Mabel Oboh rings political bells. She was Edo State governorship candidate on the platform of African Democratic Congress, ADC, in 2020. But she is a woman of many parts and substance. A Nollywood stakeholder, PR consultant and philanthropist, with a weakness for women, youths and the less-privileged. Her foundation, Mabel Oboh Centre for Save Our Stars, MOCSOS, is focusing on rescuing Nollywood veterans from health challenges.
She produced and co-directed ‘Victims,’ a household soap in the 80s, making her the second independent female producer in Nigeria, after Lola Fani-Kayode’s ‘Mirror in the Sun’ in the 70s. She produced tele-movies for NTA. One was ‘The Bobos’, staring late Sam Loco Efe, Clarion Chukwura, Toun Oni, among others. There was also ‘Barbara and Barbra’, ‘My o Mine,’ ‘The Jolly’s’, to mention a few. She was the first to produce Mr. Biggs fast food commercials, Killington Fridge, documentaries such as Ibru Fisheries, Banking in Nigeria, etc. In the 90s Mabel Oboh joined NTA Channel 7 as a full-time staff.
In this interview with Vanguard, she speaks on her defection to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, aspirations and what women need to do for the country’s good. Excerpts:
Since after the Edo governorship election, you have been quiet except for your defection to PDP…
So it seems. But I have been busy catching up on my personal life. Being an Edo 2020 guber candidate was not an easy task. It was indeed an eye-opener.
After the elections, I felt I needed time to reflect before forging on. Edo 2020 changed my perception of life in Nigeria. I saw that we are living a full circle in Nigeria. I also realised that the issues facing our dear nation is not only caused by the people on top, but the ones at the bottom are also to blame.
The corruption in our society is deep rooted all the way to the grassroots. I realised that during the election. So I took my time to restructure my ideology and how best to be an effective positive politician.
Why did you leave ADC?
I have been asked this question so many times. I left ADC because I realized that it was not a strong enough platform for me to achieve what I need to do for the people that matter most; those without a voice. I realised that in order not to be a couch politician, I had to leave ADC.
READ ALSO: Beyond Edo 2020: What next for Mabel Oboh
As I have continually said, I am grateful to ADC for giving me a great opportunity. But I also worked very hard for the party. They were not happy with my decision to leave, but I knew I had to go. It was nothing really personal. What is the point of being a politician if all you do is talk without the possible chance of serving the people?
So since you’re in Lagos and in PDP, the only opposition in Edo seems to be from Abuja only
I don’t really believe that. We are all Nigerians; we can oppose or praise a good government from anywhere. The digital world has made it easier to participate in national or state issues. I’m still in tune with matters affecting Edo State.
Your political journey is an interesting one. Has it peaked with being Owokoniran’s PRO?
Being PRO to Rahman Owokoniran, the PDP South-West Regional Secretary is a privilege. It is part of showcasing the party, which I believe should be a duty for every party member. Doing PRO work for such a great experienced politician is an honour.
I have huge respect for him. He is knowledgeable and has a lot of experience to share and contribute to the party and Nigeria. So it is only proper that he is heard. However, it’s nothing new to me. I was the Publicity Secretary for Lagos State with ADC and done a lot of publicity for the national leadership. So extending my media experience to PDP is more than a pleasure.
What are your aspirations then?
I am taking one step at a time. However, my aspirations have not really changed. I joined politics to have a better platform to do what I love doing best; that is helping the less-privileged. To help realise a better country, pass on my life-long knowledge and experiences to those that need it, especially women and the youths.
To be honest, we need to change our mindset in this country. I want to encourage women and the young ones. I want them to understand that nothing comes for nothing. For everything that we want, we need to fight for it by being well-equipped with knowledge.
We all need mentors to encourage us and if I can be a tool to encourage others to join in changing our society, I would have self-actualise myself, I believe. The sky is the limit and I’m not afraid to climb.
Is PDP providing the right environment for female politicians to thrive?
Yes. I do believe that PDP is a great party for women. At the moment there is a programme about to start to encourage more women to join the party. PDP is a party that is not gender or tribe bias.
For instance, before I chose to defect to PDP, I was given the impression that because I am a woman and not a Lagos State indigene, the party will not receive me well. Some even said that I should go back to Edo. These were all contrary to my beliefs, so I did what I felt was proper.
As a Nigerian, I believe that I have the right to practice politics in any part of the country. I want to see myself as a new-age politician without any biases. As it happened, I was received very well by the party and my local government.
I have said this over and over again: it is not what a political party can do for you but what you can do for the party to attain their goals for the Country. This ideology applies to every aspect of life. More women need to come out.
In my opinion most women are self defeatists, believing that no one will give them a chance. But, I say, go there and take the chance by proving yourself worth. No one ever wants to lose a good worker. So PDP is encouraging women and youths to come on board.
This is part of what I want to achieve in politics; to encourage more women and youths to participate in the affairs of our Country.
We should learn how to grab all the opportunities out there for us. It is a lot of hard work though. We have a good number of successful women who have made it in politics dating back to Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.
Let’s step back a little; you’re a philanthropist and one of the seminal stakeholders in Nollywood. Do you still have business with show business?
Once a showbiz person, always a showbiz person. The world is a stage as it is. My love for showbiz will never die. I have made contribution to our entertainment industry that can never be taken away from me and I am proud. That is why I keep getting involved in things that will help artists in Nigeria.
For instance, my NGO, MOCSOS, has helped and saved lives of entertainers. For instance, my getting involved in the late ‘Save Sadiq Daba’ project, my campaign and fundraising that saved Ajegunle musician, Yellow Banton, who had skin cancer, among others.
There is also the health insurance for entertainers that was introduced by my NGO. So I am still very connected to the entertainment world.
As it is, I still do promotional and image building for some personalities and businesses. I am even thinking of reviving my ‘Chat With Mabel’ show as a platform to discuss social issues.
What would you say drives you?
I love creativity, conquering new grounds and touching people’s lives.