‘I’m contesting as Osun governor to prove women are better managers’
Mrs Mercy Ayodele is the candidate of the Restoration Party of Nigeria (RPN) in the September 22 governorship election in Osun State. In this interview with BISI OLADELE, she describes politics as “very hectic and deep,” but said it should not be left to professional politicians alone. The finance expert and mother -of-three also reveals why women are better managers and the reason behind her hope of becoming the first female governor of the state of the virtue (Ipinle Omoluabi)
What made you join the governorship race?
What actually bought me to limelight is just because of the situation of the state and the country at large. We must accept that women are the most endangered specie in politics. So, I felt it’s time we women stood up and stop being in the other room and come out . We have the potentials and we have what it takes.
A woman is always like five-in-one; we are the home managers, we are always into career, we take care of the children, we take care of our husbands. If we can do that ,we can as well manage a nation.
You refer to leaving the other room. What did you mean by that?
Well, most people believe that women are meant to be at home taking care of the home front, taking care of the kitchen and not coming out like this to face the big wigs who are mostly men. So they believe we are meant to be in the room or in the kitchen serving them . But nowadays, the current president of Germany is a woman, a mother . And I must tell you , a mother is always emotional. A good mother will always take care of the family. For example if she cooks and wants to dish out the food, the first food she will dish is for her husband, the children,even the visitors. Sometimes the mother at home will not even eat or may be left with just a little. She is always in charge of taking care of people. So, I felt it’s time we came out and take good care of our people instead of deceiving them.
Governorship race is a big project. How did you come about your conviction that you deserve to be a governor, not a councilor, House of Assembly member etc?
Well it’s all about vision. If you have vision you are going to get there. Like I always say, I’m giving it to my husband. When this race was about to start, he was the one that said “you can do it.” By saying that he knew I have the potentials of doing it. He said you can do it and when I look back I will always say “thank you” to him for giving me the opportunity to be where I am today in the political terrain.
Is he still supporting your ambition on this project?
Yes. He is very, very supportive. We are i nto it together. He is always there.
When it settled in your mind that you needed to vie for governorship, why didn’t you join one of the popularly parties such as APC, PDP etc?
I always tell people that when you want to join any political party or any organization, you have to first of all check the ideology of the organization. I think the ideology of Restoration Party fits my own ideology. RPN is a female-friendly political party and also it’s very very friendly to those who are physically challenged. It is a very good platform for us to vie for any position.
Apart from the administration fee, the nomination fee for every female aspirant to presidency level is free in RPN. And then it’s a party for the youths .They use the wisdom of the elders and the strength of the youth. So that’s why I decided to pitch my tent in Restoration Party.
Are you among the people that registered the party?
Did you go through primary through which you emerged as the party’s candidate?
How many of you contested?
We were three – a particular aspirant stood down for me. So, only two of us went into the primary. INEC officials were there, the state officials and INEC official from Abuja.
We had media houses on ground and we even invited other political parties to come and witness the way we did our primary, which was very fair and peaceful.
You said you were three initially. Is the one that stood down for you a male or female aspirant?
The two others are male.
Since you emerged as governorship candidate, how has it been?
Well, I must tell you politics is very, very hectic and deep. It is very, very deep. I just want to thank God for the strength and I also want to use the opportunity to appreciate my state Chairman, Dr. Tosin Adeyemi , who is a very vibrant youth. He is the youngest party chairman in Osun State. I want to give it to him, he has been there and I must tell you politics is very very sweet and it must not be left to the politicians. It is high time we got involved.
When did you join politics?
I have been into politics for quite a long time, more than a decade but I was doing it partially.
Did you join any political party?
I did not but I have my soft spot for some political parties. And I have been following the trends whenever they were having campaigns. I’ve always been partially involved. But I came in fully on board to RPN.
Which party or parties did you ever participate in their activities before?
I didn’t participate directly but indirectly. I just had flair for some parties.
I will mention KOWA because KOWA is the first political party that gave us a female presidential candidate. So I have soft spot for KOWA. I was following the trend when the professor, Remi Solaya, emerged as its presidential candidate.
Judging by your experience so far since you threw your hat into the ring, do you think this terrain is meant for women?
It’s meant for women. It all depends on the individual and the readiness of women and the supportive aspect of the men, because I must tell you we cannot do it without men. We need their support and we just have to help our women to be in politics . It’s just like having an aeroplane engine that is having 50\50 capacity and it’s flying on the capacity of just 50 percent. In due time, the 50 percent will wear out and then the other one will just be there without being tapped. We have not actually tapped into getting our women to going into real politics. And its high time , that’s why I have this respect for Goodluck Jonathan. During his tenure, we had more women given political appointment or in elective positions. But now, it’s going gradually down. That is why I call them most endangered species in politics. We are the most endangered specie. People are scared of all these thugs and that’s why I pitched my tent with RPN. It’s not a political party of thugs, we all have our careers, we are professionals in our field and when it’s politics time we come out and do the needful. It’s not a do-or-die party. We have professionals in the party. It’s a party to pitch tent with because they will give you your voice as a woman.
Are you just for the cause of women or you have much more, reasons why you are in this race?
First, I must confess, I’m in it because of women. If you look at the history of Osun State we have another woman now that’s vying for the same position. I’m the first that actually aspired for this position and that is to tell my fellow women that we can do it.
Secondly, it is not that we should just sit down, we are intellectual people too. We have professional women there, like the formal Finance Minister, Prof. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala. She is one of the people I look up to in politics. I love her, I love her doggedness, I love the way she operated.
Since you started your campaign after the primary, have you ever imagined yourself on the governorship seat?
We are taking over from Governor Aregbesola. He knows that he’s going to hand over to me.
Why are you so sure he’s going to hand over to you?
One, we have the strength of the youths. We have women and I must confess women are the one that vote most. So It’s high time we stopped just voting. I have been voting for more than a decade . it’s now time they vote for us, we can do it.
How are you keeping the home front during this period of campaign?
Thank God I have understanding children. They know what I’m into and I’m always balancing it . When I’m at home, I make sure I do my home chores – cooking and taking care of them . So, they know when I’m not around, I’m not around. When I’m around I make sure I do my roles as a mother.