Monday 11 February 2019

Our mother, the example of community involvement

Our mother, the partisan
My sister, Ibukun Olawepo-Johnson, wrote on Facebook about our mum and her activism, even I learnt a few things too that I had to ask if I could share what she had written, below.
Yesterday I was talking to my cousin about the presidential visit (to Lagos), I told him I can bet my last kobo that my mum was at the stadium in Surulere.
It dropped in my mind that we have a lot of lazy youth in this country, my mum retired from the civil service after 35 years of service. I think she was even kept on for one extra year because of the beautiful work she did when she was in service.
Our mother, the principal
All throughout the time I knew her, she was a principal and she was a principal in all the trouble areas in Ejigbo, Okota and Oshodi where she had running battles with thugs and difficult students, (I would add, teachers and some presumably family friends who thought she did not deserve her position), she fought them to a standstill and won the battle. She was last promoted to special principal grade.
[Some backstory information, my mother was asked to start a school from scratch at the age of 34 in 1977, she created and ran Ejigbo Community High School for probably 13 years. Just over a year ago, I think in the 40th year of the establishment of the school, the alumni of the school honoured her with a commemoration and thanks for her leadership, mentorship and contributions to the community.]
Our mother, the activist
After she left service she was still very active, later when she moved to her house in Ejigbo, she joined the Community Development Association (CDA) group on her street and became the Chairman of her CDA, somewhere along the line she joined politics and she is a strong member of APC in her area.
My mum had the option of retiring and watching things unfold in her community, but she chose to be involved. Even when my younger sister was ill, and she was her primary caregiver, she still found the time to be involved in what was going on in her community.
When glaucoma almost made her blind, she was still attending CDA and APC meetings and activities at over 75 years old. [We were able to get some of the best medical help to save her eyesight. She is even more up and about with community, political and church activities.]
Our mother, the example
It's a shame on all of us that are under 70, we have the power to be involved in our communities, yet all we do is make noise on social media, criticising the government in our various offices and the country without getting involved to bring about the changes we want.
No one will hand power over to us, we need to be involved get involved in politics.
It is time we clean it up if we feel it is a dirty game.
We need to stop all this ranting and noise making, we need to make the next necessary move to bring on change and take our communities to the next level.
The elders will only hand over to the youth if only the youth are actively involved.
Campaign for your own candidate, don't say my vote does not count; go out to vote and ensure that votes are counted before leaving the polling booth. Demand good governance in your locality and attend CDA meetings.
Change begins with you and me.
Start from your house, move into your street, on to your local government area, then your office, all the way until you get to the very top.
This characteristic of community involvement is not unique to our mum, our dad is also quite involved in the community also. From as far back as I can remember when we returned from the UK, the renovation of our homestead, the bringing of electricity supply to our village, the building of the new village cathedral, a new secondary school and many other activities to help people in their careers, businesses and general needs.
They are examples of a standard well beyond whatever we have ever attempted, yet they show a way to what can be achieved when we have the commitment, drive and a vision to make a difference in people, situations and communities.
In this, we begin to commend that exemplary lives of our parents.

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