Andrea Odu-obi Teke is an On Air Personality highly regarded in the city of Ibadan for her unique voice and effervescent demeanor. Her Night Show on Thirty-two Fm 94.9 was one of the most listened-to shows on radio in Ibadan. In this interview with Victor Alagogooko she bare her mind on her experiences in Ibadan and why she left Thirty-two FM.
Ibcity Announcer: Give us a sneak peek into who Andre is?
Andre: Andre is a media personality both Radio and Television with over 5 year experience. A voice actor of repute, writer, storyteller and public speaker also she is very passionate about the wellbeing of the Africa child
Ibcity Announcer: How did you get the moniker “Humming Bird”?
Andre: (laughs) Interesting question. Well a certain day, two listeners called in while two others sent text messages and the names they referred to me as was the Humming bird. I am not one who likes nicknames so at first I refused it. When I noticed it became consistent then I throw out an open poll asking if I should adopt the name and majority said yes. I looked up the significance of the Humming Bird and it was the exact energy I give out on the air so that’s how the name came about.
Ibcity Announcer: What in your childhood prepared you for the media?
Andre: Hmmm, a lot did. I was part of the Debating and Literary club in school; I was also the social prefect in my senior year. I was also chosen as the presenter of a TV show our school was hosting back in the day. So yeah, a lot did.
Ibcity Announcer: Tell us about your journey to Thirty-two fm?
Andre: (Laughs), I was poached from my previous station (winks) I worked with Royal Roots R2 92.9 fm.
Ibcity Announcer: How would you describe your experience working with Thirty-two fm?
Andre: Working with Thirty-two Fm was Awesome! At first I wasn’t so pleased hosting the night show but truth is, I found purpose doing that show.
Ibcity Announcer: so why did you leave thirty-two Fm?
Andre: Because it was time to.
Ibcity Announcer: You got married recently. Congratulations. Has marriage changed you in any way?
Andre: Oh thanks. Marriage is a beautiful thing but I won’t say it has changed me I would say it has taught me patience.
Ibcity Announcer: Did this new status influence your decision to quit thirty-two Fm and Ibadan?
Andre: Yeah. Majorly.
Ibcity Announcer: As a darling on Air, many persons run over themselves to call whenever you are on Air. Does this make your husband jealous in anyway?
Andre: (laughter) He is also a darling on Air (oh my gosh, have you heard his voice) he is in the same industry, he knows the job so well and he knows his woman so well.
Ibcity Announcer: When you announced your departure. Many called in, so emotional and teary. Did it give you a second thought about leaving?
Andre: Oh yes it did, It was emotional for me too.
Ibcity Announcer: what was your most memorable moment on Air?
Andre: The day a man was about to commit suicide and I got so exhausted trying to talk him out of it and the good part was months later he called back on the show to tell me he had a change of mind the words I spoke to him gave life and hope I would never forget that day.
Ibcity Announcer: Did you have low moment on Air as well?
Andre: I don’t think I have any.
Ibcity Announcer: Has anyone (caller) made you feel embarrassed while on air?
Andre: Nah None
Ibcity Announcer: You recently ventured into TV anchoring educational shows. Is that where we shall be having more of you now?
Andre: Well, not exactly, at the same time let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Ibcity Announcer: What has been your experience in Ibadan?
Andre: Ibadan is a beautiful, calm city. It is a place for a freshman to thrive, discover more of themselves. It is actually a pacesetting city for a freshman. By a freshman I mean someone who is beginning a career. It gives enough room to set the pace for a career.
Ibcity Announcer: Where is your favourite hangout spot?
Andre: Up the Mokola Hill (Premier Hotel). I know it is not your (winks) regular place right? My man and I would go there almost every night to cool off from 9pm till 1am by the pool side just sitting and chatting about random things. I would really miss that.
Ibcity Announcer: What will you miss about Ibadan?
Andre: Its serenity
Ibcity Announcer: Where will you recommend for anyone to visit in Ibadan for a nice experience?
Andre: Now there are a lot of places that I have been to. Though I don’t really hangout a lot as I do much of indoor reading but when I feel like it, I visit the Filmhouse cinema and Agodi gardens
For tourists, I will recommend; The Bowers Towers, Mapo Hall, the palace of the Olubadan of Ibadan land and some other interior parts of Ibadan.
Ibcity Announcer: Where is your favourite restaurant?
Andre: Well, I eat out only when I cannot cook that particular food I am craving and in Ibadan they make the best Amala (Abula is my favourite). So, I visit Amala Skye.
Ibcity Announcer: You have it all, a beautiful face, a charming smile, an infectious laugh, an amazing voice and a cerebral mind. What will you consider as your best attribute?
Andre: My laugh is my signature!!! It is underneath my vice. It is in the sound of my voice acting when you hear the sound of the laughter its Andre (smiles). However, my voice is also a huge selling point (winks)
Ropo Ewenla is the deputy Media Director at the University of Ibadan. He is an Actor, a political and cultural activist. In this interview with Victor Alagogooko, he bares his mind on the socio-political situation of the country as we approach the 2019 elections and the erosion of traditional culture and values.
Ibcity Announcer: You are many things to different people, Writer, Actor, Teacher, Activist and so on. Who is Ropo Ewenla? Ropo Ewenla: I have not always been an actor. I started up working as a human right activist. I started my activism career as a member of staff of the Committee for the Defense of Human Right; an organization to which I have been a member before I became an employee. That was in the days of civil right uprising against military dictatorship. Along the line, I have had to encounter and interact and interrogate and advocate for culture, especially the Yoruba people. I have some sting with the Committer for Relevant Art (CORA) now known as CORA foundation in various capacity and the management board, right now am a member of the board of the Committee for Relevant Art. Right now I am the Secretary General of the PEN Nigeria. PEN is the oldest writer body in the world comprising over 170 countries in the world until last two years I was the Secretary General. I acted mostly on stage, a lot of people got to know me as an actor when I did one or two television stints. But I have been doing stage since when we were in the university at the Obafemi Awolowo University. Let me also remind you that I was then chairman, student union caretaker committee at the Obafemi Awolowo University and also a former president of the National Association of Nigerian Students. So that is more like a collage on who Ropo Ewenla is.
We are not going anywhere politically and culturally once we disengage from our own culture. We are not likely to make head way.
Ibcity Announcer: How was this experience confronting the military regime as an Activist?
