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Celebrity Interview

Celebrity Interview

Posted: Apr 2, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
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By birth he is a crowned prince of Oke-Ona of Egbaland, by training a certified medical doctor, by influence of his paternal grandmother he became a businessman but through passion he is a politician. Sen. Lanre Tejusoho is the lawmaker representing Ogun Central Senatorial District in the 8th National Assembly.

Anthonia Duru was a guest of this royal-blooded lawmaker recently and he opened up on issues including why he has always been a fan of President Mohammadu Buhari. He also reminiscence on some of the deeds of his late grandmother among other issues.



To many, it seems the purported war against corruption in Nigeria is selective. As an ally of President Buhari, was that deliberately designed by the presidency?

Corruption is like a thief or snake that enters your house; it doesn’t matter what you take to kill the snake or the thief. The important thing is to get it out of your house. Whether it is selective or not is not the issue here; let us start from somewhere. Before now nobody was really doing anything to fight corruption but now we are doing something. The most important thing is that we have started somewhere and surely we are going somewhere.

The first time you contested for this seat was in 2007 but you didn’t win until 2015. As a legislator, what is your major focus?

My major focus is to attend to the real need of the people; people are not bothered about the law, we have so many laws that haven’t made much difference probably because of the level of poverty in the land. We need to first of all address that poverty level so that people will have direct benefit from government. Lawmaking should be our priority but we can’t look elsewhere just because our major function is lawmaking, except we want to deceive ourselves. We all know the poverty level in the country is very high. People want to get dividend of democracy not necessarily through lawmaking. Without getting some basic amenities; to them it is just another rabble-rousing. Our people are no longer after the bills, all they want is money in their pockets and they living averagely well. Most legislators are now performing the duties of the executive, they measure the performance of the legislator now just the way they rate the executive. If you don’t support the people with material things, you are a failure to them. Nigeria’s democracy is peculiar unlike what we have in other parts of the world. In Europe and America they measure your achievements by the bill but reverse is the case here in Nigeria. They measure your achievements on how you gave them money for their mother’s burial ceremony and how you paid their children’s school fees; how many generators you bought for them and many other things. They don’t care if you have presented any bill. All they want to hear is that you are paying the bill for them.

So you have been doing all these since you became a senator?

That is the only thing we have been doing; we started before we became senator and we are still doing it now. All the money they pay us goes to them and even more.

Don’t you think this is not too good for our democracy?

Before now government have not been satisfying the needs of the people so, we can’t rule these things out. We are beginning the change and we are still laying the foundation for that change so with time things will get better. We can’t just ignore the people now because we are laying foundation for change; it is a gradual thing and with time we are sure we will get it right and practice democracy the way they do in other developed countries.

Judging from your background from a very privileged home, how were you able to connect with the poor?

I am a very peculiar person because I had the best of both worlds. My grandmother was the Iyalode of Egbaland and that is still the highest title any woman can get in Egbaland. By the virtue of that, people were always coming to our house right from when I was in primary school. I saw the way she was caring for people despite the fact that she was not a politician; she was in a position that attracted people to our home on a daily basis. I saw the need of the people and it also afforded me to see why I must be useful in the society by making good contributions towards the betterment of the masses. I was prepared from my primary school days to be a politician through my grandma’s deeds as I was like her personal assistant then. All my siblings went to boarding school but I didn’t go because I was always with my grandmother. I was doing her account for her but I ended up being a medical doctor. She wanted me to be a medical doctor so I will take care of people as many people were always coming to her for their health challenges. I came out with very good grades after my secondary education and I could have gone ahead to study any course of my choice but I choose medicine because my grandma wanted me to and my father is a medical doctor. I practiced for two years

You seem to have fond memories of your late paternal grandmother. What are some of the virtues you still cherish in her years after she has gone?

I still cherish her good name; her good name is priceless and I will always cherish that good name. She always tells us then that she didn’t have a university degree but her name is her degree. She is a very lucky woman because I am very sure she is in heaven though she was murdered.

In other words her name open doors for you?

I don’t know what you mean by that. The name blocks people from helping you financially. This affected me politically especially during my first attempt to become a senator. I got very poor financial support from people because they felt I have more than enough unlike others who got financial support from friends and associates. I survived on my own. Kabiyesi my father too didn’t support me as he told me pointblank that he is not interested in politics.

You didn’t get your father’s blessing?

I got his blessings but he didn’t part with his money. He told us he won’t support us financially if we decide to go into politics. He reminded us that the only thing he owed us was education and that he has done successfully. We have so many family businesses but if you decide you don’t want to be involved in family business, you can do something else. He is a very principled man.

Your brother contested against you in the last general election.

That’s not true. It was just a gimmick on our path; we both decided not to put all our eggs in one basket. We both were so sure that either of us will win and whoever wins will support the other. We also did that because our chances are better. We were not brought up to do politics with bitterness, we do constructive politics. I have never abuse or insulted any contestant. We talk about issues and not about people.

What has been your guiding principle?

The bible is my compass and I do whatever is written in that holy book. Once you live by that, you cannot fail. That is my manual and I won’t deviate from that.

You are sounding like someone who reads his bible daily.

