Ameenah Adebayo was born into the family of Mr and Mrs Adebayo (a polygamous home) who are both indigenes of Oyo Town. She is the second child of three children of her mum. She is also the only surviving daughter of her dad. Ameenah is the wife of a former Minister of Communication, Dr Adebayo Shittu. She speaks to Tambari about life and lots more.
I’m Ameenah Adebayo. People often think that the Adebayo-Shittu that I answer is that of my husband. Ameenah Adebayo is my maiden name. I then married Shittu. My husband’s Adebayo is his own name. Hence, the reason I often say that our love was concretized in heaven by our creator.
I started my education at Abiodun Nursery and Primary School Ibadan and then proceeded to Horeb Nursery and Primary School in Lagos State and again to Ife Infant Academy Ile-Ife where I concluded my primary school education. I proceeded to Ibikunle Lawal College Ile-Ife, Distinct Jubilee College Ibadan, Afadebo Schools Ibadan and then Hillcrest High Schools Ibadan where I concluded my secondary education. For my tertiary education, I went to Osun State University and then University of Abuja.
What was growing up like?
Growing up was really challenging for me. I have a disciplinarian and perfectionist as a mother who would give up the world for her children. As a student, after close of school each day, I must go to my mum’s shop to assist her. It was interesting because I grew up in a semi-civilized environment. Growing up, I attended one of the best private schools around.
Lessons life was taught are innumerable because we learn from cradle to grave. However, the ones that I hold dear to my heart and try to inculcate is to accept others the way they are and devise feasible means of helping them improve on themselves. To always turn my pain into purpose, and that my revenge should always be me becoming a better version of myself.
My aspirations growing up
Growing up, I always wanted to be a politician but with a difference. I think I’m gradually getting there.
Fond childhood memories I miss
I miss the evening sit-out with neighbours and their children. I miss walking about freely, I miss eating at local bukas and buying cooked food and snacks from hawkers…. like the real way it was.
My passion for humanitarianism
My passion for humanitarianism is “out of this world”, so dear to me and it led to the birth of my Foundation, The Ideal – Forum Initiatives.
My take on the Nigerian education industry, especially how it relates to the average Nigerian woman
It’s quite disheartening that the educational sector is not given due attention by all stakeholders. In Nigeria, we may not be able to grow if we refuse to ensure that Nigerian women are exposed to accessible and quality education. We need more women in leadership at all levels, in every sector and in every community in order to drive developmental changes as it affects every woman.
I have faced many challenges and most of them is due to my outfit – my mode of dressing. However, fortunately for me, the mercy of God keeps me going, such that I can be anywhere with my outfit.
My most cherished gift
My most cherished gift isn’t physical. It’s a conversation with a great mind. It was from a friend who introduced me to the tenets and doctrines of Islam. He made me see reasons why I must aspire and work at success. His name is Dr Jum’ah Ibrahim.
How I met my husband
You know as a young lady in politics, I needed an experienced father to guide and advise me. Also, in my community then, it was believed that you can’t do politics without belonging to any fraternity. So, I ran to one of my fathers in Islam to explain what I heard to him. I then pleaded with him that I needed a staunch Muslim who is also a politician that could be my father in politics. He then introduced me to Bayo Shittu, the Alaanu Mekunnu of the source, who is now not only my political leader but my everyday. That was how we met.
Most cherished attribute of his
His brilliance and intelligence.
Favourite kind of music
I believe in Nigeria by Timi Dakolo.
First app I check in the morning
My Samsung notes.
My favourite fashion items
Designer handbags and shoes. I spend a fortune on handbags and shoes.
What I wouldn’t be caught wearing
Best travel destination
Ibadan and that’s because that is where my family members, friends, associates and political allies are. It’s a place of comfort for me.
How I relax
I like to be alone anywhere, be it in a restaurant, at home, at work, anywhere; and munch on some spiced Salmon fish, mushroom and gizzard with ice-cream or chilled drink or any smoothie of my choice.
I really do not have a best food. Anything I desire, I eat.
My definition of style
Style for me is comfort, simplicity, elegance and class.
My favourite fashion designer
Dray Stitch, Abuja.
Favourite perfume, designer bag and shoes
I don’t use perfumes. I do any designer for both bags and shoes as long as I like it. It varies from Chris Bella, Jaeger, Michael Kors, Versace, Fendi, Susen, Christian Dior, Gucci, Zara and Clowse.
Mum’s advice that stuck with me
Don’t beg people to stay in your life. Learn to be independent of anyone because life is full of disappointments, and value those who choose to stay.
My favourite sport, colour and weather
I love football. As for colours and weather, I love all because you have to learn to accept what you can’t change.
‘Africa Rise and Shine’ by Jim Ovia. You need to read the book to know why I love it so much.
Nothing too special. I use Baylis and Harding, England products. I visit the SPA on a regular basis and I take my supplements.
Looking back at your life, what would you tell a younger you?
I would say, never allow any circumstance stop your purpose. Keep believing, striving and trusting God.