February 22, 2011
With the many problems plaguing the African continent, it has become common place to exclusively view the most natural resource rich place in the world in light of her developmental lackings. Saying one is Black African is generally met with reserve on the international stage. Nigeria, a country blessed with more resources than I’m sure I’m aware of, is a good example. Nigeria, though forever a great country with beautiful people, has over time often been seen as a country rife with corruption and criminally-minded youths.
It is rare therefore to hear of a State Governor to personally support the humanitarian pet project of an ordinary Nigerian youth. It is even less common place to realize that such a governor is that of Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, in which a Lagosian was supported. That Lagosian is myself, Dotun Adewunmi, and I am a recipient of a coveted United Nations Award for developing Mother Nature – A Satire On Gender Inequality to address global gender inequality in support of the 3rd Millennium Development Goal of the United Nations.
My honour was bestowed upon me by the World Summit Youth Award, a UN organisation that promotes youths of all UN member states worldwide to participate in global developments by addressing Millennium Development Goals through the creative & innovative use of ICT. While this is a huge feat for me and an incredibly great honour, I nonetheless remain an ordinary Lagosian Youth! It is thus unfortunate that while events like these take place in Nigeria, a rather negative image still tends to persist of the nation and her youths.
So by and large, it is more probable that people like myself would get generalised into broad categories that identify with the overall shortcomings of Nigeria and even the noteworthy act of a progressive leader like Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) to be ignored. I take it as my duty however to give praise to whom praise is due.
Governor Fashola is dedicated to enhancing the lives of Lagosians. If you knew what the Centre of Excellence looked like in the ’90s, you cannot but commend the positive changes taking place! So far, Governor Fashola has improved the mass transportation system, cared for the environment, built modern public schools and healthcare facilities across the state, created a state of the art legal facility that houses all the courts of the state under one roof and remarkably improved power supply across Lagos State. These are only his achievements that I personally know about! Nonetheless, what impresses me the most about him, is that in a world in which half the population is effectively shackled in this or that horrific act of gender inequality, as I literally scream about in my articles, he also makes fighting gender inequality an integral part of his governance.
Since the return of democracy to Nigeria, Lagos State has always had a FEMALE deputy governor, including Governor Fashola’s administration in which Mrs Joke Orelope Adefulire is the second in command. Not an easy record to maintain, in a country in which just over ten percent of political office holders are women [Miriam Ndikanwu (2009). Fashola advocates strategy against gender inequality, The Nation Online, Archives 2006 -2008]! Furthermore, Governor Fashola is already preparing to fully set the foundations for achieving gender equality in Lagos State during his tenure. In his words “A gender database will provide accurate information about the scale and size of existing gender inequalities in all spheres of life. The information generated from the gender database would be useful in understanding existing gender inequalities and to devising appropriate response strategies.
A girl child grows up to believe that there are certain roles in the society that are reserved for women and some for men. This perception of roles has greatly affected the desire of women to aspire to certain offices or to desire a particular status in life. This can only be obtained through a process of advocacy, education and the application or repeal of law where appropriate. The education and advocacy campaign must also target parents and potential parents this will ensure that at the home front, the right messages about gender equality are passed to our children” [Miriam Ndikanwu (2009). Fashola advocates strategy against gender inequality, The Nation Online, Archives 2006 -2008].
In fighting for a cause, one as difficult to achieve as global gender equality, every help you can get is always necessary and more than welcome. When people ‘spread the word’, one can never measure to which extent it will go. It is with deep appreciation for me to continue developing Dotun’s Blog, here in Lagos State, knowing that I have a governor who combats the crime against humanity that is gender inequality with the whole weight and capacity of the Lagos State Government. It gives a blogger like myself hope, that despite all my researching of bad news about gender relations worldwide, maybe I’m not just shouting after all. Lagos State Governor Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) had already been working on it before I even thought about starting Mother Nature. Hopefully, such deeds will be emulated by other leaders in the future, and they become Statesmen, the calibre of the originator of the popular Lagosian phrase, ‘Eko o ni baje, o!’
SAN stands for Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the highest honorary title a legal practitioner can attain in Nigeria.