For some people, change in status either politically or economically keeps them afar from their ex-school mates, childhood friends and former colleagues but this is not so for the lawmaker representing Mushin Constituency 2 in the Lagos State House Of Assembly, Hon. Abdusobur Olayiwola Olawale popularly called ‘ OMITITI’ by his supporters, who narrated his growing up, lifestyle, family life and other life experience with WESTERNPOST Correspondent, OKUNADE ADEKUNLE in this interview. Excerpts
Who Is Hon. Abdusobur Olayiwola Olawale?
I am Hon. Abdulsobur Olayiwola Olawale. I was born on 12th March 1964 in Abeokuta, Ogun state. I had my primary education at St Peters School, Ake, Abeokuta between 1970 to 1976. Then, I got admission into Nawalrudeen Grammar School, Obantoko, Abeokuta where I spent 5years ( 1976 – 1981). I worked briefly with my Uncle who was the owner of Fajo Hotel, so after one year working with my Uncle, I gained admission into Ogun state College of Education but now Tai Solarin University of Education ( TASUED), that was between 1982 to 1985.
After the graduation, I got a teaching appointment with Ogun state government where I was posted to Ajebo Community High School within Obafemi Owode local government area, Ogun state. I taught for 9years . During the period as a teacher, I enrolled at what was known as Correspondence Institute in University of Lagos but known now as Distance Learning Institute(DLI) where I studied Business Administration and graduated with Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. This enabled me to move from my teaching profession to a private company known as Associates Nigeria Limited, they deal essentially with imported materials and I worked as Operations Manager for One and Half years.
I left the company to start my own . My company essentially deals with building materials, selling of granites, Sand , Cement and any materials that relate to building materials. That was what I was doing till 1997 .
In 1998, when the administration of General Abubakar Abdusallam ( rtd) lifted ban on party politics, I joined the Progressives within my local government, which is Mushin local government. We have a political group known as Ideal Club which I was a member. We also have people like Sen. Ganiyu Solomon, Dr. Muiz Banire, a four time lawmaker in this noble House Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuosho and Hon. Seye Oladejo, the immediate past Commissioner For Special Duties during former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration and currently the Publicity Secretary of our great party, APC. When I joined the party after the local government election in 1999, and I wanted to be a Supervisory Councillor and my supporters especially in my Ward were seriously rooting for me but unfortunately I did not get it, so later, to pacify myself and my group, the leaders of our party ( those people I mentioned earlier) said they would get me another post. So, in year 2000, I was made the Personal Assistant to the then Honourable Commissioner For Special Duties, Dr. Muiz Banire. A month after I joined him, he became Commissioner For Transportation. We were there together for that particular term , that was the first term of former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu . So, when Asiwaju Tinubu returned for the Second Term, my boss recommended me for a higher post which was Special Assistant To Governor Bola Tinubu On Transportation. I was with Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu for 4years .
In 2008, during the administration of Babatunde Raji Fashola, I made my intention known that I wanted to become the Executive Chairman of our local government ( Mushin local government) but unfortunately I did not get it. So, I returned to my business and at that period I had become a Developer . I started developing Houses and Shops for people in my vicinity in Mushin. That was what I was doing till 2014 when there was another need for me to go for another elective position which would usher in 2015 administration. By December of 2014, about 12 of us came out to contest for the party’s ticket. We had a primary election which eventually I won. So, I came in as a first timer into Lagos state House of Assembly in 2015 and people of my constituency after seeing the good job and representation, returned me for the second term in 2019. Here we are today. I am married with children and a beautiful wife.
You said you worked with your uncle when growing up, how is it like working with a family member?
My uncle of a blessed memory had been my benefactor even before I worked under him . He had been a guidance and I am not surprised because according to him, my Daddy had equally assisted him while he was growing up. So, working with him was kind of synergy that was very smooth . I took the job to be as if it was my own company. I believe whatever that belong to my Uncle belongs to me and for the few years I spent with him, the hotel experienced a total change. I knew what happened to indolence staff who were not serious with their job and stealing his money. He so much loved me and I loved him too . It is relative, there are some family members whom you will work with and it will not go smoothly the way of my own experience.
You were sometimes ago a teacher, does it really have effect on who you are now as a politician?
Definitely it has effect and affect who I am presently. It is an added advantage because as a trained teacher then we were exposed to a lot of training . Part of what people knows me for is that I have a loud voice , it is part of the training I had as a teacher. A good teacher must be able to communicate with his or her audience distinctively and it comes with your voice too. You raise it when it is necessary so it is part of the training. Aside that, the moral aspect of the training I went through then was really fantastic because we were trained teachers who were trained to teach students and if you want to mould people’s life, you who is the moulder must be upright . What usually comes to my mind when I was teacher is that, I want to mould my students for a better society and so I must be a very example to them. It has always been my philosophy that whatever I am giving is something that should be pure not half pure so that when they see me years to come they would appreciate my contribution to their life. In the moral aspect, I was able to sharpen them and it is my joy today that when I see my students they are appreciative of the good and sound knowledge I impacted in them.
