Oloye Oluwatoyin Badmus is a business woman and a politician. Her business acumen earned her the position of Iyaloja and Iyalode Yoruba of Abuja. Speaking in an interview with NGOZI OKPALAKUNNE, Badmus, who is also the president, Asiwaju Women Cooperative Society and Member APC National Women Lobby Group, spoke on the need for every woman to be in her rightful position across board, irrespective of her tribe. Also, she delved into how business women who are into politics can strike a balance between the two careers. Excerpts:
Politics in Nigeria is being dominated by the male gender over the years; how have you used your position as a woman leader to motivate other women to venture into politics?
Our women leaders in APC are changing the narrative. The result of the last congress of our party APC nationwide witnessed more women winning elections in their areas. Though we can do better, you will agree with me that gone are the days when women took the back seat; presently, the women are ready to take over the driver’s wheel and lead us to the right destination.
The APC Women Lobby Group set up by our national woman leader of the All Progressives Congress, Hon. Stella Okotete is really working hard to ensure that women are supporting other women.
Women should support and help each other. The pull-her-down syndrome is not helping us. We can achieve more by being united.
As Iyaloja of Abuja, I have been encouraging market women to identify and choose the leaders that will add value to their lives, not those that will buy their future and that of their children with wrapper and rice for every 4years.
I am in politics to make a difference by ensuring women take the rightful positions. I am not there to contest for any position. I am over sixty to the glory of God.
What is the idea behind the establishment of Asiwaju Cooperative Women Society?
ACWS is a group that was formed based on my experience of what happens during the election. Politicians will give out gifts items to women so as to vote for them. After they are voted in, these women will be abandoned for the next four years.
In ACWS, we talk about the need for politicians to empower women and not to wait to bribe them during the election period. If women are empowered by the politicians before the election, the women will identify with politicians who empowered them and vote for them knowing full well that when such politicians get into office they will do more.
What do you hope to achieve with this organisation?
Focus, stability, independence and progress for women. AWCS is about our women been empowered, especially the grassroots women. These women are very important in society. They should not be incapacitated, they should not be forgotten or taken for granted rather they should be financially, physically, mentally empowered and stable, so they can choose the right leader. Our aim is to teach our women how to fish. When a woman is financially stable, the burden will be reduced on me and when we have a happier home, the society will be better because whatever that happens in the home transcends into society.
How have you been able to combine your business and your position as a women leader?
Women are born multi-taskers and that is the reason we can manage everything we put our hearts to do successfully. I have been in business for a very long time.
However, going inside the local market setting changed everything, because I come across women that will travel from Nyanya to Wuse market in Abuja just to hawk pure water because they have families to feed. One will now wonder how they cope, yet politicians will come around once in four years just to get their votes with peanut.
It was at this stage that I became a politician. Somebody has to speak out for them. For me, it was natural and l am ready to engage them in grassroots politics as they progress across all levels.
What is your view on gender equality in Nigeria?
Gender equality is when people of all genders have equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities. Gender equality prevents violence against women and girls. It’s essential for economic prosperity if all genders have equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities.
On gender equality in Nigeria, I think we still have a long way to go, despite the fact that we are the largest voters when it comes to election, the only position for women in all the political parties is women leader; why can’t we have a female president or vice president? Take, for instance, Kamala Harris, US Vice President, she is very supportive with Joe Biden, great combination.
But I won’t blame men because most times women are each other’s worst enemy. If you have a female presidential candidate today Nigerian women will not vote for her; they will rather queue behind a man and most women in position don’t help other women unless one is ready to worship them. The pull-her-down syndrome needs to stop.
We are doing a lot in ensuring that women occupy a minimum of 13 or more positions in the party’s ward, local government, and state levels. We must be well represented.
Within the context of population and development programmes, gender equality is critical because it will enable women and men to make decisions that impact more positively.
Our main Focus is Women Empowerment, Enabling the average woman who doesn’t know where her next meal is coming from, so she can be a better person in life and also extend the kind gesture to her immediate environment.
Our inauguration comes up on September the 18th by God’s grace and all our Zonal Coordinators and Leaders across the 36 states are expected to be on ground. This is a movement that will put an end to poverty and suffering in the lives of our women.