‘I Don’t Intend to Be a Spare Tyre Deputy’
By Haleemat Oluwayemisi Busari

Mrs.i Haleemat Oluwayemisi Busari, running mate to the Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, tells Mary Nnah how she intends to run Lagos State with her principal.

After being in the corporate world for so long, how are you going to cope with politics?

It is similar because what you do in the corporate world is what you do in the political world. In the corporate world, you set goals and objectives then you deliver. Same thing in the political world, you set goals and objectives, which you must deliver.

As woman can you cope with the Nigerian political terrain?

Tell, me what is in the Nigeria political terrain?

The prevailing believe is that it is dirty, messy and there is so much corruption and often times women are intimidated. Will you be able to stand all of these?

I think it is a function of who you are, your brand and how you position yourself. I think that is very important – who you are, your brand, your values and how you position yourself is very important – because it is rough.

The corporate world can be rough as well because you also have corporate world politics. If you say the political world is rough, dirty and not fair to ladies, then you decide that you do not want to fight a pig, because if you fight a pig, you get dirty and so you can pick how you want to play and the way you want to play. Now when you say it is not fair to women, which is what I am also saying, that it is all about who you are and how you position yourself.

I have been asked to play a role and I am a woman, I remember that one of the very first things I discussed with my principal at the point of engagement was what kind of deputy governor he was looking for. Is it a spare tyre deputy governor that he was looking for or was it a deputy governor that can jointly govern, think together and come up with ideas that would lead to what it is that we are trying to achieve? And what he said was that clearly he was not looking for a spare tyre deputy governor but that he was looking for somebody he would do the work together with, which is why I said it is about you and your positioning because as far as I am concerned, I haven’t been done a favour because I am bringing something to the table. I am confident that I have my own values, my skills and my own positives and that I am bringing stuff to the table. Why should I not be who I am and have a say at whatever it is that we are trying to achieve because I don’t intend to be a spare tyre deputy governor? I think it is also the function of the individual, if you short- change yourself and position yourself in a way that shows you are not confident and that you don’t know what you are doing, you would be treated like that. That is where it starts – who are you and how do you position yourself?

How did you arrive at you being picked as a running mate to Jimi Agbaje?
I think what I have done in the past and my life spoke for me. I have always been somebody who does not believe in maintaining status quo. I have always engaged with the people, I mean intellectually on how we can ensure that we bring change to the country. I have not been an active politician till now but in my own way with the group that we hold discussions, I have impacted a lot of lives. I guess that at some point you would be identified if you are the right person for something. With all sense of humility with due respect, that is what happened in this situation. I was called and I accepted to serve because it is something, I have always been passionate about.

What sort of barrier did you encounter when your name came up for this position?
I didn’t ask for it and I didn’t lobby for it so I don’t know if there were barriers. When the selection process was going to start, I guess. a lot of people were brought to the table and it took a lot of time during which they were investigated but I became the candidate because I stood out for my conduct, integrity and friendly nature. I am a people’s person and I have been doing a lot of charity without ever making noise about them.

What made you to accept to work with Jimi Agbaje and what was your first redaction when you were told to do this?
When I was first reached out to, my initial reaction was to retreat into myself and go back to my maker. I am a Muslim and we have something that we do when we are trying to take serious decisions. It is called Istiara. It is a process whereby you go into yourself and you talk to your God and ask Him if the decision you are about to take is what He wants for you. And that was exactly what I did because that is how I run my life. I take decisions based on what God has in store for me. Sometimes I am passionate about some things but sometimes some things are not good for you at a particular time when God hasn’t approved of it. And so, my initial reaction was a case of, ‘hmmm,God is this from you?’ Is this what you want me to do? Is this how You want me to impact? I prayed about it for a couple of days and I felt at peace. You know there is a way you feel at peace with something and you know it is the right thing to do.

And like I said, because it is also something that I am passionate about and I am always thinking of how to do things differently, so I was like, okay God you are you are giving me a platform for me to implement this passion that I have always had. So, it wasn’t very difficult for me to accept the offer.

And then, my husband played a very important role. I am a woman – a working woman but I am also a very traditional woman. There are some values that I hold and someof those values are the fact that as a married woman, if you don’t have your husband at your side, there is very little you can do. I mean it is only an unwise woman that will take decisions without carrying her husband along. Though in the real sense, it is the women who always take decisions in the house.

So, he also had to play a big role in it because whatever comes out of it, both of us are going to have to deal with it. If I don’t have him behind me, there is no way I can do it.

How did your husband react to your selection as a running mate to Jimi Agbaje?

He is also someone that runs his life based on what Allah destines and believes. When I reached out to him, he said let Allah’s will be done.

QUOTE:

I didn’t ask for it and I didn’t lobby for it so I don’t know if there were barriers. When the selection process was going to start, I guess. a lot of people were brought to the table and it took a lot of time during which they were investigated but I became the candidate because I stood out for my conduct, integrity and friendly nature. I am a people’s person and I have been doing a lot of charity without ever making noise about them.

source:
https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2019/01/10/i-dont-intend-to-be-a-spare-tyre-deputy/amp/

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