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Only an understanding man can marry a politician - Hon. Adijat Adeleye-Oladapo

Honorable Adijat Adeleye-Oladapo is the Lawmaker representing Ifo II Constituency in Ogun State House of Assembly.

In an interview with Tayo Gesinde, the Chairman Committee on House Services who was once a thrift collector speaks on her rise from grass to grace, her sojourn in politics, how she has been combining her career with the homefront, among other issues.

Having come this far, what would you say was or driving force?
It is God. Some people would say hardwork or perseverance, but these come after God.
I know there are some people out there who are more hardworking than I am but have not recorded much success like I do today. I know what and where I wanted to be, the dedication, vision and focus were there. But even with all these, the Bible says "it is not of him that runneth...."You can make efforts but it’s  God who  crowns  them with success. So, wherever I am today is as a reult of the help of no other than  God.

Did you ever think you would become a politician?
No, but  I knew I would be successful. But then, I never thought that this was the way God would  make me great. He has His own way  of doing things and He said it in the Bible that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not  our thoughts.While some people refer to you as the Iron Lady of Ogun Assembly, to others, you are    an accommodating person.

Continue after the cut below

Who is  Hon Adijat Adeleye-Oladapo?
 Some people  asked me that same question at the Abeokuta Sports Club of which I’m a member. I told them when it’s  time to work, I work hard, when it’s time to play, I play and when it’s  time to party, I party hard. I give everything to my job, which is why some people believe  I’m  stubborn. It’s   simply because I’m  principled and  know what my people want and do not relent until I get  these delivered.  So, the persistence is there and this at times sort of put me at loggerhead  with the executive in the House. But when I’m  out of the House of  Assembly and not  on  official duty, I become Adijat. When I’m outside the four corners of the House complex, I try as much as possible to be me.

Any reason for this?
It’s easy allowing the little  success  one has  recorded  get into one’s head.  I believe I still have a long way to go and I have not even started yet. With this at the back of my mind, I try as much as possible to be humble and  live an  easy life.

Would you say it was politics which  brought out the activist in you?
 I have always had  passion for people. So whenever  it’s time to fight for the rights of the people, the activist in me comes out. I can’t hide it. When you dig out diamond from the ground and  is left unpolished, people won’t value it.  Politics brought out the activist in me. 2015 is round the corner and the   number of  women who  have  signified  their intentions to contest  elective posts during the elections can be regarded as insignificant.

Do you think Nigerian women should still  remain at the level of  seeking appointive positions?
Nigerian women are  making efforts but we are yet to  get there. Women are not empowered  economically like men and this is militating against us. It’s also  unfortunate that women don’t have godmothers. I know some women  who are wealthy enough to sponsor  women for the post of  governors but these are not just interested  in politics.

As a wife and mother, are you not worried about the violence now associated with politics in Ogun State?
Any sane person will be  I am worried because we believed that by now, Nigerian politics should have gone beyond this level. It makes one jittery that if things are like this now, what will  2015  look  like? But then, I want to believe that the security operatives are up to the task and we are hopeful that before then,  peace would have been restored.

Why do you think the APC leadership has been finding it difficult to find a common ground  in Ogun State?
Well, if you look at how APC emerged, in the past it was two different parties that came together. ACN was majorly limited to the South-West, while ANPP had its catchment area in the North. Now, these two parties came together with some other parties to form APC, definitely the headache is more. Definitely there would be challenges. Some people were there before and others are just coming in and they believe they can do it better. Even  some  of those who were there before now believe  they had not got what was due to them. So, definitely there would be issues, but I believe the leaders will soon find a lasting solution to the crisis.

How have you been combining your role as a wife and mother?
It has not been easy and that is why some female politicians are separated from their husbands because it takes a lot for a   man to allow his wife to go into politics. Someone like me is not just a politician but a public office holder. So, it takes a strong-minded man to be married to us because we don’t really have the time. We have to be at the office, attend public functions and meetings.  My  home is in Akute, a town  between Lagos and Ogun  StateS and the House of Assembly is in Abeokuta, Ogun State.  I had to leave my husband and children in Akute and stay in Abeokuta. And that is the reason my children are in the boarding house. There  were  times I couldn’t go home at weekends because I had to attend meetings. All men who are married to female political office holders, whether elective or appointive, should be given kudos. As human beings, they are bound to complain once in a while. Sometimes, my husband will call me and say ‘Madam, I hope you know you left someone at home, I am missing you.’ But he says it lovingly. I say ‘thank you’ to him for being supportive and understanding.

You look  beautiful. What is the secret?
It’s  God.  When you have God, you have the assurance that things will sort themselves out and so    you have  fewer things to worry about.  Even though human  needs are insatiable, I try to remain calm because I believe what will be will be, you can’t help God. I therefore  try as much as possible to be contented with whatever I have.

Sense of style?
I believe in simplicity. I don’t care about what is in vogue, I believe in what suits me. I also believe in putting  on  something that  makes me comfortable and that’s why you won’t see me in some  particular clothes or shoes. Ordinarily, I am a jean and T shirt person because I want to wear something that if  I need to  jump on a  bike, I won’t have a problem. But when I am coming to the office, I dress formally. I  dress to suit the ocassion.  But then, I can never have enough of  shoes.

Your beauty regimen?
I do my facials once a month. I have an oily face and so exfoliate. I use Black Up beauty products.  At night, I  don’t  go to bed without cleansing my face no matter how tired I am.

How do you relax?
I watch movies. I’m a fan of Nollywood, I watch movies a lot. I used to read a lot but now I prefer watching movies. When I feel stressed up, I calm myself down by watching  movies.

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