By Chris Onuoha
The ambience, the array of dignified personalities, the kaleidoscope of colours “Aso Ebi”, the décor, the security and mostly the heavy present of government officials, friends and associates of the celebrator summed up what I call a love for a modest woman of unalloyed personae in her own right.
What should be a book launch turns out to be a total celebration of “Mrs. Down to earth” in Lagos State House, Alausa whose lifestyle devoid of flamboyance is unique and endearing and in her usual natural obeisant, acknowledged guests even before the start of the event, a gesture synonymous with her humble demeanor.
The book launch hosted by Quramo Publishing, the publishers of the book, “In Her Own Right” at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, documenting the life and times of Abimbola Fashola, is a parting gift from Gbemi Shashore the author, who used the book to eulogize the sterling character of Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola, Lagos State First Lady.
It is her modest attempt to draw attention to a woman in leadership who by her humble character has positively influenced others and aided her husband’s efforts at ensuring good governance and development while in office. She believes that the role of the First Lady is not glamour but service, and she lived by that principle all through her time in the State House as the First Lady. “ noted the author.
And these principles are noted by her demystifying the office and making herself available to people all time. “You often cannot tell when she is at an event or a place because she believes in service than the glamour of her office. As a guest at any occasion, she does not complain when things are not going accordingly; rather places herself in the shoes of her hosts and accept them the way they are” Gbemi Said.
In her precise remarks, Bimbo Oloyode, a veteran broadcaster who mounted the podium with a political teaser, “President and Governors sworn in, ex First Ladies sue for divorce” created an atmosphere of fun and reasoning. With her satirical narrative of lifestyle of our first ladies, she made a point by asking “Do the office of first lady exists?” Obviously the caliber of First Ladies we have today, their lifestyle, frivolities and seeming obstructive excesses in meddling with smooth governance of the polity calls for reasoning if their office does deserve the attention it garners.
Though, this is not an attack on gender, but the mix up of things with the political trends and how First Ladies prevail in critical issues concerning governance bug the electorates mind and psyche about the stipulated roles of our first ladies. Oloyode went further to extol the virtues of Dame Abimbola Fashola who she described as a composed woman, an opposite of the afore mentioned categories, who possessed an obscure sterling qualities that marks her out such like her reputation, her person, achievements and other things.
While compelling others to learn from her unique virtues, she called her humility personified, reliable, problem solver at her disposal and an epitome of dignity and grace. Pastor Ituah Ighodalor, another speaker at the event described her as a unique woman who stands out among others not just because she is been praised today but for her distinguished qualities and personae.
Ighodalor while mentioning names of the amazons who achieved much in life and left legacies that has been immeasurable said Abimbola has earned herself a place among them. Perhaps, the cynosure was when the husband, Governor Babatunde Fashola took the podium to the admiration of the guests, attributing his enviable achievements as governor for the past eight years to Abimbola as understanding and peaceful.
Dame Abimbola Fashola in her own remarks appreciated the guests and especially Lagosians for accepting her the way she is. While narrating an encounter with the President’s wife sometime ago, she made reference to careful speaking, saying, “I am who I am, God made me so and because of my upbringing, I do not imitate others. I do not like apologies hence I am always careful before I speak or act”.