Mrs. Funso Amosun is the sumptuous and delicious wife of Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. A mother of five, she is aged 50, but still looks like a ‘sweet sixteen’. At the Government House, in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State, she shared with YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, AZUH ARINZE, what life was like for her family before politics permeated everywhere. She also talked about other issues, which no doubt will enthrall and enchant you. Enjoy the part 2 of our memorable encounter with her…
You dress well. What determines or constitutes fashion for you?
To be honest, and without playing a pun upon my name; because my name is Comfort – comfort comes first. If a certain outfit is uncomfortable, I’m not wearing it. But today, this skirt is so heavy (laughter). But I wore it for you (more laughter). And as soon as you finish, I’m going to take it off. I can’t wait… But truly, for me, it’s about being comfortable with whatever I’m wearing. And more often than not, you will find me in flat shoes, unless it’s a special event whereby I know that I’m stepping out of the car and probably stepping back into it. So, in terms of fashion, it’s about being comfortable in whatever it is I wear.
You often get described as one of the most beautiful First Ladies. How does that make you feel and also are you aware of the fact that people describe you as such?
Well, I’m aware that few people say that, but of course, they lie (laughter). And to the people that do say that, I take it as a compliment and I thank them. But I don’t think that I’m the finest first lady…I believe that everybody has their own beauty, whether outward or inward. We are all beautiful in our own special ways.
What do you like most about your husband?
My husband! The fact that he’s just so dependable.
What don’t you like about him?
I won’t tell you (laughter).
What was your life like before becoming the First Lady?
Well, before becoming the wife of the Governor, I was the wife of a Senator. But before becoming the wife of a Senator, again, this is not singing praises of my husband. My husband has always been a people’s person. Even in the early days of our marriage. If I was opportune to wake up and find out that there was like a crowd of people that had come to visit us, I would say…no, I won’t be the one to say it. But if he found out that we hadn’t had visitors that day, he would say oh, there’s nobody; should we go and greet people? And I will say can’t we just spend the day together? And he will say ‘Olorun ma se wa la dara nikan o’ (laughter). So, we’ve always had people around us and I think that’s what made it easy for me to sort of integrate into this role because I’m not doing anything that I don’t normally have to do as being the wife of Ibikunle Amosun. Whether it’s Senator Ibikunle Amosun or Governor Ibikunle Amosun, you always have to cater for people, you always know that people are going to troop into your house, so you just need to be a good hostess. So, I’m not really doing anything that I wouldn’t do normally.
What plans are you and your husband making after governance?
I don’t have any plans, but just as I have said, I pray to God that I would always be my husband’s wife and that man is always going to be active. By God’s grace, he shall not have health challenges. I’m happy to be beside him and I have no intention of being in front of him.
In the early days of your marriage, did you ever visualize him becoming even a community leader, not to talk of a Governor?
I think that apart from being a Governor, my husband has always been a mature leader. Even in his family! People come to him and somehow he just always holds that position of relevance. Even among his family members, people would come to him, people will seek his opinion before making even family decisions and just like I have said, he’s always been an incurable optimist and to the glory of God, he’s always been able to accomplish or attain what it is that he sets his mind to. I wouldn’t have thought as far as governorship, because I know that I married a chartered accountant and I don’t know when the smart suits switched to the buba and…(laughter). I really don’t know where that happened. But I know that maybe one day or someday, he was saying that ha, they are saying I should run for the senate and I was thinking okay, have they gone this far? But then I think it came from people speaking to him, letting him realize that he’s got a platform on which he could at least serve people and I think that, that kind of made it for him. And from then on, he’s never looked back. Because he can see that it’s an opportunity to make things right, it’s an opportunity to serve people, it’s an opportunity to have a voice that makes a difference in what happens in the society that we live in.
God has been very nice to you and your family – which you rightly admitted. What has God not done for you?
