UI’s Prof of Economics Femi Kayode buried amidst tributes
The late Professor Matthew Olufemi Kayode, former Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters has been buried in his hometown, Egbe, Yagba West Local Council Kogi State at the weekend, amidst torrents of tributes from family, friends, associates and mentees.
The late Kayode until his death, was Director, Centre for Resource Management and Consultancy at the University of Ibadan.
He died on August 10, 2020 at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, after a brief illness, aged 81 years.
The weeklong celebrations of the life and times of the erudite scholar included the Service of Songs, ‘Night of Tributes’ and launch of Femi and Dupe Kayode Foundation, named after him and his late wife.
The event held at the Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall, UCH, Ibadan and Trenchard Hall, UI between Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, with prominent Nigerians in the academia and all walks of life, including President Muhammadu Buhari paying tributes to the late Kayode for his service to the nation and humanity.
In his message at the commendation church service at Bodija-Ashi Baptist Church, Ibadan, Thursday, Rev (Dr) S.O Wojuola who led the service urged the congregation to use the opportunity of the service for the late don to devolop a relationship with God and live wisely to understand God’s will and gives thanks to God for everything.
According to him, “God has spoken through the service that the days are evil and you cannot afford not to live wise”.
In a tribute, a former Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Olufemi Baniro, said the Late Professor Kayode served the nation meritoriously in his career as an economics professor.
He noted that the late Professor would be greatly missed in the Department of Economics, at the University of Ibadan.
Two of the children of the deceased, Mrs Olufunlola Afolabi and Mrs Olutomilola Miriki who reminisced on times with their father, said he left indelible marks in their lives.
President Buhari in a message by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, condoled with the government and people of Kogi over the loss of the distinguished economist for his willingness to leave the university to share knowledge, wisdom and experience with governments.
President Buhari noted that the deceased served variously as Chairman sub-committee, National Revenue Allocation, Mobilization and Fiscal Commission and Member, National Capital Issues Commission.
Late Kayode was also Chairman, Think Tank Committee for Strategic Projects, National Raw Material Development Council; Member, Technical Committee, Vision 2010; Member, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Board of Directors and a number of strategic Committees and Commissions in Kwara, Kogi and Lagos States.
Buhari believed the former Special Adviser dedicated his time to serve the nation, and his contributions to national development would always be remembered. The president prayed for the repose of his soul.
My becoming Governor is an act of God, so no one could truncate it, says Diri
My becoming Governor is an act of God, so no one could truncate it, says Diri
Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa, has indicated that it is only God that made it possible for him to be Governor considering the unusual circumstances that threw him up as the winner of the election.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Daniel Alabrah.
The statement quoted the Governor to have spoken on Sunday when he joined other Christians in his state to offer praises to God for witnessing the first Sunday of 2021 he said people must continue to thank God for everything they own daily.
Diri, who worshipped at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Sampou, his hometown, told the congregation that he never knew the community would produce a governor, while he was supporting the governorship aspiration of others.
He indicated that when it was time for God’s destined purpose, nobody could stop it.
He said: “Sometimes I wonder that all the time I had been supporting the governorship aspiration of others, I did not know that God had destined me, even before I was born, to be governor. So when your time comes, nobody can stop it.
“If the same God could do this for me, He will do it for you. Just be faithful, have a free mind and He will do it again and again,” he said.
The governor urged Christians to be faithful to God in order to unlock more earthly blessings, just as he called on the people of the state to always give thanks and pay less attention to their worries.
He commended the people of Bayelsa for taking out time across the state to thank God today.
“What can you offer to God other than to say ‘thank you’ to Him?
“He has the gold and silver. He also has the power, as power comes only from Him.
“I, therefore, join the rest of the people of Bayelsa to say thank you Lord for keeping us to see this first Sunday of 2021,” Diri said.
He also urged the citizens to realise that they were special in the sight of God, adding that He always manifested Himself in the affairs of the state, whenever the agents of evil tried to plunge it into darkness.
“For us in Bayelsa, we are a special people, and until we realise that we are special, we will continue to give room for darkness,” he said.
Ex Buhari’s ADC accuses him of being remotely controlled by nephew
Ex Buhari’s ADC accuses him of being remote-controlled by nephew
In recent times, President Muhammadu Buhari has come under severe critisms from many sections of the country for ineptitude to govern the country, this time around his former ADC during his military regime Mustapa Jokolo has indicated that he is being remotely controlled by his nephew, Mamman Daura.