Before I even knew God, I got good grades in School.

(Cuts in) You must have got those good grades because your dad is an Evangelist.

My father didn’t become an evangelist until he became a king. Before then he wasn’t going to church. He would play tennis on Sundays. I was a practicing Christian before my father became one. My father became a practicing Christian after my grandmother was murdered; I am sure that he saw the futility of life and he traced his step to God and became an evangelist for Christ Jesus. My father came and overtook all of us in Christianity.

Are you still interested in knowing your grandma’s killers?

So you can come back to life or what? I don’t think I need that. I am happy because I know she is in heaven. That is my only consolation.

You sit beside Sen. Aliyu Wammako in the senate. That must have created a kind of close relationship between both of you. How would you describe him and hope age difference is not affecting your relationship with him?

We respect ourselves and that side now is call ‘Royal Corner’ by our colleagues because we are both from royal background and we comport ourselves as royals.

There is a conception by some people that you are one arrogant person. What do you think earned you this negative appellation?

People will always have different views about you and you cannot control what people thinks about you. I think I am accountable first to God and those who voted for me. I have the highest vote in South-West. Majority of the voters don’t think I am arrogant so I am very contented.

You have been an ally of Governor Ibikunle Amosun long before he became governor. Is he your political godfather?

He is not my godfather but he is my respected leader. We complemented ourselves politically and we both have things in common which are integrity, honesty and purpose. We don’t play politics with bitterness; probably that was why we didn’t win on time. I was losing with President Buhari and we won together when he won.

Are you still an ally of President Buhari?

I never left him once; I have been his fan since the first time he contested for this office. I am close to him because he has innate qualities which many leaders lack. I didn’t stay with the party, I stayed with Buhari.

If President Buhari is decamping from All Progressives Congress tomorrow, you will decamp with him?

Definitely I will. I am not an APC man I am a Buhari man. He is a mentor who I learn from daily.

Aside integrity which he is widely known for, what other quality endeared you to him?

Integrity is the summary of everything and it is the foundation of everything you do.

You said earlier that your grandma, encouraged you to study Medicine which you did but you only practiced for two years. Why?

I did medicine to fulfill her wish and to make her happy but I have always love business.

You still look so young; how do you feel like being a grandpa?

I love it and I ascribe that glory to God.

Do you find time out of your busy itinerary to stay with your family?

I do when I have time because now we are very busy as we started the senate very rough. There were too many distractions.

Don’t you think this is not good enough for the promise “Change” your party promised Nigerians?

I was very happy at the distractions because it was a confirmation that God was with us. Don’t forget nothing good comes easy and this is a pointer that Buhari will last very long. If it was so smooth like the time of Murtala, then we may not achieve the desired positive change we promised Nigerians. If you have spiritual eyes, you will know Buhari is here to stay.

So you are very spiritually inclined.

I have spiritual instinct.

Since you are spiritually inclined, we can as well address you as a prophet.

I am not a prophet. I compared the past with the present because there is nothing happening now that has not happened in the past. When things are so rosy at the onset, I am always worried. Before a woman brings forth her child, she will definitely go through pain thereafter she will smile after delivering her child. Nigeria is in serious labour but I can assure Nigerians that the baby is coming out shortly and we will all laugh thereafter.

Nigerians are groaning and complaining.

We changed the government when it was getting to the peak of the crisis; things will get better and not worse with Buhari administration. There will be light at the tunnel. Devil is really struggling to drown us but God is with us.

What are some of the pains you have gone through in life?

What other pain can one go through when your grandmother who was always there for you gets assassinated in cold blood? She was my mentor and she didn’t die a peaceful death at age 80. I don’t think anything can be more painful. That occurrence was the beginning of my pain in life. I have gone through all the pains. I thank God I survived that pain.

You married into a noble family; what has kept your marriage going?

Jesus Christ. It is all about Jesus Christ. My wife became a Christian after our wedding but she is doing well in her Christian faith now better than I. She is out of the eye of the press. I think this has also contributed to the success of our marriage. She has been living a quiet life for me and our children, I appreciate this.

You are adorned only traditional corporate wears. Is it that you don’t wear English wears?

I am not an English man, so why should I dress like one? Do you ask the king of Saudi Arabia if he wears suit? I have suits but I wear it when I am in their country. I try to promote my culture. If not for the cold weather, I will wear my agbada in their country. If you don’t promote what you have nobody will promote it for you. Don’t forget that I am a traditional prince and I should dress and act like one.

You are a prince, a certified medical doctor and now a senator. Which of these tittles do you cherish most?

The one I worked for the most is Medical Doctor; it was eight years of sleepless nights because I worked hard to get it. I got everything but I studied out to get qualified. I delivered over 300 babies before I qualified. I can still take delivery of baby now because we were thoroughly trained then.

How far do you intend to go in politics?

It depends on my leader.

If he says this is the end of your political career, will you abide by that?

I know he won’t say that. Even if he says that, I will respect his wish. I will respect whatever he says because he is my political instructor. We have a political structure in Ogun State. I am a member of that structure and Amosun is the leader of that structure.

How do you unwind?

I am in a hurry to retire just to have time for my wife.