What Life Has Taught Me At 50- INEC Deputy Director
Mrs Oluyemi Titilayo Adeyemi-Showunmi; a Deputy Director with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),Lagos State Office and the brain behind The Beautiful Beginnings Foundation NGO is one woman with a purpose for equitable platform for all people irrespective of background, especially the girl child. Mrs Oluyemi Showunmi, wife of Mr Segun Showunmi, 2019 PDP Spokesman for Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign will on Tuesday join the Golden Club. She speaks with Bankole Taiwo on life at 50 among other topical issues.
Life is quite refreshing at 50
At 50, I long for a greater Nigeria.
Can you please tell us the secret of your looking 30 at 50?
That’s absolutely divine, it’s the Grace of God, though I do try to do things in moderation, go to the gym too for some workout but then it’s still God all the way.
How was growing up?
I was born 23rd March,1971 in Ibadan to the family of Very Revd. and Mrs Samuel Adetuyi Ogunfowora of Ipara Remo, Remo North Local Government Area of Ogun State.My childhood nursery enrolment started with Omolewa Nursery and Primary School,Ibadan and after the creation of Ogun State in 1976, my parents moved to Abeokuta and I continued with St.Bernedette Nursery and Primary School from 1976 to 1982. Secondary Education was at Abeokuta Girls Grammar School from 1982 to 1987.I furthered my studies at the Ogun State University now Olabisi Onabanjo University, (OOU) Ago-Iwoye and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English language.The compulsory one-year Youth Service stint to the Fatherland was at Maiduguri,Borno State with the National Electoral Commission(NEC)where i later got employment.In furtherance of my educational pursuits,i hold a Master’s Degree in Communication & Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 2003.
I was employed by NEC as an Administrative Officer II and rose through the ranks to become a Deputy Director in Field Services and Administration in the Commission.I am married to one of the most amiable and loving husband in the whole wide world.And my Family is simply Amazing.
What would you say got you attracted to your husband?
I think it was his confidence, we actually met at the after- wedding party my older brother 2l years ago.My husband was in the company of some of his friends to the after-wedding party in our house at Olomore, here in Abeokuta.There was this allure & confidence about him, he walked up to me and said that he likes me and that I would be his wife. I said just like that, be your wife without courtship.I was equally drawn to him liked his personality…down to earth and unpretentious.The rest as they say is history today 21 years after. I feel blessed that I am married to him, he’s been a phenomenal husband and loving father too to his children.
How do you feel at 50?
Life at 50 is an epiphany for me, a season of New Beginnings.It is with a heart full of gratitude to the Lord for being my pillar of strength and support right from conception to date and just like yesterday, I am joining the Golden Club, the little girl of yesterday, I am eternally grateful to God for His unending mercies after all, the scripture says, “it is not unto him that runneth, nor unto him that willeth but unto God who showeth favour.”
What were your aspirations as a young girl?
It is unlike now that you have easy access to role models or mentors, but I know I had a very good reading culture so, many of my role models then were those I encountered in the written works. Later on, I came across Oprah Winfrey, I love her personality and I wished to be like her, that was in the 90s. While growing up too, there was this dream i had of setting up a kind of free-education school for the indigent but exceptionally brilliant children and reflected on how to raise funds for all of this.A statement from Oprah Winfrey caught my attention where she said it’s not about gathering all the resources but about impacting life in ways you can and i immediately set about doing that. Later on in life, people like Dr Okonjo-Iweala, Michelle Obama have been good role models too for aspirations in terms of purpose.
Would you say women have come of age in the country vis-a-vis their contributions socio-economically and politically?
Absolutely yes, Nigerian women have been able to raise their heads and raise the bars too, they are doing exploits across all the sectors, I believe women are better managers and are able to multitask more than men at home front and wherever they found themselves. Look at Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who just resumed as the Director General of the World Trade Organization, she had been at the World Bank and Coordinating Minister in the country likewise the likes of Dr Oby Ezekwesili, and several others. On my own merit too, I have also been a pride to womanhood because issues of gender and feminism have not engendered quality service delivery in responsibilities assigned or not assigned.
Professionalism,Proficiency,Capacity,Excellence and Compassion has been synonyms in delivering effective & efficient services.My advocacy is a level playing ground and more inclusiveness for women.The percentage is skewed in favour of men, why should it be so? When we agree that women are doing excellently well in areas of chosen capacities,why the limited visibility in policy diection, narratives implementation and contributions to governance and socio-economic activities.