The former emir of Gwandu in a piece said the President Buhari cannot wriggle himself out of the woes the nation was going through since he has allowed himself to be criticised on every side.
He alleged that Buhari’s nephew, Mamman Daura was manipulating him, saying that the best thing is for Mamman Daura to be moved from the villa to Kaduna so that the President could have a breathing space to do what is right and just.
He said there is something fundamentally wrong for President Buhari to be ignoring wise counsel without.
He advised Buhari to dissolve his cabinet for a rejig, even as he listed those he should give attention, once they advise him.
“As for President Muhammadu Buhari, though I personally believe he is under spell and total control of the cabal led by his nephew, Malam Mamman Daura, he cannot exonerate himself from the atrocities happening in Nigeria.
“Everyone, high and low have offered wise counsel which he is turning deaf ears to. He will not only answer to the Nigerians but worse, he will answer to the divine and Supreme Judge, Almighty Allah SWT here on earth and the hereafter.
“The way he came in supported by majority of Nigerians no other leader in the past had it (17 out of 19 States in the North; 5 out of 6 States in the South West; Edo State in the South South and Imo State in the South East).
“He should kindly listen to the advices given him by such notables like Dr Junaidu Muhammad, Hajiya Najaatu Muhammad, Major General Ishola Williams, Col Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, Simeon Kolawole, Chief Duro Onabule, Dr Ahmad Gummi (when he is not too personal ) Sheik Dahiru Bauchi, Sheik Sherif Saleh, Engineer Daura, Alhaji Tijjani Zangon Daura, Sheik Yahaya Jingir and scores of others too numerous to mention.
“He should send Mamman Daura back to Kaduna, drop two thirds of his ministers, change his Security Chiefs (except DG DSS), change his Personal Staff. All Boards of Parastatals that need change should be changed.
Jokolo also lampooned former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the former Chief of Defence Staff, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, describing the elder statemen as “rotten eggs”, for consistently attacking the present administration.
“Recently, President Obasanjo has been relentless in his personal attacks on President Buhari even predicting that Nigeria will soon go to war.
“Recall that in 1983 these same Generals denigrated President Shagari which resulted in the 1983 Coup de tat. We have not forgotten their atrocities in Odi and Zaki Biam. Now they have Bishop Mathiew Kukah and Dr Ahmad Gummi in their sustained call to arms preaching against President Buhari.
“We will not expose their plans and treacherous ploys if they had been honourable, sincere and patriotic. But the whole plots are only self serving and not in the interest of Nigeria!
“Which rulers committed more atrocities in the history of Nigeria like the duo of Olusegun Obasanjo and T.Y Danjuma? We are tired of these rotten eggs continuously messing us up.
“While making new appointments, he should reflect Federal Character as enshrined in the Constitution of Nigeria.
“He should also initiate a Constitutional Review to reduce the preponderance of the National Assembly Members to one Senator per State and one Representative per Senatorial District.
“He should also ensure the compliance of his Executive Order whereby the State Governors should hands off Local Government and State Judiciary Funds. No State Governor should leave his State except on very dire circumstances.
“All State Governors’ Lodges must be sold & funds returned to the State Treasury. Abolish State INEC to allow people choose their representatives without the control of the Governors.
“Monitor the Judiciary and Lawyers at all levels closely and get rid of the bad eggs. Encourage InterFaith Relationship by strengthening NIREC.
“Establish a National Traditonal Rulers Council with State Council of Chiefs Chairmen as members.
“Also have a Commission to discipline the Traditional Rulers like the National Judicial Council is rather than the State Governors . Establish Zonal Presidential Liaison Offices to monitor the Federal and State Activities, to avoid embarrassments like the State Governors hoarding Palliatives, unknown to the Federal Government.
“There should also be Committees at Federal, State and Local Governments Levels charged with moral discipline and prayers for Almighty God’s Salvation and Divine Intervention. May Almighty God defend, protect, guide Nigeria and Nigerians, amen.”
Reminiscences With Capt Idris Wada
Reminiscences With Capt Idris Wada
ITODO DANIEL SULE & AHMED TAHIR AJOBE
Captain Idris Wada (retd) is a former governor of Kogi State and seasoned pilot. He worked in the aviation sector for 35 years before he retired and went into politics. In this exclusive interview, Wada, who turned 70 recently, took us through the journey of his life, why he jettisoned his medical ambition to become a pilot, his experiences in politics, among other interesting issues.
