I just received this email in response to my post Women and the Nation and decided to publish it with the writers permission. At a time when Nigerians need to engage in some serious soul searching on what kind of country they wish to live in, it is crucial that we highlight those women and men who are working outside of the culture of violence, greed and indifference to try and bring about genuine sustainable change in their communities.
I’d like to add Ronke Okusanya to your list of Nigerian women who fight for everyone and especially women & girls to have a decent and fulfilled life.
She was one of the first women in TV, making award winning documentaries as well as women’s health programmes which were broadcast across the nation to enlighten and educate young women & mothers.
Ronke Okusanya served as a Commisioner in both Ondo and Ekiti states where she focused mainly on the development of women and the youth.
Since retiring, she has lived in Ado Ekiti where she is seen as the foremost ‘woman leader’, spending her life improving the lot of the grassroots women.
Having being widowed at the age of 49, she has committed herself to educating the NIgerian public on the plight of widows and organises counselling and cooperatives to help them become self sufficent and look after their children.
Her NGO, Moving Minds, works to dispel the myths surrounding FGM, sometimes using her own family as an example. Funds are made available to provide loans to women so that they can set up small businesses, be self reliant and retain their dignity.
Being a fierce critic of injustice, she has led many protests, the most recent of which was a semi-naked group of proud Ekiti women to protest against blatant votes rigging in Ekiti state elections.
She has been targetted and harrassed on numerous occasions. Indeed, she has been detained and taken to court for organising peaceful protests.
Ronke Okusanya may not be very well known to you but she’s holding fort in her corner of world. She is my hero and the hero of many, the amazing Amazon of Ekiti – she is my mother.