•What The LAGOS APC House Of Reps Candidate Told City People
Hon. Ajoke Riskat Adegeye is the House of Reps candidate to beat in the Amuwo Odofin Federal Constituency. Right now, her posters are all over the Amuwo Odofin Federal Constituency in Lagos. Hon. Ajoke Riskat Adegeye is running for elections come 2019 and she has started campaigns to be the next Amuwo Odofin Federal Constituency member at the House of Representatives at the forthcoming general elections.
What is most likely to help Hon. Adegeye who is King Sunny Ade’s wife is her wealth of experience in Lagos Politics. She is not new to grassroot politics. She is a grassroots woman to the core. She is forever in her Iro and buba mobilising people. She is at home with the old and young. She is also cool with both the masses of the people of Amuwo Odofin, just as she is in good terms with the elites and celebrities in that area of Lagos.
She is a God fearing, an honest, dependable and approachable woman who has continuously brought succour to the poor, the youths, physically challenged, the vulnerable, the aged, widows, etc. She is a selfless and focused politician.
Last week, City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE spent quality time with her over lunch in Amuwo Odofin and spoke about her plans for the forthcoming House of Reps elections. Below are excerpts of the interview.
You have been going round campaigning around Amuwo Odofin. What has the message been? How has the feedback been?
That is my usual business. I have been in this game for a long time. I have been in this constituency for quite a while, for more than a decade back. Things are going on well because people have been clamouring to see me. They are expecting me. They are so happy for me to have the ticket.
I have been telling my constituents to vote APC all the way. Right from the President, House of Reps, Senate, APC all out. I have been telling them about our mission. I have been telling them to vote APC as Lagos Governor, for them to vote our amiable Governor-to-be, Sanwo-Olu. That is the message.
How big is your constituency?
My constituency has 14 wards and about 560 polling booths, it spans from Ijesha bus stop, down to Apple Junction, Mile 2 (both side), Kirikiri, Oriade LG generally, up to Trade Fair. I have 14 wards to look after.
You always exude so more confidence that you will win. What explains that?
The confidence that I have is that I am one of them, I am part of them. I am tested and trusted. I have been in the House of Assembly for 4 years. I am presently in the Lagos Assembly Commission not as a legislator. But I know the terrain. People in the constituency know me very well because I have done a lot of things. By the special grace of God almighty, I will surprise them again because I surprised them between 2007 and 2011.
What was your experience like at that time?
The experience was very ok. I don’t see any challenges. The challenge, maybe, is to convince people. To convince people to do anything is not easy. To manage a community that is more than 5 million is not easy. It is not an easy task. I will continue to put in my effort.
How do you see the challenges coming from opposition parties?
I don’t see it as a challenge. I don’t see competition. I have done my homework very well. I have been in this place as I said for about 11 years, counting back I have brought back the dividends of democracy to the grassroots. And once you have the grassroots it won’t be difficult, there won’t be difficult. The other party you are talking about are nowhere to be found in this place (Amuwo Odofin). This time around that I am out to run for the House of Reps, there is no way they can capture this place. They used an opportunity 4 years back and they are already gone, both in the Assembly and the House of Reps.
You’ve been in politics for a long time. What has kept you going?
I was born into politics. So, since I was young, I was determined to be a politician. And I am a good giver by nature. Without being into politics, I won’t be able to give people and reach out to people, the way I do. Being a politician affords you that opportunity to give and to keep giving and when you are sent to go and represent them at the House of Reps they know you will come back to give them the dividends of democracy at the grassroots, to the leaders and the electorate I have been into politics since 1999 that is when I have been a politician. But I have been with NPN, UPN, SDP, DBN and others. I had a vibrant position in all these parties, even in the failure party, PDP. I was there before and I contested twice without gaining nothing, without gaining anything, before I joined ACN and others.
How do you see the performance of APC at the federal level?
We are trying. It is not an easy task to correct all the mess PDP has put in place for 16 years. Things had gone bad under PDP. It is very easy to demolish a house. It is very difficult to construct the house back. This is what has happened. But very soon, we would get there. We are trying. We are trying. We are performing very well.
When you were born did you ever think you will go into politics?
Yes. My late mother was a politician, a core politician, whilst my late father was a police officer. Since I have been going to meetings with my mother I have been determined to be a politician. And I prayed seriously to God crowned my efforts and answered my prayers. My mum was a politician in Mushin, in Lagos. I grew up in Mushin. My father was born in Mushin. My late mum was born in Mushin. My great-grandmother was born in Mushin. We are part of Isolo family. We are part of the Epe family. My grandfather (the father that gave birth to my late mother) was a police officer. He was from Ile-Ife originally.
You are a lady in a male-dominated political terrain. How have you coped?
I have coped very, very well. I don’t see myself as a lady in politics. When I was in the Assembly and since I joined politics. I don’t count myself as a woman. I count myself as a man. When I got to the House of Assembly I found out that it was another institution entirely. When in the House of Reps when you get there you will believe that you are not a woman. You are simply a lawmaker. What a man can do, a woman can do it also. That is what we women that are contesting are trying to prove. We can also do it. We can also play our role.
When a lot of young ladies people approach you for advice what do you tell them?
I always tell them to join politics to partake in politics. Politics is good for women. I am not happy this time around we wouldn’t come out the way I expected. The ladies from Lagos that got the House of Rep's forms we are like 5 or 6. It wasn’t an impressive number. I was not happy. People don’t want to join politics. They think it is only for tough people. No. They believe it is very, very difficult to get to a high position. It is not. The principle is whatever you want to do or be in life, you must fight for it before you get there.
Tell us a bit about you growing up years. Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born and bred in Lagos in Mushin. I was born about 5 decades back. My late mother was from Mushin in Lagos. My late father was from Mushin in Lagos. I went to LA Primary School in Agege. My secondary school St. Francis College in Onike, Iwaya in Lagos. I went to Women Training College Idi-Aba in Abeokuta. I then worked with NDLEA, a construction company. I had various work experiences before I became an honourable member in 2007. I once worked with Good intention services Nigeria Limited. I spent 7 and a half years there. I became an honourable member after I left there. I spent 4 years, just one term in the House of Assembly. In 2012 I was appointed as a Commissioner in the House of Assembly Service Commission. I was the only lady in the commission when the commission was newly commissioned. In the next few weeks, I am going to resign.