How would you describe your childhood and experiences while growing up?
I was born in Dekina Local Government Area in the present Kogi State, into the family of Alhaji Halilu Wada Ijiga. My late mother was Hajiya Rakiya Wada. My father was a court scribe who developed himself and went to school almost as an adult. He rose to become an Upper Area Court judge. My father was very enthusiastic about western education and made sure that we added Quaranic education. We combined both.
As a judge they would transfer you from one place to another. I recall that I was with my father when he served in Ogugu in Olamaboro Local Government Area. I was living with him in Idah and he decided one day that I should follow him to Dekina. When we got to Dekina, we stopped to see one of his cousins, Alhaji Isah Adebu and he dropped me there, saying, “This is where you are going to stay from now on. You will do your Quaranic education here and we will find a primary school for you in town.’’ That was the beginning of my separation from my parents. My father practised what I will call hard love. To show his love for you he would put you in a difficult circumstance, but in the end it would be good for you.
Imagine that he dropped a 7-year-old child like me then with a family I had never met. I didn’t know anybody there, whereas when we were in Idah, I had friends at Saint Boniface Primary School.
How were you able to cope with the new environment?
Well, I had to find my feet and settle down quickly and face the reality. And the man had many wives. One of them, Hajiya Zainab, was designated as my foster mother. We used to go to the farm, fetch firewood and sell. Whatever money you earned you gave to your mother to keep for you. Our house was not far from the garage, so I used to go there to help traders carry load, just to earn some money, which I gave to my foster mother to keep for me. So during Sallah and other festivities they would buy new cloths for me from the money. From that age we were taught to be industrious. Nothing in life is really free.
I tried to excel in both Quaranic and western education. After three years, my father came one day and said he was taking me to another malam in Dekina, who was more learned. He took me to Malam Ndako, a Nupe man. Of course he had many children in his Quaranic education facility. There again, he gave me a new mother. I related with the children there and continued with my education. That was where I stayed till I finished primary school and moved to Government Secondary School (GSS), Dekina. In those days, you would take entrance exams to schools. So, I took one for Ochaja Boys’ Secondary School and did very well. I also took another exam for St Peters Secondary School, which was new in Idah. Again, I did very well. But I was determined to go to Government Secondary School, Dekina because it was an older school. Government schools in those days were fantastic; it is not what we have now.
From my childhood, it was clear to me that if I must extricate myself from the level of poverty, it was important to work hard and pass well in school. I thank God that throughout my secondary school, I was always top in my class. In those days, we had streams A and B. I was always in stream A; and if I didn’t come first, I would be second in the class.
I took my studies seriously, but I was not a bookworm. I was lucky that God blessed me with a very sharp memory. Once you taught me something I would remember it. I tried to see the logic in what they were teaching, so I could easily deduce where they were going. I found many of the subjects very easy.
What were your experiences at GSS, Dekina and FGC, Sokoto?
I finished from Dekina in 1968 and had the best result in my school from the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). In those days, if you passed WAEC exams you were sure of government’s scholarship. So those of us who did not come from rich families depended on our performances to move forward in life. As we were finishing secondary school, five of us were selected to take common entrance examination again for unity schools. I took the exam and was given the option of going to the Federal Government College (FGC), Warri; Kings College, Lagos and Federal Government College, Sokoto. I preferred Sokoto and I went there for my Higher School Certificate (HSC). When you resumed for HSC it took about three months for your result to come from the WAEC. The day my result came, during the morning assembly, the principal announced it and said it was the best they had ever seen in that school. Everybody clapped for me and made my head grew bigger. Of course it was wonderful. That made me to take my studies very seriously. I was in Sokoto for almost two years.
Can you still remember your mates in secondary school?
Of course, there are many of them around. They are in various fields: some engineers and others in the military. Some of them are still alive while some have passed on. One of them is Stephen Maiyaki, who became a commissioner when I became governor. He rose to become the managing director of UAC Properties. There is also Air Commodore Johnson Onekutu, Salihu Raji, a lawyer, and a host of others. I think I am the only politician among them. None of them became governor, apart from me.
Which subjects were your best?