Ropo Ewenla: It is better experienced than imagined. We were younger, full of ideas; passionate about the direction in which Nigeria is going. We did certain things without caution, because we believed that the love of Nigeria is greater than anything. That was also fashionable for the military government to factionalize the student body, so we were known then as the faction that was on the side of the pro-democracy activists. There were things that other people could do that were difficult for students of the union. Others had vehicles, we didn’t have vehicles. We hopped from bus to bus, we went to preach inside molue in Lagos, and we printed leaflets like evangelist proselytizing, like local pharmaceutical peddler who go inside buses. ASUU will be on strike and we would use the time to hop from Ebute meta to Iyana Ipaja in molue buses, preaching and distributing leaflets that we raised money on our own to print. We travelled incognito; many of us were arrested several times, locked up charged to court sometimes on charges that were not founded. Irrespective of whether the charged were founded or not some of us still found ourselves in prison. Because the system felt that there was a need to teach us a lesson. But we continued until we were able to chase the military out. But unfortunately we have not been able to achieve the democracy of our dream. And we hope that one day just like some people handed over to us we will have a couple of young people who can also continue
We hopped from bus to bus, we went to preach inside molue in Lagos, and we printed leaflets like evangelist proselytizing, like local pharmaceutical peddler who go inside buses. ASUU will be on strike and we would use the time to hop from Ebute meta to Iyana Ipaja in molue buses, preaching and distributing leaflets that we raised money on our own to print.
Ibcity Announcer: Do you feel a sense of accomplishment considering the present crop of activist at the student union level? Ropo Ewenla: There is very little that I will say to blame them because the society gets the kind of leaders it deserves especially a society that does not consciously and actively work towards achieving certain positive goal. it doesn’t happen by accident except for those who believe in miracles. And in that field miracles don’t happen. When you get to the political field, hardly do miracles happen. You have to be hardworking and steadfast. You have a system here where, the natural means and platforms through which these younger people will have shaped their political and ideological tentacles are not there. There is a concerted effort to make sure that our young people in various institutions are the most docile, we do not encourage them to ask questions. We do not believe that they can challenge our authorities, the few once who are bold enough to challenge the authorities are smashed and when they are so smashed; there is no adjoining faculty that can rise to their defense. I won’t say that we just became who we were by virtue of the fact that that was what we wanted to be. We had people who were willing to correct us when we made mistakes. We had people to correct us. Even when through our exuberance take certain step that might not be politically correct. We were allowed to take their mistakes. There is no system now that is even allowing those young people to make their own mistakes. They are not allowed to speak whether what they want to say is right or wrong, they are given space in the political and administrative mechanism of institutions that are around. When we were in NANS we believed in a NANS charter which out of many other things, insisted that students should be part of the admin of any higher institution. The only reason why the institutions are set up in the first place is because the students are there. If the students are not there, institutions will not hold. And this is one of the means through which we can help the students to observe to learn just by watching you do things and to also begin to develop a critical mind of their own, to have a sense of responsibility. When you set up committee in institutions even in secondary schools, and you involve students there is a way it prepares them for positions of responsibility and leadership in the future. But now we want them to just come in, see things go wrong and not being able to challenge these things and we want them to transform the society. We are joking.
There is a concerted effort to make sure that our young people in various institutions are the most docile, we do not encourage them to ask questions. We do not believe that they can challenge our authorities, the few once who are bold enough to challenge the authorities are smashed and when they are so smashed; there is no adjoining faculty that can rise to their defense.
Ibcity Announcer: Why are you not into politics despite your background in activism? Ropo Ewenla: Everything is political. A stylist may be more political than an unconscionable vociferous. What we want to term politics is a defined activity that change thought scape, the thinking scape of a large majority of people such that the society can advance. It may not necessarily mean joining political parties that you have no faith in. I belong to a political group that does not necessarily subscribe to all the shenanigans going on.so I am not personally convinced that the only way to participate in politics is to join them if you cannot beat them. In my own political organization might not have grown and developed to a level where you can see them out there. But perhaps you could ask yourself that the only substance to what they are doing is they are political groups that have no roots. They are like parasites of the political landscape. They are jobbers. A lot of them are looking for relevance, trying to solve a basic existential problem of what to eat and what to wear. What have they done to educations with the number of years of democracy? How many times have ASSU and ASUP gone on strike. The same reasons they were going on strike when the military were there. You think I should have joined those people who are all moving around in one small circle. I do not see myself as belonging to such political groups or parties.
We need political parties that identify first of all the socio-political ideology that is clear about what its role will be in the lives of the people of Nigeria; Parties that can demonstrate unflinching commitment to that in the face of any other thing.
Do you know what they say of the bamboo tree? It not the year it is planted that it germinates, it keep growing deep down, building roots. But these ones, they don’t have a root. Because, before you wink your eyes…right now we have 91 political parties, they say it is good for democracy, but it is shame on our collective intellect. Are we that confused/ give me the shade of ideology separating ten out of those 91 political parties? They are just six and half a dozen. They are all one and the same. This is not the kind of politics that will move us out of where we are. We need political parties that identify first of all the socio-political ideology that is clear about what its role will be in the lives of the people of Nigeria; Parties that can demonstrate unflinching commitment to that in the face of any other thing. Even in liberal democracies like the United States, we still have families who from generation to generation, you can say this is a Republican, or a democrat family. But you don’t have that here.
Ibcity Announcer: Are you also a cultural activist? Ropo Ewenla: Yes. Am very much am.
But perhaps you could ask yourself that the only substance to what they are doing is they are political groups that have no roots. They are like parasites of the political landscape. They are jobbers. A lot of them are looking for relevance, trying to solve a basic existential problem of what to eat and what to wear.
Ibcity Announcer: Why so. Why the transition from political activism to cultural activism? Ropo Ewenla: Well, there is no transition as a matter of fact, the same errors that political elites make is what is responsible for asking me that question. The best way to get a people to listen to you is to speak in a language that they understand. And that is culture. What is culture? Culture is not rooted in the way they did things in 1914 or 18th century. It takes cognizance of that but it is also in constant motion. So, part of today’s culture that I am also involve in is the hip hop culture, because I must understand it, otherwise I won’t be able to speak to people twenty years my junior I won’t even be able to listen to what they are saying. So when they do their rapping and singing, I listen attentively. This is despite the fact that I still want to listen to Ogundare Foyanmu, Alabi Ogundepo, I also want to listen to Olamide, I want to know what is going on between Simi and Gold. This is because they are the future. So to be a cultural activist also means that you have to exhibit cultural dynamism. You have to be ready and attentive to receive what is good from different perspectives.
