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  ConnectNigeria_FunmiKuti   We all know her as the first woman to drive a car in Nigeria. She is also very popular for her activism and political participation. She was born on the 25th of October, 1900 and died on the 13th of April, 1978. During her lifetime, Olufunmilayo was a teacher, women’s rights advocate and political activist. In the 1940s, she led a women’s protest against the Alake of Egbaland to protest the exorbitant tax rates for merchant women, as well as abuse of power by the Alake. This encounter led to the Alake of Egbaland stepping down from his position as king. She established the Federation of Nigerian Women Societies and the Abeokuta Women’s Union- an organisation with tens of thousands of members. Even though Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti never succeeded politically, she continued her activism for women’s right and tax reduction. Here is the most important lesson that can be taken away from the story of her life; Nation building does not have to be political. Aside from her campaigns about tax reduction, she organised workshops for women, negotiated Nigeria’s independence from the British government and took part in several rallies. She did all this without being a politician in power, and without getting paid or receiving a political appointment. She advocated for women’s rights because she believed in it. This is a far cry from the “stomach infrastructure” politics going on in the country. To build a nation we will be proud of, we need to set aside our personal gains and work for the society. To build an enviable nation, we do not have to hold political offices or campaign for elections. Super nations are a result of ordinary citizens making good choices daily. About the author: Amina Salau is a writer and editor running The Illuminated Pen. You can find her online at  and on Twitter (@_Aminah).

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This article was first published on 9th October 2014 and updated on November 13th, 2014 at 10:01 pm

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