Everyone may speak, but to speak methodically and prudently is a talent not given to many by God, and we fervently and convincingly gathered that Hajia Aminat Aromoke Omodara have proved quite incontrovertibly that she is a custodian of such rarity of intellect that is distinctly characterized by power of expression spiced with a generous dose of creative vitality.
Kwaralefro Media Crew met with this woman of few but intellectual words at her GRA Ilorin office, where she was her usual magnanimous self and obliged us an interview.
The followings are excerpts of our brief but weighty interaction with her.
Kwaralefro: Ma, please can we meet you?
Omodara: Well! I am Aminat Aromoke Omodara nee Jimoh, born over three decades ago into the family of Late Alh. Jimoh Baba Katakata in Gaa-Imam, Oko Erin Ward, Ilorin-West Local Government. A graduate of Univeristy of Ilorin, a businesswoman cum politician, a former Vice Chairman of Ilorin West Local Government, APC Chairmanship candidate for Ilorin West Local Government in the November 18, 2017 council election insha Allah, finally, I am married and blessed with children.
Kwaralefro: Congratulations on your nomination as the APC flag bearer in the coming council election!
Omodara: Thank you so much. I am humbled!
Kwaralefro: How did you feel the moment your name was announced as the party’s nominee?
Omodara: Firstly, I was elated. On the second hand, I felt I had just got a call to serve the people again. I felt I’ve gotten a template to reach out to people and it became necessary for me to accommodate all and sundry. Who am I? It’s the Lord’s doing. God designed it, as the good people of my LG made their choice and endorsed by the leadership of our party.
Kwaralefro: Have you been able to reach out to other contenders who lost the battle for party’s flagship?
Omodara: Point of correction, no one is a loser among them. We all win together. Of course, I have reached out to them. I am not a desperado, and I know I can’t do it alone. I never see myself being the best amongst equals, but divinity speaks. I have sat and discussed with each of them individually and we’ve all agreed to come together for the success of the party at the poll. They all displayed sense of sportsmanship and I believe we are getting to the next level insha Allah.
Kwaralefro: Ma, November 18 is coming in a bit, what are your plans for the good people of Ilorin West Local Government if given the mandate through ballot?
Omodara: If my manifesto is what you request in this interview, you can’t get it all here, because I have many good plans for my people. We’ll ensure we look inward to see how we can improve the council’s IGR and we will insha Allah pay attention to important sectors ranging from education, healthcare, portable water, good roads and staff salaries. Meanwhile, more attention shall be given to the youths and the women.
You see, any government that refuse to cater for the youths will find it difficult to deliver. Youth development is one of my topmost priorities. The term youth is one of those terms in the social science that defy any universally acceptable definition. The term youth is far too complex to be squeezed into various compartments. I am adequately informed on anything and everything that has to do with youth because I’m a youth myself. Many of our youths are indeed more concerned about today than their tomorrow and these are things I am convinced and optimistic about the possibility of a change in the trend through mindset reorientation. If we cannot prepare the future for the youths, we should be able to at least prepare the youths for the future.
Kwaralefro: To what extent were you able to carry out youth/women oriented program(s) while you held the vice chairmanship position in the local government?
Omodara: I tried the best within my capacity while I served as a lieutenant. I am not a lousy or flamboyant type, and I would not want to be the assessor/evaluator in my personal case. The record of my youth/women empowerment program is there in the council. My contributions towards development of youth/women at the time can not be overlooked. It’s just that I did not believe in media hyping or advocacy back in the days. But the eagle age has come when the world must see and know what you do, not as private gestures but services to the public.
Kwaralefro: How do you react to the unfolding events in the political climate of your local government, judging from the fast approaching council election?
Omodara: Permit me to make this interview very short, like I told you initially because of present exigencies, I might not have the liberty of a lengthy interaction. Coming to your question, let me be down to earth with you.. My reaction to the present unfolding event in the politics of the day in my local government is that, the future is bright for the APC. Smiles”
Kwaralefro: Ma, would you care to expatiate on your words because, they seem to be pregnant with deep unmistakable meaning, even if that’s all we’ll get from you to your people?
Omodara: The meaning is obvious. For the record, my emergence as my party’s flag bearer is never a fluke in my own estimation but a divine ordain. This assurance is not borne out of arrogance or self deception, it is a clear expression of the goodwill and support I have, and still enjoying from my people. And above all, the uncommon leadership disposition and unbiased judgement of our ultimate leader, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
Kwaralefro: We are deducing an unwavering confidence in your statements so far; what is the motivation behind your daring disposition?
