Date of interview: 08-03-2021
Interviewer: Good evening, my name is Napoleon Tejiri. I am from the University of Ibadan Medical Students’ Association Press. I will be asking you a few questions. Can we know you?
Odeleke Omotola: Hi Tejiri, Good evening. It’s nice being here talking to you. My name is Odeleke Mariam Omotola. I am a 300 level Medicine and Surgery at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. I often describe myself as an ambivert, a feminist and a leader. As a 2020, millennium fellow, I am also the convener of the future females network, a social impact initiative that accelerating progress towards the achievement of the SDG 5, that’s gender equality. When I am not volunteering, I am usually reading or watching sitcoms or eating
Interviewer: Congratulations, once again on your recent elections as the UIMSA Assistant general secretary. So how has your first few days in office been like?
Odeleke Omotola: The first few days in office has been thrilling and quite busy because I have been trying to put things in place for the execution of my plans.
Interviewer: You sound like you have been having fun during this first few days in office. What challenges can you envisage as the newly elected executive and how do you hope to overcome these challenges?
Odeleke Omotola: (laughs) well, I have been having fun, if you put it that way.Well,yes ,that’s because most of the things I plan to do are somehow related to the things I love to do.So,yeah,I am having fun. One major challenge I think I am looking forward to encountering is members of the association cooperating fully with me and the executive council as a whole. I plan to tackle that by ensuring that appropriate notices and call for notices are sent to all the classes. I will put in strategic ways to reach members of different classes. I plan on leaving a reasonable amount of time for UIMSITES to carry out the actions at their earliest convenience. I will ensure that the window period is long enough for almost everybody to do what is necessary.
Interviewer: Let us move a little bit from UIMSA.You mentioned that you are a feminist. On a day like this, it only makes sense to dwell a little bit on that. A happy international women’s’ day to you and to every woman out there. So what made you become a feminist? Why are you a feminist? Or are you just another fan of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who claims to be a feminist? Do you have your own reasons for being a feminist?
Odeleke Omotola: Thank you very much. Cheers to the women challenging the status quo.My being a feminist is not something that was influenced by people or being a fan of Chimamanda. Although I am a fan of Chimamanda, but my being a feminist was influenced by personal experiences and things that I have come to realize. Things that I have witnessed and things that have happened around me and things I have come to realize about myself that I believe in and that is equal treatments and equal rights for women. So that is my reason for being a feminist. I strongly believe that women deserve equal rights .Women rights are human rights.
Interviewer: Thank you very much for your answer. Would it be okay if a man is treated unfairly, so that a woman can be treated fairly?
Odeleke Omotola: No.This is because the main idea of feminism is to ensure that there is a level playing ground for all that is regardless of your gender. There should be a level playing ground for all. So, no, it would not be all right.
Interviewer: Okay. It’s very funny how some people out there, both the women and the men alike do not really get the whole idea of feminism. Because some people out there makes sure that men are treated unfairly, just so that the men can be happy and I do not think that’s what feminism is all about. So let us move on to something else. We do not want feminism taking up the entirety of our time. Asides from the fact that you want to serve UIMSA, what motivated and inspired you to run for an executive position?
Omotola Odeleke: Yes, I agree with you and I will like to say that feminism is a movement. And for every movement, you would have different categories of people. You will have those that will understand the logic of the movement properly, you will have those that will misconstrue it and those that will not be against it but will do the opposite of what is being propagated. That is just how I see it and it is normal. So now to your question. Two things inspired me to run for an executive position and the first is my love for UIMSA.I have always been involved in UIMSA.I like the organization, the structure of things .I have always been interested with the body as a whole. And secondly, it’s my flare for taking up the mantle of leadership. I always enjoy taking up leadership positions, working with people, working with teams .So these two things inspired me to run for an executive position and when I looked through the available positions, I just resonated with this particular post because it was in tandem with my strengths and weaknesses.
Interviewer: Okay that’s great. So who are your role models and why are they your role models?
Omotola Odeleke: I have two role models .The first is my mum and that is because she has taught me how to live with hope, determination and compassion. So I strongly admire her for that and she is someone I strongly strive to become when I grow up. The other person is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is my role model because she is intelligent, eloquent. She is brilliant, opinionated and she is someone that just doesn’t back down regardless of the amount of tension, hate that she faces. So this is something that I am always in awe of. She says exactly what is in her mind regardless of how others are going to take it.And this is just beautiful and very very very admiring
Interview: You seem like a die-hard fan of Ngozi Adichie and that’s nice. Can you just list three of her works that you have read and which of them is your most favourite?
Omotola Odeleke: Yes (Laughs).I am a die-hard fan of Chimamanda and almost everyone will agree with me that all her books are good. I have read Purple Hibiscus, half of a yellow sun, Dear Ije-Awele .The one I love the most is purple hibiscus. The one I read first was purple hibiscus, so I don’t know if that is the reason why it has been the most enjoyable for me or because I read it while I was still young and quite impressionable but I just loved the story. I read it after that time but I still really like the book.