Culture is not rooted in the way they did things in 1914 or 18th century. It takes cognizance of that but it is also in constant motion. So, part of today’s culture that I am also involve in is the hip hop culture, because I must understand it, otherwise I won’t be able to speak to people twenty years my junior I won’t even be able to listen to what they are saying.
There are things that we are doing now that I myself will use the knowledge that I have to see that ‘this will not go’.it is not just to say that everything goes in the name of culture being in constant motion. But, we are going to define our culture as being in constant motion as Yoruba people. So you are coming from the traditional bureau, the likes of Odolaye Aremu, Duro Ladipo or those who are even older than them and then you are trying to find the connection between those ones and the stage activists of those days such as Kunle Afolayan who is also doing things in different ways like 9ice, Asa, so it is a mix. Some wonder when they see me writing about hip hop or singing. They wonder, but that is because they don’t understand it when you say there is a transition between political activism and cultural activism. I don’t see a difference. One would assist the other. If I do not understand your culture why should I want to determine your politics or interpret your politics? This is because politics is an integral part of culture. We say culture is the total way of doing things which include the way in which we run our system.
But these ones, (political parties) they don’t have a root. Because, before you wink your eyes…right now we have 91 political parties, they say it is good for democracy, but it is shame on our collective intellect. Are we that confused? Give me the shade of ideology separating ten out of those 91 political parties?
What is our judicial system like? How do you compare that to what we have now. What is the sense in having judges in this land and clime, who wear black in courts that are not air conditioned? Where there is even no electricity to power fans and they wear that heavy wig. Is that not plain stupidity? Our fathers judged, they didn’t have to wear these things. But we as a people we have refused to realize that we can be independent. So if we are not culturally independent, how can we be politically independent?
9ice decided to do Hip hop, but hip hop in our Nigerian way. Dagrin decide to do Rap but in Yoruba way. Olamide also decides to do Rap not just in Yoruba way but in the street/bariga way and that is what stands him out. At different times when young people understands their culture and apply their culture to their art, it is because it is integral. It is what flows in their veins. It is very little effort that they will put into it. These artistes are the ones who do their things effortlessly, and people just embrace them.
As young as I was then I knew I was not going to bear an English name though I didn’t know much about Yoruba culture as I know now but I was culturally conscious.
Ibcity Announcer: You do most of your posts on Social media in Yoruba. Why do you not translate these posts for easy understanding? Ropo Ewenla: I do not want to. First I want to challenge people to read it in its original form and understand it in the original. Those who may desire an interpretation should do there research or look for interpreters. I also did my research to find those things. There are things I did not know about ten years ago. So I don’t want to do the lazy man’s post. From some of the comments I follow, some of them interpret it. Where there is a deadlock, I try to come in. but I also want to challenge other people on the thread to say oh! You don’t know it, This is what it means. I also do that on other peoples thread, unless there is a misinterpretation. So, let’s tease our brain, let us call our Moms and Dads to explain things to us. There is a priest, Stephen Ofonikot who follows me, he writes his comments in Yoruba with the marks. He is not a native speaker. When he doesn’t understand what I post he side chats me and I explain it to him. He is even close to 60 years of age.
Despite the fact that I still want to listen to Ogundare Foyanmu, Alabi Ogundepo, I also want to listen to Olamide, I also want to know what is going on between Simi and Gold. This is because they are the future.
Ibcity Announcer: There is a growing appeal among millennials to forgo the Yoruba language amid the quest to belong. What is responsible for this? Ropo Ewenla: It is insane. It is pure madness. It is a kind of collective hysteria that leads nowhere but an abyss. We are more or less a doomed people. Doomed as in we are finished. This is largely because we have irresponsible elite, the Yoruba elite especially. They are unconscious of their responsibility to the culture and the tradition. Cultures are encoded in certain basic things, before western literacy, in our songs and our tales. To remind ourselves of whom we are. What should be our values, where we should not step beyond? What defines us? Those things are captured in our tales and in our songs in the festivals that we celebrate. The festivals are not there anymore and people pretend that it doesn’t matter. When the festivals happen in the village, the elites, the people will be in the cities. There is no sense of commitment because they don’t see the values. That is why their children will rather go to see Father Christmas and say Egungun is Evil. Our Fathers say Egungun are the spirits of our dead ancestors. Father Christmas comes from heaven every year. Our Egungun speaks in guttural; Father Christmas speaks in a disguised voice. They take away our own Egungun and they gave us their own Egungun. Our children will line up see Father Christmas.
Today the BBC has a Yoruba channel. This shows that our heads have gone off its normal place. We will tune in to BBC to hear Yoruba and I am sure that they will make sure that their won Yoruba presenters are well trained.
How many new Yoruba novels have you encountered in the last 10 years? Who are the writers of the language? How many radio stations are promoting Yoruba literature how many of them have presenters speaking Yoruba very well. Some of them can’t pronounce Yoruba names. But we have elites who can set up radio stations but cannot set up language training for those people.
Today, as a film maker, if you go to DSTV and say you made a cultural film, they will reject it. That is because we don’t own it, we can’t determine what we are going to do there. If you do Ogun and Sango legend tale, they will say they don’t want it.
Today the BBC has a Yoruba channel. This shows that our heads have gone off its normal place. We will tune in to BBC to hear Yoruba and I am sure that they will make sure that their won Yoruba presenters are well trained. There are more private radio stations in Ibadan now than we had at a time in Nigeria. In the whole of Nigeria we never had more than Six (6) at a time. Apart from radio Nigeria few other states have their own broadcasting corporation. So what are these radio stations doing for the language. Or how else do we preserve our culture in the age of technology. When we didn’t have technology, our forefathers did promote the language. Today, as a film maker, if you go to DSTV and say you made a cultural film, they will reject it. That is because we don’t own it, we can’t determine what we are going to do there. If you do Ogun and Sango legend tale, they will say they don’t want it. And none of our elites can rise up to say what can we do change this narrative.
The cinemas we use to have, have all become churches. They are places where Pentecostal churches have taken over. So we don’t have elite that can rise up to the challenge and provide the platform for filmmakers and promote the language and culture. How many Yoruba films do they slate in our cinemas here in Ibadan? So we end up watching films made in English about Yoruba people. When you know that these people are putting on Agbada and Esiki but they are speaking English. They actually speak Yoruba but you are hearing them in English. Nature abhors vacuum. If our children don’t have anything to guide them, they will lash on to anything because they can’t continue to be tabula rasa. If we refuse to write on the minds of our children, other people will write on it. What they watch on TV and what they do on their phones has no connection with our culture, why won’t there be that gulf between whom we are and who we are likely to be in the future. Americans send their children to come and learn our language here in Nigeria. They even learn how to beat the talking drum.
