ABIMBOLA EMANUELLA FASHOLA
First Lady of Lagos State, Nigeria
A woman of quiet dignity. She is a model of calm composure. She is a symbol of genuine humility. She has an uncommon capacity for hard work and a burning passion to motivate youths to actualize their potentials. Her unassuming carriage and disarming simplicity belie her status as the first Lady of Lagos State, Nigeria’s most populous and economically viable state. In her characteristically simple and unobtrusive style, Her Excellency, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, has been working assiduously behind the scenes to complement the efforts of the Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), and add value to governance in Lagos State.
In pursuit of her commitment to “grooming tomorrow’s leaders to be confident, self-sufficient and socially responsive through education, vocational skills acquisition and recreation”, Her Excellency has established a unique Non-Governmental Organization, the Lagos Empowerment And Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N). As Chairman of the NGO, she has been diligently overseeing the systematic implementation of its strategic vision of establishing resource centers in the five Administrative Divisions of Lagos State as a basis for thereafter exporting the L.E.A.R.N. model to other jurisdictions.
Within its very short period of existence, L.E.A.R.N. has begun to impact positively on the lives of tomorrow’s leaders through various creative programs targeted at students. Between August and September, 2007, for instance, L.E.A.R.N. successfully organized a 6-week free Summer Skills and Training Camp on basic leadership principles and vocational skills for 485 students from both public and private schools.
In a similar vein, L.E.A.R.N. is currently organizing After School Revision Classes for 3,850 senior WAEC students spread across 19 educational zones in Lagos State. This program will provide a scientific basis for ascertaining the impact of after school revision classes on student performance in WAEC examinations.
With the emergence of China as a global economic power, L.E.A.R.N, through the pro-active leadership of Her Excellency, has initiated the L.E.A.R.N./Sino-Culture Exchange Programme to prepare Nigeria’s future leaders for productive interaction with Chinese society and culture. Under this programme, 25 students from five public primary schools in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area are participating in Chinese language coaching and the best student will have the opportunity of watching the Olympics in Beijing.
Apart from her work among students and youths, Her Excellency is passionate about environmental cleanliness. She has been at the forefront of the campaign for Lagosians, particularly women, to embrace environmental cleanliness and keep the surroundings of their homes and markets clean. She religiously participates actively in the monthly sanitation and weekly market sanitation days showing by personal example the pivotal role of women in maintaining a hygienic environment.
Her Excellency’s accomplished and cultured style is no doubt a reflection of her roots as a daughter of the illustrious Ojo’Badan family of Ibadan. Her grand father, who died in 1952, was the Ekerin Olubadan of Ibadan. He fought in the First World War and as the first African Seargent Major in the Army, he won several Medals for bravery in battle. Her great Uncle, Mr. J. Ade Ojo was among the first students of Kings College, Lagos, when it was established in 1952; he was Science Tutor and Games Master at the school for 33 years.
Another Great Uncle of Her Excellency, Chief S. Ade Ojo, was the first Nigerian Clerk of the Legislative Council established in 1941, the first Clerk of the Nigerian House of Representatives in Lagos, the first President of the Western House of Assembly and first Chairman of the Western Nigerian Public Service Commission. He died as the Maye Olubadan of Ibadanland.
Her Great Aunty, Chief Mrs. Adepeju Wuraola Esan, was the First Educated Iyalode of Ibadan land and the first Female Senator in Nigeria. Another of her Uncles, Professor O. Adewole Ojo, was the First Nigerian Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. And Her Excellency’s father, Chief Emmanuel Adewinsi Ojo, was a distinguished lawyer who served as the First African Director of Texaco PLC and died as the Ekarun Olubadan of Ibadan land.
It was into this eminent family of many “Firsts” that the First Lady of Lagos State, Her Excellency, Mrs. Abimbola Emmanuela Fashola was born on 6th April, 1965. She began her formal education at K Kotun Memorial Nursery and Primary School in Surulere and obtained her secondary school education from Marywood Girls Grammar School, Ebutte-Metta and Yejide Girls High School, Ibadan. She received her professional training at the Lagoon Secretarial College, Adisa Bashua, Surulere, where she obtained a Diploma in Secretarial studies and followed this up with an Advanced Computer Certificate from the Computer Department of the University of Lagos.
Mrs. Fashola had a brief stint as a trainee Journalist with the Daily Sketch before joining the British Council in 1987. Whilst in the employment of the British Council, she served in various capacities from Front-of-House Operations, Technical Cooperation & Training, Projects & Overseas Development Support, Arts & Gender Relations and Examinations Officer/IELTS Administrator responsible for managing various examinations on behalf of several UK institutions and boards for over 10,000 candidates yearly before resigning her appointment in 2006.
She has attended various training programmes and courses both locally and overseas on Customer Relations, IT Skills, Managing people and Effectiveness in the work place.
As the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Fashola is the Chairman of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO), a community based gender organization established by the wife of the First Military Governor of Lagos State to complement the efforts of the State Government in improving the socio-economic conditions of the people.
Mrs. Fashola is married to His Excellency, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), the Governor of Lagos State, and the marriage is blessed with children.