By Ebun Sessou
Honourable Omowunmi Olatunji-Edet is the Chairman, House Committee on Establishment, Training, Pension and Public Service in the Lagos State House of Assembly, LSHA. She holds a first degree in English Language from the Lagos State University, LASU, as well as a diploma both in Theology and Computer Science.
In this interview, the elegant and stylish female politician speaks on issues bothering on life as a woman politician, especially as it relates to sexual harassment.
Let us into your world…
I grew up in Lagos, Edo and Ondo states because my father was a civil servant who got transferred frequently. I got married at the age of 20, and that was in 1993. I was so naive and inexperienced, but I had an understanding of family values because I was raised by a civil servant, who was focused and wanted to give value to the society. My husband was in the ministry so after my graduation from a Bible school programme which I embarked on, I was ordained by Pastor Ben Enoch of Communion Chapel in 1995. I became an assistant pastor and later a full time pastor in 1998.
God soon ministered to me and I started an NGO through which I reach the less privileged and youths. The headquarters of the organization is in Ghana.
It was after one of my trips to Ghana that the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) began sensitizing Christians to go into politics, and I heeded the call; which was what led me into politics.
I’ve lost three elections since 1999 when I tried my hands on politics. But I have since 2007 won two which brought me into the LSHA, representing Oshodi-Isolo Constituency 2. I have facilitated several projects in my constituency.
As an “inexperienced” young lady, were there challenges and did they affect your home?
It is no longer news that my marriage broke up in 2009, though I hold on to the name because of the three children involved. I am going to re-marry and it will be known to the whole world. But sometimes, you get stories that are not true.
Being a pastor, I try to convince the people around me that you could find yourself in an unpalatable situation. I never envisaged I would have to go through a second marriage; I wanted a marriage that would work because I grew up with my father, mother and siblings.
I should also reiterate the fact that I did not leave my husband Pastor Edet; he left me for reasons best known to him.
I heard about your relationship with King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, can you clear the air on your closeness to him?
The relationship between me and KWAM 1 was orchestrated by God, I met him divinely. I had been working as a board member of the state Ministry of Youth and Sports before I met King Wasiu Ayinde. I had contested several elections and lost until I was advised to visit him as he was living in my area. There are two prominent people in that area; Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, Founder of the Odua Peoples Congress, OPC, and KWAM I. I solicited their support and was endorsed as their candidate.
Unfortunately, people thought I was dating KWAM 1. Meanwhile, I never set eyes on him throughout the first three years that my marriage crashed. He has helped me, and I cannot but make him a friend. But he is not my boyfriend, husband or sugar daddy.
Sexual harassment scares most women from politics, what is your experience?
In 2007 we were only five women out of 40 lawmakers in the LSHA. At first, some male lawmakers tried to woo me, but my response was “I bind you” and so, they nicknamed me ‘I bind you’. But with time, I started studying them and found out most of them meant no harm. I however tried not to fall victim, because I knew where I was heading. You can imagine if as a Governor of a state I had slept with male lawmakers, I am sure it will not be a good story to tell.