Hafsat Abiola-Costello interview on background, civil society, and human rights in Nigeria and Africa
Part of a series of interviews recorded at WLP International with WLP partners following transnational partners meeting, September 2015 (for use in Human Rights webinar).
This interview is with Hafsat Abiola, Founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND). She describes influences of childhood environment in polygamous family, Lagos, Nigeria, father’s success in presidential candidacy and subsequent incarceration, mother’s transformation into national activist before assassination. Discusses spiritual belief in ancestral place, founding organization in honor of mother, campaigning for women’s right to public life in country. Describes involvement with Amnesty International while at university. Describes collaboration with human rights movement and environmental movement relevant to Nigeria. Discusses challenge for young Africans in becoming part of solution, issues of African continent in context of other continents, trade, economy, investment, education. Discusses need for mindset shift from subjects to members of civil society. Discusses a mother’s role as revolutionary vs traditionalist, despotism, tyranny, corruption not enabled if mother’s empowered by possibility of role. Describes enterprising strength of women in 1980s collapse of economy. Discusses belief that violations in public spaces will encroach on private spaces. Discusses necessary role of women in holding leaders accountable, speaking truth, powers of persuasion to convince alternative way through dialogue. Discusses female solidarity. Reflects on own activism over 20 years, mentioning membership of World Economic Forum and nomination as Global Leader of Tomorrow then Young Global Leader. Discusses delayed understanding of role and response in bringing Africa to agenda at World Economic Forum.
Describes Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP) as different to other organizations in authenticity, entering as visible, equal partner with Global North, without exploitation and common level of condescension experienced towards countries of Global South.