I was very good in the sciences. I was also very good in Mathematics and Additional Mathematics. I didn’t like history because I don’t fancy stories that are difficult to relate with. I am a realist. In history, you just read and learn about what happened way back, but to transport yourself into their circumstances, that is a distance from reality. I like things that challenge my mind. Science attaches your imagination.
At what point did your dream of becoming a pilot begin?
During my last term in Sokoto, I went to spend my summer holidays with a cousin of mine in Zaria. As an idle student on holidays I roamed round the town for one tourism attraction or another. One day, I went to the Nigeria College of Aviation, which is now called Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, and saw small airplanes flying. I saw that a young man entered the airplane and started the engine, taxied to the runway and took off. He came back and landed. He did that for about four times. I wondered who he was and somebody told me he was just an ordinary Nigerian, may be from somewhere in Kaduna. I asked, “You mean that children of ordinary Nigerians can learn how to fly an airplane?’’ They said yes and I asked if they thought the people in charge would take me, and they said yes. They told me that once I passed my exams with credits in Mathematics, Physics and English, they would take me and pay for me to do the course. Before then, I had thought that only children of rich or white people could fly airplanes. So, I was amazed. I went home and came back to enquire more and they confirmed that I could make it if I passed my exams.
That was few months for me to finish my HSC in Sokoto. Something rang a bell in me that this is the direction I should go. In HSC, I was doing Physics, Chemistry and Biology, with a view to becoming a medical doctor. My plan was to go to the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) to become a medical doctor, but that encounter that day changed my mind. That was my first time of seeing a plane.
My challenges were what to tell my father, and my school in Sokoto, where they liked me because of my academic performance and sense of discipline. I was very industrious.
I learned how to play the guitar and became the band leader of the school. We were performing so well that our principal, Mr Hawood, called our school band the Beetle of Africa. I wondered whether the principal would allow me leave the school. But I summoned courage and approached his wife and pleaded with her to help me talk to her husband.
I told her everything and she assured me that she would talk to Mr Hawood. She told me that aviation was a good and new field, where I could easily rise in my career. She said one of her students who approached her in Ghana was the one in charge of civil aviation in that country. She encouraged me to go into it since it was new in Nigeria. She eventually told her husband. One day, after assembly, the principal called me to his office and said, “My wife told me you are interested in aviation; it is a good field. With your level of intelligence you will make it.’’ He asked when the exams would be and I told him. He promised to support me with transport money to go, and wished me success.
That was the beginning of my journey into aviation. I abandoned my plan to do medicine. At some point later on in my life, my mother told me that when I was little, about 6 to 7 years old, whenever I was trekking with her or on a journey and an airplane happened to fly in the air, I would usually tell her that I was the person piloting the plane up there. She said when I was saying that, she couldn’t understand what my connection with airplane was until I became a pilot. It looked like it was what God destined me to do.
I became a pilot with a lot of enthusiasm. I didn’t hesitate, despite the fact that it is a very risky and complicated profession. I thank God that for my 35 years in the aviation sector, I was able to overcome challenges and come out in flying colours. I am grateful to God.
What was the reaction of your father to your decision?
He said if that was where God was directing me, I should go for it. He gave me his full blessings and wished me well. That further motivated me. I got to the school of aviation in Zaria in 1970 and finished in 1972. Out of a class of 24, I think about 14 of us finished. In Zaria, if you failed any exam they would weed you out. It was purely a matter of performance, not who you knew.
Would you share your experiences in the aviation industry for 35 years?
In the aviation school I was selected to be trained as a flight instructor. A few months after graduation, I went abroad for further training to get licenses. I came back in 1973 and converted them to Nigerian licenses and started teaching people how to fly.
I trained many pilots who are still flying. Every time I travel with them they would remind me how I used to be strict and tough. Some of them told me they thought I hated them, but from what they see now, they have come to realise that I meant good for them.
As an instructor, it is very pleasing when you see your products in positions. I worked as a flying instructor for five years. Those days, we had the Nigerian Airways, and as a flying instructor, you only flew smaller airplanes. Every commercial pilot wants to fly big jets, big planes. That is where your status comes out. The bigger the airplane you fly, the more satisfied you are as a professional. It is like astronauts going into the space; you rank them higher than pilots flying Boeing 747. We all like to fly big planes.
