Posted by By CHRISTY ANYANWU on
Meeting Roli Adeniyi, the PDP aspirant for House of Representatives, recently at her Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos, office was interesting.
Meeting Roli Adeniyi, the PDP aspirant for House of Representatives, recently at her Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos, office was interesting. That sunny afternoon, she was seated inside the shop, supervising the sewing of an Aso-ebi (uniform) with the name of the PDP presidential aspirant, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua and his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan.
As the reporter takes a look round the shop, stocked with assorted gift items, you also admire the cordial way she relates with her workers. Now, she is ready for the interview, but just before she starts, she tells you something that has been bugging her mind.
“I have not been too fortunate with the junk magazines. When your political opponents want to deal with you, they go to junk magazines to write negative things about you. A few weeks ago, I saw something in one of the junk papers, which my husband brought to my attention. It had to do with a N50 millon that was allegedly given to me for an election. If I have N50 million, I don’t think I will invest it in anything like that. I will probably use it to buy some shares that will give me some kind of pension in my old age.
“Once you are beautiful, some people believe that you should be the subject of every criticism from the press. I run away from junk magazines and interviews in junk magazines. It is not being arrogant; it is because I just don’t like to be misquoted. Some years ago, I was quoted as granting an interview in a paper when I had never seen the writer of the story in question. The case is still in court.
“A lot of things happen in politics. You have lots of blackmail but that does not move me. I know if God be for you, nobody can be against you. I don’t care what anybody says or does.”
So, you wonder if the reactions have anything to do with the way she comports herself, but she says: “I am not an irresponsible person. I am a happily married woman. I am a Christian and I believe a Christian should comport herself properly. It is important to be a shining example for others to follow. I believe that all these negative publicity is to distract me but I will not focus on them.”
What does Adeniyi do apart from politics? She adjusted her dress, smiled and replied: “I have been in business all my adult life. I have two big shops, where we do different things. I do events management, horticulture maintenance for corporate buildings like banks, I also do landscaping. Basically, that is what I do for a living. Also, I love doing things with my hands. For instance, I attended the Nail academy recently in England. I’m yet to open an outfit for that.”
When she was addressed as a society woman in the interview, she quickly refuted the claim. “People think if you are beautiful, you are an arrogant person. It is only when they come close to you that they know who you are. Unfortunately, people don’t want to come near that society woman. I’m not a society woman. It’s just the paparazi that pick pictures of me at social gatherings. I don’t wear make up in my daily life except when I’m going to parties. How many times do I go to parties?”
Adeniyi then goes down memory lane to tell you how she used to go to prisons to minister. “I have done public speaking for over 13 years. I’ve done for Anglican church, Methodist church, Unilag and I used to go preaching under the Ikeja bridge. How would people want to bring you down when you are working for God? I just believe that the enemy is at work.”
Now, you ask her to tell you about her growing up days. “I come from a strict catholic background. My mother was a convent trained. I remember the first day I used lipstick. My mother almost slapped me and I was 18 years old then. That really shaped my life. For instance, you can never find me in a spaghetti outfit. My mother is very particular about dressing. My parents were very good Christians and so I got myself involved in many church activities while I was growing up.”
Young Adeniyi went to Corona primary school and was later the head girl at the Federal Government College, Lagos. “I used to be in the literary and debating society and was part of cultural dances. I graduated from the University of Benin where I read Geography and Regional Planning.”
Adeniyi also runs an NGO for widows, where she disseminates knowledge to people to change their ways of thinking and prepare them for a better future.
“I was an athlete in school and I won several medals. During one of the NUGA games, I won a gold medal in the 4x400. I used to play squash and I got medal for that too.”
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