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Opinion

Opinion: A State Without First Lady…Where Is Aiyedatiwa’s Wife?

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Opinion: A State Without First Lady…Where Is Aiyedatiwa’s Wife?

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By Taiwo Ogunleye

“The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones”

…..Williams Shakespeare

It is no longer news that the former Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN heeded the Lord’s call on the 27th day of December 2023. Although our dear state was in deep mourning, this did not stop the swearing-in of the Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, as the new Governor of the state. Government waits for no one and activities must continue in the state. It’s been almost two months that Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa was sworn in as Governor but we are yet to see the first lady, Mrs Oluweseun Aiyedatiwa, in office or at the government house. In fact, during the impeachment saga that involved the former Deputy Governor, nothing was heard of or from Mrs. Oluwaseun Aiyedatiwa. Concerned citizens.of Ondo state are asking: WHERE IS THE FIRST LADY OF ONDO STATE?

Although the office of the first lady is not a statutory office anywhere in Nigeria, the first lady has been the government’s touch with the welfare of the people in many instances. While the Governor might be carried away with activities, first ladies have proven to be in touch with social realities. First ladies understand the need of the people, the plight of women and the suffering of children. It is for this reason that the programs of first ladies are usually centered around poverties alleviation, children empowerment and women empowerment. For instance, what is known as the Lagos Empowerment and Resources Network ((L.E.A.R.N) was initiated by the a former first lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola. This initiative has continued to empower students of Lagos state to become outstanding leaders and adults groomed for the challenges of a modern society. In another example, the Better Life Program for Rural Women (BLPRW), which was initiated by Mrs Maryam Babangida, the first person to use the title.of first lady in Nigeria, went a long way in improving the lives of women in Nigeria.

What makes the absence of a first lady in Ondo state more concerning is not only the important role of the first lady in a state but also the purported reason behind such absence.

There are indications that Ondo state is deprived of the joy of having a first lady as a result of domestic violence allegedly suffered by the supposed first lady of the state. There are reports that Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa battered his wife in public while he was the Deputy Governor of the state. In June 2023, the Society for Women Empowerment (SWE) published a demand for apology from the Deputy Governor for beating his wife in the presence of his staff. This was published by The Nations. Although Aiyedatiwa had denied beating his wife, posts on Mrs Aiyedatiwa’s Facebook wall hinted the contrary. A post on her Facebook wall read “….say NO to domestic violence” in part. on June 11, 2023, the Street Journal reported that Mrs. Oluwaseun Aiyedatiwa issues a statement wherein she admitted that she had suffered physical, and mental domestic abuse from her husband. Since June 2023, Mrs Aiyedatiwa has not been seen at the government house despite her husband’s emergence as the Governor of Ondo State.

If these allegations are true, much is left to be desired of Governor Aiyedatiwa’s attributes. As the frontrunner in all state affairs, good conduct is one of the attributes that a governor must possess. Integrity and high moral standards are non-negotiable characteristics of a political leader. There is no doubt that domestic violence is one of the vices that bedevil our society. The WHO reported that one out of three women suffers from domestic violence. Should the Governor of a state, an indigenous yoruba state for that matter, be found battering a woman, moreso his wife? A lot of questions need to be answered and the most pressing among them are: why has the first lady of Ondo state been away? Is it due to domestic violence? If yes, has the former Deputy Governor faced the consequence of his actions? What lessons can be learnt from a political office holder that batters his wife in public? I hope our Governor is innocent of these allegations.

We want answers

Barr. Taiwo Ogunleye,
Akoko North-West Local Government (Writes from Lagos)