2023 Imo Senate: I’ve done a lot to represent my people —Akeredolu’s Wife
…..Gives reasons for contesting
The Wife of Ondo State Governor and APC senatorial Aspirant for Imo Chief (Mrs) Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has said she has done more for her people to win the senatorial ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State ahead of 2023 polls.
In an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH and culled by SUNSHINETRUTH, the Governor’s wife also spoke about that why she is contesting in Imo state instead of Ondo State.
She also spoke about on how Former President Olusegun Obasanjo stopped her from becoming a senator.
She said, “As it has already been said or you are aware of, I am the wife of the Governor of Ondo State. Most importantly, I am from Emeabiam in the Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State, which means I’m an Emeabiam girl by blood. So, my marriage cannot change anything. I am a full-blooded Emeabiam girl. This is why I want to go to the Senate to represent my people.”
But having been married to an Ondo man presupposes that Ondo is now your home. Why not vie to represent Ondo at the Senate instead of Imo State? Betty said “I have a right to contest for any position in a place where I was born and I do not think that the constitution is against that. And if you look at things critically, as a married woman, looking at the time I got married, I was already a made young woman. My husband did not train me. I was trained by my parents who were teachers; they valued education for all their children irrespective of gender.
“They had no preference for the males, as it was the order of the day at that time. I do not know if things have really changed now. So, I did not see any discrimination against my gender when I was growing up. My parents trained me to be whatever I want to be. They invested in me very much. So, obviously, I am very much attached to where I come from. When I got married, I also understood what the challenges were as a girl child. I also understood that I needed to demonstrate that my parents’ investment in me wasn’t a loss.
“For your information, I graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1977, meaning I got admission in 1973 barely three years after the war. It was a tough time. Not all parents had the nerves to train their children, especially the girls. You found that many of my peers were married off due to difficulties that most families faced after the war. As at the time, when you graduated from the university, you would be given a car.
“My first car was a Volvo. When my husband came for my hand in marriage, my parents were expecting see an Igbo man. It so happened that the person they saw asking for my hand in marriage was a Yoruba boy in jeans. It was depressing (for them) but you know, young love was there. I did not even want to hear of anybody persuading me not to get into that relationship; I was adamant; I had made my choice. They said they had lost me despite investing so much in me. I had to device a means to convince them. Now, this young man I married did not know how I grew up. I didn’t travel anywhere; I was just a daughter of a village school headmaster, moving around Owerri. I saw how women and girls were treated. There were certain things you would do then that they would shut you up because you were a woman. Women who did not have male children were subjugated.
“There were so many things happening while I was growing up and within me, I was bothered. I didn’t travel abroad but education opened my eyes. I asked a lot of questions while growing up. When I married my husband, I made him understand that I come from a marginalised community – a totally forgotten community with little or no government presence and it has remained so. And I can say this because I visit home every Christmas, so, nobody can tell that something is happening in my place that I don’t know of.
With my exposure, I know that things can get better. But I looked around and I wasn’t seeing that quality representation. Let me tell you, I had run for office in 2007 under the umbrella of the ANPP (All Nigeria Peoples Party). I wanted to go for Senate under the ACN (Action Congress of Nigeria). You know, in those days they were looking for quality representation. I presented myself to go for Senate under the ACN; they did not consider me for ticket, then I jumped over to the ANPP.
“So, my first attempt was under the umbrella of ANPP and, of course, nothing like election happened that year. It was the year that (then President Olusegun) Obasanjo said it was a do-or-die affair. In fact, the materials for my ward were left at Umuguma in Owerri; they did not even care. Result sheets were already written. Very funny things happened during that time. I needed to give my community a voice because nobody was doing it. I said here I am, an educated woman, I have been exposed; I have travelled widely all over the world. I said let me take it easy and come to learn the politics of Imo State. I came down, that was the era of Rochas (Okorocha). I joined the rescue mission for that time. And my husband also became interested in politics or rather walked his way into politics. And the experiences in politics gathered, he benefited more. I helped him so well, for him to win his elections two times. Any woman is mentally capacitated, physically capacitated and above all companionate.
“The community where I come from, there is no road, schools or hospitals, especially for nursing mothers. Women are dying from childbirth complications due to poor health care. It’s unfair. If men who are expected to go out there and bring good governance and infrastructural development are not doing it, I will do it,” Mrs Betty Akeredolu said.