne-Remo, Ogun State, on Monday, September 19, the Executive Director and Founding Member, the affable Ambassador (Dr) Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, enthused about the rationale behind the laudable undertaking.

Chief among the piously rich ambitions of the foundation are the need to foster the legacy of Yeye Oodua HID Awolowo and to disseminate literature and materials relating to her civic virtues and commitment to nation building. Closely followed by this is the necessity to imbue in women the qualities of leadership and doggedness demonstrated by the matriarch and to advocate for the empowerment of women in all spheres of life. This was capped with a lucidly articulated mission and policy statement ingrained in this: “The HID Awolowo Foundation is a subsidiary of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation. It is not affiliated to any political party or movement or to any religious organisation or interest group.”

Speaking at the unveiling of the foundation, President, Women Arise for Change Initiative, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, in a lecture entitled “The Nigerian Woman in the footprints of HID”, called for a revamping of family values.

In her acceptance speech as chairman of the advisory council, Senator Daisy Danjuma stated that she was certain that the foundation would play a mentoring role for the younger generation of girls to become responsible women in the country. Senator Daisy Danjuma is a law graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, with almost 40 years post-call experience. She worked as a State Counsel in Lagos State Ministry of Justice (DPP), a pioneer legal counsel to the Legal Aid Council. She was Company Secretary/Legal Adviser to the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) from 1982 to 1992.

She served as senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 2003 and 2007. She was the Chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum Limited from 1999 -2003. She is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School and a member of the International Bar Association (IBA), The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA).

Other members of the advisory council are listed below with their impressive profiles.

Professor Wale Adebanwi is of the Department of African American and African Studies, University of California, Davis, United States. He was educated at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and the University of Cambridge, UK, where he earned two doctorates in political science and social anthropology, respectively. He is the author of scholarly books such as Nation as Grand Narrative: The Nigerian press and the Politics of Meaning (University of Rochester Press, 2016); Yoruba Elites and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo and Corporate Agency (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and Authority Stealing: Anti-corruption War and Democratic Politics in Post-military Nigeria (Carolina Academic Press, 2012). He is also the author of In the Radiance of the Sage: The Life and Times of HID Awolowo (2015) and Trials and Triumph: The Story of The NEWS (2008).

Mrs Yemi Alabi spent most of her childhood years in Ibadan where she attended St. Anne’s school with the Awolowo daughters. She moved to Kaduna in 1970 after her marriage to Arc. S. Adebiyi Alabi of Habitat Associates, Abuja from Mopa, Kogi State. She worked in Peat Mawick as an accountant for a couple of years in the late ‘70s in Kaduna.

Chief Tunji Ayanlaja, SAN, is an erudite legal practitioner who was educated at the University of Lagos between 1968  and 1971. He attended the Nigerian Law School (1971- 1972) and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1972. He was admitted to the inner Bar in 1995.

Yeye Olufunke Daniel is a business executive and agricultural biologist. She is a former First Lady of Ogun State, having married former Governor Gbenga Daniel. She obtained the BSc degree in Agricultural Biology from the University of Ibadan and lives in Sagamu, Ogun State.

Mrs Toyin Fape was born on December 13,1962 in Ilorin, Kwara State. After her primary education, she attended Baptist Girls’ High School, Osogbo, Osun State, between 1974 and 1979. She later went to the Divisional Teachers’ College, Ado-Ekiti between 1981 and 1983. Between 1984 and 1987, she attended Oyo State College of Education, Ilesa, where she read Music and graduated as the best student in the Department. She studied for her Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and graduated with M.Ed in Educational Studies in 1996.

‘Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a woman’s rights activist, writer and thinker. She has many years of experience as a gender specialist, social entrepreneur, policy advocate, fundraiser, journalist and facilitator. She has a BA (1984) and MA (1988) in History from the University of Ife, Nigeria (now Obafemi Awolowo University). She also received an MA in  Gender and Society (1992) from Middlesex University, UK.  When her husband Dr. Kayode Fayemi took office as Governor of Ekiti State, Nigeria, October is” 2010-2014, ‘Bisi became actively involved in a range of policy, advocacy, grassroots empowerment and social inclusion programs to support his administration.

Professor Segun Gbadegesin is of the Department of Philosophy, Howard University, Washington. He received, in 1974, a B.Sc. degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, graduating with a First Class Honours at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) Nigeria. In 1978, he obtained an M.A. in Philosophy at Wisconsin, following up with a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the same institution in 1980. His areas of specialization and competence Social and Political Philosophy, Bioethics, Ethics  and African Philosophy.