Nature abhors vacuum. If our children don’t have anything to guide them, they will lash on to anything because they can’t continue to be tabula rasa. If we refuse to write on the minds of our children, other people will write on it
Ibcity Announcer: Do you think the failure of government is responsible for this drive for westernization? Ropo Ewenla: We are not going anywhere politically and culturally once we disengage from our own culture. We are not likely to make head way. Those whose culture we are embracing or those who are midwifing; the Asian are midwifing the western culture. American companies go to Asia to set up companies and we go there to place orders. They are still strong on their culture. They didn’t abandon who they were for what they want to eat. They have a larger population with poverty and unemployment and the American came in to set up companies so as to help them but have they stopped speaking in their own language or have they started importing clothes from other cultures?
In china for instance, their culture determines their political direction. We seem to think that our culture does not matter. Once we think that way. All kinds of political systems will be thrown upon us. How many political systems have we tried by the way? Quite a lot. This is because we have neglected a culture that will show us the direction to go. So, we kept doing a la carte from all over the place.’
We have people sit down in a constituent assembly and say oh, this is what they do in America let’s take part of it. This is because there is no cultural direction.
We use to have a house of chiefs, which meant that those traditional rulers too matter. That is what perhaps we should have improved upon but was abandoned in the name of trying to catch up with the rest of the world. You cannot catch up with the rest of the world if we forget who we are and neglect our culture. There is no Globalization without ‘Glocalization’. That global pot where everyone is eating from, it is some people who brought their local content to that pot. It is when A brings, B brings and D brings, that is when we call it globalization. It is not a miracle. it is contributions of different people, It is collage, it is a mixed art. That is why we call it globalization. If we forget who we are, what are we going to bring to the dining table? If there is a buffet and everyone is supposed to bring something along. You can’t bring what is mine and say you a contributing anything, it will be of no value.
You cannot catch up with the rest of the world if we forget who we are and neglect our culture. There is no Globalization without ‘Glocalization’. That global pot where everyone is eating from, it is some people who brought their local content to that pot. It is when A brings, B brings and D brings, that is when we call it globalization. It is not a miracle.
Nigerian University wants to invest in how to make solar panels; the Chinese have gone beyond that. We are the once who should have started it. Because this is the area of the world where there is much heat. People who are in cold places are making air conditioners. We who need it are not making it. In 2018 we are still stupid enough to export cocoa. How long does it take for the human brain to wake up? In 2018, we are still exporting crude, and then looking for money to import refined products for our own domestic use. We mine raw things and export them; they refine it and sell it back to us at exorbitant prices. In fact it is as if something congenital is wrong with us as a people.
Ibcity Announcer: Are you not buying into the narrative that the black man is infinitely inferior to the white man? Ropo Ewenla: Well, not infinitely inferior. It is not about inferiority complex. There are people who see these things we say but who are just benefitting from it because it benefits them that society does not make progress, not like they don’t make progress. They people buy whole streets in Europe and America from the proceeds of our underdevelopment. So some people are benefitting from our underdevelopment. There are people who are also agents of the larger international ‘underdevelopment’ agencies who claim to be doing things for every one of us. There are cartels that are just interested in our underdevelopment.
Ibcity Anouncer: How do we get out of this quagmire? How do we rework the minds of our people? Ropo Ewenla: Education! Education!! Education!!! Education in different ways. Anybody who has the power or the influence to attract close to ten people to him on a daily basis and doesn’t know how to use that power is a part of the problem. If you are on social media say things in Yoruba. The social media has become a local handle, area where our values are encapsulated and captured for further dissemination. But unfortunately, this age is the age of information but it is also the age where ignorance persists. You have people who ask you questions that they simply could google up. We need to understand the power of social connection that our fathers did not have but which we are not using well enough. I think our churches are using them. They are on radio, TV, facebook etc. But there are no socio-cultural groups that are very vibrant on social media. Before social media, we use to hear of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa, such things can be re-invented. Though there is Egbe Agbasaga. However, one big problem is that no sooner had these platforms been created than the members start posting different irrelevant things.
So these are things at our finger tips to challenge the status quo to ask relevant questions. The quality of questions that we ask determines the quality of answers that we get.
People must also understand that cultural advocacy does means that you must behave like Ogun and Sango. It means that you must be versatile with what pushes your people as a culture so that you can see the connection between this world and that world so that you can see that it is still the same people in motion because no culture is ever static. Even if you are not going to speak in Yoruba, write in Yoruba. Soyinka all his life has always written in Yoruba but you think you are reading English. That is why some people don’t understand his works. The day you read his works in Yoruba, that day you start understanding his writings. Achebe also wrote in Igbo language.
Whenever I leave Lagos behind a kind of peace come on me and when I get to Ibadan, I am like Yes I’m home. There is an atmosphere of relaxation that I enjoy in Ibadan, I don’t enjoy it anywhere else. Ibadan is a lovely place to live.
Ibcity Announcer: Coming to you Sir, How was growing up in Ibadan like? Ropo Ewenla: Growing up in Ibadan was fun at least until I gained admission to the university. My life was majorly lived between Iyaganku and Apata. At that time it became impossible for me to imagine living anywhere apart from Ibadan. Although after leaving university; I had my first degree in Ife and my second degree in Ibadan. I went to stay in Lagos. I stayed at Agbado Ijaye which is very far from Lagos metropolis. Whenever I leave Lagos behind a kind of peace come on me and when I get to Ibadan, I am like Yes I’m home. There is an atmosphere of relaxation that I enjoy in Ibadan, I don’t enjoy it anywhere else. Ibadan is a lovely place to live.
Ibcity Announcer: How close are to Prof Wole Soyinka?
Ropo Ewenla: we have worked together in couple of times. Art brought us together. I have been in one or two of his plays. Ibcity Announcer: You speak a lot like Wole Soyinka Ropo Ewenla: Before I ever met him (Wole Soyinka) personally someone called my attention to the fact that I speak like him. This has also helped me because there are some of his characters that I have played, having some of his centrism. Each time I had to interpret those characters, it has come to me naturally because that is more like the way I also speak. Ibcity Announcer: As an actor and dramatist, how many plays have you acted in? Ropo Ewenla: To be sincere, I can’t count. For instance, I have done Death and the Kings horsemen, at three different times (different roles). I have played in Ben Tomoloju’s Kongi’s harvest and Jankariwo written by Ben Tomoloju himself. Yepa! Solarin nbo, on stage and also on TV. Ireke Onibudo adaptation for stage directed by Tunde Awosanmi, adapted for stage by Femi Osofisan. I have been in chattering and the Sun by Femi Osofisan, The Engagement; Trials of Bro Jero; Jero’s Metamorphosis. Ola Rotimi’ Man Talk Woman Talk.
