…The farmer, nurse, midwife, pharmacist and doctor who wants to govern Ekiti
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
For this All Progressives Congress, APC chieftain with a fairytale progression through the healthcare industry, her aspiration to become the first female governor of Ekiti State has not come as a surprise to many.
Dr. Mojisola Yusuf-Kolade first trained as a nurse, before relocating to the United States where she subsequently trained as a midwife, then pharmacist and medical doctor.
Following her medical training, she also established a hospital in the United States, which is presently the only Nigerian owned hospital in Connecticut. Following her relocation to Nigeria, she has also delved into farming besides her philanthropy activities in the state.
It was as such not a surprise when asked why she was entering the contest that she waxed eloquent on how she can use the office of governor to extend her philanthropic gestures.
“I am bringing a lot into the race, in terms of professional experience, entrepreneurship experience and the passion for the people. I have been a businesswoman, an employer and a supporter of charity. I empower women and youths; widows who are taking care of their children, artisans and peasants who are in apprenticeship, but who cannot provide for themselves.
I have an NGO, the Christiana Ebenezer Kolade Foundation.” Asked what gave her confidence in the face of the challenge from the about 30 men in the contest including the two immediate past governors of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and Engr. Segun Oni, she said:
“I am a woman. I have done a lot of things internally and locally. I have created jobs. That’s what the people of Ekiti actually need. There is a huge unemployment rate in Ekiti. College and university graduates are driving Okada. That is not a pleasant sight.”
Affirming that she entered the contest as a way of enhancing her philanthropy, she said:
“I came into politics for the purpose of empowerment of the people. I have been involved in Ekiti in the last five years. I saw the hospitals. I saw the schools. In the schools, there are no books. The hospitals are not habitable for human beings. We have glorified clinics which we call hospitals. That is not acceptable. These are things that need to be repaired. I am a business woman, a nurse, a pharmacist, a consultant in medicine. My husband and I own the only privately owned facility in the whole of Connecticut.
“In Nigeria, I am also a farmer. I have over 300 hectares of farm land.”
Given the impression she claimed to have made on the ground in Ekiti, she was asked if she had been able to mobilise the women behind her aspiration.
“Huge. It is a momentum going on. They are enthusiastic. They were actually looking for a woman to come out. They were not sure they would get somebody. When I declared, and I told the Acting Chairman, women were excited. It was a welcome development to them. I know their plight. I am working with the women and the youths. They are happy that I am in the race, a mother, an intellectual and a highly compassionate woman.”
Asked why she did not start her politics from a lower level, she tried to make a comparison with some previous governors saying:
“This question has been asked before. Governor Fashola did not start from the Senate. Fayemi started as governor. Aregbesola started as a commissioner. When you have the acumen, you can take up the challenge. I have done some things in my life before. The questions we should ask are what contribution have you done to humanity, what have you done before?”
On why she chose the APC platform, she confessed thus:
“I was involved in politics in the Diaspora. I was involved in the PDP. I was trying to see what they were doing. Immediately I came back to Nigeria; I saw that I could not continue with them. I was actually a woman leader in the PDP, in the Diaspora. I got to Nigeria and saw the actuality on ground and discovered that the PDP is not my kind of party. To work for the people, to work for the welfare of the people, I chose the APC.
Given the financial implications, she was tasked on how prepared she was to compete with the moneybags.
“We have been spending money. And we are still going to spend. You spend because there is a reason to do so. You believe there is need to change some things. You put your money where your mouth is. If you are ready to serve and you are not ready to spend a dime of your money, then, you are not serious. There is nowhere in the world where money is not involved. The only difference is that the way people contribute in the western world is not the way people contribute in Nigeria. In the United States, people support the candidate after he has emerged. My husband is supporting me. It is encouraging.
Asked if she had a godfather in the race, she confessed thus:
“I have. God is my godfather.”
Asked on what condition she would step down for another aspirant, Dr. Yusuf-Kolade said:
“Never. The answer is never. I am not running for the deputy governor. I am running for the governor of Ekiti State because I have my ideas, I have my agenda. I have thought about it over the years. I did not stumble on it. I am thinking about how I can make a big difference. And I have been making a big difference. I want to make a big difference on a bigger platform.”
Does she have a Plan B, she said:
“I have my business. I am fully engaged. I am a very busy woman, professionally. I am an entrepreneur. So, I am not stepping down. No compromise.”