I was selling food before houses were demolished… and I didn’t have anywhere to stay I had to run here. Shortly afterwards… they said that the people who owned this place wanted it demolished, so they brought the place down. And that’s how I came back here without any shelter. I don’t have any strength to fend for myself anymore… …because I’m no longer under any employment. I’m seeking help from the government And anyone whom God has given the capability to help an elderly person, to come to my rescue. Q: For how long have you been living here? A: I’ve been living here… For about three years or thereabouts Q: How many children do you have? A: I have quite a number of them… some are dead, while some are still alive. And I can say that it is the death of one of my children that made me homeless till date And take shelter under the bridge now Q: What happened to them? A: They simply died… I also lost my husband in the process… Q: Why do you live here under the bridge? A: How I started living here… I was quite young when I was in societies and was still trading… But after a while, our house was demolished Q: Where? A: In Bantula, just nearby At this time, I had no strength to do anything again, since I had been told to not trade. Especially because of an injury on my leg. I strove hard to still engage in petty trading somewhere around Costain But after some time, when I was no longer strong for such trade, I abandoned the petty trading. I was selling food before houses were demolished… and I didn’t have anywhere to stay I had to run here. Shortly afterwards… they said that the people who owned this place wanted it demolished, so they brought the place down. And that’s how I came back here without any shelter. I don’t have any strength to fend for myself anymore… …because I’m no longer under any employment. I’m seeking help from the government And anyone whom God has given the capability to help an elderly person, to come to my rescue. That’s why I’m managing here, you also saw how I sat down… Isn’t it? Please help me, God will also help you. Q: For how long have you been living here? A: I’ve been living here… For three years or thereabouts. Or even more… …because whenever we hear that the people have come from one side, we’ll have to run… and look for where else to stay. That’s why I am where I am. It was someone who left this place that paved way for me to stay here. Does that mean there was no space here before? (Pointing) that’s where I was staying before, Somewhere around that side, that’s where I was living before. But when I saw that those ones had gone to rent a proper apartment, I felt like this place is a better place, so I moved here. Can you see that there’s no bed or anything here? Even the clothes and all the household items we brought here have been stolen The way I am, it is help that I seek now; from God and from the government… That’s what I plead for. Q: Where are your children? Where were they while all of these happened? And your husband? What happened to him? A: My husband is late… Please, for God’s sake, help me appeal to the government to help me with what to eat …and to have a proper place to stay. …and to also have petty items that I can sell in front of the shop. And to whatever extent God strengthens them to help me I pray that God will also help you. Q: How do you manage to feed on a daily basis? Where do you get food? A: Ah! I always say it that goodness is in one’s steps When I go out, people like you, when they meet me, can say… Mama, take this for your lunch Sometimes, it could be N500… … that’s how they give me. Sometimes, N1000… … people also give me that amount. And with those stipends, God helps me feed daily. Q: So, you basically stay here all day without going anywhere? A: I always go out, I always do. Q: Where do you always go to? A: I basically just move around… Sometimes, to where my friends are… It’s not like I go around begging for alms o, But, it has been God’s grace and people’s benevolence. I have not been begging for alms. I could go to the council office I can still go there because I worked for them in the Q: Precisely what did you do for them there? A: What I did for them there… …was to mobilise people. I was popularly regarded as Iya Ilorin And was asked to get people from our locality Everybody knows me there. I don’t beg for alms o… Because I cannot tell lies against those who give me the stipend that I feed on daily They really cover my nakedness… I eat and drink because of those people. And when I move around to my friends’ place, I’ll return here to sleep. Q: You said you’re about 80-years-old now? A: Yes Q: How many children do you have? A: Ah! I have quite a number of children already… Some of them are late. It is the death of my children that led to me living under the bridge this way. Q: What happened? A: They died, that’s all I know… My husband also died. Q: What kind of people live under this bridge with you? A: The people who live here? That’s what I was explaining earlier, that they’re the ones who take care of me and give me money to get food. There are people around us, everywhere here is an apartment. Everywhere around us here (including where I am) is an apartment. People live as far as the stretch of this place. Q: Do you still have to pay house rent here? A: Not at all, they don’t take rent from me Q: And there’s nobody evicting you from this place? A: It was when I first moved in that I paid rent But after the initial demolition, nobody has come to ask for rent. Q: How much did you pay at the time? A: You mean when I first came here? It’s been a while already (tries to recall the amount) They charged N1,500 at the time. Q: For a month or the whole year? A: It was only for one month Q: We learnt that you were actively in politics, could you shed more light on that? A: Yeah… I was involved actively involved in politics, but at the time, I was very strong to move around. During the era of MKO Abiola, We traveled to the north. Everyone of us who went then, because AD had only just been established… There were about… Eleven groups that were formed at the time. And we all went to the north But the group I held on to at the time, that I came with… …that I went to the north and returned with, was AD. At the time. There was also PDP So, when they asked us to mandatorily choose a party, I insisted on AD People even mocked us saying that we had been bewitched But I told them that we had not been bewitched. We were not bewitched… I made dresses out of all the AD posters that we were asked to paste in our localities, and wore them during the campaign rallies everywhere. And after each rally, they could just tell us to be prepared for another round in another location And we’ll just follow the vehicle that will take us round to other places. That was how we moved around, campaigning from place to place At the end of the day, I was steadfast with the AD that I went to the north and returned home with The same AD eventually won at the time. At that time, when we got back, they started saying Iya Mainland Because the whole of Alimosho, Ibeju-Lekki, Agege, Eti-Osa, Everybody in Surulere… all of us who went with our groups, returned as loyal members of AD. For those who were in PDP at the time, they didn’t win We were still leading. And as God would have it, there weren’t many members in the party we worked for at the time… So, it wasn’t difficult for the money to go round. But when we grew in number, You know they call some people illiterates, And as I wasn’t an illiterate, because I gathered the group with the inner wisdom that I had, I just discovered that I was being sidelined by the people but others were getting their dividends. Now, as I am, I have not received any good thing… And that’s one of the reasons I am where I am. Q: Do you regret going into politics? No matter how minimal? A: Who? Q: You, do you have any resentment? A: Ah! God did not allow me regret… Because you know that if people like you are going on the road, and dash me money, I’ll eat and drink, that’s why I don’t have regrets.