Nigerians Don’t Need These “Loaves Of Bread And Five Thousand Naira Vote Buying” Type Of Politics.- Dr Pogoson
Dr Irene Pogoson, Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan is the first female lecturer at the department. She is a scholar of many feathers. She has been Research Fellow and Administrative Secretary of the defunct Presidential Panel on Nigeria’s History since Independence and a Policy Analyst with the Independent Policy Group, a Policy Think -Tank to President Olusegun Obasanjo. She was on the Ibrahim Index Advisory Council of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) of the MO Ibrahim Foundation. She is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). She is a consultant and an advocate of Women empowerment and participation in politics. In this Interview with Victor Alagogooko, She lays bare her opinion about Nigeria’s political space especially as it concerns women in politics and the challenges they face even as we approach the 2019 general elections.
Ibcity Announcer: Kindly tell us more about yourself Ma?
Dr Pogoson: I am Irene Pogoson of the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan where I teach. My areas of interest are International Politics, with particular focus on Foreign Policy Analysis and Strategic Studies, Governance Issues and Gender Studies.
Ibcity Announcer: You are the first female lecturer at the department, what motivated you to study Political Science and venture into academics?
I was actually born and raised on campus. I think part of my socialization as a child on campus has been an atmosphere of being in academia. So let me say it was part of my being. Somehow I have always wanted to be part of research and this environment. My first degree was in history. That was because back then I didn’t know much about Political science. After my A levels at the International School at the University of Ibadan, I remember putting history as my Jamb course and I got admitted for history. I love the subject but somehow I developed a greater interest in more contemporary issues. As an undergraduate student in the history department, I found out that I had a leaning more towards issues that have to do with foreign history. So I thought international relations could be a course to study for a Masters degree. But here in UI we don’t have a department of International Relations; we have the Department of Political Science that has International Relations as one of the major unit. Thus I applied for the Masters in Political Science with specialization in international relations. It wasn’t as though I had that burning desire to be a Political scientist, well like I said I wanted to study international relations and I was very comfortable having a Masters degree in Political Science.
After my first degree and youth service, I was opportune to start work on project called the Presidential Panel on Nigeria since independence history project. It was chaired by Prof. Tekena Tamuno, and had quite a number of eminent Nigerians on the panel. We actually produced what has turned out to be a significant encyclopedia as it were on the history of Nigeria in its first 25 years. So I guess part of my learning process in research had to do with my experience with the history panel. I was with them for quite a number of years. I was given time to do my masters then returned to continue working. I did my Ph.D, still with them. I was very much involved in the research that the panel conducted. When the panel was about to fold up due to lack of funding in 2000, I came to the department to find out if there was need for my service. Lucky enough for me I was employed. Coincidentally, I was the first female to be employed in the history of the department. I joined the department in the year 2000. Since then Dr Bukky Adeshina has also joined. Hopefully as opportunity becomes more available more females would join in.
Ibcity Announcer: How does it feel working in a male dominated environment?
Dr Pogoson: Well, I don’t actually see myself as working in a male dominated environment
Ibcity Announcer: (Cuts in) did you feel intimidated?
I have never in my life felt intimidated by anybody. I was raised by a father who had four girls and two boys and he raised us as individuals. He raised us with that sense of self worth; that you are a person first before your sex and he never differentiated amongst us in gender roles. For instance, if he needed you to wash his car, he will ask you to do that. He gave equal opportunity to all of us. So, I was happy to get the job and I fitted into the department because I had also studied in the department and quite a number of our senior colleagues then were my lecturers. Sincerely, I didn’t feel intimidated and they did not set out to intimidate me either. Were there challenges? Yes, that of being a woman with several roles, several lives. Moreso, I cannot be intimidated because I also married a man who values his wife, who loves his wife and has given his wife that space to grow to actualize myself, to have a voice, and to be an individual and that is the same way we have raised our girls. So I was never intimidated in anyway. However, there are challenges; challenges of being a mother, being a wife, and working in our kind of environment where you needed to do things as at when due, so as to be able to get your promotions and others. And so you learn to work round those challenges as a woman to make sure you balance your “lives”; a wife, as a person, as a mum, as a lecturer, as researcher and as a consultant, because I also consult for quite a number of organizations.
Women are on the move, and when you are on the move you have to balance your life. And be sure that the scale is not unfavourably tilted towards any of your lives. It is not easy. For instance I always tell my PhD female students that I learnt how to read, work through the night when my husband observed that my PhD program was going on for too long and I had to resolve to finish the program. So when the household had gone to bed, I sat up and I started to work. That is my life experience which I use to encourage my female PhD students who want to use the excuse of their husbands, children, jobs and other challenges as reasons for prolonging their research. I say to them: learn to balance your lives.
Women are on the move, and when you are on the move you have to balance your life. And be sure that the scale is not unfavorably tilted towards any of your lives.
Ibcity Announcer: As political scientist and an interface between the town and the gown. What is your impression of the Political climate and sphere in Nigeria?
Dr Pogoson: My major impression is that we lack the appropriate political culture that epitomizes people’s view of the political system as a whole and their belief in its legitimacy. The political space lacks the appropriate political culture. A culture that is needed to drive the space; to occupy the space for the people and not for individuals. I am not even talking about ideologies now but socialization within the political realm that should construct and engender a culture, whereby a set of shared views and normative judgments- attitudes and practices held by our people that shapes their political behavior are established. It includes moral judgments, political myths, beliefs, and ideas about what makes for a good society. A political culture is not only a reflection of a government; it also incorporates elements of history and tradition that may predate the existing regime. Such political cultures matter because they shape a population’s political perceptions and actions.
Culture is a way of life. We have had realties and changes in the political life of Nigeria. We’ve had the truncated first and second republics, the Abiola saga, military rule and now in this republic. The huge lessons learnt that should build up a culture that converges in a fundamental transformation of democratic ideals is what is lacking.
Even, Not Too Young to Run, yes, they have been given the mandate to run but have most of them not been raised and socialized into this same kind of environment that lacks the culture that ought to put Nigerians first and themselves last?
