By Segun Dipe
To her numerous admirers, June 11 of every year is the day to celebrate Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi. It is the day of eulogies about what stuff she’s made of, and this year is not going to be any different.
Erelu, as she is fondly called, possesses three congenital qualities that have made her to be naturally loved and cherished. They are: a big heart, a beautiful mind and a generous spirit. A lot has been written and said about these qualities and how they have transformed Erelu into what she is today.
Ordinarily, talking about 58 values would appear like playing on figures. Yes, they do. But they are also understated. Those who know her well would confirm this much in their different messages of felicitations. The celebrant has such an inherent value that can make her hold her own in any clime, regardless of what people say or do to her.
Erelu Fayemi is a two-term First Lady of Ekiti State and, by the virtue of her husband, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State being the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, she is the Chair of Wives of Governors in Nigeria. Yet these statuses, while positioning her as a high-value lady, do not form part of the 58 values she espouses.
What then are these 58 values espoused by Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi as she marks her 58th Birthday on earth?
One: Erelu Bisi Fayemi is an affable personality and this has been serving as her core strength. She knows her worth and exudes an energy that goes beyond the physical. It is however with the same energy that she attracts other people to herself like moths to a flame.
Two: She is feminine. The fact that more and more women are losing touch with their femininity gives a great opportunity for high-quality women. Those who have found theirs, like Erelu Bisi Fayemi, will stand out even more and reap more and more rewards.
Three: She takes care of her appearance. Erelu Bisi Fayemi does not buy into the popular nonsense bandied around these days that “being” really matters while “appearing” is for the vapid. As a matter of fact, she has found a relation between her being and her appearing. To her, the two are not mutually exclusive.
Four: She cares about people. Erelu Bisi Fayemi does let people know she is happy to see them…always. A warm smile, a comforting word, and warm banter are all she offers.
Five: She is mannerly. Erelu Bisi Fayemi knows how to talk and converse. She has high social skills and is well-read and knowledgeable. She follows all the appropriate rules of etiquette.
Six: She cares about her partner. Of course, Erelu Bisi Fayemi does not joke with her hubby, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, CON. She cares so much about him that she has become his Number One cheerleader.
Seven: She is emotionally stable. Erelu Bisi Fayemi is generally positive and uplifting, relatively secure of herself and of her own worth, no wild mood swings, no public drama and no excessive anxiety.
Eight: She has a good command of English Language. This perhaps is traceable to her partly British identity. Erelu Bisi Fayemi was born English. Her language correlates with her intelligence. She is well-read and well-travelled. Her great command of the language shows an openness to communicate with the world, and a drive to make her heard in that world.
Nine: She radiates positivity. Erelu Bisi Fayemi has a positive mindset. She seems to have a smile and a positive outlook even when things are not going her way, making those around her feel safe, secure, calm and happy.
Ten: She lifts people up, builds trust, strengthens relationships between team members, improves the quality of work being done, and drives accountability, collaboration and cooperation. That’s Erelu Bisi Fayemi for you.
Eleven: She always works to improve. No matter what she does, Erelu Bisi Fayemi does not think she knows it all. She is always ready to learn new things and improve.
Twelve: She is a fashionista. Erelu Bisi Fayemi follows trends in the fashion industry obsessively and strives continually to adopt the latest fashions. Her style is bold, yet practical for the everyday life.
Thirteen: She is socially skilled. Erelu Bisi Fayemi’s social skills are legendary. They have helped her to build interpersonal relationships with people as well as accomplish career goals.
Fourteen: She does not panic. It is quite natural to become agitated and have the urge to lash out when things go wrong. But that is not in Erelu Bisi Fayemi’s DNA. She has no panic mode button to press in her system.
Fifteen: She’ll never smother you. One of the best qualities of Erelu Bisi Fayemi is that she does not wait for you to ask for some space. She understands how important it is to give you some time to be who you are.
Sixteen: She knows when to set boundaries. When you understand how to set and maintain healthy boundaries like Erelu Bisi Fayemi, you can avoid the feelings of resentment, disappointment, and anger that build up when limits have been pushed.
Seventeen: She is emotionally intelligent. Erelu Bisi Fayemi has over the years learnt to recognise, understand, and manage her emotions well. She has even gone further to have a higher awareness of the emotions of those around her.
Eighteen: She has growth mindset. Erelu Bisi Fayemi doesn’t take things personally. People with such a growth mindset like hers are resilient to criticism, they look for ways to improve, they enjoy challenges and they approach problems with a “can do” attitude.
