- ONDO Women Affairs Commissioner, OMOWUNMI OLATUNJI
She is a seasoned politician who has had a taste of both the legislative and executive arms of government. She was a lawmaker in Lagos State for years before Gov. Akeredolu appointed her a Commissioner in Ondo State. And she is doing so well. Now, this pretty politician has joined the race for Akure North & South federal constituency seat at the House of Reps. Recently, she told City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE her plans. Below are excerpts from the interview.
You are one of those in the race for Akure North & South Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representatives seat?
My name is Omowunmi Olatunji, the current Commissioner for Women Affairs in this state. I am one of the contestants for the position of members of House of Reps to represent Akure North and South Federal constituency. I believe that it’s the time for women to be given the opportunity to showcase their God-given potentials.
I have been a legislator. I have served for 8 years in the House of Assembly and believe that the experience that I have been able to gather over the years and the youthfulness, the zeal, the passion that I brought into politics will go a long way to make the difference that we are looking for. If we talk about change, change is imminent, and it’s something that should reflect across boards.
Currently in my federal constituency, and in Central to be specific, Central senatorial district, we have never had a woman representing us in Abuja. We have never had a woman stepping outside the shores of Ondo State to be the voice of the people. And that is why I feel the time has come for women to step out, and I have made myself a symbol of that change and I am going in, contesting for that seat and I strongly believe that Nigeria needs people like me.
My constituency needs good and visible representation and a voice that cannot be rubbished; a voice that the whole parliament will listen to; a woman of integrity. We need somebody who will not be distracted by the poraphenalia of office. Somebody who will go and discharge the duty of office without fear or favor, someone who will be guided by the tenets of the constitution and the party regulations, so I know I will make that difference, and that is why I’m offering myself to serve.
Why House of Representatives and not Senate?
I started my political journey from the grassroots, I started by aspiring for Councillorship in the year 1999. After I lost 2 appearances as a councillor, I became the party consensus candidate for the House of Assembly. Other frequent elections, I featured and I won twice.
That is what earned me the 8 years of my service in the Lagos State House of Assembly. So I have tasted both the state representation and I believe that there is no harm in stepping forward. So going to Abuja is the next level, I am taking legislature beyond the state to the federal level and I believe in good governance and I know that my little quota can be contributed so that we can have the best of governance.
I strongly believe that I need one or two more experiences at the federal level before I can launch to the pinnacle, because that’s the zenith of my political career in Nigeria aside from vice president or president, but I strongly believe that I can start from House of Representative and there wherever God wants me to go thereafter, that will be according to God’s own orchestration. So, for now I’m settling for House of Representative and I believe that God has equipped me for this assignment and I will make my people very proud.
Akure needs good representation, Akure needs a voice, a good representative and visible representation. I am one person that believes I can do nothing less, my people are my priority. The glory of Akure will continue to shine. Akure will continue to rise and will get better. With my presence in Abuja, I believe developments will come to Akure division and as a whole, and we will be proud that we have sent somebody to be our eye and rallying point for politicians in Akureland.
What will you call your Unique Selling Point as an aspirant?
Akure needs visible representation, because when you have 360 members in the House of rep and then you send somebody who doesn’t know his left from his right, what we have done is a disservice to the good people of Akure. So, if we have intelligent, educated people across the state who are learned, lettered, and then you now want to send somebody to represent them, you now send somebody who does not understand the rudiments of legislature, it is only a disservice and it will be wickedness done to our people.
So I see myself as a material that can stand in that gap. That can represent Akure. A visible representation, that is what Akure needs. And aside from that, it has always been the men, but this time around we want to change the narrative where we believe that a woman too can equally add value. She can make contributions across the country. You will see notable women who have performed excellently well. Even Abike Dabiri, when she was at the parliarment, she m,ade her mark. And many more women like that.
So I don’t see why we cannot make a change, that’s what our slogan is, APC change. It’s high time we made that change we talk about happen in Akure North and South Federal constituency. And I believe strongly that our people deserve the best from government, but if you don’t have a voice, somebody who can attract the dividends of democracy, who can attract infrastructural developments, then we wont be blaming ourselves for making the mistakes we have always been making. So this time around I have stepped out, not just as a woman, I step out as an experienced person who had been in the parliament for 8 years.
I believe that the experience counts in Abuja. And when I get there, I have the network to be able to lobby and convince other parliamentarians on the need to look towards my state. All this because somebode has been built for the job. And I pray that as I desire it, my people equally will take this road and make the right decision, and the righr decision should not be outside Omowunmi. Omowunmi should be a collective and consensus candidate that will go to Abuja to represent Akure north constituency. I want everybody out there to be my godfathers.
I want everybody to be partakers of good governance. I want us to benefit from a positive decision that will transform the entire state. Ondo State deserves very visible represntatives in the Federal House of Representative and that is why I am going to align myself in the cause so that I can complement the effort of our current governor. The governor is doing so well so we need the right people to complement his effort to bring the dividends of democracy to Akure North and South and by extension, Ondo State, and that can only happen when we have the right people in the right place.
You have been in politics for how long now? What has been your experience?
I have been in politics for couple of years now, I started my political pursuit in the year 1999 as a Councillor, and if you look at it from 1999 till date you can find comfortably 2 decades. I have had the experience of many times falling down, losing elections and then one or two wins which had added to my experience about pain and gain and today I am a product of both sweetnes and bitterness of politics.
I have experienced politics of love and hate and today I am a better person, because I have seen the two sides of the divide and I am happy that I have not been deterred , I have not lost focus. My calling as a woman of God has always preceeded everything that I have done and will do. I am glad that I am somebody that believes in the act of God and for me, I do not practice politics of bitterness,
I am not a desperate politician, I don’t see it as the end of my journey. I believe whatever I am is what God wants me to be, and whatever God wants for me, no man can stop it and he will use my enemy for my advantage, and I am happy that even in my pain I have always been seeing the hand of God.
Tell us about your previous experience in Politics in Lagos and now Ondo?
When I lost my 3rd term bid, coming to Ondo State wasn’t a pleasant one. But I thank God that my home received me and I was fully integrated in the system. And I found myself eligible for most vibrant positions and today, serving as a Commissioner is something that I see as privilege. I will never take lightly what God has done for me in this state, and I do appreciate the people for their large-heartedness.
I love them and I always say, for this kind of honour, given to me, it will never be taken for granted, I will always give them my best anytime I have the opportunity to serve. It has always been an exciting experience for me. Politics from 1999 till date has been wonderful. I have tasted politics even when I was so naïve and inexperienced. I found myself being able to weather the storm and in so doing I can stand tall to say that I have been properly trained, equipped, and seasoned and I know that for Nigeria to have a great product like this, especially Ondo State. I am happy and I am proud to be a female voice, an outstanding and a privileged voice among the female folks, I bless God.