In the past 58 years of this country, we would have been better off if we had built on the foot paths and trajectories of the earliest politicians – the likes of Zik, Saudana, Awolowo, and Aminu Kano. These were people who appeared to have genuinely started it right. They had, to me, the love of Nigeria at mind, they knew what ought to be done and what should be done, so they seem to have struck a balance. If our politicians have continued on that trajectory, we would have been able to build a culture where by now we will be saying, yes we are there and getting better.
But you look at our political space and the politicians and the political life of Nigeria, you feel sad and you wonder what has happened to the tenets of good governance, of accountability, of transparency and the rule of law over the years. Those are the tenets of the political culture that I am saying that we lack. This includes today’s generation of young people represented in the #Not Too Young to Run campaign- Candidates can run for the presidency at the age of 35 now, as opposed to 40 before, and for the lower house of Parliament at the age of 25 instead of 30. Yes, they have been given the mandate to run for political office but have they not been raised and socialized into this same kind of environment that lacks the culture that ought to put Nigerians first and themselves last?
Ibcity Announcer: Let’s look at women in politics. Many people have opined that with Women being better managers, having them involved in the political space would translate to better governance and better management of the resources of the nation. Are men deliberately stifling the movement of women in politics?
Dr Pogoson: This is a movement as you have rightly said; it is a realization that you cannot leave behind a significant proportion of the population who like you have said have a lot to contribute to national development. But, whether we like it or not, by virtue of our society, religion and tradition, we live in a world ruled by patriarchy. The rigid patriarchal system that has existed since time immemorial has created gender inequality and insists on it stubbornly. Generally, and especially in the political realm, as a woman, you have to actively, constantly, fight against the restrictions imposed by patriarchal structures. You have to fight by having to prove your worth. It is male dominated. Even more so politics, it is like an old school boys’ environment and so women have struggled to carve a niche and find a space within a space that is still predominantly dominated by men. You are patronized as a woman, assumed to be less-capable than a man, assumed to be weaker. You have to fight objectification and fight being judged by a cynical society that sexualizes you. I believe that the political space must open up to accommodate women, because we believe that issues that concerns society at large and particularly issues that concerns women can only best be expressed and advanced by women. I am not saying that there are no men who have the interest of women at heart. I had a male PhD student, who wrote his thesis on women in politics. Even in advocacy, we have a lot of men who are interested in women issues. Nevertheless, women issues, family issues, even issues about society are perceived differently by women and by men. The reality truly is that even where you have women who have failed in the society; in their areas of responsibilities, we have more men that have also failed. But usually the emphasis is on the women, maybe because they are few and so the highlight is on them. But do we need the space to accommodate women more, yes. Since 1999 when Nigeria returned to civil rule, the country has conducted five general elections (in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015), of which the record of women’s political representation has been mixed. Nigeria achieved the highest percentage (7.0 percent) of women’s representation in the lower parliament (the House of Representatives) in 2007 after the depressing record of 3.4 percent and 4.9 percent in 1999 and 2003, respectively. However, the figures declined to 6.8 percent and 5.6 percent in 2011 and 2015. It should be noted however, that following the conclusion of a number of election petition cases by 2017, the figure went up to 6% (22 in the House of Representatives and 7 in the Senate). Evidently, our Parliament is male dominated. The political space is dominated by men. Women are generally under-represented in the structure and institutional arrangement that exist within parties. Women’s absence in the executive position of parties has thus continued to constitute a serious challenge to their nomination as party representatives for elections. A lot of interventions have been formulated to enhance women’s participation in political leadership. Such interventions are encompassed in international instruments, covenants and interventions such as Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Beijing Platform for Action. However, none of these have helped women in attaining the target of 30 percent in parliament. You still find that there is a ceiling which women have found hard to break through because of the patriarchal world we live in. The challenges Nigerian women still face in active participation in politics include discriminatory socio-cultural and religious practices; lack of finance; under-representation of women in governance; unhealthy political environment; political party discrimination; wrong perception of women in politics; lack of family and media support. All of these factors deter many women from going into politics.
The reality truly is that even where you have women who have failed in the society or in their areas of responsibility we have more men that have also failed. But usually the emphasis is on the women, maybe because they are few and so the highlight is on them.
It is important that we read about the life histories of female politicians, I remember reading about Hajiya Gambo Sawaba – a Nigerian politician and activist who was well known for her charitable causes, especially for fighting for the liberation of northern women. Gambo Sawaba made a name for herself when at a political lecture in Zaria, she climbed a podium and spoke out in a room full of men. She campaigned against under-aged marriages and forced labour. She also met with women who were not allowed to attend political activities because of their gender. As a result, Gambo Sawaba was arrested and said to have been sent to jail 16 times in her lifetime and she was often brutalized by the police. I am also reading about women marginalization and politics in Nigeria – books in which women shared their real life experiences; how they dared to venture into politics and the kind of obstacles that they face; obstacles at the home front, society, political parties and so on. These obstacles include apathy, poverty, and lack of internal democracy in political parties, money politics, god-fatherism syndrome and unfavourable terrain of politics, which is characterized by violence, thuggery, zoning and other forms of administrative fiat. Female candidates often face well-funded and high-quality opponents. Typically, a strong challenger who enters a race will deter other challengers from running, or will “clear the field.” However, when a women enters a race – even if she is clearly a strong candidate – other candidates usually persist in running against them. Female incumbents are equally more likely to face strong challengers, including primary challengers, than their male counterparts. Within political parties, women are denied leadership positions that are sensitive to decision making on behalf of the party. Even where there are rules, parties do not obey the respective provisions on gender parity reflected in their manifestoes. We need to work hard to socialize the society and the political class that women have a lot to offer in governance. I have met with quite a number of women in politics during the course of my research in gender and politics. I find that women have tons of ideas and good intentions for our country. They want to bring all of these on the table and work with them if given the opportunity. I believe that gradually as socialization and awareness of the advantages of greater women’s political participation becomes ingrained within our society and women are allowed the space and prove themselves, not only the women folk benefits, but also society as a whole. No community, nation and society can be said to be truly great if it neglects the political uplifting and development of the women.
Ibcity Announcer: In what ways can this goal be achieved?
