Ayo Obe’s 61st Birthday

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MAY 24th marked Ayo Obe’s 61st birthday, and on the online community that we both participate actively in, Ayo received very warm birthday wishes from compatriots who appreciate her human qualities.

Soon after General Sani Abacha’s death in 1998, the stifled spaces of dictatorial control over the country began to ease, and Ayo Obe visited Ilorin for one of the many conferences that would mark the prelude to the transition to the 1999 return to civil rule in our country.

I was working as General Manager at KWTV, and I also presented a weekly personality interview programme, for which Ayo gave me a 30-minute interview. She spoke forthrightly about many of the contemporary issues facing the country at that point.

I had been in awe of a truly remarkable woman who was a constant voice on the BBC during those heady days of the struggle against the Abacha military dictatorship.

She was ever so eloquent and provided very outstanding insights into the issues that marked those tragic years with an uncommon courage.

She was truly the nemesis of a dictatorship that many feared, so many ran away from, and one that also killed several opponents. Ayo Obe stayed in the country and gave the struggle against dictatorship so much credibility by the force of her patriotic courage as well as the cultured tone of her voice, as she answered questions regularly, on the line to London, for several BBC programmes like FOCUS ON AFRICA, NETWORK AFRICA and NEWSHOUR.

Active engagement

It is to the gain of our country that Ayo Obe has retained a very active engagement with the Nigerian social space, in the years since 1999, playing a multi-faceted role that remain dedicated to the deepening of the content of Nigeria’s democracy and the building of a country that works for all our people.

Ayo Obe’s cosmopolitanism must be appreciated as part of her remarkable background that condition her ability to so selfless give of herself to so many worthy causes. I spoke with her on Tuesday evening to congratulate her on her 61st birthday and the greeting turned to a discussion of the matters arising from the freedom of the young Chibok girl last week and its ramifications.

Ayo Obe is an active member of the #BRING BACK OUR GIRLS campaign in Lagos and is as dedicated to the process as all those outstanding patriots who have kept us wrestling with our consciences, apropos of the Chibok Girls, these past two years. Over the past few years, I have come to know Ayo Obe much better; discussed several issues with her and read many pieces she has written inside a closed group and in more open forums, and the more I have known her, the greater my appreciation for her has grown.

We are lucky to have outstanding patriots like Ayo Obe; she continues to give so selflessly of herself to worthy causes, with the genuine belief that a much better country, indeed, a much better world, is possible and can be built by patriots from all over our country working together with passion, spirit and a sense of purpose and of sacrifice. Happy 61st birthday Ayo Obe, my dear sister and friend!

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