One day I was browsing through twitter and I saw an advertisement targeted at girls between the ages of 18-24 years, who were interested in a 4-day Journalism & Leadership training to be held in LAGOS.
According to the organizers, there would be free transportation (from anywhere in Nigeria, to and fro) free accommodation and feeding. And I thought, Ah ah, just like that? In Lagos?
I was skeptical about applying, but I still went ahead and did so. I was selected a week after. Excited, I packed my bags and left for Lagos like I knew where I was headed. The training was scheduled to hold at Virgin Rose Resort, Victoria Island. That was about all I knew.
The piece below was culled from the instagram page of HRH Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi [Muhammadu Sanusi II; Husband, father, grandfather, formerly Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Serving as 14th Fulani Emir and Ruler of Kano]
“(Marriage of women (girls) below 18 years) – Women (girls) are suffering from reproductive health challenges because of such marriages. Time has come (for) the Muslim community (to) live by the reality of economic recession and consequences of early marriage.
Poetry, violence and women.
I often define “a poet” as one whose personal emotions, perceptions of happenings around them and conjectures of ideas and myriad emotions, are artistically woven into words, which are then graciously offered to the world. The world is at liberty to interpret it, how it deems fit.
A speech delivered by Mary Temiloluwa Ajayi, a 2015 fellow of Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, delivered at the sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from March 14 – 24, 2016.
Today, I speak from a place of gratitude, gratitude to God who made it possible for me to be here through the resources, people, and platforms He sent my way – family and friends, Moremi Initiative, Whole Woman Network, mentors, Nigerians; the UN Women.
Platforms are what I’m here to speak about. Platforms and possibilities, and the positive output of these two which is a generation of confident young women who are fit to contribute to growth and development in any area, and can be at the forefront of global development.
Gratitude #1 -United Nations, New York (1) by Mary Ajayi, 2015
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou
March 2016, I was in New York at the UN 60th Session on the Commision on the Status of Women to talk alongside my @moremiinitiative sisters on the work we’re doing and lessons we’re learning along the way.
I faced challenges I didn’t think I could overcome. I had managed to get my visa in time but needed funds for travel, accommodation, and feeding. Icalled everyone I could. I emailed people and organizations. Nothing worked. I prayed. Nothing seemed to be shifting. My sister @adeola_ope took to Facebook to solicit for help. Olisa.tv blogged about it. @dejifan took to Twitter. Friends like Mayowa Okediran and Niyi Onabanjo pitched in personal funds. I began to have hope.
Thomas Paine said and I quote, ‘the mind once enlightened, cannot again become dark’.
I was too timid to participate in the numerous life changing activities; from the mind-blowing lectures on Journalism, to the deeply inspired biography of Malala Yousafzai, due to a malnourished sense of confidence my home provided me. It was soon very clear to me, that I would have no limit, but myself.
A few months ago, LEGENDARY LEADERSHIP LESSONS (4) CONFERENCE, organized by Dr. Dipo Awojide & BTDT Ltd was held at the Lagos Oriental Hotel.
WWN sponsored 10 participants to attend the conference and each shared the highlights of the event..
“Kai madam! If you weren’t standing in front of the Imam eh! Hmmmm…..”
Then what will happen? She retorted deep within her.
The above is part of a reminiscence of an encounter shared by Ms. Lola Shoneyin, as the only woman standing in a bus filled with men, during her work as a campaign aide with the Nigerian president, somewhere in Northern Nigeria.
The point here is not just how intolerant men from different parts can be when a woman defies their notion of acceptable behaviour and ‘cultural values.’ Rather, how huge this barrier can be in a society seeking fundamental reforms.