The wife of the Kwara State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Aishat Bashir Bolarinwa, recently marked her birthday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. In this interview with ADEKUNLE JIMOH, the daughter of the late Lagos politician, Dr Joseph Lambo, shares with us some interesting issues, including her husband’s political career and their family life, among others.
Can you tell us a bit of your background?
Well, I give glory to Almighty Allah for everything. I was a Christian but married to a Moslem. The very first day I met my husband, I decided that I would join his religion. And I thank God, I am not regretting that decision. I was born into a large family, Dr Joseph Olusola Lambo family from Abeokuta, Ogun State.
I attended Oregun Primary School, then Regal Memorial Baptist College Yaba before proceeding to the University of Lagos. I got married to Bashir Bolarinwa on May 25, 2006. It happened to be my dad’s birthday, but he was not around to witness that. My husband was the political son of my dad when he was alive. It started from there. Then we used to ‘eye’ each other but I never gave him a chance then as I was still very young. As God would have it, eventually got married to him.
Since then, I thank God, I have not regretted my action. My husband is a very loyal family man. I also pray for my daughter to get married to somebody like my husband. If my daughter can have somebody like my husband, I will go and sleep because I know she is in a safe hand. If there is another chance in this world to come back, I pray to have someone like my husband again. He is a wonderful man and once a wife has a wonderful husband, it is incumbent on the wife to reciprocate by making him happy. Because if everybody around him is happy, the wife is happy too. He will also be happy.
My growing up in polygamous home
The division in every polygamous home is from the mothers. Allowing the children to mix with one another freely is a recipe for peace and unity in that home.
How do you feel each time your husband is going for a contest for political office?
The first thing I will tell him is to know that God is backing you. I will only be at home praying for God’s guidance and protection. I would tell him not to have a divided mind. I always sit him down and talk to him before any contest and wish him well. My husband does not believe in any other thing than the Almighty God. And one with God is a majority.
What would have been your reaction if your husband had turned out to be what you did not expect?
You know that is another work entirely. If you think your husband is not good, a good wife should try as much as possible to mould him. If it is not what I thought, I would have still married him. But I think
Bashir Bolarinwa is 50 percent what I want. So, it makes the work easier for me. The sword is in a woman’s hand. So, a woman can throw the sword in the direction she wants it to work.
What will be your reaction if your husband marries more than one wife?
My dear brother, if a man is the king of England, nothing stops him from marrying another wife. He might see anything in another woman, which I don’t have and decide to marry her. He is a Muslim. Will I die or kill myself? I think I will just support him. It is not easy, even to you men. But if you want to still keep your home, you must make sure you surrender to his wish.
How do you cope with the horde of visitors that throng your homestead?
I do joke with my friends that I was born and reared by the aged. I was the last born of my family when my dad was alive. So I should know how to manage my home. I am from a polygamous home. I study what is happening and how to go about it. I have garnered experience from all the politics in a polygamous home. My dad was also a politician when he was alive. So, I stay in a glass house. It means that those who live in a glass house must not throw stone.
How do you manage all the politicians milling around your house here in Kwara?
As I said earlier, my dad was a politician when he was alive. He was the chairman of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) during Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s days. All the things they did then were done in our house. I grew up among politicians. And with God on my side, I have been able to manoeuvre through. And coming from Lagos to a new terrain, I try to do my best for them. It is not all about food. No. At times, the things that my husband will not hear, it’s I who will tell him. I interact with them. It is not all of them that can face my husband to tell him some things. But with me, I will know those things. That is the mistake some women make. Some will think they are on top of the world. Sometimes, some pieces of information will get to me through my interactions with them.
Are you always nervous whenever your husband is going for a contest?
I will surprise you. It is a game I enjoy so much. So I will not tell him to stop; even if there is crisis, I will stand and give him courage. I will tell him, ‘Let’s go, nothing will happen by the grace of God’. I know heaven will not fall.
Politics in Nigeria
It is very interesting because you might be sitting and eating with each other, you will not know which one is yours. Once you get to the field, you would not know what is going on again. By the time you look at your back, you would not see anybody again. Once they are here or there that is what you can say. Nothing can change their minds.
How do you feel when his party is contesting?
The toughest time is Kwara was facing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of the Sarakis. It was no easy task. When they were doing all the preparations before the eventual victory of APC, I would not sleep until he came back. I was always on my feet because it is a game I enjoy myself.
How do you ward off people taking undue advantage of your simplicity?
I try as much as possible to avoid people taking me for a ride. Once I notice that, I try to correct it.
What is the difference between politics in Lagos and that of Kwara?
There is a world of difference between politics in Lagos and Kwara states. The difference here in the 2019 election was the ‘Otoge’ movement. The movement generated a lot of tension. Unlike Lagos where everybody knows where he is going. There has been a master plan for all to follow. But in Kwara, nobody could say which side the result of the election would go. It was a 50, 50 option. And I think this was borne out of the way politics started here.
Are you satisfied with women’s participation in politics in Nigeria?
I want more women to come out and participate in politics in Nigeria. It is even worse off in Kwara. Perhaps, Kwara is a predominantly Muslim state. I am just thinking that on my own o! We have more women in politics in Ogun and Lagos states. Men should encourage us by giving us more opportunities. Women have a lot of things upstairs. Who says we can’t do anything? We manage our children even when they are grown up.
Will you like to contest for elective office?
Well, if Allah wills. But like I told you it is a game I love so much. But I don’t want to talk much about it.
What is your wish for your husband?
There is no woman that will not wish her husband well. My wish for him is to move higher. But for now, I leave everything to Allah.