Professor Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies, a linguist and educationist, has served as a university lecturer and administrator for 36 years. She is also a consultant, researcher and activist. A frontline politician, she is a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. In this interview, she explains why she is aspiring to become the next president of Nigeria. Excerpts:
What are your chances of picking the party ticket knowing well that women have not been given enough opportunity to govern even at the local and state levels?
The terrain is quite changing; I believe the chances are higher unlike in the days of Dr. Sarah Jibril and Prof. Remi Sonaiya. Gender inclusion has now become imperative globally and as such in Nigeria, successful election and governance would be based on this as the next phase of political leadership takes shape. This we can glaringly observe in the case of Kamala Harris in the last US election. If it can happen in Liberia it can happen, even better in Nigeria.
How will you manage your home front with the leadership position if you become the president?
That would be no problem at all. My man is busy and not dependent, my three children are all grown-ups and graduates out of home. I’ll turn sixty on October 15 this year, so there is little or no family runs in that sense of home front management, thank you for caring.
May I conclude that I have a dream, that one day, a woman will emerge as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the dream is now !
What are your set objectives as female presidential aspirant?
As an academic, Nigeria will witness functional, effective, efficient, accessible and affordable education, as well as better governance, delivery of dividends of democracy, massive employment, accelerated economic development, improved health delivery, massive human capital development, massive infrastructural development, aggressive fight against corruption, improved welfare for Nigerian workers, and the masses, when I, PMA – CHOICE, becomes the president of Nigeria. As a detribalised Nigerian, services of technocrats shall be fully utilised to its maximum.
Politics in some circles is regarded as a dirty game, how are you going to manoeuver the storm of playing politics in the midst of die-hard politicians?
I am not new to the terrain; my political journey started with the Accord Party in Kwara State in the 80s before I joined the People’s Democratic Party in the 90s. This informed my declaration to contest the 2019 presidential election under the People’s Democratic Party. But I later moved to Mass Action Joint Alliance where I emerged as the party’s flag bearer for the 2019 election. It’s been so far so good, I am currently back to PDP, my former party, where I intend to still contest for the presidential election of 2023. I have my own godly style and cannot be discouraged or intimidated by the said die-hard politicians.
Do you think that women are ripe enough to assume the topmost positions in Nigeria politics?
Certainly yes, amongst others, take for instance, the likes of late Dora Nkem Akunyili OFR (14 July, 1954 – 2014) who was the director-general of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control; the former co-odinator of Nigeria’s economy and now the current Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and even I myself, a lecturer of 35 years in the university. We have been and are more than capable and ready.
There are lots of challenges confronting this nation, both internally and externally. How are you going to tackle these issues?
That’s a major question, thank you. Yes, lots of challenges confronting the nation especially as regards insecurity via criminal activities of the bandits, terrorists, kidnappers and other unscrupulous elements in the county. They invade communities, markets, churches and schools and kill, maim, destroy and kidnap without much resistance by the current government.
No much help from the developed world and the United nations either as they seem to be more occupied and busy with COVID-19 than pay attention to the daily destruction of lives and property on-going in Nigeria. However, with God, all things are possible, I already have a road-map for Nigeria, with an agenda in my manifesto which cannot be summarised in few lines here. What I call “The PMA advanced restructuring agenda,” thus, people can always Google it, as I have it published online already.
What is the level of awareness for a woman to become President in Nigeria?
There are several Women for Women groups already set up in the past, and He for She groups, as well as Youth for Women groups. We are already mobilising them while creating other new ones such as National Coalition For Female Presidency In Nigeria, NCFPN. Once we are able to improve on this awareness, we shall definitely be successful because women votes accounted for about 47% during the last election.
Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation, and that is why we are so blessed and would remain blessed by the almighty God. Therefore, my religious faith is an added advantage to my aspiration as president of Nigeria.
Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation. Don’t you view that your religious faith can stand against your aspiration as president?
All Nigeria’s former presidents have always been of a given faith irrespective of their religious, tribal and political persuasions. This cannot be of any difference. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation, and that is why we are so blessed and would remain blessed by the almighty God. Therefore, my religious faith is an added advantage to my aspiration as president of Nigeria.
How would you source fund for this campaign, because politics in Nigeria we know is all about money?
I believe in being thrifty and it is not a do or die affair. One can only source funds and spend only what one can afford, cutting your cloth according to one’s cloth and size. I have always depended on good-will and well wishers rather than cash. I look forward to a time when money-bag politics and vote-buying will end in Nigeria
Your last words please
May I conclude that I have a dream, that one day, a woman will emerge as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the dream is now! This is because, if Nigerians elect a female president, it will be a turning point in the nation’s history. It will also be an honour to have Nigeria’s first female president. If Nigeria can give women a chance to rule, I am sure we will never regret it. I say a resounding Happy New Year 2022 to all Nigerians.