Nineteen: She doesn’t take things personally. If you want to stop taking things personally like Erelu Bisi Fayemi does, then you would have to stop worrying so much about what other people think of you.
Twenty: She has vast knowledge. Perhaps what makes Erelu Bisi Fayemi very approachable is her understanding of life lessons. She is intellectually challenging. One does not need to worry about having a conversation with her that lacks intrigue or depth.
Twenty One: She comes from a good family. Erelu Bisi Fayemi’s family background could pass for her greatest asset in adopting most of the virtues she did with ease. She has written so much about this in her many published books.
Twenty Two: She is smart. Even as she clocks 58, Erelu Bisi Fayemi has not stopped being astute, clever, bright, quick, witty, fashionable and chic.
Twenty Three: She is a rock: Rocks are strong, solid and unchanging. To call a person a rock means that person is reliable and can always be relied on as pillar of support. Erelu Bisi Fayemi is.
Twenty Four: She is consistent. Erelu Bisi Fayemi possesses the quality of being good with things she ventures to do. She has the same attitude towards people or things and achieves the same level of success.
Twenty Five: She is confident. Erelu Bisi Fayemi isn’t a walking cookie cutter. She doesn’t feel the need to fit in and conform to others’ standards, body shape, style, or beliefs. She seeks to understand herself and stands strong in who she is.
Twenty Six: She is honest. Erelu Bisi Fayemi is given to behaving towards other people in an honest, fair, and nice way. If you hurt her, she’ll tell you. She’ll never expect you to read her mind for her reaction. Rather, she would voice it.
Twenty Seven: She is not illusioned. Erelu Bisi Fayemi would never give you a false image. Never expect from her a false appearance or deceptive impression of reality.
Twenty Eight: She is genuine. Erelu Bisi Fayemi is exactly what she is and not an imitation. She is sincere, straightforward, honest and natural.
Twenty Nine: She is supportive. Whatever you want to achieve in life, be assured that Erelu Bisi Fayemi is always going to support you. She will always be on your side in your life choices.
Thirty: She is playful. Erelu Bisi Fayemi loves to laugh things up. She likes to have fun and doesn’t take things too seriously.
Thirty One: She can overcome obstacles. Life is full of its ups and downs. Helen Keller said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” Erelu Bisi Fayemi is not immune from life’s obstacles. Like everyone else she’s sometimes thrown a curve ball. She takes time to share her experience through her writings.
Thirty Two: She is politically savvy. Being politically savvy is a key competency for Erelu Bisi Fayemi. She has put this to use on many occasions and the result has been tremendous in her being able to analyse situations, build partnerships and alliances, keep conflict to a minimum and build a strong reputation for both JKF1 and JKF2.
Thirty Three: She is cultured. Cultured in this context means that Erelu Bisi Fayemi is good mannered, well educated, and knows a lot about the arts.
Thirty Four: She has a positive attitude. There’s no energy that can mimic what’s released when Erelu Bisi Fayemi, a high-stepping woman, enters a room. A positive attitude like hers is the fuel always needed to drive a team from idea conception to realisation.
Thirty Five: She is strong-minded. Being strong minded in this context doesn’t mean that she is rude, conceited or destructive. On the contrary, a strong-minded woman like Erelu Bisi Fayemi displays confidence. She possesses a healthy self image and takes responsibility for her life.
Thirty Six: She is soft-hearted: It can be very hard to be soft-hearted like Erelu Bisi Fayemi in today’s tough world. She is very sympathetic, responsive and generous in spirit so much that it often leads to vulnerability.
Thirty Seven: She has integrity. This is the quality of being honest or having strong moral principles. People with integrity like Erelu Bisi Fayemi are generally known to be trustworthy, honest, and kind. She is of a firm belief that in the race of life, one doesn’t need to leave victims in one’s path to be victorious. “You don’t need to step on others to step to the next level,” she would argue. Little wonder she gains respect and trust of even her foes.
Thirty Eight: She has balance in her life. Erelu Bisi Fayemi’s life, like everyone else’s, revolves around four major categories: family and friends, health, wealth and spirit. Balancing them allows her to think clearly with imagination and optimism.
Thirty Nine: She sets goals. Goals are dreams with a plan for realisation. Erelu Bisi Fayemi doesn’t just set the goals, she commits them to writing and puts on record how and when she’d achieved them.
