Deconstructing Senator Abiodun Olujimi


Obinna Iroegbu
All political actors and watchers of events in Ekiti cannot deny having observed the political development of this enigma of an amazon,Senator Abiodun Christine Olujimi.
Her career has been a steady manifestation of stellar contributions to the development of not just Ekiti State but Nigeria at large.

In many ways she has proven that a woman, any determined woman, can carve a niche for herself within the unpredictable and male dominated arena of Nigerian politics.

Her first public statement of formidable politics was when she stood her ground during a not-quite-proper impeachment of a former governor to whom then she was a deputy.

In spite of the illegitimate pronouncement of the then members of the State House of Assembly that an impeachment had been effected, she insisted that she was the de facto governor going by the constitutional provision.

This was an unexpected heroic act against the manipulative and self-centered house members whose speaker and the deputy had positioned themselves governor and deputy governor, respectively.

By that singular act of resistance, a constitutional anarchy was arrested and relative harmony restored in the consequent declaration of emergency at Ekiti by the then President, Obasanjo. Had Olujimi not stood her ground and rolled back the emergent and invading pattern of legislative rascality as was playing out in the country then, perhaps, the political development of the country would have taken a different but very ugly course.

This was her first, her very first act of triumph and victory against brigandage and illegality. Any dispassionate watcher at this time would have been able to predict what trajectory this amazon was going to take.

On the floor of the senate, she has proven an active voice in sponsoring bills that portend direct effects on not just her people but the generality of Nigerians. She is neither in the mold of militant vociferousness of an SDM or cold unobtrusive disposition of certain senators from Ekiti not worthy of mention.

In eloquent and carefully crafted grammar, she presents her views in such a way that they are usually acceptable even to the opposition. It is a fact that her having a background in journalism may have assisted in gifting her eloquent and impressive command of the English language, yet not many a former journalist-turned-politician can do it the way she does it.

Senator Olujimi’s recent success at the Appeal Court which necessitated her being sworn in as the only PDP senator representing Ekiti and one of the only female legislators of the red chamber, has a great significance in dogged politics.

It is an iconic precedence in the power of a determined woman to wrestle with her detractors in order to recover what is legitimately hers. Maybe, in the future, a woman would not just be dismissed or denied her right just because of her gender. Not many watchers and actors gave her a good chance of winning the case.

This was against the backdrop that she entered into the contest (of a return to the Senate) with an extra burden of an internal wrangling within the state chapter of her party. Some of her own party members were against her candidacy and, though did not openly canvass support for the opposing party, showed no commitment to her contest. As it stands today, she is the highest ranking elected political office holder of the PDP from Ekiti State. In fact, she is about the only elected political office holder under the banner of the party, from the local government up to the national assembly, in the entire Ekiti.

Being a woman, she has retained the hope for gender inclusiveness and balance in political participation and demography. In other clines, such a person as she would only but put up the notice of participation and literarily the majority of the populace would support her. Reelection would amount to an almost work-over but alas we are where we are as a developing democracy. Our electorate is yet to be fully informed on the need for ranked representatives or experienced politicians. Here, money and meanness matter. These two sometimes call the shots and may greatly determine who becomes what except if there is ‘Divine intervention’ as can be said of Senator Olujimi’s case.

In spite of this, and giving the fact that our political evolution would certainly adhere to the forces of growth and development, especially with the passing of the electoral act bill, this might be the opportune time for Nigeria to produce the first female elected governor. Like the average electorate, this writer is not acquainted with Olujimi beyond mass media and distant political rally sightings. This is not a sponsored write-up.

It is but a simple opinion of one who has been part of the politics of Ekiti, both as a voter, electoral adhoc-staff and commentator. If we think we are ripe enough to prove to the world that we value our girl child, this could be the opportunity. Let he that feels equally qualified come out but let proven productivity, experience and meritocracy be the determining factors in the next dispensation of gubernatorial contest in my dear Ekiti.
*Iroegbu, a social and political commentator, has been living and working in Ekiti State as public servant for more than twenty years.