Chief (Mrs.) Oluremi Adiukwu-Bakare is certainly a well known name in the political circle in Nigeria. Three times she contested to be elected the first female governor of Lagos State and she was not successful.
The mother of three children who lost her first husband, Major Adiukwu to cold hands of death gave marriage another berth when she got married to Chief Olakunle Bakare, a.k.a Oluwalogbon many years back.
Chief (Mrs.) Remi Adiukwu-Bakare, who is now the Chief Executive Officer of Ashoebi Galleria and Emporium will turn 60 on Sunday, February 14, 2016.
She told ENCOMIUM Weekly in this interview which was done on the phone why she chose to celebrate her 60th birthday in low key.
How do you feel turning 60?
There is no difference. 60 is just a number, a figure. I don’t feel any difference.
Physically, I don’t feel any difference. I am still in tune with my body and brain.
What will you say you are grateful to God for turning 60?
I am extremely grateful to God for giving me this opportunity which my mother didn’t have, my father didn’t have. I give God all the glory.
What would you say is the happiest moment of your 60 years of life?
I have had several moments of happiness. The day I finished school, the day I got married. The day I had my first born, my first daughter and so on. The day I got a job in the bank. So many happy moments, I can’t remember them all.
What would you say is the most challenging period of your life?
My husband’s death was the most and still remains the most challenging moment of my life.
Your husband’s death, was it a natural one or accident?
Yes. He was ill.
What lesson has life taught you in your 60 years of existence?
That life is transient. Do what you want to do now, postpone not what you can do today. Do unto others what you want them to do to you and make sure you smile every day, no matter what people are throwing at you.
You are a prominent politician. What would you say you like most about politics?
The fact that you mix with people from different parts of the country. As a politician the fact that you go to the north, south, east and west to meet with people is the most interesting aspect of politics as far as I am concerned.
What would you say you don’t like as a politician?
The fact that gender is a big issue in Nigeria politics, particularly with our men. Even with our female politicians too, gender is still an issue.
You have tried to be the governor of Lagos State several times. Would you say your inability to achieve this feat has made you an unfulfilled politically?
Not being governor does not make one unfulfilled. For me having tried and making a good showing in all my periods of trying has been fulfilling. The fact remains that each time I tried, I was always coming second at the primaries.
Is there any likelihood that you will still try again to become the governor of Lagos State?
Probably. If the opportunity presents itself, I will.
What about your marital life, would you say you are fulfilled in that area too?
Highly fulfilled. I was married to late Adiukwu. I was almost a child. I was his child, his lover, mother and friend. The relationship was very fulfilling and it was blessed by God with children.
How many children was the marriage blessed with?
Do you count children in Africa.
Yes, we are aware you have three children.
And your children are already parents too?
Yes, they are all parents.
So you are a grandmother. How many times over?
So many time over.
How do you want to celebrate your 60th birthday?
I am not staging an elaborate party. There will be church service on that Sunday (February 14, 2016) here in Abuja and the guests will get small chops right there in the church. I told my children not to bother coming all the way from abroad. They should remain where they are. We will meet in London next month.
Why don’t you want an elaborate party for your 60th birthday? 60 is not a mean achievement?
I am not just in the mood of staging any big party. If you noticed, even my 50th birthday was not celebrated with a big party. I was a commissioner when I turned 50 and all I did was just to give people who visited me in the office and those with me in the office small chop to eat to mark the day.
I didn’t make such noise about it.
But for someone who has been in the eyes of the society for so long, people are expecting you to mark your 60th birthday with fanfare?
I have been in the eyes of the public not society alone even before my 50th birthday. I didn’t do any party that time. Many of my friends impressed it on me to do it but I was not interested. It has never been in my character to mark my birthdays with a big party. It is not my style.
Could it be for any spiritual reason?
No, no, no. it’s just not my style. That is the way I grew up. I never liked big party.
But your birthday falls on February 14, Velentine’s Day, which is a day of celebration all over the world.
I know. I enjoy myself in my house and having fun with a few friends. But as I said, this will be celebrated in the church with my church members.
Which church are you celebrating this one?
I am an Anglican. St. James Anglican Church, Asokoro, Abuja.