Cover Stories, Interviews

APC chieftain, Cardinal Odunmbaku and PDP commissioner wife open up on political differences

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‘I cannot compel my wife to tow my political line’- CARDINAL JAMES ODUNMBAKU

CARDINAL James Omolaja Odunmbaku is a prominent politician in Lagos State.  As a matter of fact, the 69 year-old cleric is the Vice Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State.

But last week, one of his three wives, Mrs. Olasimi Akindele-Odunmbaku, was confirmed by Ondo State House of Assembly as a commissioner nominee in Ondo State (a PDP state)!

ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with husband and wife and they confirmed the news.  They said their different political lineages have not affected their marriage in anyway.

The husband told ENCOMIUM Weekly that he cannot compel his wife to tow his political line.  That her appointment is a form of recognition for her contributions to her community in Ondo State.

The wife, on her own part, told us that her marriage or martial life is different from her political career….


We congratulate you on your wife’s appointment as a commissioner in Ondo State.

Okay, thank you.

What is your reaction to this appointment?

She is a PDP stalwart in her home town in Ondo State.  If she is recognized by her political party and that recognition was also noticed by the governor and the entire community, who am I to say no?  I am not in the same party with her.  I am APC for life.  So, it doesn’t matter to me.

As you are in ENCOMIUM now, if somebody in Nassarawa State recognizes your work and decides to give you an award, who can stop it?


Thank you.  So, it is a reward for good service.  It can be the turn of the APC to make use of her tomorrow based on her achievement.  We thank God.

Are you saying sir, that she was never a member of APC, your party?

She had always been a member of Labour Party in Ondo State before she decamped to PDP with the governor.  That is as far as I know.  I am neither a member of PDP or Labour Party.  I don’t know what goes on there.

As a prominent chieftain of APC, we assumed you should have convinced your wife to be in the same party with you?

That is not possible.  It is just like you trying to convince your daughter or son to remain in the same boat with you.  You can’t compel your wife to tow your line when such issue has anything to do with our marital life.  No, that is not right.

You are saying sir, that right from the beginning of your relationship with your wife, the two of you have always been in separate political parties?

Yes, that is the correct thing.

And you are not against that?

I can never be against anybody’s political choice.  After all, my party is in control of the federal, Lagos state and the local government.


‘My marriage is different from my political career’



Is it true, madam that you have been confirmed by Ondo State House of Assembly as a commissioner in the state?


Congratulations then.

Thank you very much.

To what would you say you owe this appointment in Ondo State?


What would you say accounted for this merit?  What exactly did you do to merit the appointment?

I have always been an Ondo State politician.  The last time you and I talked, I told you I had a political career.  I contested for the House of Representatives in 2007, I left PDP with Dr. Olusegun Mimiko to join Labour Party.  From Labour Party, we came back to PDP.  I was with him in Aso Villa, when he (Mimiko) decamped to PDP.  We moved to Labour Party the same day and moved back to PDP the same day.  I have always been a PDP member.

Are you saying you were never a member of APC?

No, I have never been an APC member.

But you are married to an APC chieftain?

Yes, I am.  That is marriage.  Zenith Bank and GTBank are rivals.  If your wife is working with GTBank, would she stop working because you got an appointment with Zenith Bank?  No, no.

You think there is no clash of interest between your husband and you over this?

There is no clash of interest. Marriage is different from career.  My husband has three wives.  Politics is a career for me.  I have always been in politics. I am a grassroots person.

If politics is a career for you, what then is law, your profession?

No, no.  I am not a lawyer.  I studied Business and Finance.  I majored in Accounting.

What is your portfolio as a commissioner?

I don’t have a portfolio yet.  I wouldn’t be sworn in until next week.

What would be your agenda in Ondo State when eventually you are given a portfolio?

To continue the legacy of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.  The developmental projects he has initiated and done.  Join him in spreading the good work to the people of Ondo State.



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