She’s voice for women, break silence of culture — Sonaiya
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As women continue to struggle for inclusion and have sense of belonging in all aspects of socio-economic life, ActionAid Nigeria and other personalities at a book launch at the weekend, eulogized Funmilayo Oyefusi, for giving hope to women and others.
The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi and other guests physically present and via webinar made the statement in an interview with Vanguard, during the launch of a book titled ‘OUT OF THE DEPTHS’ authored by Funmilayo Oyefusi, who also is Director, Organisational Effectiveness, ActionAid Nigeria.
They commended Oyefusi’s courage to write the 135 page purpose driven book, where she narrated her experience before, during and after marriage, and also for her achievement inched on determination and doggedness to achieve her dream and aspiration with inspiration to surmount life’s challenges and emerge strong out of the depths of various circumstances.
Obi said: “The book is an inspiration , it gives a lot of hope for people that when you are faced with problems you should not take an easy way out because problems are part of life.
“Your resilience and also your energy make who you are and knowing that God is always there.
“It is very hopeful and takes you through the strength of the whole length of someone’s life, and it shows the practicability of what people go through life.
“People should not give up hard-work pays in the end. So we are very proud of her and really congratulate her because it is an addition to knowledge and we are very proud that a staff can come out and put up a book like this.
“So many beautiful things coming out in the lives of our staff and we encourage them, and we are very proud of her.”
She (Obi) also disclosed that, “she (Funmi) is a professional and she has been a student and we encourage ActionAiders to be students, and a lot of people have their capacity building, and we even deliberately put money for capacity building each year, which means you are either professionalizing, you are a member of a professional body, you encourage yourself to build yourself. In a year you have to utilize your capacity building money if not we turn it to the pool.
“So people have chosen that either you go for Masters or go for short courses within and outside the country.
“We ask people to professionalize. We encourage others to write about their lives to tell their stories, and also make them know that the organisation is there to back them up.”
The book would be found useful by young people-Prof Ajayi
One of her classmates and university colleague, Deputy Vice Chancellor, First Technical University, Prof Adesola Ajayi, expressed optimism that the book will achieve the essence of she (Funmi) has written it.
“I don’t just represent myself but all of us who are friends and mates, and we are all deeply touched and very happy as for the fact that she could summon the courage to tell her story in the sense that what she went through is not only traumatic but very disappointing in terms of all the effort she wants to build relationship.
“For her to summon the courage to write and publish the book and for me haven read the book to also to be able to write the book in any change of bitterness, regret or blame-game was something that is applaudable and celebrated. So for me that is why I took the pain to be part of the event today.
“Definitely the essence of the book will be achieved. Interestingly, I am also in the domain of counseling and I know how easy it is to sleep in the areas that are covered by the book.
“I am quite assured and optimistic that the book would be found useful for many young people. We have a lot of relationships that are failing, we also have a lot carriers that are failing on account of failed relationships, and we also have a lot of people who otherwise could have been celebrated today that have been down as a result of the fact that they were overwhelmed and they fell under the weight of emotions-not failure arising from lack of capacity and competence but failure arising from encouragement and inspiration, and moreso that we are in a patriarchal society.
“So for me the book speaks for different categories of people; young people, people in relationships struggling to grow, mothers, parents, people struggling to build carrier and navigate, people who are timid whether to take a risk or not, all segments of society, and values in our society.
“So I am quite encouraged and very assured that the book will go places and record very positive feedback”, Ajayi stated.
He also encouraged others to write not minding to be a professional writer first, “I think it is not only Funmi everyone has a story, the challenge we also have is that people find it it difficult to tell their stories.
“The encouragement that we find in Funmi’s book is that you don’t have to be a professional writer, mastery to win an award for writing, the important thing is just to tell your story; tell it in a simple way, truthfully, transparently and honestly.