Women are said to be better managers of resources than men, are you a fan of female presidency in Nigeria?
Yes, I am a fan of creating equal access and platforms for all irrespective of gender. I am a fan of I got a position because it’s deserving not because i’m a woman but because I have all it takes to deliver, because i have the requisite intellect and capacity to do it excellently well. I am a fan of give it to the woman because she deserves it and not because she is a woman. And of course, if any woman with all the requisite expertise want to become the next President of the country, why not? let her go there and shine brilliantly well.
This is one of the reasons I started my foundation, Beautiful Beginnings some years back. It is a foundation that is dedicated to teaching and encouraging the young girls that asides being good wife and loving mother, you can excel too very well in your chosen path.. I think when we start educating our girls right from young age that it is not a man’s world, that they too could go and become whatever they desire in life, this will go a long way in making women more assertive and they can occupy their places of pride in the country.
What will you say brought out the idea of setting up a foundation?
I think the idea started when I noticed how disrespectful people can be, especially the young ones when engaging others on social media. Imagine a younger cousin of mine saying “hey’, fine it is a form of greeting but smacks of disrespect and doesn’t go with our culture. As much as I tried to correct the person, it didn’t work, so I said this should be tackled from the foundation, when the children are still very young.I shared the idea with a younger girl and we that’s how we started, I just want our young girls to know that good manners, graciousness doesn’t take anything away from them. The purpose was also to imbibe in them a life of service to others for to live to serve is to live a Purposeful life.
Sometimes, we go to orphanages for them to know they have privileged backgrounds in the company of the Mummies in the house to see life from a different perspective and of course to learn to lend their support at a young age.The foundation in a nutshell is to impact the young girls for them to impact the society too just as Oprah Winfrey had impacted my life
Are there things you wished you could change at 50?
No, not really, when I look at the totality of life experiences , I am grateful to God for His Faithfulness and the Abundance of his Grace.
How have you been able to cope being such a quiet person and marrying a politician that is quite vocal?
Thank you, I think my husband’s vocality has to do with his stance for calling a spade what it is ; a spade. This is one of the qualities i appreciate in him.
He is a fascinating, phenomenal person.
He brings out the best in me and i am blessed to have him as my husband. He has been of great help in work-related concerns and relationships with people with his candid candor. He is also a generous and compassionate person who wishes and wants the best for all around him and goes the extra mile to do just that.My prayer is that He would continue to wax stronger in the Strength and Joy of the Lord in Jesus Name.Amen.
How do you unwind?
I read a lot and internet has made that easier.I unwind by reading, watching movies being with family, I love my family to high heavens. Taking Walks, Travelling are other pastimes to rejuvenating for me. Being alone and having people around sometimes which is a paradox are ways of unwinding as well.
Let me also add that my spare time is devoted too to my foundation and on Monday, 22nd March a day before my birthday,we will be visiting some homes/orphanages to lend support. I am a strong believer inequitable & fair distribution of the basic amenities that makes life comfortable and that living a dignified life irrespective of who you are is a right and not a privilege.
What is your wish at 50?
That we have all of these things that I have said fairness, equitable distribution of basic amenities such that basics of life; power, water, access to qualitative education, good road network, affordable housing and effective healthcare delivery system are no longer regurgitating issues for us in our dear country.
In summary great nation, good people in words and deeds for a greater Nigeria.
How about parental influence?
My parents had an impactful influence on me, I am what I am today by the Grace of God and the influence of my parents. My late father was both an Administrator in the Western Region and the Ogun State Civil Service Commission a Reverend with the Methodist Church and my Mum a Nurse who progressed in stages to become the Chief Matron & Head of Administration at the State General Hospital she superintended over. They inculcated strong values, good home-training in us and laid the solid founding blocks for Life Abundance today.
My father lived an exemplary life; my siblings and I were raised with God as the leading light.He did not only preach the words of God, He lived it by his Legacy of Godliness, Integrity and Compassion which he bequeathed to us.
My father was not into corporal punishment as a way of raising children.
His “I am disappointed”, in grave tones is enough to bring our shoulders and make us downcast when we err.
It sets the tone for immediate remorseful mode, adjustments & improvements.
My Mum too was quite supportive, they were united in raising us in the path of Godliness, Integrity, Honesty and Believing in yourself.
My father was my hero.
My husband has taken it a notch higher, he is also a very spiritual person & also embodies all of these attributes.