Out of my class of about 14 that graduated during our training, I was the only one retained as an instructor. All my mates went to the Nigerian Airways. I was eager to go and join them also. After five years, I negotiated with the School of Aviation, Zaria to allow me move to the Nigerian Airways. You see, the salary a commercial pilot earns in the airline industry is about five times higher than that of an instructor in Zaria. When I was paid 8pounds as allowance in Zaria, those who were sponsored by the Nigerian Airways, who were in my class, were paid 50pounds a month.
I am a man of conscience. The Federal Government sponsored me to become an instructor and I couldn’t just abandon them like that. There were some of them who refused to honour their obligations after enjoying such trainings. When I went to the US for training, I scored 100 per cent in the final exam set by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), which is equivalent to our own NCAA. The school pasted it on their notice board to show that it was possible to have 100 per cent. American exams are objectives and very few essays we do here.
When I was about to finish, they said I should become a partner with them, that they would give me 10 per cent shares. They said they would give me citizenship so as to promote black American students to come to their school. Their government had a special programme for the minority, and for me being a black instructor, they would get some of those benefits. But I told them that the Nigerian government sponsored me and they were waiting for me back home. I told them that my conscience would not allow me. Apart from that, how about mother and siblings; who would look after them? So I left there.
Again, that was another level of patriotism I showed. Like I said, I needed to advance my career, and I negotiated with the school of aviation to allow me gain airline experience, and later in life, I could retire from the airline and become an instructor. The principal saw my point. I was the first person to come with such a smooth transition plan, and if such a thing could continue, their rate of losing pilots would reduce.
The principal wrote to the Nigerian Airways, supported by the Ministry of Aviation and they agreed that I should transfer my service from the School of Aviation to the Nigerian Airways. That meant that the period I served in Zaria would count as part of my service in the Nigerian Airways.
I was taken as a senior flight officer, which is the stage you reach before becoming a captain. Once you gained the required number of flying you would become a captain. I joined the Nigerian Airways in 1978 and started on FOCAL F28, which is a twin jet. By 1979, I was already training to become a captain, and by 1980, I was a captain. It was a very rapid rise in the Nigerian Airways.
Also, the Dantata family in Kano had a small aviation company called United Air Service. He recruited me as general manager and chief pilot. They had Europeans and Americans flying their private jets. They had about five airplanes. They offered me a salary that was five times what I was earning in the Nigeria Airways. They also offered me a house and a brand new Peugeot 505, all basically free. There was no loan repayment because the allowance they gave you to run for transport was more than what you needed to pay back. After some years, they would write it off for you.
I was attracted because at that time, the Nigerian Airways was already declining. As pilots, when we suggested what they needed to do, the management would say we were arrogant, and they would not take our advice. That was how the Nigerian Airways kept falling apart. So I left.
I managed those airplanes for the Dantata family for three years. By 1986, they said they wanted to sell their planes, explaining that the frustration was too much. I made a proposal to the late Alhaji Usman Dantata. I told him to give me the aircraft on hire purchase and I would pay over 12 months. My plan was to commercialise it. The Boeing 707 cargo airline we used to move goods from Europe to Nigeria was worth about $2 million.
He said somebody was ready to pay him cash and I should work with the man. But I told him I couldn’t work with the man. I said, “I worked for you because you are a disciplined man. You are a boss we all admire. There are very few people like you in this country.’’ I told him that the day I would stop working for him, I won’t work for any other person. The way I said it hit him very sharply and he asked if I meant what I was saying. I said yes. He asked for my proposal and I gave it to him.
I made contact with my partners in Europe and the United Kingdom (UK) and they accepted. So we started an airline called Executive Aviation Services (EAS), which we later changed to EAS Airlines. The man gave us the aircraft and we commercialised it. We started cargo operations from Nigeria to Europe, and eventually, they started chartering our aircraft to Canada, Germany, Japan and many other places.
It became a big business, by the grace of God. Exactly one year after, we paid off the cost of the aircraft. I gave shares to all the pilots and engineers working with me and we became a viable company. When we started, we kept our cost so minimal that we were able to beat even the British Airways. Within three years, we had three 707 under our airline. We were flying between 1987 and 1992/93 because of aircraft noise and the issue of environmental regulations. They said Boeing 707 was too noisy; and we could not afford to upgrade the engine to that of a modern aircraft, so we had to wind down that business.
