To some, Chief (Mrs.) Adunni Bankole, the Iyalode of Gbaguraland in Abeokuta, Ogun State, is a selfless personality and a caring mother in the society. Some others see her as a role model to emulate in terms of her career. The popular high society woman and wife of Ogun State top politician, Chief Alani Bankole, had an exclusive interview with The Eagle Online recently. Bankole spoke on her sickness rumour, her home front and her last birthday celebration. Excerpts:
Can you tell us about your last birthday?
I was 54, my last birthday. And, as usual, I had a party to commemorate it, to thank God for my life. Every birthday is a thanksgiving day. Every year you pass, it’s a reminder to you that God loves you and He’s keeping you. The dinner took place at Chopstick Chinese Restaurant on Opebi Road, Lagos State. My friends and family members were all around to wish me well.
Now that you are 54, what are those things you were doing before that you have to stop now because of your age?
Well, I cannot roll them out to you specifically but as one advances in age, one’s ideals change about life. If you look at the way I take issues now, you will see that nothing bothers me any longer. What gives me joy takes priority in all I do now. I’ve come to make a lot of sacrifices. I’ve come to know that nothing in life goes free. Even the air we breath is not free. And I have also realize that everything you have that is good, you pay for it. It took me years to know all these. So, I’m now building my life around that philosophy and I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m learning to appreciate people more and I’m learning to appreciate goodness in people because genuine goodness doesn’t come cheap. I have also realized that this life is so short. Shorter than what we imagine. I can’t believe I’m 54 now. Although I thank God for not being an empty 54, but all the same, I’ve come to know that life is short. If God favors you in life, you have to be exceptionally thankful and appreciative to Him. So, I’m now appreciating God for my life, appreciating people and myself. I’m learning to be more thankful to God, more and more by the day.
Your illness was some time a ago a major discussion in town. How is your health now?
I’m fantastic now. People just blew my health issue out of proportion. Don’t you see that I’m okay now? The cause of my health is like when you overuse a car without any service, you later went for repair when it finally broke down. That was what my body did to me then. It complained because I was working so hard consistently for 30 years without holiday or better rest. So, something threatened to break down. I had them put back in shape and I’m taking it easy now. I’m not working as hard as I should. I now get compliments everyday from people on how good I look. You can’t look good if you are not well. I m fully okay now and I don’t have any threatening condition.
Unlike before when Adunni Bankole is known for attending high society parties, suddenly you stopped. What necessitated this?
I never stopped attending parties.
You have slowed down a bit. Isn’t that?
Yes, of course. That is what I told about growing up with life. You see, if I go to one party, it is like some other people have gone for 20 parties because it will be reported in several media and people tend to think that I go to parties even much more than I do. My party going has been the same pattern. I get like 10 to 20 invitations in a week and I choose one or two held by people that are meaningful to me, while I send goodwill messages to the rest of people.
What informed the idea of moving from your husband’s home to your own mansion in Ikorodu, Lagos State?
I leave that to people to think and decide. I have no comment on that. Even if I pack out from my husband’s house to my house, that doesn’t mean that we’ve parted ways. My own type of marriage is polygamous/political marriage because I wasn’t living with my husband before moving to my own apartment. Before now, he has been in Abeokuta, while I was in Lagos. So people can choose to say anything. It’s true that I moved out.
How have you been coping without your husband?
I don’t miss my husband not living with him because I never lived with him. Chief Bankole was too much of a busy man, while I joggle the roles of father and mother on my kids. That is the training I got from my marriage. And it has made it possible for me to be alone without missing him. I left my husband’s house to my new place the month our marriage clocked 30 years. So, I’m still married to him with kids.
How would react to your husband’s newly married wives?
I will congratulate him for that. That is not new to me. He has even tried enough. Unlike before, he picks a new woman at every two years interval. I’m the last wife and he picked two wives after 30 years of marriage. So I will praise him for that. What bothers me now is the level the public has taken it. I was reading through some blogs today and the kind of comments on his story of picking more wives. It is really heart rendering. I am not happy at all. I will use this medium to appeal to all these blogs to leave my husband alone. Let him enjoy his life.