Forty: She is a teacher. Because people want to know what she’s got that ignites that flame within her, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, teaches and is perpetually helping to mould the great women of tomorrow.
Forty One: She’s focused on the next step. Erelu Bisi Fayemi is a resolute woman with a “stubborn” resolve to see a better tomorrow. When challenging circumstances seek to derail her, she often seeks solace in taking the next step. And that hasn’t failed her.
Forty Two: She has confidence: Confidence is one of the most attractive qualities anyone can have. Erelu Bisi Fayemi has a large dose of it. She knows exactly what she wants and goes for it. She is not intimidated by any person, situation or circumstance.
Forty Three: She is driven by a cause. Erelu Bisi Fayemi has compulsive quality. If she sets her mind to something, she can and will, more often than not, do it. Like most great achievers, she is so determined to achieve something or be successful that all of her behavior is often directed toward a goal.
Forty Four: She is kind. Erelu Bisi Fayemi, more often than not, shows a gentle nature and a desire to help others, despite her high up status. She always wants to do good things and to bring happiness to others.
Forty Five: She avoids drama: Constantly, we see women engaging in gossip and playing mind games, despite their high status. That is not Erelu Bisi Fayemi. Despite her humorous candour, she knows her time is precious and she doesn’t waste it on unimportant things.
Forty Six: She is all about compromise. There’s an old anecdote about how women are always right and always win arguments. But the truth is, Erelu Bisi Fayemi doesn’t hold this as the ideal. She is always willing to compromise, and she posits that healthy arguments can actually make a relationship stronger if people are able to work through issues and find common ground.
Forty Seven: She loves to serve. Erelu Bisi Fayemi is altruistic. She always puts others first. And she doesn’t rub it in while serving. She does it kindly, generously and helpfully.
Forty Eight: She is truthful: Erelu Bisi Fayemi doesn’t pancake issues. She is ever true to her word. She leads with wisdom, knowledge, and good judgment; making sound choices and decisions based on truth and honesty.
Forty Nine: She is authentic. With Erelu Bisi Fayemi, you know what you are going to get. In terms of ethics and morals, her behaviour is as predictable as snow in wintertime. This makes those around her trust she won’t deceive them.
Fifty: She is down to earth. With Erelu Bisi fayemi, you don’t have to constantly guess what she’s thinking or worry about her getting super dramatic. She also has realistic expectations and isn’t going to expect you to be perfect.
Fifty One: She is classy. This largely comes from Erelu Bisi Fayemi’s sense of oneself, from confidence without brashness, from courtesy, from kindness, and often includes her distinct sense of style. She does not allow her mood to affect her manners.
Fifty Two: She is willing to meet you halfway. In so far as you will do your own part, Erelu Bisi Fayemi will always do her own part.
Fifty Three: She isn’t spiteful. A spiteful person acts in a mean and malicious way, with a desire to hurt someone. That’s not Erelu Bisi Fayemi’s style. She has self-esteem and she is conscientious.
Fifty Four: She challenges you. Erelu Bisi Fayemi is one person that loves to use logic and reason to express her opinions. There might be some emotion involved, too, but you can conveniently tell it’s coming from a good mind.
Fifty Five: She encourages you. Erelu Bisi Fayemi is an encourager who reaches out and speaks kindness to people rather than condemnation. She offers hope to those who feel abandoned; she empowers the disheartened and shows love to the discouraged.
Fifty Six: She forgives easily. Without compassion, it’s more challenging to forgive someone who’s hurt you, even when they apologise and do what they can to make amends. Erelu Bisi Fayemi does not find it hard to forgive.
Fifty Seven: She picks you up when you are down. We all get down from time to time and feel bad because we’re not keeping up with our life goals while wishing we were in another place in our lives. More often than not, Erelu Bisi Fayemi provides her shoulder for the downtrodden to put their heads on. And she has no airs or graces about it
Fifty Eight: She is humble, not haughty. Despite the grace upon her, Erelu Bisi Fayemi does not show any affectation of superiority to anyone. Haughty people are disdainful, overbearing, prideful, swaggering, and obnoxious. None of this defines Erelu Bisi Fayemi. She is humble, even to a fault.
Happy 58th Birthday to our First Lady, Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi. You have touched so many lives positively; it is clear that God created you for such a great purpose.
Dipe is the Snr. Special Assistant to Gov. Kayode Fayemi on Public Communications.