Not many people know that the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and his pretty wife, Olufunsho have been married for 25 years and they are blessed with 5 lovely children. In this her 50th birthday interview with City People Publisher SEYE KEHINDE, this adorable woman reveals what it takes to be married to the action governor of Ogun State. She also reveals their love story. Below are excerpts.
Please can 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? (She laughs). However, I have come to the realization that opposites 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.
Everybody who knows me knows I am not very good with picking phone calls. So I always tell them if you want to reach me, send me a message and I will respond that way. I told them at a meeting recently that we are going to have a Suggestion Box so that if you want to send any message or get any message across to me, that you don’t necessarily have to write your name, that I will hold on to the key of the Suggestion Box, so feel free to write anything. I need to know what is going on in your mind. I understand that they might not be able to tell me to my face, I however want to know the true position of what is going on in their minds.
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, 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.
Your Excellency, let us do a quick flash back into your life. Where were you born? Where did you grow up and schools attended….?
You want me to run a documentary on my life for a few minutes? (She laughs). Ok, well, 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 in Iyagenku 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 the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) where I studied English Education and then I fell in love.
How did you fall in love?
I met His Excellency, who then owned an Accounting firm and the rest is history. We have 5 wonderful children who we are very proud of.
Your husband, with due respect, is what people call a local boy or a home boy who is at home with trekking the entire Abeokuta. You are very cosmopolitan, sophisticated from a sheltered background. That is like the other side of who you are. What is the connection? Tell us about him.. Is he truly a local boy? Is it true you are the one who packages him?
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. I see him as compassionate, hands on and responsible husband. You also asked if I was the one that packaged him? No, I am not. I see him as packaging me. In life, they do say Opposites attract. Maybe you can blame it on that if you see any difference in our disposition.
However, after 25 years, I don’t even see where the lines are anymore, because we complement one another, and when we don’t agree on some issues, we always re ach 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.
Your Excellency, you don’t look 50. You look like a little girl, nice figure, flat tummy, lovely face, skin built… 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.
What makes you know Because 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.
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 don’t really ask questions, they don’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. To answer your questions let me say that I do not recollect any moment of sorrow in my marriage to Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Instead I give glory to God.
Sometimes I do get worried that my life has been smooth, everything is rosy. That is God’s plan and wish for me. And I pray that it continues like that.
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, I believe. 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? 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.
You are a Christian. Your husband is a Muslim. How easy or difficult is it to get your parents approval?
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: Ahh! Moslem lo fe fe (meaning ah! 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. Through the glory of God that sort of worked itself out.
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.
He always tells God in prayers that I believe in You and You are going to do this for me and You see time and time again other things manifest. He has helped me strengthen my fate in God because I know my husband does not believe in any her thing other than God. He just made my faith in God so easy because I could see that God has never failed him. I have faith in his faith. I started off by having faith in his faith. I have faith in his faith to God. And that just made it so easy for me.
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, Oya it is time to pray. They will now ask. Mummy, so 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.