Lady Maiden Ibru is the Chairman, Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of The Guardian Newspapers. She holds a Master’s degree in Communications and Media Studies from the American University of Washington DC (1974).The mother of five is the widow of Dr. Alexander lbru, the founder of the Guardian Newspapers.

Mrs. Clara Folasade Abiodun Olumide had her Secondary Education here in Nigeria and her Tertiary Education in Montreal, Canada, where she trained as a professional librarian.  On her return to Nigeria in 1972, she was employed by the University of Lagos as a Librarian (1972-1979) but later transferred to the Registry in 1980 as a Senior Assistant Registrar. She rose through the ranks and was appointed the first Female Registrar of that great Institution in 2002- a position she finally retired from in 2006. Mrs. Olumide is a recipient of several awards.

Dr Insa Nolte is a Reader in the Department of African Studies and Anthropology, University of Birmingham, UK, and Visiting Research Professor in the Department of History and International Relations at Osun State University. Insa Nolte is the Reviews Editor of Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, the Vice Chair of the UK Council of Areas Studies Associations (UKCASA) and the President of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK).

Dr Jayne Soboiki holds a PhD International Relations, Certificate in Policy, Strategy and Leadership (PLSC 22 NIPSS),                 Masters of Art International Relations, B.L and LLB (HONS) , PGD in Public Administration, Diploma in Public Administration and Certificate of Non Violence. She is a member of various professional associations, including the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and International Bar Association (IBA). A                Fellow of the Professional Managers and Administrators of Nigeria (FIPMA) and the Institute of Corporate Administrators (FCAI), the Deputy Comptroller of Customs) served at various times as the

Dr. Olufemi Ogunsanya gained a Second Class Upper Honours in  Botany from the University of Lagos, followed by a PhD in Microbiology from the  University of Bristol, UK. In 1993, worried by the increasingly low standards of Nigeria’s education system, where many university students had to deal with their programs being made several years longer through lack of organisation and lecturers’ strikes, she initiated the idea for Oxbridge Tutorial College on August 1, 1993, as the Premier Sixth Form College in  Nigeria. In its nearly 20 years of existence, Oxbridge Tutorial College has produced the best AIL and International Foundation results and maintains its position, in the industry, as the first and leading Sixth Form College in Nigeria.

Mrs Eriwu Molajo is a legal practitioner. She graduated from the University of Lagos in 1976 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in June 1977. She served as State Counsel at the Ministry of Justice, Ibadan, during her National Youth Corps Service from 1977 to 1978. She later took up employment at the International Bank of West Africa (now Skye Bank Limited) in 1980 as an in-house solicitor and was in that employment for 7(seven) years. While still in the said employment, she obtained a Master’s Degree in Business Law from the City University, London in 1985 and in 1987 went back to practice. She is married to Mr. Tanimola Molajo, SAN.

Fatima Waziri Ibrahim attended the University Staff School, Ibadan, between 1956 and 1958. She then proceeded to the Badminton School, Bristol, UK, for her secondary education between 1958 and 1963. For her higher education, she attended the Federal Training Centre, Kaduna, and Federal Polytechnic, Kaduna. A widower of the late Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim, a former Federal Minister of Economic Development, she is blessed with nine children. She devoted time in bringing up the children who are all graduates and professionals in various fields.

Lana Omolola Mandilas is a legal practitioner and political scientist who speaks Greek, English, German and French, Lana Omolola Mandilas obtained a  degree in Political Sciences & Public Law, at the University of Athens, Greece, in 1979. Between 1980 and 1981, she had the “Stage” at Brussels, E.U. Commission (General Division A’ of Foreign Relations)  and between 1981 and 1982, she underwent the Post Graduate  Studies in Political Sciences & Philosophy at the University of Bonn, Germany, following this up with a degree in Law at the University of Athens, in 1986. In 1988, she obtained the License to practice Law. To date, she has published four poetry collections and a biography for “John B. Mandilas” in Greek.

Folusho Olaniyan is Chief Executive Officer, Director & MD at UTC Nigeria Plc, a Member at Institute of Directors /Nigeria/ and Member-Food, Drinks & Agriculture Market at The Chartered Institute of Marketing. She was previously employed as Head-Sales & Marketing by Leventis Foods Ltd. and Management Trainee by Leventis Group. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Ilorin and a graduate degree from the University of Lagos.