“The beautiful thing in the book is that Funmi narrated her story, limited herself to facts without insinuations, inferences, conclusions, and blaming anybody. It is just been factual and for me it speaks volumes to encourage people and everyone will find their own lessons in the book”, he added.
She’s voice for women, break silence of culture- Sonaiya
The Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Women Radio 91.7 FM, Toun Okewale Sonaiya, described the author of the book as voice of women while analyzing sections of the book as it concerns experiences women, men, families and others pass through at some point in time.
“For me it is a book for every woman, girl and man should read. It is a book of life’s lessons; you learn about waiting, whether you are waiting for child, job, husband, carrier, miracle, healing it tells you about waiting, what you are doing while you are waiting, and also about your instincts that when you feel somehow about something do not despise or ignore your instincts.
“But most importantly, it is the language of that book; her language is so simple yet clear in the message she was passing, it is a book a primary pupil can read and understand including secondary school and tertiary students can read and understand”, Sonaiya said.
She also spoke on page 91 of the book as it ‘spoke to her’ as it pointed her interaction with daughter, and added that the author was able to break silence of culture in the book.
“For me it is a good trait that I look for in a writer. You have to write in such a way that people can understand and pick up a lesson, and that is what the book said to me in page 91 when I read it she was speaking to me like a conversation I will normally have with my own daughter.
“Like I said, she was so really from down to earth, she didn’t paint any kind of picture that you will think otherwise, and she was so ‘Nigerianized’. For me she did a good job.
“She was able to break the silence of culture in that book, and each chapter talked about an experience that every woman must have felt at some point or gone through at some point in time in her life. It just tells us that we are responsible for the actions and lives yet there is a sipper being up her adult; the challenges she went through before she got married.
“She was a voice for women in that book and she broke silence culture there, and it will add value to the lives of women”, she said.
Meanwhile, the author of the book, ‘OUT OF THE DEPTHS’ Funmi Oyefusi, explained the motivation and inspiration behind her book, “My inspiration is God and I was with my strong support and pillar, and I also had inspiration to be a blessing to the lives of young women, young ones including men, women, boy and girls because I feel that my story could encourage somebody.”
Oyefusi further explained and admonished that, “If you are going through one challenge or another is not over you can actually pick yourself up.
“And another thing that gave me inspiration is that we can decide to take what life throws at us or you can decide to feel there is more to this. For my life I felt there was more to life, I should accept what life throws at me as a challenge because I see whatever life throws at me as a challenge and I picked it up and decided to put it on the pages of the book and let it be a blessing to many generations.”
Speaking on the expected impact the book will make she said, “I expect the book to encourage people for marriage, during marriage and after marriage while they are going through the life journey.
“The book is not all about marriage but also for preparing for marriage and also how to build yourself up in terms of your carrier and break the gas-ceiling out there.
“So you will find it encouraging for those who want to get married and those who don’t want to get married and those who are already married, and you will also find it there encouraging those who want to improve themselves and their carrier.
On her charge to women who feel they cannot make any meaningful in their lives she said, “As a woman, everybody feels if they don’t give me a chance I can rise up as a woman. Nobody is going to give you a chance because nobody gave me the chance but I developed myself to get to the top of the ladder.”
On breaking barrier of culture with her determination and focus after she passed through the crucible of life as a single parent, she said, “The barrier of culture, I think is more of self-awareness.
“I was aware of what I wanted out of life, how I want to rise up in my carrier and be a blessing to many, and I was aware of I want to live a good life and that will only happen by developing myself, getting a good job and earning good pay.
“For me breaking the barrier of culture and not settling for less and not putting myself down as a woman.
“I saw myself as an individual and human being and picked myself up and decided I am going to achieve and I achieved it.”
She also advised women including widows and widowers, “My advice to women that are widows or that might have been widows, you can pick your life up and continue. You are not the one that died it is your spouse so it is even for widowers.
“So if your spouse dies pick yourself up, make yourself relevant in the society, and you will find whether you worship God or whatever will back you up.”