chartered engineer, businessman and former Chairman of Owena
International Hotel. He shared the soft side of him and some of the
important lessons life has taught him in this interview with Eric Dumo
my home town, Ikare-Akoko, a village in Ondo. There were many
opportunities to learn every day about what life truly was. As a child, I
passed through various stages of developments and my parents loved me
so much even though they were a bit strict. They taught us how to look
after ourselves because a lot of times they went to the farm and left us
to take care of ourselves. As a result, I learnt how to cook very well
because we were all males in my family at the time.
the farm to assist my parents after school and at weekends. I also used
to help them sell kerosene at evenings and that taught me a lot of
things about economics as it enabled me learn how to save and manage
money very well at such a young age. I became a little bit comfortable
at that time.
raised under the roof of a disciplinarian rob you of any childhood
adventure like playing football and going to swim at the stream with
children. In fact I was a very good footballer as a young boy and for my
powerful left foot people gave me a nickname, ‘ballistic acid’.
then but changed over to the right when I got to Form 1 because at that
time it is said that those who used left hand cannot be successful in
life and that you could never become a king. It was that saying that
propelled me to change to my right hand. It took me a while to adapt
because if I had to write very fast I switched over to left but
otherwise I used my right. However, it got to a stage where I could not
even write with my left hand again, it was that interesting. Mine was a
childhood filled with interesting memories.
at the time; I never had the ambition of becoming a professional
footballer in the future because such was not common in those days. My
intention was to become an agriculturist when I grew up because we used
to have a man who went to school to study Agriculture and he always came
back home telling us about the benefits of the vocation. I fell in love
with his words and felt I could take after him especially since my
father had a huge cocoa plantation. That was my initial ambition, I
never thought I would go to study Engineering at the higher institution.
always took up challenging positions. One way or the other, I was always
a revolutionary. I remember when I was in secondary school and a time
came when we changed the principal and other senior management staff
because of poor performance on their part. We protested and the board of
governors of the school waded in. We insisted and ensured the principal
and his accomplices were chased away.
College of Technology; we had to put up a solid fight for the
authorities to establish Higher National Diploma programmes. We rioted
against the Commissioner for Education at the time and they had to beg
us to come back to school after several weeks. On one of those riots, we
had to paint the Students’ Union’s bus into a commercial colour for us
to bypass the police and military that were chasing after us. They
didn’t know we were the ones. While they were waiting for us on the
road, they didn’t know that we were already at Dodan Barracks.
Immediately we got in, we brought out our placards and started singing
the national anthem. We had already divided ourselves into four groups
at the time and as we were singing the national anthem, the soldiers
could not move, so one of the groups moved in while another group also
moved in as some other set were singing the anthem. Before they knew
what was happening, we were already in front of the office of the then
Head of State, Shehu Shagari. We bypassed them by adopting a crafty and
non-violent strategy. Some ministers had to appeal to us and promised us
that they were going to look into our case. That was how HND programmes
were eventually introduced into the Nigerian polytechnic system.
matter of fact, the authorities liked what we were doing even though
they could not do it themselves. They were happy silently. The Minister
of Education then fulfilled all the promises he made to us and that was
how the polytechnic system in Nigeria started offering HND certificates
and from there they could go to do Masters’ degree anywhere in the
Yabatech alone but the whole polytechnic students across Nigeria. If not
for that struggle, we would have been having HND now. That gave me a
deep sense of fulfilment.
attended parties often and immediately we get back to the hostel at
about 3:00am, I would carry my books to the class to read till 7:00am
before going to sleep. I was involved in campus politics and also
engaged in other extra-curricular activities in school but I was never
involved in cultism.
hoodlums waylaying people anyhow, it was rare. As a matter of fact, we
attended about four parties in one night. Life was very easy and
first employed me, which was owned by Germans, said that as part of
their new policy, they were not giving young Nigerian employees like me
car loans. I told them I didn’t need such a loan either because I
believed that by the time I worked very hard for them and they liked me,
they would be the ones begging me to use their car so that I wouldn’t
leave them. Not quite long, what I said happened and they gave me a
brand new car. I was in my early 20s then and it felt wonderful sitting
at the back and being driven around in a brand new and fully
air-conditioned Peugeot 505 car. The job involved a lot of travelling,
so I used to move around very well and I enjoyed it.
parameters to measure success. These could be in terms of money,
intelligence, academic qualification, political power and the rest. So,
if ladies are smiling and flocking around you, then you know you are
being successful. But again, it also means that you have to be very
careful because you may lose out at the end.
but I was always particular about telling them that I wasn’t ready for
marriage because I didn’t want to deceive or disappoint anybody. It is
not every relationship that can end in marriage. That made me to have a
lot of reliable female friends. Many of us still maintain contact today
even though we are all happily married.
those days but I prayed to God to choose the best for me and He gave me
my wife. Her gentle nature and beauty really attracted her to me. I
fell in love with her to the extent that I proposed to her less than 30
minutes after first meeting her. I never thought I could do such in my
life but then, God has a way of doing things which we may never
time in assessing me, to know if I was the right person for her. By the
grace of God after some time, she found me worthy of her love and
accepted to marry me. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.
is an institution in which one cannot stop learning. It is one that
transforms a person both physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Without marriage, we won’t know a lot of things in life including the
worth and sweetness of love. We won’t even know how to resolve
conflicts. It helps to remind us of our mission in this world. So, I
have learnt a lot in marriage. It has helped me gain a sense of
school and now you are into politics, don’t you think you might not fit
into the system coming from such a background?
has made. As a matter of fact, the administration of man and society
started from the Bible. Even democracy is a Christian value now used to
run societies. There was a time in Europe when it was the Church that
appointed the prime ministers. Most of the Western rules you see today
emanated from the Bible.
diabolical things because they are not enlightened about the teachings
of God. Those who go into occultism become servants to such powers. I
am into politics to impart what the word of God says on the lives of
people who have suffered for too long at the hands of individuals who do
not have the slightest inkling on how to run the affairs of men. I am
in politics to set example by shining the light of God on the society.
My mission is to use the word and teachings of God to transform the life
of people especially in Ondo State where I come from.
when my wife is not around. I love it when I cook for my children even
though these days, they don’t allow me to do that. But then, I still
stay to give them some secret recipe. In fact recently, I taught them
how to cook without using palm oil and the food still tasted nice.