Elliot, who represents Surulere Constituency 1 at the Lagos State House
of Assembly, in this interview with Ademola Olonilua, talks about his
life as a father, politician and actor
say it was tough because I needed to settle and get used to the
reception and expectations of people. At first, it became very
challenging for me but things started to fall into place few months ago.
It is the learning process for me.
Have I been depressed? Maybe! But I have never regretted contesting for
this position. I feel depressed when there are so many projects to be
done but restricted by funds. When you have different programmes you
plan to execute and you do not have the funds, it could be painful. The
financial setback has been very severe and it has affected the execution
of so many things we would have loved to do. That is not to say that we
are not trying the best we can within our capabilities. On my social
networks, I have decided to show most of the things I have been able to
get myself involved with.
and I am speaking for myself right now. I have so many ideas and there
is so much I want to achieve in this office but in trying to achieve
them, you need funds. Unlike some years back when you could meet
companies for support, the economic situation in the country does not
permit that anymore. These are not projects that you can embark upon
with your salary and achieve set goals. It is only when you have
corporate partnership that you can achieve these goals but when you meet
them now, what they say in most cases is that they have budgeted what
they would use their funds for or they don’t have funds at the moment
because business is not thriving.
also has a heavy toll on legislators because we cannot partner with
corporate organisations and you cannot go and meet individuals either
because the so-called big man is trying to service debts as well, so how
do you expect him to be of help? The situation we find ourselves in at
present has made things worse.
brings me to the subject of encouraging a lot of the younger ones to be
interested in politics. If the youths are showing interest in politics
today, in the next 10 years, they would not only become experienced but
they will also know what to do when in power.
through a situation whereby the funds are limited but because the
governor has nothing less than 30 years in civil service, he knows what
it takes to manage money. He knows the working of the civil service and
as a result, it is easier for him to manage what he has. The kind of
resources we have now could have led to what we call a mismanagement of
funds, but we are all managing the situation well. All what you see
today is because of the management skills of Lagos State governor.
politics at the age of 40; it should have happened 15 years earlier and
before one is 40 years old, one would be in a position to handle
executive works. It should not be a case of trial and error.
present; both times are totally different. We just got independence and
everything started afresh. Nigerian youths are fond of saying there are
no opportunities. But for me, I do not think anyone will stop you from
doing community work. If the light is faulty, as a youth, go to PHCN on
behalf of your community. So it is not only through a political platform
that you can make a change.
among us, but of course they joke with me a lot. They call me ‘film
boy’. Sometimes when I am about to go off protocol in dressing or so,
they would tell me that I am bringing in my film world to the gathering.
But they would let me know nicely. At times too, I try to crack a few
jokes when necessary. What we do is a very serious business anyway.
pictures of the empowerment programmes or community works I embark on,
the likes are very few but when I share a picture of my dressing or that
of me and my colleagues in Nollywood, the likes are many. This shows
the lack of interest of youths in politics. It does not mean that
entertainment is not as important as politics. But to carry my people
along, I post pictures of both my entertainment and political life. I
cannot wait to see a Nigerian president that is 51 years old.
movie star, that is the most popular one. They also call me the actor,
Schwarzenegger; in fact, there is nothing that they have not called me.
the first thing you must understand is that it is a cabal. These pirates
have successfully sent some independent producers and marketers out of
business. Although about 70 per cent of movie consumption and production
is in Lagos, the issue of piracy falls on the exclusive list and it can
only be deliberated upon by the Federal Government. From the state
assembly, we cannot do much but I have been working on it already in my
own little way and have been in discussions with the Speaker of the
seriously. I only listen to the very germane and constructive ones. Of
course, people would insult you every day but I don’t take it to heart.
For instance, anytime I go to the House of Assembly and I take a
picture and post, the next thing I begin to read is that I have joined
‘them’ to wear babariga. People complain that I no longer wear trousers and suits. They said I was showing flamboyance.
Assembly, and I wished I had caught up with wearing traditional attire a
long time ago but for me, it started about six years ago and I think it
is a beautiful thing. I am mostly dressed in native attire not only
because I am in the assembly but whenever I go abroad, people appreciate
it. I only wear shirt and trousers a few times. It is a thing of pride
for me to represent where I come from.
twice in the office today and it happens like this daily. My wife is not
around now, so I am their dad and mother for now. From here, I would go
to the movie location to supervise what they are doing and I have told
my driver to bring my kids there too. That is one way I hang out with my
ago. Usually, on weekends, I find time to go to locations because my
company still produces, regardless of my new office. We produce for
corporate bodies, individual clients, Africa Magic, among others but my
job is to oversee the affairs of the company. I have people who handle
things; we are filming as I speak to you but I am here in the office.
to the cinema to see a movie. When I spend time with my family, I relax
that way. For instance, after I finish from the House of Assembly, I go
to a movie location to see how my company is doing and I spend time with
my colleagues. That is a form of relaxation. Sometimes they tease me
that the place is no longer my constituency, that I should leave them
but we all laugh. From there, I take my children home and we talk during
wife but I cannot cook. My wife is a Calabar woman and she is very
skilful in that area. So what I do is that once in a while, I go to the
kitchen and boil water. I try my best but for the kids, they need my
attention, so I try very hard to give it to them. It is always good to
have conversation with your children.
a question you could have asked my son. We had a conversation a few
days ago. I go to their school as often as I can and anytime they have
activities involving parents, they ask him if I would attend. He always
tries to make sure that I come but I don’t make every meeting. My son,
Desmond, communicates actively so I ask him questions and we talk a lot
more than his twin brother. His twin brother is more reserved as far as
there is enjoyment for him.