Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, the wife of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the Executive Governor of Ogun State, clocked 50 years of age recently. The carnival-like events witnessed the convergence of crème-de-la-crème of the society. In an interview with select reporters at the Oke-Igbein, seat of the government, which included the Editor, FOLORUNSHO HAMSAT, the First Lady whose marriage is blessed with five lovely children, went down memory lane, from marriage to motherhood, government house, and the Golden age. Excerpt…
Your Excellency, you don’t look 50. You look like a little girl, nice figure, flat tummy, lovely face and fresh skin. How did you achieve this?
I think that is a compliment. Thank you very much. I give all glory for that to God. I have been lucky and I know I have been lucky and I know it is the grace of God. I can’t recall any moment of regrets. But I know I have recalled several times that I have looked back and said oh, I am lucky. That is the grace of God.
Let us do a quick flashback into your life. Where were you born? Where did you grow up and schools attended?
I was born on May 2, 1966 to a humble family of Bishop Michael Ayoade Odesanya and Elder Olusola Odesanya. I began my primary school in the UK. I did the 2nd half in Ayodele Nursery and Preparatory School. I was at Iyaganku in Ibadan. And then I went on to Yejide Girls Grammar School. I attended the Oyo State School of Arts & Science. And then I went to University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) where I studied English Education and then I fell in love.
Could you tell us what you and your husband have in common?
After being married to him for over 25 years, I think the question should be, what are the things we don’t share in common (general laughs). However, I have come to the realization that opposite seems to attract. So, where he is a hands-on, people’s person and he wouldn’t mind jumping into a crowd, and just taking people on by way of speaking to them, I sort of like do it by delegating. By nature, I am in my own opinion approachable. I tend to work with people, by allowing them to find whichever avenue is comfortable for them to reach me and me to feed them back, as opposed to me jumping up and saying ok, walk through my door. I say to them, my door is opened. I say, you can send me a message. That is one way to try to reach out to my people. I am like I have an open door, but I have other avenues through which you can reach me, such that you can be honest with me, without holding back a good job as the governor and I feel proud to raise my head up high, that I am his wife. This is because sometimes when you are in this privileged position, it could be due to circumstances or whatever, you don’t deliver what people expect of you, I make bold to say, to the best of my husband’s ability, he has fulfilled his promises. And I walk tall, and I feel proud, and that makes me happy, to say that I am the wife of the governor.
How did you fall in love?
I met His Excellency, the Governor, who then owned an accounting firm and the rest is history. We have five wonderful children who we are very proud of.
Your husband, His Excellency the Governor, is considered by some as a local boy, with due respect. You are very cosmopolitan, and sophisticated, from a privileged background. What is the connection?
That is a kind of funny as well as a complex question. My husband is the most loving, practical, responsible and hands-on husband that any woman can wish for. And I think this is what translates into the way he goes about his duties in helping the good people of Ogun State. I don’t want a man who is so sophisticated that is tuned out of reality. My husband is in tune with reality, I don’t see him as a local person either. You also want to know if I was the one that packages him. No, I am not. However, after 25 years, I don’t even see where the lines are anymore, because we complement one another.
How do you resolve issues?
Well, when we don’t agree on some issues, we always reach a compromise. I don’t think we have ever slept not resolving an argument because he won’t let you anyway. Even if he upsets you he will still speak to you soon after. That is him. And we get on with life. For instance, just to put things in perspective when my husband and I got married we didn’t pay attention to our genotype or blood group. I am AS, my husband is AA. We got married at a time people didn’t really ask questions, they didn’t find out so what if my husband was SS. That is a typical example of how God has been kind to me. Each time I look back, I realize that I could have made a mistake. But God has helped me. I do not recollect any moment of sorrow in my marriage to Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Instead I give glory to God.
You are a Christian, your husband is a Muslim. How easy or difficult was it to get your parents’ approval to marry him?
That is a big one. I had to ask my parents. I first asked my mum whether she would allow me to get married to a Moslem. She asked me if I had told my dad? And I said no. And she gave me a mischievous smile and look, very good. But today, my mother and my husband are the best of friends. And at times, I get my pound of flesh back sometimes when I tease her, when they are talking and discussing I will say mischievously: Ah, Moslem lo fe fe (meaning, you want to marry a Muslim) which was what she said to me at the beginning. She will now say, yeah! You are just lucky. When I told my dad he said ahh! Let’s pray about it. He is a Bishop. Somehow, my dad and my husband hit it off very well. The thing about it is having faith in God. My husband is even more religious than I am. He truly believes in God. He has faith in God. You need to have faith in God that all things are possible. He is so committed to God.
Was there any attempt made to convert you?
Yes. I pray the Muslim way because we are a very close knit family. In the beginning, I will tell my children, it is time to pray. They will now ask. Mummy, how come you are now praying with us? Does it mean Daddy’s God is different from yours? Does it mean Daddy’s God is not a good God? Questions upon questions. So, I had to join.
What has been your memorable day in the 25 years of your marriage?
Every day is business. I don’t know of any special day. Every day is special with my husband. My husband is very real, very real. Never mind my husband. He would say I don’t believe in giving out flowers, I don’t believe in sending cards, I don’t believe in saying I love you. But he shows you love in a real way. He is very romantic. With my husband, action speaks louder than words.
How did your husband begin to wear his unique cap?
I will imagine that it was in his days at the Senate. He started wearing the cap sometime around 2001. It predates 2003 when he was in the Senate. It started by my husband looking for a kind of identity which people sort of took to it. The minimum relevance I could give to it is like pre-2001, he used to tell me a joke about MK Naira. That is how Baba had his own unique cap. That is MKO. He wanted to give himself a signature cap. That is the barest relevance I could give to it. Aside from that, it is just something he was comfortable with. If I were to say anything about it, I would always ask him, aren’t you fed up of wearing the same cap? He would laugh it off. Because even in his buba and sokoto, it is the same design, same style. I guess his tailor’s job is very simple. But I always ask him. Aren’t you fed up wearing just the same style? At times, we joked about it. But that just tells you the kind of person he is. My husband is consistent. Once he is comfortable with something, he does not change it. When he believes in something, he sticks to it.