Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Nigerian women need more self-confidence to excel in politics -Oluyemisi Adesina, feminist, philanthropist

A woman of many parts due to her lifestyle, Mrs Oluyemisi Adesina can be referred to as a feminist and a philanthropist

The computer scientist and women’s advocate recently clocked 50 years. In this interview, she speaks about women’s participation in politics, and the current administration, among other issues.
Mrs Adesina who is also a business developer specifically called on women to be more committed to raising their female children by educating them and providing for their basic needs.

What was your upbringing like and how would you describe your growing up?

Well, my upbringing wasn’t bad because I was blessed with a wonderful, intelligent, industrious, beautiful, hardworking and disciplinarian mother, who made provision for all I needed then. I didn’t lack the basic things that a girl child required to live a fulfilled life.
Being the only child of my mother, she was there for me and I put all my efforts to justify her confidence in me by making her proud at all times. She made sure I had a quality education and because of her prompt provision in the area of basic needs which also helped to boost my self-esteem by focusing on my education and not being wayward. I didn’t have a boyfriend; I focused on my studies. I was able to build a bungalow for her and won a government scholarship in her lifetime and these made her happy. She died at the age of 90 years, as a fulfilled woman. I am glad that I made her happy during her lifetime.

How do you feel clocking 50 years?

I feel great and happy celebrating my 50th birthday this July. I feel great every day I wake up but this one is exceptional feelings of the presence of God in my daily affairs. It is feelings that will force me to reflect but ultimately I have come to appreciate the impacts of God and His faithfulness upon me, my home, my family and family values in my aspirations and results achieved today. I give Him praise.

You have decided to celebrate your 50th birthday by giving back to society. Why opt for this kind gesture on your 50th birthday? 

Everybody is a product of the society. I believe we emerged, got nurtured and survived in society. Therefore, all our achievements are products of the same society. I believe in capacity development, empowerment and making sure every living soul lives a meaningful life. This, to me, is changing lives and uplifting humanity.

I have commitments to demonstrate this by rolling out scholarships for some female science students who are financially challenged. This, I feel, will help them pursue their dreams and fulfil their career developments. This particular project is so dear to my heart and I feel great having this opportunity to bring it to life. I was a beneficiary of a government scholarship when I was in secondary school. The award was given to me when I was declared “The Best Female Science Student.”

I have also decided to celebrate my 50th birthday by paying some medical bills for patients in the hospitals. I decided to settle the bills of some people who cannot afford to pay their hospital bills. As a product of the church that loves singing, musical equipment was donated to some religious organisations. I also decided to give wonderful gifts packaged for the first baby to be born on the great day, July 6, 2023.

What is your advice to the younger generations, especially girl children and women? 

I will candidly advise the young generation, especially the female to be focused and remain focused. They must remember at all times that they are jewels created for special purposes. They should not allow anybody to derail their dreams or waste the potential God has deposited in their lives. I must say this please do not fall prey to predators and peer pressure, which is now a major problem for a girl child.
Women should be more committed to raising their female children by educating them and providing for their basic needs. This, in my view, will not allow them to fall prey. I will also advise our young girls to be hardworking and dedicate time to their studies. They must always aspire to be great in life and be a role model to their family and country.

What is your assessment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the first 30 days in office? 

The performance of President Bola Tinubu within his first 30 days in office is fantastic because of some of the great things he has done and some of the positive moves of his administration, especially his laudable policies to address some of the basic problems in Nigeria. I am confident to say that President Tinubu has done remarkably during his first 30 days in office because I am a living witness.

I could recall around December 2022, some friends and family friends stopped greeting me. They accused me of campaigning and promoting Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima for the presidency. Some of those who were not in support of Asiwaju Tinubu accused me of being one of the people who did not mean well for this country. Some of them even expressed surprise at why I supported the All

Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, telling me “You called yourself a Christian and you’re promoting bad markets. Look at what is happening in the country, are you not tired?”

I did not answer and I cut them off from my line. But thank God, the stone that the builders rejected now became the cornerstone.

President Bola Tinubu within his 30 days in office has surprised me with some of the major steps and decisions he has taken. He has shown himself to be a bold and courageous leader who can address some of the problems in Nigeria.

I am also very pleased with some of the appointments the president has made so far because they are credible people who are very knowledgeable and very effective in their careers and professions. For example, the newly appointed Security Chiefs are the best officers in the Armed Forces.

Some of the Special Advisers appointed by the president are renowned technocrats who have displayed professionalism and integrity in their professions and career. I believe strongly that President Tinubu will be a good leader and Nigeria will experience growth and development during his administration.

There have been several agitations that women should be given more roles in government. Do you think women will achieve the much-needed 35 per cent affirmative action in political appointments under President Tinubu’s administration?

Please note that the City of Rome was not built in a day. We shall entrench and adopt the principles of ‘No retreat, No surrender’. I believe women have a great role to play in our country and they should give them more opportunities to serve in public offices because we know how to manage people. We are the mothers. We are the jewels of our respective homes and we know how to manage the situation of things. With the way President Bola Tinubu has started by appointing some women as his special advisers, I believe strongly that women will be given good roles in the present administration, not only at the national level but at the state level as well.

In your opinion what is responsible for the decline in women’s representation in elective positions during the 2023 general elections?

In my view, it was because of a lack of confidence and the ability to persevere. For instance, what made President Bola Tinubu succeed in his aspiration to become the President of Nigeria is self-confidence. His faith in God and confidence in his ability gave him success. This is what I feel is lacking in many of our women in Nigeria. Some women are afraid of the political terrain in Nigeria and that is why they don’t participate in politics and without participation, there won’t be an avenue for them to be voted into elective offices. I believe women should show more interest in politics.

What we need is to strengthen our self-confidence and believe we can do it. I could recall that when the 9th National Assembly was rounding off, our First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, said during her days in the Senate, an interviewer posted a question ‘Why did you choose to come to Senate, why didn’t you start from the House of Representatives?’ That question was meant to demoralise her but she chose courage and her performance was remarkable.

Look at the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She was a very courageous and focused woman too. Time will not permit me, I can go on to mention the great women of our time who have made a positive impact in the country but in a nutshell, let women develop their self-confidence and in the coming elections more women will emerge.

Does it mean women lack the financial power or popularity to challenge men in Nigeria’s political cycle?

No. I don’t believe in this gospel because we have women who are far richer than men. So, I don’t believe lack of financial power is the reason why we don’t have more women in politics.

What do you make of the appointments by President Bola Tinubu so far? Do you think women are equitably represented?

Let us just wait and see. I believe women will get at least 25 per cent in the present administration because President Tinubu will give women opportunities in his government.

If the current administration fails to meet the affirmative action, how best do you think the target can be achieved going forward?

I believe every development is a process. Therefore, we need to change or modify our strategies. This will take the form of massive mobilisation for elective positions. With this, I feel very strongly that this will improve our negotiating power for appointments in the future

Do you believe that the country is winning the war against Gender-Based Violence considering the efforts of government, civil society organizations with the statistic of victims? 

Not yet but there is great awareness and a strong desire to improve. I think the two areas where we need to be more serious and direct our scarce resources for quick results are improved legislation and enforcement. More decisive actions on these two will take us close to the Promised Land if not the land.

Lastly, you don’t look 50, what is the secret?

The grace of God and the peace of mind. I thank God for the grace to clock 50 years.