2007 Election, Worst In Nigerian History – Adegbuyi | Independent Newspapers Limited
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2007 Election, Worst In Nigerian History – Adegbuyi

Posted: Sep 10, 2016 at 6:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

My Act Of Giving To Community Is Hereditary – Adegbuyi

Asiwaju Bisi Adegbuyi the recently appointed Post-Master General/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST), is a lawyer, activist, politician and philanthropist who has touched many lives within and outside his community. Anthonia Duru had an interview with this fashionista cum socialite before his appointment by the Federal Government in his Remo expansive country home and he spoke on his life as a community leader and on other issues.

As one of the beneficiaries of Late Obafemi Awolowo’s free education policy, how are you contributing to the development of your immediate environment?                                                                                                              I couldn’t have been because I was born in 1961 and Awolowo started his free primary education few years thereafter. The fact is, I attended public educational institutions. You just told me before we started this interview, what the people here told you about me. I have always been a community leader. I am also the Asiwaju of this community and the Oluomo of Remo Kingdom. It is not for nothing that the people in my town decided to make me their Asiwaju and the people of Remo, represented by their various traditional rulers, made me their Oluomo. Fighting for one’s community in my view starts from speaking out, lending a voice to the people and for the people. The world has become a dangerous place, not because of the people who engage in evil but because of those who play dumb in the face of evil. My idea of philanthropy is to first hold the government of the day accountable to the people. As part of my contribution to the growth of the community, we have different schemes of scholarships, community-based empowerment programmes and others. For instance, the vigilante of this town without being immodest has been a beneficiary of my goodwill.

On my way here, I was told you facilitated electricity to this community. How true?
Yes, I did. I don’t like to blow my trumpet but speaking on behalf of the people is the right thing for anybody to do. I caused the manufacturers of Indomie Noodles to donate complete science equipment to Ode Remo High School in this community. In my view, it is important to challenge the government of the day to be alive to its responsibilities so that the primary purpose of government will first be served and as individuals, we can then lend helping hands. I don’t appreciate people who give money to communities as much as people who speak against the ills in the society. One is not in the position to provide all the needs of the community because we are not God but the government that should do so at all levels, should be challenged. Let’s give voice to the voiceless so we are not guilty of conspiracy of silence.

What inspired this charity act in you?
I grew to see my father assisting our community. He single-handedly constructed a culvert, a mini-bridge in our hometown. He was very accessible and as the Babalaje of this town, he was the first to set up an industry in this community though now defunct. I have no choice but to emulate him.

What are the responsibilities that come with your titles?
The Asiwaju is the leader of the youth. It is not to say that I am the richest or the best in the society but certain attributes are taken into consideration before one is so honoured. It is a major challenge because I’m to lead by example, meet with the wishes and aspirations of my people. As the Olu-omo, I am to keep the fire of Remo nationalism burning as well as be a symbol of their nationalism. It is also a call to advocate for my people.

What then would be the effect of these titles on your political career?
I am persuaded and comforted by the virtues in my greatest political leader, that man of uncommon ability, the man who could have successfully become the prime minister of Britain or the President of America,  I am talking of Chief Obafemi Awolowo who at one time was also the Asiwaju of Remoland.  Another leader I respect so much, Chief Bisi Akande is the Asiwaju of Ila-Oragun in Osun State. These are my political mentors and leaders. I don’t have problem combining both because great political leaders before me have successfully combined both. I will definitely succeed because my political mentors were successful.

You are from a very privileged background?
(Cuts in) To the extent that I never lacked anything during my undergraduate days. My friends during my university days will attest to the fact that none of my friends had access to money as much as I did then. A friend once warned me that I may later in life have problem with money because what my father was giving me then was more than what a graduate was earning then. I wasn’t a spoilt child but I am so passionate about development. Some of us are agitating that, what we benefited while growing up should also be made available to the under-privileged now. What I spent on my children in giving them good education at the very elementary stage is very huge compared to all I spent from my primary to tertiary level. My daughter just graduated from one of the best universities with honours in Law. All my children are willing to become lawyers.

Did you influence their decisions to become lawyers?
They want to be like me because I have not disappointed them; rather, I have inspired them right. Fortunately, like their father, we are all very poor with mathematics. I am so happy about their decisions.

What are your guiding principles in life?
Justice, fairness, honesty and the need for one to be focused. I don’t run with the crowd and I believe in myself because I am a man of myself. When it comes to matters of ideology, I am rigid and sometimes unbending. For me, we must be careful in drawing a line between pragmatism and principle. I believe in sanctity of human life and I believe in decency. I believe in the concept of Omoluwabi (someone that is well brought up). What I cherish most in life is education; that is why I am scared about Nigeria because education is no longer taking its rightful place in Nigeria.

What informed your choice of study?
I became a lawyer because of the roles I played in a drama when I was in primary school. The drama was about armed robbery which was prevalent at that time. It was during the reign of terror of Oyenusi, the notorious armed robber in the 70’s. I was made the chairman of the fire-arms tribunal. That actually fired my zeal to become a lawyer. The kind of law practice I am into is influenced by my upbringing. Law to me is a business enterprise and that is why I use the instrumentality of law to conduct my legitimate business. I am interested in that part of law that has to do with enterprise.

May we know a bit more of your background and family?
I grew up in Ibadan. My late father, Alhaji F.A Adegbuyi was a community leader; a Chief in our home town. By the grace of God, I stepped into his shoes; he was the Babalaje of our home town. I am the Asiwaju. I had my secondary school education in Awe, Oyo State, my A Levels in Ijebu Ode School of Basic Studies and thereafter proceeded to University of Lagos where I had my first degree in law. I went back to the same school for my masters. I am married to Mrs. Bose Adegbuyi. I’ve got three lovely children who are following my footstep in Law.

What are your future plans in politics?
As you know, I contested election in 2007; that fraudulent selection process adjudged to be the worst in the history of Nigeria declared me loser. I went to the tribunal, I lost, and also lost at the court of appeal; not because I didn’t have a good case but it would get to a stage where you will get fatigued. Yoruba people would say “those who fight for the society are the greatest enemies of the society.” They hardly would win election.  Politics for me should be noble where you offer yourself for public service in order for the lives of people to improve. That is not the case now and I am beginning to take stock whether to continue in partisan politics or contest elections. I have spent my hard earned money; I have been a real estate, business lawyer all my life. I hate injustice. I express strong views and say it the way it is. A leader of our political party once told me “you are likely to be a failure in politics because you say the truth all the time.”  If not getting political nomination or office is the failure, so be it. But one thing is certain, there’s no way I am going to quit the political process; I would forever, until I breathe my last, be involved in how to make Nigeria work because I don’t have any other country and I know Nigeria can be great.