I just want God to continue to give me the grace. I am serious! I mean, if I were to tell you another story, you would understand what I’m saying. Like normally in the Nigerian tradition; we have four girls and a boy. Normally, after you have the first girl, you have the second girl, you are made to feel as if you are inadequate. I didn’t! And this is like a typical example of what I said to you – when I finally had our boy was when I saw people jubilating on the street and my husband buying me flowers and it was then that I looked back and I’m like, was this a problem? (laughter). Because he would make it seem sebi omo mi ni. Ah – ah! We thank God. Owo e pe, ese e pe? All glory to God and so people were congratulating us on our 5th child – e ku ewu omo. Like congratulations on the baby. No, this time, it’s a baby boy (laughter), not just congratulations…I mean, maybe if I hadn’t the boy, like little – minded people, oh, I would have wished this, that… I’m serious, I’m just grateful to God. God has been so kind to me, He always meets me at the point of need. I don’t even know when I ever have a need. It’s afterwards that I realize okay, maybe I’d have a need, but God is just a perfect God and I’m just so grateful to Him.
What’s your take on women empowerment and emancipation?
Look around this room. It kind of speaks for itself. But I will say to our women out there that we need to stand up for ourselves as well. The men are educated, women are educated too and with all due respect to men, a lot of things that the men can do, the women can do as well because we’ve been sent to school just as you’ve been sent too. So, it’s now left for us women to start taking the front row, for us to believe in ourselves, for us to realize that we can do what the men are doing too and to demand for it. I think a lot of our women sort of like to sit back and expect things to drop into their laps. But we need to stand up and speak for ourselves as well. It’s not always the men that have the problem. Even when we are organizing conferences, we call women to come and listen. We are preaching to the homes. We need to invite the men to these conferences too to come and let them hear and listen; let them realize that we are not challenging their authority; we just want to be appreciated as equal individuals and I think we are getting there.
Your husband was a chartered accountant before politics took over. What were you?
I’ve always spent my adult life being the wife of Ibikunle Amosun and I’m very happy and proud to do so. As the wife of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, I have taken care of our five children, our NGO, the SIA Foundation, where we give scholarships to students and so many other things. As the wife of Ibikunle Amosun, I’ve had the liberty to work if I desired and I’ve done a little in the UK. But I have never been pressurized to earn a living for myself. That is just me trying to make myself feel good, to know that I can earn a living if I really need to. But I have never, to the glory of God, been in a position whereby my husband has not catered to my need. And when you have five children, if you have the opportunity and liberty, you kind of ask yourself – do you want to leave your children with house helps and other people to bring your children up when you can actually stay with them and raise them yourself? And I answered myself that I would want to spend my time with my children as they were growing up. Nobody did anything for my children till they were 10 years old. I did it myself. I’ve never had anybody that had bathed any of my children or anything and for me, that’s precious. And I could afford to do so. So, why should I get somebody else to do it for me?
Why the special interest in vocational training?
I’m a sucker for vocational training and it’s just in line with the initiative I expressed a while ago – tailoring that to empower our youths by sustaining the environment. I believe just as I said a while ago that anybody who truly desires actually earns a living. I always cite one example when I’m speaking to women that I’m a living example of how women, even when men say to them that you shouldn’t go out to work, that you should stay with your children – just as I narrated just now, while I was at home, it didn’t mean that I was folding my hands and not doing anything. I’m home with my children, I have tailors that I supervise that can make clothes for people, I have a hairdressing salon, I have a nail studio and I never go out to actually do it myself. But I will say to women, even on a smallest scale, learn a skill, learn a vocation such that when your husband says don’t go out to work, take care of the home, take care of the children, learn beading – fortunately I’m wearing a typical example. This is a beaded outfit. You can bead necklaces, you can bead clothes, you don’t need a shop, you don’t need any set up purse. If somebody commissions you to make this outfit, they most likely will give you an advance. The advance that they’ve given you, the advance payment that they’ve given you is enough for you to buy the beads and the needle, sit in your house where your husband has asked you to sit, bead this outfit. When you finish them, you give it back to the client, the client pays you what obviously is your profit. You’ve pleased your husband, you’ve pleased your home, you’ve actualized yourself. That’s it.
Lastly, what’s your take on the Chibok girls?
I don’t want to say that we need to raise our security consciousness because the current administration has really focused on security issues. My message will be that we shouldn’t lose hope. Definitely, I’m concerned about the whereabouts of the children, I’m concerned about what they’ve been subjected to, I’m worried that they might not even want to come home any more, maybe they’ve become wives to these people and they’ve been brainwashed to believe that, that’s where they like to live. To be honest, I’m lost on that topic. It’s something that is very painful, it’s like a big slap, because right under our very noses, this has happened. But because I see the efforts that the current administration has put into getting these little girls back, I think the only thing that we can do is to let mothers across Nigeria just pray on behalf of these children.
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