Talk of one influential female politician in the fountain of knowledge state (Ekiti) and Hon Mrs Yemisi Afolabi, the state’s women leader of PDP, a name will be mentioned. This stylish woman of substance is a native of EfonAlaye in Efon Local Government Area of Ekiti state. She was a civil servant before her appointment as the party’s women leader. Recently, City People’s Adeola Shittu was at the PDP party secretariat in Ado Ekiti where she engaged her on her role as the state’s women leader of PDP and her 21 years of marriage. Enjoy.
Can you briefly tell us about yourself?
Thank you, I’m Hon (Mrs.) Yemisi Afolabi, a native of EfonAlaye in Efon Local Government area of Ekiti state. I’m happily married to Mr. Gbenga Afolabi, a native of Irepodun Local Government area of Ekiti State. I had my Secondary education in Efon Alaye High School before I moved to Lagos where I attended Idi-Araba High School in Mushin Local Government area of Lagos state for some months before I moved to St Timothy College, Onike Iwaya, Lagos State after which I returned to Ondo State for my Ordinary National Diploma (OND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) programmes at the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti where I studied Accounting. I later went to University of Ado-Ekiti for my Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Financial Management. I didn’t stop at that, I also attended International Institute of Journalism (IIJ)here in Ekiti for my Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism after which I went to Ekiti State University (EKSU) for my Master’s in Business Administration. Until my appointment as the PDP State’s Women Leader in Ekiti State, I was a civil servant in the state.
Going by your academic attainment and the fact that you are a married woman, what motivated you into politics?
Well, ever since I was a young girl, I have always loved and had passion for politics, but owing to what we heard about people, mostly women, who go into politics, I will tell you, it was not encouraging, but then as a woman of principle and I go for what I want. You see my case was different because incidentally, I became who I am in politics with the support of Governor Ayodele Fayose. I recall sometime in 2015 when the governor called me to come and take up this appointment. As at then, I was still a civil servant, but all alone, like I said, I have loved and had passion for politics and owing to my love for politics, I would say I’ve been contributing in my quota to politics at the grassroots level. But I appreciated God for crowning my efforts with the appointment. I bless the name of the Lord for the kind of Governor that we have in Ekiti. He has been a great mentor, motivator and pillar to all of us.
How supportive was your husband, when you informed him about your new task as the State’s women leader?
I bless the name of thy Lord for the kind of husband I’m married to. He had been a supportive husband to my career and it would interest you to know that it was my husband who accepted the appointment, because when they first called me, I told them I was not interested because I had my job and I didn’t think I could cope with the new task, but my husband said ‘no’, I know you could do it, that I shouldn’t, worry that God would help me. So, he persuaded me to take the appointment and ever since he has been so supportive. I will appreciate my husband, children, siblings and family for their support. In a nutshell, my husband and parents have been very helpful on this journey.
When the Governor approached you in 2015 to become the PDP State’s women leader, how did you feel?
I felt well, it was a call to serve and to serve my people because all my life, I have always loved helping people and I saw it as an avenue for me to achieve my desire to assist people in one way or the other. Though, it does not necessarily mean financially rewarding, but glory be to Almighty God that in the last 2 years, l have been able to render assistance to my people, one way or the other.
As a politician, what is the secret of your successful marriage?
To the glory of God, this year my marriage will be 21years. We got married in 1996. Respecting my father’s instruction then, I had a quiet introduction in 1996, but in 2001, we had an elaborate wedding. So, after my introduction in 1996, I moved with my husband before we formalised it. Though, I won’t say my marriage has been rosy without its ups and downs. Like I used to tell people, when something is not right and you pretend as if everything is ok, one is only deceiving himself and not deceiving that person you are lying to because he/she has nothing to lose. So, I will say I faced a lot of challenges, but to the glory of Almighty God and with the help and constant prayer of my parents and sibling, I was able to overcome and today, I give God all glory and adoration for my husband. You see, all the ups and downs that I faced in my marriage then have made me a ‘bit stronger and now I can face any battle, no wonder I was called upon to lead women in Ekiti State.
How do you manage your home as a politician, as a wife and as a mother?
You see, everything is all about planning and don’t forget that it’s how you lay your bed, so you lie on it. I figure out everything and I make myself to realise that politics should be apart, while my family is the most other part, so I plan how I do my things. Now, we don’t have many activities in terms of politics because nothing has changed in terms of time and our activities, so let me say, we are warming up for governorship election that means, more activities. But planning has ensured that the home front is not adversely affected.
As the State’s women leader for PDP, do you have the ambition to contest any post now or in the nearest future?
You see, Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose is my ambition. I don’t have any ambition; I follow my boss, Governor Fayose’s direction and foot steps in politics. If he instructs me to sit down, believe me, I will sit till he asks me to stand up, so I don’t see myself contesting any political post. Like I said, whatever he asks me to do, is what I will do.
As a stylish politician, what is the fashion to you?
You see, fashion to me is the ability for one to look good, presentable and responsible. So, to me, I don’t believe fashion is all about wearing expensive clothes, I don’t believe in cost, but I believe in putting on something suitable on me, that will present me as a responsible woman from a good home and married to a responsible husband. I love looking good 24/7. I go for the best and I buy what I know I can maintain and I don’t do things because people are doing it. I wear what makes me look good for my creator and my husband.
What is your favourite fashion trend?
Hmmm! My favourite fashion trend is pretty dresses. I also love buying jewellery. You see, when I go for shopping, I buy my clothes and jewelries in bulk. Before now, I used to run a boutique where I sell cloth, jewellery, bags, wrist watches, shoes among others. So, whenever I travel, I buy what I know I need that will last me for a year. Another thing is that I have girls and I want them to look good just like me.
How do you unwind?
I am a homely person, if am not at the party secretariat or at a function, then I’m home. I love to be in my house, mostly in my bedroom and it will interest you to know that I feel more relaxed in my bedroom.