Dr Pogoson: One way of leveling the political ground for women is through the adoption of quota regulations and sanctions for non-compliance. . Gender quotas are numerical targets that specify the number or percentage of women that must be included in a candidate list or the number of seats to be allocated to women in a legislature. Quotas aim to reverse discrimination in law and practice and to level the playing field for women and men in politics. Electoral gender quotas are the main type of positive measure taken to increase women’s political representation and a form of Affirmative Action to help overcome the obstacles that prevent them from entering politics in the same way as men. Gender quotas give the voters a possibility to choose women candidates, which they may not have had within their preferred party. Quotas come in different forms: Legislated candidate quotas – they are mandated either through national constitutions or by electoral legislation that regulate the gender composition of the candidate lists and are binding by law for all political parties in the election; Legislated “reserved seats” –a certain number or percentage of seats as mandated either through national constitutions or by electoral legislation are reserved for women members and implemented through special electoral procedures; Party quotas or voluntary party quotas – these quotas are adopted by individual parties for their own candidate lists, and are usually enshrined in party statutes and rules. Since 2003, Rwanda has maintained the record as the country with the highest female legislative representation in the world, surpassing the Nordic countries The Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda was amended in 2003 to provide for the reservation of a quota of 30% of all decision-making positions of the State, for women’s representation. Also, the Organic Law governing political parties and politicians was amended in July 2013 to eliminate any form of discrimination in political parties. However, gender quota, alone, may not be effective in closing the gender gap in political representation in a country like Nigeria. Other measures such as inclusion of women in local and regional politics, introduction of proportional representation with multiple-member constituencies may be required. Furthermore, institutions such as political parties and civil society groups have important roles to play in enhancing women’s political representation. Women must also organize themselves to advance their social and political power. Good Government policies and programmes as well articulated as they may be will not enhance women’s position unless backed up by sustainable action.
Ibcity Announcer: Are you saying Nigeria as a Giant if Africa is lagging behind?
Dr Pogoson: Definitely we are lagging behind when it comes to percentages of women in parliament. While some African countries like Rwanda, Seychelles, Senegal, and South Africa are making giant strides in women’s political representation, others like Nigeria have achieved very little progress.
Ibcity Aanouncer:What role does enlightenment play in getting to this point?
Dr Pogoson: Enlightenment is meant to open up your mind, to make you enquire more, ask questions and make you understand why things are the way they are. Education forces you to think along those lines. Sensitization, enlightenment and advocacy are on another level entirely. Sometimes even with our level of education we sit in our comfort zones and we are comfortable , but the more you hear and are exposed to specific issues, the more you ask questions and get involved. Sensitization is major. You cannot afford to keep quiet. That is why we have many gender focused NGOs involved in sensitizing the women, to come out not only as voters, but as candidates- to stop being the dancers and clappers at political rallies; to stop being adorned in uniforms and Aso ebis, but to ensure that as much as possible they support other women. It is expected that other women should band along to support other women. To look at other women not as a threat, but to support them and to do whatever possible it is to ensure she has an edge over the male counterpart.
Women need to be sensitized to come out not only as voters, to stop being the dancers and clappers at political rallies to stop being adorned in uniforms and Aso ebi and not having a voice.
Ibcity Announcer: What is the idea of Femocracy?
Dr Pogoson: Femocracy is an anti-democratic female power structure that says it exists for the advancement of ordinary women, but in reality, it is incapable of doing so because it is controlled by a small clique of women who derive their authority from their being married to powerful men, rather than from any actions or ideas of their own. In a nutshell, femocracy is a feminine autocracy that runs parallel to the patriarchal oligarchy upon which it derives its authority, and which it supports completely. In this system, the female political structure owes its authority to the power wielded by one’s spouse. It simply says you have women who by their privileged position as maybe wives of Presidents, Prime Ministers and wives of Governors, etc., appear to publicly support the female folk but in reality are not genuinely doing that. For instance, Maryam Babagida started the Better Life for rural Women Programme (BLP) which she launched in 1987. The establishment of the BLP and the Maryam Babangida Centre for Women and Development, combined with the frequent appearance of the wives of the military in the mass media clearly planted women firmly in the eyes of the public and drew attention to the plight of rural women but it did not engender any sustainable change in women’s political status, or to any enduring improvement in the lives of ordinary women.
Ibcity Announcer: What are the chances of women in the forth coming election?
Dr Pogoson: With 91 political parties, the women should have a better chance of making more impact in the 2019 election compared to their efforts in the previous elections. Indeed, about six female candidates have won nominations from their parties to contest the February presidential elections and quite a number for other positions. Undoubtedly the six women running for president next year is good news, as it shows rising participation of women in politics, in spite of patriarchal, religious and cultural objections. However, I am concerned that the odds will still be stacked against women in the 2019 general elections. The road ahead is steep. Deep-rooted patriarchy makes everything from campaigning to raising funding harder for women than for men. Nigeria is still said to be an emerging democracy and incumbent officeholders are often hard to dislodge. The only women to contest the presidential elections include Sarah Jibril in 1992 and 2003, and Remi Sonaiya in 2015. Prof. Sonaiya did not make it through the primaries this time. The country’s female politicians are also facing pushback from within Nigeria’s legislature. A Gender and Equal Opportunities (GEO) Bill that guarantees freedom for women from violence, equal opportunities in the workplace and remuneration and promotes girls’ access to education has been in Parliament for eight years now. Never the less, the rise of female candidates and their increasingly uncompromising push for greater political space shows that a wind of change has emerged. I see that in the future beyond 2019, Nigeria would have more young and powerful women coming out to contest at elections but I am concerned that 2019 might not be the year for women especially at the Executive and National Assembly Elections. Despite the surge in the number of female candidates, I have concerns that the current election cycle could obstruct efforts towards greater representation of women in Nigerian politics. I pray I’m proven wrong!!!
Incite Announcer: Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Dr Pogoson: People ask me this question. Who is a feminist? The word feminist comes from feminism, which originally meant simply “being feminine,” or “being a woman,” but gained the meaning of “advocacy of women’s rights” in the late 1800s. A feminist is someone who supports equal rights for women. If for instance, a man objects strongly to women are being paid less than men for doing the same job, is he a feminist? If you believe that women should have the same political, social, and economic rights as men, are you a feminist? Do I believe in the female cause? Yes I do. Is a feminist a radical woman who is ready to dare it all and loose it all, or is a feminist a woman who in her own niche and space is willing to advance the cause of the other woman? I don’t know who people think a feminist is but I am Irene Pogoson, and I believe in the female cause. And within my own space in the academia, I have in my writings in consultations, advocacy, etc sought to advance the female cause.
