Mrs Yemisi Busari is Lagos PDP governorship candidate, Mr. Jimi Agbaje’s running mate. Before joining the campaign team, she was a big corporate player. She had built up a solid professional reputation that precedes her. She is also a Lawyer like her handsome husband. In this interview with City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE, this ebony complexioned, soft spoken lady of substance revealed a lot about her life that will shock you.
Let us take you back to your growing up years. Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Lagos, actually at the Island Maternity. My father is from Epe. My mother is from the Lagos Island. I was born here and bred here. I had my Primary School in Lagos. I went to Methodist Girls High School in Lagos for Secondary School. For University education I have been all over Nigeria. I have been to University of Ilorin, to study English I came back to University of Lagos to study Law. I got a Masters in Law at the University of Lagos as well. I then went to Lagos Business School where I did an MBA. So, I was actually born and bred in Lagos and I have lived in Lagos all my life except when I was away in school.
Why did you now choose to go into the Corporate World and not practice as a Lawyer?
I actually went into practice. I am a Lawyer and was in practice for over 10 years before I went into the corporate world. I worked with the firm of Bantley Edu, Irving & Bonner where I was an Associate before I went to the Corporate World.
Why did you go into the Corporate World?
Because I wanted to start to experience the practicals of all the theory I had done while in practice, because in practice I was a Solicitor. I was a Commercial Solicitor and what we do is to advise clients about their business, write options and I actually wanted to see how all the advice I had given to clients in the past actually works out in practice. That is why I went into the corporate world as Head of Legal where I worked.
How did your husband take your decision to go into Politics?
My husband is also a Lawyer. He is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and I think I owe a lot of things I have done in my life to him. My husband is very supportive of me. I don’t know what I would have done without him. That is the truth of the matter. He has always been supportive of me. He believes in me. He allows me to fly. But he is always there to catch me if I stumble. It was a decision that was 200% made by him leading and then me coming behind him. Of course, there is no way this kind of decision will be taken without his permission, if he wasn’t in it 200%. He is fully behind me and he supports me.
At the time you met him were you both Lawyers?
Interestingly, we didn’t meet in the legal fold. We actually met at a religious gathering. And I think it was a function of oh, who is this good looking man? And I think for him too it was also a function of who is this good looking lady? And we got together we talked and of course the rest is history. This must be about 23 to 24 years ago.
Let’s talk about religion. You play an active role in the Islamic fold. How did you develop that aspect of you?
I think I can describe myself as a practising Muslim. I was one of those who founded an organisation called MICA-Movement for Islamic Culture and Awareness. The organisation was founded around 1993 or 1994. My self and a couple of young Moslems came together to found this organisation. And what was the main objective? It was to create a platform, where young professional Muslims could fellowship together and teach themselves about the religion, and grow together in faith about the religion. I was born a Muslim. I have remained a Muslim. I am married to a Muslim man. I am married to a committed Muslim. And I have also raised my children in the faith of Islam.
So how do you juggle all your roles?
I believe that women are very strong people. We are multi-talented. We are multi-skilled. We are the backbone of the home. We are the backbone of the society. Those innate skills and abilities help. Its innate. It’s in us. All you need is to sit down and bring out that strength and abilities to the fore. I have been able to manage through effective planning and making sure you lean on structures. Some people lean on mothers. I don’t have. But I have created other structures and I have put in place a good network of human resources, human capital who can assist me and make sure I am able to function effectively in my role.
What do you have in stock for women in Lagos?
Our plan for women in Lagos is multi-fold. We take women issues serious. I as the Deputy Governor I am female. One policy we plan to implement is when we come into government we would have a situation where for every big contract that is being worked on in Lagos State, Women & The Youth will be given about 10% of the contract. So that we build up Women entrepreneurs and the young people also. So that at the end of the day the women are able to support their families and to make sure that life is good. I have always been an ardent believer of financial independence for women. Thank God my husband is also supportive of that and that is why I have always worked. Women must always have their own financial independence. You must be seen to be doing something. It helps you to support the family. There are other things we plan to do for women.
As you go across the state, campaigning, what has been the message?
The message has been Vote for Jimi Agbaje and I. We can do it. And we are here because we respect Lagosians, because we believe in Lagosians, because we are capable of serving Lagosians. So my message is Vote for Jimi Agbaje & I to build Lagos of our dreams.