Omodara: Laugh…!!! Daring? That sounds funny! When you talk of confidence, I concur with you because I’m more than confident of winning. You only need to know me well enough to know it’s not everything I take serious. Especially when I know it’s not a big deal. And that’s where the difference lies. What you find as a big deal may be immaterial to me. In addition, my tutelage has made me wiser, not even in politics now, but about life generally.
Like my late father did tell me; “you don’t react to everything in life by impulse, no matter how bad you feel. You must never bow to or act under external pressure because, decision taken then are never the best, neither for you nor the people around you.” So, life has taught me.
Now to zero in on your question, I’m now grown in life and politics beyond propaganda; things like that don’t scare me anymore. I am not scared by the enormity of the challenges ahead because, my emergence is a call to serve and not a selfish attempt to be served. I can’t speak for any other candidate but as for me, my Leader’s contagious heart and desire for service to humanity is my driving force and not the other way round.
Kwaralefro: Ma, that’s awesome but, are you overlooking the fact you are a woman. Also the precedence is that no female has been fielded for Ilorin West Local Government Chairmanship contest?
Omodara: A woman once occupied the office, not through ballot anyway… Excuse me, are you guys gender discriminators? Are you insinuating that our Leader has taken a wrong step for fielding a woman in this capacity? Are you saying I am not qualified?
Kwaralefro: (cut in) No No No…. No Ma!
Omodara: No what! Have you forgotten that I was a vice chairman in the same local government, an antecedent that prepares me for the present task. Meanwhile, I have a personal conviction that what a man can do, a woman can do it even better. Have you also forgotten the 35% affirmative action for women by the United Nations? And the Leader himself has walked the talk on #GeoBill, a bill that was passed by the Senate in support of gender equality. The era of male domination is long gone. In reality, our party recognize and encourage a healthy participation of reputable female candidates and I think that is instructive. Looking at the election from any angle, I am 100% sure of winning.
Kwaralefro: Are you saying the election would be a walkover based on your assessment of your obvious opponent?
Omodara: Opponent you just mentioned? Opposition indeed! Opponent my foot! Let me set the record straight, I have no strong opposition that could stop me from winning the election. My party the APC, will win in all the 16 local governments and the 193 wards in the state. We are banking on the people’s support, the electorates are wiser than us, they don’t follow those who only appear during election periods. We are for the people come rain, come shine and the people are for us too. In Kwara, opposition only exist on print and electronic media and of course, social media, they are not practically viable.
Kwaralefro: But your major opponent from the PDP has been informing the electorates that he is the best man for the job and that he has all it takes to whittle you down in the race.
Omodara: Oh! He is entitled to his personal opinion and besides, you just want to drag me into what I don’t want to mention. Personally, I have no problem with him, if only he applies decorum and maintain moral norms no matter what. That young man has been channeling his muscles on a wrong course. He won’t even deliver his ward (Adewole), quote me!
Kwaralefro: How would you react to the statements made by him on a radio program where he boasted that he has the exposure, education, popularity, and the political experience than you do, which qualifies him to be the best man to run the affair of the council?
Omodara: I’m aware of his self styled political imbecility and foolhardy, but until he is able to convert such to winning of election that is when we can take him serious. Great minds discuss issues, low minds discuss people. Even though I am not comfortable responding to his comments as not to dignify him, I think silent in this case might means admitting the trash he has been saying. He is not cultured as you can see. He is not decent and he lacks public etiquette. If you know him too well, you will agree with me that he is suffering from diarrhea of the mouth. He is a loquacious/talkative who throws caution into the wind while addressing the public. How can I even descend so low to be engaging such a political neophyte with mundane utterances. He needs attention and we won’t give him because he doesn’t worth it. He has no definition of what he wants. He has no clue of what he aspires. He has no knowledge of what Ilorin West as a council entails.
His political philosophy is not in sync with mine. I can not be trading words with an uncouth person. Someone who is just out there to extort. May be he had thought it’s going to be business as usual, whereby; he would be invited and compensated for his struggles and mobilizations to step down. No! Let him continue with his tautological campaign and empty cacophony. Political landscape has surpassed such phenomenon. We are not going to stop him as a ruling party, we’ll continue to give him the level playing ground because we are not intimidated by his unguided words.
As a matter of fact, what is his antecedent? A jobless dude who is only good at extortion, using students’ union and other youth platforms. We know him, he’s an ingrate to the Saraki dynasty.
