Florence Ajimobi at 59: When noise is not music

WHETHER it is an organisation or an individual making people’s lives better, the common trait of quiet achievers, according to Scott Graham, is that “they achieve results quietly (obviously!); they deliver without fuss; they solve problems and deliver solutions; they are innovative and, above all, they inspire us”. Quiet achievers are not common. Every nation or society boasts only a handful. They have become even much harder to find these days, when the common measure for strong is how loud, and for weak is how quiet. But despite the growing unpopularity of being a quiet achiever, there are still few Nigerians who have persisted in this noble path. And one of such persons is the unassuming wife of the Oyo State governor, Dr. Florence Ajimobi. Mrs. Florence Ajimobi will never accede to being unduly celebrated. She prefers to work hard in silence and let her successes make the noise.

And this article will not attempt to rob her of that distinguishing attribute. Nevertheless, I strongly believe it will be a disservice to humanity if the noble deeds of this silent achiever are allowed to remain perpetually unsung. Since the commencement of her husband, Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s tenure, the first lady of Oyo State has embarked on programmes that directly impact the populace, especially women and children. These programmes have been deliberately designed to create maximum impact among the beneficiaries rather than being used as propaganda tools to hoodwink the people. The flagship of these programmes was christened the Access to Basic (Medical) Care Foundation (ABC). ABC provides free basic medical care to the inhabitants of Oyo State. It operates a central hub and accessible clinics in all local government areas in the state. The foundation has state-of-the-art equipment such as a mammogram machine, a cervical screening machine and an ultra-modern diagnostic laboratory among others. It also has a welfare home where vulnerable children adopted by Mrs. Ajimobi are cared for.

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The foundation carries out regular awareness campaign on the scourge of deadly diseases and ways to possibly prevent them. It also collaborates with local and international NGOs to check the prevalence of cancer in the country. The foundation was adjudged the ‘Most Outstanding NGO in the South West’ by the House of Representatives Committee on Civil Society and Donor Agencies. Another brainchild of the first lady is the Educate a Rural Child (ERC). The initiative was inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which incorporates the provision of universal basic education for every child as one of its objectives. The aim is to bridge the learning gap between children in rural areas and their counterparts in urban areas by providing standard classrooms and well-stocked libraries in rural communities. Pupils are also given school uniforms, sandals, school bags and notebooks. No fewer than 66 schools across the state have benefitted from the project.

The Ajumose Food Bank was created by the governor’s wife to support the needy in the state to meet their nutritional needs. She personally oversees distribution of food items to families across the 33 local government areas of the state every month. She is also passionate about empowering women and children with Information and Communication Technology skills and thousands of trainees, who are mostly women, have graduated from the ICT centre she established in Ibadan. To commemorate her last two birthdays, she donated a state-of-the-art ICT centre to her alma mater, Our Lady of Apostle Secondary, Ibadan and Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo. This year, the central highlight of her birthday celebration is the inauguration of an ultra-modern ICT centre she donated to the Polytechnic Ibadan. Mrs. Florence Ajimobi is indeed a Super Silent Achiever, who holds dear to her heart the anecdote that teaches that “you are what you do, not what you say you’ll do”.

As she celebrate 59 years of God’s grace and mercy, I join her in celebrating with these lyrics from a hit track of popular Nigerian pop artist, Adekunle Gold: Ariwo ko ni music o, Empty barrel lo ma npariwo. (Good music need not be noisy. An empty barrel makes the loudest noise).

Ladigbolu is Senior Special Assistant (Communications) to the Oyo State governor

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