Saturday, 13 February 2016


Top businesswoman and politician, Chief Remi Adikwu is much loved in the high society.This is not only because of her style and panache, but her ability to stand by her principles. The former Lagos State commissioner and gubernatorial candidate will be 60 tomorrow. In an interview
, she speaks on life at 60, her family, fashion, politics and definition of friendship. She also opened up for the first time on why her marriage to business mogul, Chief Muyiwa Bakare ended and reasons they have remained close friends.
What is the secret behind your youthful look at 60?
It is the grace of God and the fact that I don’t bear grudges against anybody. I don’t keep malice. I am a jolly good fellow, if I could say so. I enjoy the company of young people.
Is it the politician in you that makes it easier for you not to bear grudges?
Even as a child I never kept malice. For me, it so burdensome bearing grudges. You can imagine waking up in the morning and thinking that there is somebody out there that you bear grudges against. Sometimes,when you run into such persons, you would look for find means to avoid them. To me, this kind of life is too stressful.
Aside from having the right mindset that has kept you youthful, do you have a beauty regime you adhere to?
I will give the credit to the genes I inherited from my parents. Though they didn’t live up to 60. My mother was 48 when she died…. but I can tell you that she looked 35 at the time she died. At 48,  recall that I was not fat, I am on the petite side.
You always exhibit much poise, how did you come about this admirable bearing?
I do it without little or no effort. A lot of people have told me the same thing about my carriage. But I carry myself effortlessly. You could also trace this to the secondary school I attended. I believe the secondary school you attend goes a long way in making you who you are. I attended Queens School, Ibadan. There, we were taught to walk with our chest out and the importance of walking straight.
Do you agree as often said, that people of the younger generation lack this poise which people of your generation exude?
Well, it’s obviously true. Yes, we loved to wear trousers but not the type you guys wear today. Our trousers were feminine. Today what we have our trousers that look like those for men. And when you wear such trousers, you wouldn’t need to display feminine poise. I guess it’s about each generation displaying its own sense of fashion. In our days, we wore the afro but now girls wears hair extensions.  Like I said, it’s about each generation interpreting fashion the way they see it.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
I wear what suits my mood. If I feel like being girly, like I do today, I dress girlish. I am not into looking like somebody else. I enjoy being myself. Even when I go shopping I pick items based on my mood. I shop in Armani, Escada and other designers shops. But I can still go to British Home Stores (BHS), Marks and Spencer (M&S).
What has life taught you at 60?
I have learnt that life is transient. I also believe in treating the next person, how you wish to be treated. If you want to do something good, don’t delay, do not procrastinate, do it immediately. Also make out time to smile to the next person. Smiling keeps the wrinkles away and keeps you younger. Frowning is not good for anyone.
Are you one of those women who wish that youthfulness lasts forever or did you look forward to being 60?
In fact, I look forward to my 70th and 80th birthdays. Honestly speaking, I love the wrinkles that come with age. Unfortunately, I don’t have much of the wrinkles. But I think it’s beautiful playing with your grandchildren and when you smile or laugh, the wrinkles show especially around your eyes. Indeed, I look forward to getting older because I’m one person that is much grateful to God for the life God has blessed me with.
Any regrets at 60?
Anyone that tells you he doesn’t have any regret is not a deep thinker. In life, there will always be regrets for the simple fact you are alive. But the good way to handle life’s challenges is to deal with each one as it comes and move on.
What would you pick as the high points of your life?
The day I said ‘I do’ to my late husband. The day I delivered my first born and all of my children are high points. There are so many high points because I am one of those that believe in counting my blessings one by one. And based on my counting,  I can tell you God has been so good to me.
You have just mentioned marrying your late husband as one of the unforgettable moments in your life. However, at a point you remarried, how true is the belief that marrying individuals with deceased spouses can be difficult? Did you have such a challenge?
I did. Remember that what my late husband and I had was monogamous marriage and from that kind of marriage, I went into a polygamous one. But I thank God for everything.
Would you then say you found love again, the second time around?
Well, I would say I was happy while it lasted. We’re no longer husband and wife but best friends and that’s why the public doesn’t  know that we’re no longer husband and wife. As a husband, he was caring, he was loving and he was a father to my children. But there was too much pressure on our relationship and we decided that we just remain as friends. Today, Chief Bakare remains my friend, my adviser and he still mentors me politically. I am able to say this now because I’ve come of age,  I will be sixty in a few days time. I doff my hat for Chief Bakare, he was good to me. Now we have stabilised emotionally, it wasn’t easy in the beginning of the break up. But now, we are okay. We talk everyday, I have even spoken to him today.
Is it easy or complicated maintaining friendship with an ex-husband, you still care about?
It’s all about displaying maturity. Besides, we didn’t quarrel over any negative thing like infidelity or that anyone stole the other’s property. There is no bitterness between us. So it’s quite easy for us to remain friends.
Would it be right to say you have lived a charmed life? You have remained  relevant for a long time. What is the secret to this?
No, I would rather say I have lived a good life. I am not the party-loving type. You only see me at the parties of close and carefully selected friends or even some politicians who  are close to me. I don’t joke with my sleep and that’s why you don’t see me at night parties. Yes, I’ve lived a very good life with my own fair share of challenges but God has been very faithful to me and my children.
What are the things that make you happy?
Ah! My grandchildren make me happy. When I look back, I remember, just like yesterday, my children were  kids, now they are parents. My first grandchild is now 13. When my grandchildren see me, they hug me. They make me happy. My grandchildren are the major source of joy for me. I can do anything for them.
What things put you off?
Faking. I don’t like when people fake likeness towards me. Most times, I see through fake people. I like to have my good friends who have natural love form. Most of my friends are childhood friends with whom I attended primary school. Senator Abiodun Olujimi and I attended the same school in Ibadan. My childhood friends are people I grew up with, played in the rain together, fetched water together, so, we cannot be fake to each other.
In other words, to you, friendship means being?
Yes.
Politically, you have been quiet in recent times…
(interjects) No, I haven’t been quiet. I was in the presidential campaign committee. Before then, I was also part of the six-man presidential declaration committee of the party. I have been doing things at the national level but not at the state level. I’m still an active member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
There is so much speculation on the future of the PDP even with a few prominent members defecting or leaving the party, do you think your party can bounce back?
I said it in one of my interviews that should our party lose power after 16 years, people are bound to trade blames.The ability for us to regroup and rebuild the party is what will make us good party men and women. We have started the process of rebuilding. We have just completed a review of the party’s constitution, I was a member of the committee that handled this. Before the end of this week, the North-East zone will nominate the person to take over the seat of our former national chairman, Ahmed Muazu. Definitely, I know we’ii bounce back. Honestly, we needed to learn the lesson that we did. We all knew that something was wrong with the PDP, that is why way back in 2011, we set up a reform committee. Controversies came into it with some people even saying we should expelled from the party. Today,we all have realised that we need reforms in the party.
Will you support your children joining politics?
Yes, if they are interested. But I always tell them that I served as a commissioner in Lagos State and when I became uncomfortable with the party that made me commissioner, I resigned from home and I never returned to that office. Why? I  wasn’t involved in any underhand dealing. I always tell my children that they shouldn’t vie for office or join politics with the mind of making money. I told them they should go into politics with the mind to serve and I believe that should any of my children go into politics, they will do well.

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