Interviewer: Yeah, purple hibiscus is a very great book. It was nice reading it also. So between Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, which one of them is your goat?
Omotola Odeleke: (Laughs) I was not expecting this question. I am not a football person. I don’t watch football. I watch football but only once in four years during the world cup. But Messi strikes me as a goat. I don’t have facts, but Messi strikes me as the goat.
Interviewer: So you are picking Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo.hmmm.Interesting.So what were your experiences like in secondary school?
Omotola Odeleke: Yes, I am picking Messi as the goat(Laughs).Secondary school for me was different, I was this gentle ,serious ,focussed, all about my books, don’t talk to boys(laughs) kind of student, I was just mostly on my lane, doing my stuff and I was all about the grades most of the time. I did hold about two positions. The first was when I was in junior school, I was the library prefect and in senior school, I was the laboratory prefect.
Interview: So being leader is not exactly new to you. So let us talk about the goats of the nollywood industry. Who would you pick between Omotola and Genevieve?
Omotola Odeleke: hmmm this one is tough. I would pick Omotola and it is not because she is my namesake, facts and figures have it.Omotola is the goat.
Interviewer: (Laughs) Are you sure it is not because she is your namesake. I am kind of thinking you are picking her because she is your namesake. I mean, come to think about it, Genevieve has more feministic values compared to Omotola. So why would you pick Omotola over Genevieve, I am not contending your choice in anyway, I am curious.
Omotola Odeleke: (Laughs) I know this could be hard but I am not picking Omotola because she is my namesake. But you said nollywood goat. I thought you were asking based on their acting prowess, their acting career and generally acting as a major index. Is that what we are still doing? Are we talking about acting or as a person generally?
Interviewer: Well, we are talking about everything in general, both their achievement within nollywood and their achievement outside nollywood.
Odeleke Omotola: I thought we were just talking about the wealth of their acting career. As individuals, within and outside the nollywood, Genevieve is the goat. This is plus her acting, her ideas and her beliefs outside nollywood, her actions within and outside the industry.
Interviewer: What has been your most memorable experience since you got into the University of Ibadan?
Odeleke Omotola: That would be during my 100 level days. I particularly enjoyed this period because of the diversity of the people I interacted with at that time. Going to CBN, seeing different people, meeting a lot of people, the activities on campus. The time I spent in UI before moving to preclinical, where we are kind of secluded from the major activities on campus was quite memorable. Plus Idia 101 too, you know. That one too was interesting (Laughs)
Interviewer: (Laughs) Idia 101, hmmm.So do you mind sharing some of your not so pleasant experiences with us.
Odeleke Omotola: Okay. Times when I had to hustle for water. Those times when there would be no water and you have to come out and queue for water .Also, times when they could be power outage on campus for a long time.
Interviewer: Really sorry about that. So how has it been like for you during the past one year? I mean, amidst the whole pandemic and everything
Omotola Odeleke: Apart from those times, I have had pretty good and interesting experiences in UI.Well, this period has been a lot of things. It has been riddled with a lot of highs and lows,ups and down, times when you feel inspired and times when you just when to sit down and not do anything and be unmotivated. But for me, I am quite grateful for this time, I know a lot of things have happened but I am still very grateful for the time because it has given me the time to cover more distance in my journey to actually being very aware of myself and to dabble into things asides medical school and also to spend more time with my family (Laughs).I am just grateful for the time.
Interviewer: So who would you pick between Whiz kid, Davido and Burna boy. Who is your goat, that is another conversation I would like you to delve into.
Odeleke Omotola: Ahh this one is very easy. Burna boy is the goat for me.
Interviewer: (Laughs) Wow, you did not even think twice about it.Why is burna boy your goat?
Odeleke Omotola: Yes o (Laughs).I did not think twice about it.That is because of the three of them I vibe to Burna songs more. That for me is enough for him to be my goat. He is just the goat like that. And it is even everywhere, figures, facts, everything, happenings around. Burna is just the goat.
Interviewer: Yeah.Burna boy is something else. So do you have a final message for uimsites because we have come to the end of this interview?
Odeleke Omotola: Yes, first I would like to say that the association is all about UIMSITES. The association is always members oriented, all about uimsites and their welfare. I want to say that they should try to be cooperative with the leaders, their representatives, and the people working for the greater good of the association. They should be rest assured that whatever it is that is being done has been carefully considered and seen to be of great benefit to uimsites.
Interviewer: All right. Thank you very much for your message to uimsites. Thank you very much Miss Odeleke Omotola, it has been an absolute pleasure having you here with us at UIMSA press. We do hope to hear from you again and we wish you a wonderful tenure ahead. Do have a great day.
Odeleke Omotola: You are welcome. Thank you very much Mr Napoleon Tejiri, I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with you and I look forward to doing this some other time and thank you for wishing me a wonderful tenure. Take care.