Ibcity Announcer: Do you think that is because the term connotes negativity…
Dr Pogoson: Not in the least- There are thousands who believe in equal rights but find “feminism” a word and a movement that doesn’t align with their personal beliefs or values. There are thousands of people who both inwardly and outwardly do not support the idea that there should be equal rights and equal opportunities for men and women. There are thousands of people who feel we’ve already arrived at equality for men and women. There are also thousands of people who believe we’re not at all there yet, and support continuing efforts to pave the way for equal rights for men and women. Clearly, our specific views on these issues are deeply rooted in our own personal and direct experiences. If having described myself as who I am, you think I am a feminist, fine. Undoubtedly, there is a stereotyping of feminism. I don’t know who you think a feminist is. But if you think a feminist is someone who believes in the female cause, in the cause of the girl child, in improving the life and plight of women within her own space, then you can call me a feminist. But at the same time, I hold dearly my home, my husband, my children, my love for society, humanity etc. Like I said at the beginning of this interview, – you need to balance your life.
I don’t know who you think a feminist is but I am Irene Pogoson, and I believe in the female cause. And within my own space in the academia, I have in my writings, in consultations, advocacy and all, expressed my belief in the female cause.
Ibcity Announcer: You spoke about your husband supporting you, but we have some women growing up now deemphasizing the importance of men in achieving their dreams. What is your opinion about this?
Dr Pogoson: To each their own. If I have been blessed with a loving and supportive husband who when I tell him I am off for a conference anywhere around the world, would wish me well; who was the one who sat me down and said my PhD was going on for too long and encouraged me to work harder at it; who at a point in time in my life, when I got an appointment with the Policy think tank in Abuja; the independent policy group, (I was there for two and a half years), encouraged me even when I had doubts about leaving the children, then the sky is not my limit. There are men who would want their wives to stay within a limited space. To each their own. But for the younger generation, I have my concerns. It is fast becoming a”me- me” world: Me, myself and I. We need to understand that yes, we have rights and I will not want anybody’s right to be trampled upon but we need to balance our lives such that you don’t look back with regrets, wishing you had done it better or differently. Asking if you should have been more accommodating, been more understanding, of some circumstances. Look at Prof Remi Sonaiya, she is happily married with children- she balanced her life such that she became the Presidential candidate of her party. We have people like that. At the same time we have people, who because of their circumstances feel that ‘I cannot be who I am within certain acceptable spaces’ and strive to create new spaces for themselves. But if you are able to balance your life and be who you are within that space and still be the other ‘lives’ that as a woman you are, then good.
Ibcity Announcer: Are we not demanding too much of the women folk?
Dr Pogoson: That is the sacrifice women have to make. I told you I learnt to work through the night to complete my PhD thesis, catch a few hours of sleep and start the new day ensuring that I had a productive day at home and at work. As woman, you will have to decide which path to thread and what sacrifices are worth it. For me, they were worth it and I will do them again because, I look back and thank God for my life, my husband and my children. I will not trade my life for anything. I thank God for what I have achieved within those spaces.
Ibcity Announcer: Do you foresee an upset in the coming 2019 election?
Dr Pogoson: Well, we were pleasantly surprised when Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015 election. Maybe not so shocking, because Nigerians wanted a change from the tradition of insecurity, nepotism, corruption, poverty, unemployment and insouciance in government and public offices. I am not a prophet, but the way I see it, I doubt if there’ll be an upset in the 2019 elections – it is a little bit dicey.
Quite a number of Nigerians feel the change that they voted for is yet to materialize – they voted for a much desired but rather than changing the situation of Nigerians for the better, the system remains unchanged. As the journey towards resolving our national difficulties resumes in the 2019 elections, the challenge to me is whether Nigerians, through the powers of the ballot, are ready to make the decisions which will engender the much needed change and vote wisely. Let me say that the much needed change will emerge if an individual catches the attention of Nigerians, and Nigerians decide to give the woman or man a chance and cast their votes for the right presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
Ibcity Announcer: You refer to individuals, but it seems Nigerians like to vote along party lines?
Dr Pogoson: Not principally on party basis, when President Buhari ran for office, did Nigerians vote for his party or for an individual? So if you have another type of a Buhari person; female or male comes up and catches our interest, then people will vote for him or her. We don’t need these “loaves of bread and five thousand Naira vote buying” type of politics. Unfortunately, Nigerians have been politically socialized in the wrong direction. We need a re-socialization and this starts when our children are educated to feel that they are part of a political community and acquires the knowledge, beliefs, and values that help them comprehend government and politics. Indeed, norms, customs, beliefs, and values supportive of democracy from one generation to the next are passed on to them. Agents of socialization, which include parents, teachers, and the mass media, must convey orientations to Nigerians. The sense of being a Nigerian for instance, which includes feeling that one belongs to a unique nation in which people share a belief in democratic ideals, is conveyed through the political learning process. People develop attitudes toward the political system through the socialization process. They develop strong beliefs in the legitimacy of the political system, have confidence that political institutions will be responsive to their wants and needs and those abuses of governmental power will be held in check.
Ibcity Announcer: Thank you very much for your time and insights ma.
Ekiti State witnessed the presence of the crème de la crème of the ruling party APC on Tuesday as chieftains of the All Progressives Congress APC stormed the state capital for a mega rally for Kayode Fayemi, in preparation for the Governorship election on Saturday.
Present at the event were, the President of the federation President Muhammadu Buhari, Ministers and members of the cabinet as well as party stalwart such as the chairman of the party, Com Adams Oshiomole, Bola Tinubu, Bisi Akande, Governors Akeredolu of Ondo state, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, Rauf Aregbeshola of Osun State and many other party chieftains.
The campaign which was held at the Oluyemi Kayode stadium amidst a heavy presence of security operatives, witnessed a large crowd of APC supporters in and around the state.
Despite the call by the state governor Ayo Fayose, for people to remain indoors and boycott the rally a throng of people were seen in and around the venue of the rally. Market women and transporters were also seen going about their normal business
Various speakers at the event seized the opportunity to espouse the virtues of the APC candidate Kayode Fayemi while appealing to the people of the to cast their vote for the APC candidate at the polls
President Muhammadu Buhari used the medium to highlight some of his administration efforts and projects in Ekiti State. He also assured the people of the state that the state will not be deprived of the allocations and funds due for the state despite the negative political tactics being deployed by the State Governor, Ayo Fayose.
There was mild drama at the mega rally as the current minister for Labour and Productivitry Chief Chris Ngige gaffed, in an apparent misplacement of identity, by calling on the people of Ekiti state to vote for Fayose at the upcoming Saturday election. He was however quick to retract his statement after being corrected by the moderator and Special Adviser to the President on Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri Erewa.
Report by Adefarati Abiodun for IbadanCity Announcer