Where and how do you meet your wife and what really interest you in her?
I give glory to Almighty Allah for wat he has done for me about my wife. I met my wife through a family friend . It was just an accidental meeting and when I met her the first thing I told her was that she will be my wife. She said Brother Ola why will you say such a thing and I said look I see in you a beautiful woman who is homely and decent. The way I look at you, you are okay and don’t be surprised that you will be my future wife. She said ‘ Hahaha’ . At the end of the day, we become Husband and Wife. The courtship took us nothing less than 4 to 5 years before we formalise it into becoming a marriage in 1996.
What was the response of your family when you took her to them?
I need to let you know that she is from Ijebu while I am from Egba and the two families were not comfortable with it at first. I still remember that my Aunty ( my father’s elder sister) because I lost my parents when I was young, so my Aunty resisted me marrying an Ijebu woman. She said Egba and Ijebu are two opposing ethnics and so I should not marry an Ijebu woman. The same thing as my in-laws too when went for introduction, they said ‘ you are from Abeokuta, we cannot give our daughter’s hand in marriage to an Abeokuta man but glory be to God the families have never regretted the marriage they consummated for us. Myself and my wife have been doing well and moving forward.
What really attracted you to her?
Just as I said earlier, she is very courteous . When I gave her assignment, the way she carried out the assignment, I so much love it. She is dutiful and very more important, she is beautiful. And she is committed to her job and the way she carried herself and her job, were thorough and I said to myself ‘Look I am going to marry this lady’ .
How did she react when you informed her of your intention to venturing into politics?
Because of the nature of our politics, women don’t like their husbands to go into it. Initially, she discouraged me by telling me that I have a good job, why should I go into politics . She said why did I want to leave the suit and tie job for politics as an Operation Manager of a big company. Meanwhile, she was from a political family . Her daddy was a Ward Chairman in Somolu local government, so she had the good and bad experience of politics and politicians , so, she discouraged me and at the end of the day I convinced her that we should pray to God and thank God today, we are narrating a good history.
As a muslim, based on your religion philosophy, do you have it in mind to get more wives?
The religion people are hiding under even explains it clearly that you are permitted to marry more than one wife if you can take care of the permitted four wives. Between you and i, we know that with the economic situation, financial challenges and socio-political problems that we are facing in the nation, can one really take care of two wives not to talk of four. And beside that, some people are going out of their ways to marry many wives but I personally, I am from a polygamous home just like my wife too will not want to marry more than one wife. I am not in support of marrying more than one wife when you have a good wife. Why do you need to be disturbing yourself when you have a good wife. Religiously, it is not compulsory that you should marry four wives, what Quran teaches is that it is better that you should adhere to the principle of having just one wife.
Who among your children do you think would want to take after you interms of your professional career and politics?
I have four children , three females and one male. It may interest you that the male whom I think would inherit my political activities is not interested. As at present, he is a Barrister at home , the lawyer that will have in the house who will be agitating and claiming his right when his right is infringed. It is my first daughter who I see that can emulate my political life because she is moving closer to politics and politicians. She is a legal practitioner.
How do you relax after hectic work?
One needs to create time for other activities aside work. Politicians are do engrossed with political activities and meetings. After office work and working hours, we will still go and attend meeting. That is not to say that we don’t create time for relaxation . I read alot, I love to read books, most especially conventional books and best sellers. I relax with my phone by browsing the internet and more importantly, I read my Quran after my prayers and also during my leisure time.
Are you advising your colleagues to follow similar relaxation pattern?
I will never advise them to toll my way because we are of different personalities . What is good for me may not be good for them. The advice I will give them is that they should device a means of relaxing after work. You know that some people go to cinema to relax , while some go for swimming . I am an advocate of practical exercise , they should always do exercise so as to be physically fit.
Before venturing into politics, you had friends. How is your relationship with your childhood friends?
My friends will be in the best position to answer this. As you were about to come into my office, my primary six friend just left, Taiwo Shogunlo. You can verify from my staff. I am still in touch with my primary school friends Fatai Olayinka Rahman, Taiwo Shogunlo , Waheed Olaosebikan Kehinde and many of them. When you talk of secondary school, I have Dr Lateef Odekunle, infact he is my bossom friend . I still have those old friends like Tajudeen Mosaku. And if you talk of my friends who we grew up together, you talk of Saheed Tunde Olusesi who is based in the United States and many more. Our friendship cord has never been broken for over 50years that we had been friends. That is me for you because I believe in continuity . I believe that the friends I had known for years are better than the ones I know now. That is my philosophy. They are better because we had had our ups and downs . I cherish my old friends.
After your present political position, what next?
We leave everything to Almighty Allah . As a muslim, I believe in the surpremacy of Almighty Allah and I believe he is the giver of life and taker of life. If God says Abdulsobur, he is taking me to heaven I can’t resist it. I so much believe in the supremacy of Allah. Whatever he has destined for one will surely come to past. Forget about the future, I believe in the present because I know the future will take care about itself. I subject myself to Allah’s power and guide.