17th January, 2021
Dr. Bolere Elizabeth Ketebu, former Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland is dead. She was 66 years old.
Her death was made known by President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday.
In a statement, Buhari condoled with the Ketebu family, the Bayelsa State government, as well as friends and professional colleagues of Dr Bolere Ketebu,
The President said the former ambassador served her country creditably in several capacities.
She was at one time President National Council of Women Societies, Secretary to Bayelsa State government and a member House of Representatives between 1992 and 1993.
In September 2001, she was elected Advisor, Habitat to the International Council of Women (ICW).
She was elected in 2003 as International Board Member to ICW, position she held till 2009.
As a board member, she coordinated the National Council of Women in Africa and was Chairman, United Nations Status of Women ‘Project Five 0’ On Girl Child Education.
In May 2007, she was appointed Secretary to State Government of Bayelsa State.
In 2009, she was appointed council member, University of Lagos, a position she held until her appointment as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Republic of Island with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Iceland in 2013.
President Buhari prayed that God will grant repose to the soul of the departed medical doctor-cum-diplomat, and comfort all who mourn her.
Bolere Elizabeth Ketebu is survived by five children.
Born 25 October, 1954 to a politically inclined Ijaw father and an Edo mother, Bolere Elizabeth Ketebu devoted her life to the championing of women’s rights.
She was an alumna of University of Lagos and later returned to serve as a member of the Governing Council.
She saw herself in a short biography as a born motivator with a desire for helping others.
“I was always engaged in one form of activism or another, from class monitor to head-girl to class representative to student unions,” she said.
After graduating from the University of Lagos, she embarked upon a postgraduate degree in Medicine, became a fellow of the West African
College of Physicians and studied Public Health and Community medicine at the Nigeria Postgraduate Medical College.
She practiced as a city health officer for some years, became a director in the federal service in 1989, and was selected at the College of Medicine to train doctors.
While involved in politics between 1992 and 1993, she also became a public health consultant and continued practicing medicine.
She founded and co-ran a home for motherless babies.
A major contribution Dr. Bolere Ketebu made to Nigeria was conceiving the micro credit scheme, for women’s groups and associations.
She toured Nigeria for 62 days and administered the loan, but was later wrongly accused of defrauding the country and found herself remanded in police custody.
She spent a night in Suleja prison, where she experienced first-hand the plight of imprisoned women, and was inspired to equip the prison with modern, female friendly facilities.
“If I had not initiated the micro-credit scheme and was later framed and imprisoned for one night I wouldn’t have had such experience,” she explained.
“The lesson is that leadership comes with it scars; one must be ready to bear the scars that come with the crown.”