FORMER deputy governor of Ekiti State and senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, Mrs Abiodun Olujimi was spotted at a social function in Abuja recently. Smartly dressed in a flowing purple satin sequined evening dress, the amiable politician was with her female friends to grace the occasion. Before her journey into politics, Olujimi worked at different times with the Nigerian Tribune, Nigerian Post and Telecommunication Plc, Nigerian Television Authority, Delta Steel Company Ovwian, Aladja, Reflex Concept and DBN Television. Today she’s a politician of note. She is strong, bold and known for original thinking,courage and persistence in her drive to ensure government impacts the grassroots.
She spoke with Sunday Sun about her experience as senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and lots more. Excerpts:
By Christy Anyanwu
YOU’VE been in government all this while but being a senator is a different ballgame. How is life now?
We thank God. It’s not been easy, but it’s not been bad.
I have been very lucky. I became a principal officer but it’s plenty of work and we are up to it because the name of the game is hard work and we will work hard to ensure that our people get the dividends of democracy.
You sponsored a bill recently and it was rejected. How do you feel?
That bill was rejected but we thank God it was rejected. Its rejection elicited the interest of international bodies.
We have dusted it up, it’s now the Freedom Bill. It’s been with us since 1985 but it’s been difficult to domesticate it, because it gives 35 percent Affirmative Action to women at all levels and even to little girls regarding enrolment in schools.
It also ensures that a woman is a woman, no one can molest her, violate her, marry her without her consent and so, it makes life easy for us and we can have all of our issues encapsulated in one Act.
A woman can say “I’m a woman, you cannot do this to me because I’m a woman.”
We’ve reintroduced it and we believe in the next two weeks it will go back to the Senate.
We have done enough advocacy, and we believe it would sail through.
What has life taught you?
Life has taught me to take everything easy and to depend only on God and His love and mercy because almost all the things I planned for, longed for, worked hard for, strategized for never count.
The ones I didn’t bother about came my way. Someone, somewhere would just say come, let’s see if you can do this well and it also means that whatever you do, you must work very hard.
If you work hard, you think people will not notice but people are watching and when they see that you are capable of holding the fort, they will give you responsibility and I thank God that’s my experience.
I pray that everyone who is also like that will be able to reap the benefits from God in their lives.
Now that you are based in Abuja, how do you spend your day?
The Senate takes all my day. I get there about 9am, we hold meetings and I don’t leave until about 6pm and after 6pm there are other meetings.
I just try to get to my shops to ensure that business is running well because you see, there’s no money in the Senate.
You need to do something by the side to be able to live well.
I’m hearing for the first time that there’s no money in the Senate.Really?
Yes, but that’s the truth, because what you get is a running imprest for the various offices and then your salary.
What can it do? It can’t do so much. You need another income. For me, I’ve always run shops and I still run them because that’s where the little extra money I spend come from.
What kind of business do you do?
Well, I sell interior décor and also lace in Ekiti.
I have one shop at Banex and Berger Paint Plaza.
Can you tell us about your journey into politics?
I began my political career in 1997 as the National Publicity Secretary of the now defunct NCPN.
Upon the dissolution of NCPN, I joined the All Peoples Congress and eventually became the National Publicity Secretary.
Then I joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2002. I was appointed Special Assistant to the Executive Governor of Ekiti State in 2003 and was later elected to the Federal House of Representatives.
In 2005, I became the deputy governor of Ekiti State under Governor Ayo Fayose.
Subsequently, I became Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure in Ekiti State under Governor Segun Oni as well as Director of Women Affairs, Goodluck-Sambo Campaign Organization during the 2011 General Election.
I was nominated onto the Board of the NCC by his excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in late 2011.
How do you relax?
Like once in a while I come to parties like this but most of the time I’m at home with my children and grandchildren.
You look good, I almost didn’t recognize you. Could you tell us the secret?
When you work hard, you can’t put on weight, you will just be yourself. The first thing is contentment.
When you are contented and you are happy with your situation, you look good.
What about fashion-wise, what do you like to wear?
I wear anything that suits me. I wear plenty of trousers, anything that suits my physique and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
What’s important is my carriage and the way I wear them.
What’s your favourite food?
I eat anything.
I’m not forcy at all about food. I eat anything.
I like pounded yam but it makes me sleep so I don’t eat plenty of pounded yam.
Where’s your favourite holiday spot?
I love Asia because it’s different from Europe and America.
I go frequently to Asian countries, especially Malaysia.