His campaigns so far lacks objectivity. He has been coming up with insightful statements that are capable of heating the polity. Are we going for war? Must election be a do-or-die affair? I don’t blame him anyway, because he lacks basic morals. Those who know him can attest to this, based on his antecedents. For him to have even gone on air, saying Saraki is not an indigene of Ilorin, myself not an indigene and that, Am a whore; isn’t that too harsh to hear from a self acclaimed elite? That alone has defined his level of maturity, exposure and political understanding. Every tree has its root somewhere, may be we should remind him of his ancentral home in Ikoyi-Ile, Orire Local Government of Oyo State, where his elder brother had served as a councillor. He has insulted womanhood, he is a disgrace to comradeship world.
If we are to take the battle in his own way, then what manifesto are we going to read to people? Politics is about governance, let him come out and tell the world what he can do or what he will do for the people he aspire to lead.
The day I heard him talking about me, I laughed and thank God I did not attend Kwara State Polytechnic for eleven years. (tell me, which institution in Nigeria or Africa runs 11 years programme of study?) I thank God I was a Vice Chairman of Ilorin West LGA between 2013-2016, not a parallel Vice President of a factional NANS, who even impersonated the office for several years before he could removed the number plate from his vehicle (NANS-002). I am not the common heart breaker of flocks of women. I am not a political scammer who is good at issuance of unfounded awards and extortions. Someone who couldn’t manage a little barber shop successfully now wants to head a prestigious local government such as Ilorin West. A gambler of note during his days as billiard game boardman. I can’t continue to wrestle with a pig, the pig would be happy while I gets dirty.
Who are we talking about self? Is he not the same guy whose father used to be a core Sarakite? The holy pilgrimage he did was a privilege he got under Saraki dynasty through JCC/NANS, while he held sway as the Union Chairman in Kwara during the administration of Dr Bukola Saraki as governor. His nicknames speaks volume of him anyway…(Tupac or Aluta Alhaji). Is that the person you want me to be trading words with? Please, come up with sensitive and progressive questions.
Kwaralefro: Hmmnnn!!! No one would ever know you knew him to the earth like this, you have really been diplomatic anyway.
Omodara: Of course, I have. I am a woman of moral inclination and a reserved person and I respect the opinion of my father and that of my husband very much. They are my guides in this world. He Musbaudeen Olohuntoba Esinrogunjo son of Alhaji Mumeen Obadagbagbe Esinrogunjo once lived in my ward and even attended meetings for one year in (Oko Erin ward) between April 2003 and 2004. He had since joined student unionism and dump partisans until recently when he desires a change of life from extortion to embezzlement. I gathered reliably that he do tell people at many instances that if given the mandate, he shall bring government to hotel doorsteps and subject council decision body to guest houses. Is that the kind of person you want me to see as a serious opponent? His ambition is as good as dead on arrival.
Kwaralefro: We also learnt from your opponent that you have been avoiding media, how true is that?
Omodara: Who are you? That answers it all. I urge the general public not to mind him for goodness sake. You all know how oppositions always behave like wounded lion. Let him continue with his wild-goose chase, we are in a politicking period where such antics is allowed and where people gives meaning to everything you do or say as a contestant. Such cheap talks never move me an inch. When he talks, endeavour to do your findings. You know talkative like him are liars.
Kwaralefro: When are you flagging off for your campaign?
Omodara: My campaign flag off comes up on Monday 6th of November, 2017 insha Allah. While the ward-to-ward campaign starts on Tuesday 7th November, 2017.
Kwaralefro: Won’t this involve a lot of money? Do you have the wherewithal to prosecute the election?
Omodara: My campaign is not about moneybag. We are not buying votes from the electorates, we are only presenting our manifesto to them and assure them of good governance. The idea of giving money to voters to vote candidates should be discouraged. Personally, I won’t do that and my party do not have such plans. We’ll only give the people our words and make it a bond between us. We shall run an all inclusive government where the people would have their input in governance and make sure we fulfill all our campaign promises insha Allah.
Kwaralefro: Hajia, since you complained about your schedule, can we have a final word from you to your eager people?
Omodara: My first message is, let them keep the shout high and loud everywhere,… APC – Change! APC – Change!! APC – Oloyeee!!! And then consequently for realization beyond any shadow of doubt let every eligible voters save the date and make it a deal for us. This is the only assurance we have. Our detractors are desperate people as you’ve heard their entire dirty secret coming out like an offensive odour already. I build my confidence around my people and I put my hope in Allah. So help me God!
Kwaralefro: Indeed, your articulacy is impressive. We are most grateful for your time and audience.
Omodara: Thank you so much, the pleasure is mine.