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My Father Is A No-Nonsense Person – Folashade Tinubu-Ojo




Mrs. Folashade Tinubu-Ojo is the Iyaloja General and daughter of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. She talks about her father and her office with GBENGA ADENIJI

What kind of a man is your father, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu?

My father is a disciplinarian. That is why it is not right for people to keep saying, ‘Tinubu’s daughter did this, Tinubu’s daughter did that.’ I have a name and an office. My father is a politician and what he does as a politician is different from what I do as a market leader. I am not his only child and none of us can go out of his or her way to step on people’s toes because of who our father is. He will never take such from any of his children.

Can you recall anytime he punished you for wrongdoing?

It happened many times when I was growing up. I wonder how a child can escape the discipline of his parents. It is not possible. It is necessary to put a child right in order for him or her to become responsible.


How do you feel being a daughter to Tinubu?

I feel really great and I thank God for giving me such a father.

What values did you imbibe from your father?

My father has many endearing values which I have imbibed. He is disciplined. He loves openness. He is an honest man. Besides, he has an unbiased judgment regarding issues. All these I have learnt from him and I continue to exhibit them in the course of my dealings and interactions with people regardless of sex, age, status and religion.

How has your father’s name opened doors for you?


Before I became Iyaloja General, if I have been using my father’s name to seek favours, you would have known me one way or the other. I don’t live under the shadow of my father. I thank God for everything He has done for me. I thank God that he is my father. He is my biological father. But it is not that I do things because of who my father is.

Are you saying you don’t enjoy some privileges because of your father?

(Laughs) That is not what I am saying. I don’t know what you are trying to say. I think it is your personal observation which I think you are entitled to.

Considering his busy nature, does he find time to see you to advise or discuss with you?

My father finds time for me each time he wants to see me. We talk on phone if we cannot meet physically because of his schedule. He makes sure we discuss if I cannot see him in person.


How often does he do that?

We are both busy and as you know, he is a politician. But that doesn’t stop him from making time to see me. I cannot say how often he calls or meets with me. But I know that my father keeps in touch with me. We communicate well and often. I hope that answers your question.

How does your dad relax?

I think it is a question for his wife. His wife will tell you how he relaxes. I think you need to ask his wife how her husband relaxes.

How do you relax?


I relax by listening to the news and watching home videos. By watching home videos, I become culturally active and relate with my people well. It helps me a lot. I watch the films together with people around me.

What did you learn from your grandmother and former Iyaloja in Lagos State, Alhaja Abibat Mogaji?

One of the virtues I imbibed from mama is the ability to carry the people along and stand for them at anytime. She loved the downtrodden and did all she could to make them happy. I learnt from her that it is important to offer my shoulder to them always. I am carrying out my activities in this manner and by God’s grace, I will not relent.

What are the challenges you face as the new Iyaloja General?

I don’t think there is much challenge I encounter as the Iyaloja General. The only challenge was the issue connected with the Iponri market. What happened was that the traders refused to pay their levies and the trading environment was very dirty. There was a misunderstanding among them. As a rule, we do not go to any market to enforce any law except we notice that there is a disturbing issue between the traders and residents in the market neighbourhood. Such was the case in Iponri market. We penalised some members of the association because we felt there should be decorum in the market. We also moved to ensure peace among all the parties concerned. I was surprised when I heard later that I requested for N10m from the Iponri market traders. It is not only in a market setting that one can sanction people in a bid to ensure sanity. It occurs in any organisation or social gathering that values civility. Anybody who misbehaves in such a group may be sanctioned or fined. To be honest, it is the Iponri market issue that I think was challenging for me because I have always been a private person until I assumed the office. The Iponri issue was made political.


Do you think being Tinubu’s daughter is also part of what made the issue political as you said?

Of course, that was what I said during a press conference held on the matter. I said I am not a market leader that will go to town to shut markets because my father is a political leader. If people want to address me, I have a position; it is Iyaloja General. People should address me as Iyaloja General and not as Tinubu’s daughter. The situation was used to create a different impression about me and my father. Some said it was one of Tinubu’s children that went to the market and shut it down. I was also accused of forcing the traders to register for the All Progressives Congress. How can I do that? We all have freedom of association. What is the population of traders in Iponri that I will now concentrate on how to force them to be members of APC? It doesn’t reflect the true position of things. Shop owners in Iponri are learned individuals. They know their rights.

They are not the kind of people anybody can order to go and sit down without any of them asking why they should do that. They are not people that anybody can bamboozle. I didn’t at any time force any trader in Iponri to register for APC. The traders came when we met with journalists on the issue and they also confirmed that I didn’t do such. APC knows its members. The registration is just a formality. Nobody can force anybody to register for any political party which he or she doesn’t want. Some people that want to bend the rules are probably behind the matter. I cannot force what I cannot take on anybody.

Also, I cannot allow anybody to force me to join a political party against my interest. Why would I do such to anybody? I will tell it to the face of any person telling me to do anything against my wish that I am no kid. I know my rights and no one can trample on them. My position does not allow me to force anybody to do something against their interests. I cannot do such. My position is not for politics and I don’t intend to use it in whatever way for political mobilisation. Some people also sleep in some markets and we try to discourage them from doing so. We will continue to sensitise our people because we know that Rome was not built in a day. I will continue to fight for the rights of the traders and for the progress of the country. We will get there someday.

What is your view on the clamour for special status for Lagos?


Lagos State shoulders enormous responsibilities and has a lot of pressures as a former Federal Capital Territory. I am not saying any city in the federation should be neglected but at it is done in advanced countries, once the capital is relocated, attention is still given to the former capital. This is what Lagos deserves. It is a thriving commercial centre, so, the Federal Government should consider according Lagos a special status, backed with special funding. There is hardly any Nigerian from all the states in the federation that is not represented in Lagos.

Are market women and men well represented in the proposed national conference?

I am of the view that the only person representing market men and women association is Mrs. Felicia Sanni. She is the only market leader on the Federal Government’s list. The list doesn’t represent the six-geo-political zones. Sanni can only speak for the market men and women in Abuja. By that, we would not be duly represented at the conference.

What is the implication for the association?

Decisions taken would be without our contribution, thus we will not accept them. Those there cannot speak for us. They cannot speak our mind and cannot stand for us. It means it is only for those in Abuja.

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