Combining motherhood with official responsibilities is no joke. It is even more demanding when such mother occupies political or public office. However, the Osun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Grace Titilayo-Laoye Tomori, is one person who has combined both, efficiently.
From her days as an administrator at the University of Lagos where she was appointed Assistant Registrar, from where she rose to the post of Principal Assistant Registrar and later became the Admissions Officer, she exemplified diligence.
In fact, in the political circles in Osun State, the general belief is that her choice as the deputy governor to Governor Rauf Aregbesola in 2007 was in recognition of her wealth of experience at the public and private sectors.
While serving as deputy governor, she also doubles as the Commissioner for Education and has positively impacted the Osun State education sector, a job for which she has received recognition awards such as The Most Innovative Education Commissioner Award for the South-west zone organised by President’s School Debates Nigeria, an agency of the Federal Ministry of Education.
The mother of four is also the recipient of the West African Gender Dialogue in conjunction with West African Institute for Leadership and Governance, Most Outstanding Female Deputy Governor of the Year 2012.
From the academia to full time politics, Titilayo-Laoye remains committed to the electorate since they are the ones who brought her to power.
“You should always think of how to add value to their lives (the electorate) and make your constituency or state better than you met it. You must be humble, tolerant, accommodating and always listen to the electorate. To the glory of God, I have a leader and a boss whose core area of competence is adding value to people’s lives. So, I am a happy politician,” she said.
Interestingly, however, her job is further made easy by her family and the governor who according to her are making it possible for her to contribute her quota to the development of the state.
According to her, her work has not affected her family in any way. In fact, they now look out for her and support her, she claimed, adding that despite the age difference, she gets along with Governor Aregbesola very well.
“The Governor is a visionary leader with a very large heart and an infinitely large capacity to accommodate people; save a lazy, and a dishonest person. Ogbeni is brilliant, honest and very humble. He relates very well with me.”
She claimed to be privileged to be his deputy, adding that “working with Ogbeni is like enrolling in a grassroots school of politics. He is daily seeking for ways of uplifting the downtrodden, and upgrading the quality of life of people generally. He is caring and God fearing. He has a lot of milk of human kindness in him as depicted in his pro-people policies. So there is no way one will not work well with him.”
But how has she been able to cope with working in her capacity as the deputy governor? To this, she claimed her career and experience at the University and in the corporate world prepared her for the task at hand.
“What is politics? It is about adding value to the lives of the electorate. You must be humble, tolerant, accommodating and always listen to the electorate. At the University of Lagos, I was a University Admission Officer for several years where I had the opportunity of interacting closely with applicants who became students and anxious parents seeking admission for their children. One had to be patient and understanding on such jobs. Today, to the glory of God, most of the students I admitted into UNILAG are at the top echelon of the society where they are contributing to the development of Nigeria,” she said.
However, she has an interesting pastime; she personally tends and designs the garden in her official and personal residences and this, according to her, gives her great delight.
“I tend to my garden for relaxation. I personally designed the garden in my official residence and in my personal residence. I tend to my plants and flowers and that gives me joy.
“For exercise, I walk briskly on the treadmill. I also love cooking healthy foods and most times, I create healthy menu which I share with friends,” she said.
Although her children are adults and married, time spent with them is equally refreshing.
THIS DAY NEWSPAPER