By Wilfred Eya
One of the women in Nigeria who had successful career in banking and politics is Alhaja Sinatu Aderoju Ojikutu, a former Deputy Governor of Lagos State from January 2, 1992 to November 11, 1993.
Ojikutu was born in Isale Eko, Lagos Island, but her mother sent her to Ekiti State for her primary education. According to Ojikutu in several interviews she granted to the media, her mother feared that she would become a ‘City Girl’ if left to grow up in Lagos but as fate would have it, that singular experience of going to Ekiti set her on the path to becoming who she is today.
She attended Our Lady of Apostle Secondary School, Ijebu Ode in Ogun State. Being a missionary school, Ojikutu was raised under strict rules and regulation by Reverend Sisters; and from there, she moved to Ilesha Grammar School where she completed her secondary education. She studied Economics at the University of Lagos and later proceeded to the Long Island University in New York, where she also studied Finance and Business Management.
Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu joined the banking industry and rose to the position of Executive Director at the Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry. Her appointment to that position was the first time a female banker rose to that enviable position. He also served as Secretary to the Lagos State Transport Corporation.
Her journey to politics was dramatic and historic. She was nominated as running mate to Sir Michael Otedola, governorship candidate of the National Republican Convention in Lagos Statein 1991, a time when women were not being considered for such political position. They won the election, and she became the first elected female deputy governor of Lagos. The administration was short-lived following a military coup in 1993.
Since leaving office, Ojikutu has remained active in advocating for women’s rights and mentoring young women.She had served at the Federal Character Commission, contributing to national development.
As a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos State, Alhaja Ojikutu tried to stage a comeback to mainstream politics in 2007 when she indicated her intention to run for the governorship seat of Lagos. Her ambition was truncated when she and a few others were suspended by the party for protesting against irregularities in the party’s primary elections.
Initially, in the current democratic dispensation, she was the Vice Chairman and Deputy National Chairman (South-West) of the United People’s Party, which was eventually collapsed into the People’s Democratic Party. For her contributions to the economic and political development of the country, The Sun Board of Editor chose Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu as winner of The Sun Life Time Achievement Award for 2022.