At that point, as God would have it, Alhaji Aliko Dangote bought a new private jet, HS125, from the Nigerian Bottling Company and invited me to operate it. I was already thinking of leaving the aviation industry at that stage, but he insisted I should come. I agreed and joined him.
By 1996, I took a loan of $1million from the Inland Bank when former Governor Isah Yuguda of Bauchi State was the managing director. I never met him in my life. I wrote a proposal, submitted, and after undergoing their processes, he recommended that I should be given the loan. I wanted to go and thank him but he said I should not worry. He said he would come and see me whenever he came to Lagos, explaining that I was his customer. Can you imagine that in this Nigeria? That’s why I can never forget that man. He is a great Nigerian.
Again, within 12 months we paid everything. We bought some aircraft and were doing passenger services from Lagos to Jos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Enugu and all that. We had five airplanes operating domestic services. It was a world class operation. My conscience is clear that I contributed to the development of Nigeria. I made Nigeria proud in the aviation industry.
Can you recall any unforgettable incident or encounter in the course of your operations?
In 2002, one of our planes flying from Lagos to Kano and Jos crashed and some people died. The pilot was well experienced. Investigations indicated that it was a very hot day; hence the intensity of the heat impacted on the plane and perhaps led to engine failure, which can happen anytime. We lost the airplane. It was a trying moment for us. The government grounded all the airplanes in our fleet and they rotted away.
We subjected ourselves to thorough investigations and they did not find any negligence on the part of our company. Our records were clear. We had qualified pilots and our licenses were up-to-date, but the damage was done. For about seven months, we were out of operation. But we were determined to continue. We started negotiation and paid all the compensations according to the rule because our aircraft was insured in London. They sent their assessors and lawyers to help us on how to pay compensations. Everybody was paid. We decided to lease aircraft to start again.
We kept our employees on 50 per cent salaries for about 8 months. After that, we leased a 737 and started our operations. Because of our reputation we were able to attract patronage. Within a year, we had two airplanes in operation.
By 2007, Fani Kayode became the minister of aviation and made the rule that you must capitalise and have N2billion in your bank for you to be allowed to operate an airline in the country. He said if you wanted to fly domestic, you must have N500million in the bank; West Africa, N1billion and international, N2billion.
We said we had enough operating funds to keep our operations going and did not need to have N2billion in the bank, but he insisted that unless we had an evidence of N2billion in our account, we would not operate. That was how Jimoh Ibrahim approached us and promised to inject money and buy new airplanes for us to expand the business. We negotiated with our lawyers and accountants and agreed.
He said he would take 60 per cent of the company while we kept 40 per cent. That was how NICON Airways was formed. He said we should change our names to NICON Airways and we did so, but he never paid us the money he was supposed to pay us.
We still tried to run the airline, hoping that he would fulfill his obligation, but he never injected money into the airline. That was how we were betrayed and we lost everything.
I knew that God was sending me a message to stop. I left the company for him. People said I should go to court, but I rather decided to focus on something else. I left everything there, including my files. I and a friend of mine formed a construction company and started building roads. I threw myself into that and it helped me to get away from aviation.
Tell us how you joined politics and emerged as governor of Kogi State.
By 2011, providence brought me into politics. Maybe God saw my heart and the fact that I left everything to God. I became the governor of Kogi State by the grace of God and the efforts of Alhaji Ibrahim Idris. It was something I never expected. It was never in my career path.
I didn’t like politics but I helped politicians because we need them to govern us. I never imagined that I would become part of them. So, when I came to Kogi I was determined to give back. I knew that God would ask me to account for the leadership opportunity he gave me. So I threw myself into the job. I was working 18 hours a day throughout my tenure as governor of Kogi State. There was a lot to do but very little money available, so one needed a lot of ingenuity and determination to make a difference.
Everything I did I always remembered that God was looking at me. He had high expectations from me and I could not deceive the people. I did not do any white elephant project or abracadabra to flabbergast the public; never. We were always working on reality. We did what we could afford. That’s the legacy I left behind in Kogi State. And I am very happy for that.
You clocked 70 years in August this year; how do you feel?
I feel great and thankful to God. I read a lot, write a lot and do a lot of charity. I am not interested in material things. I am very happy. My children are all grown up and have their own professions. At 70 I am in good health, and I thank God for that. Whatever you have in this life, if you don’t have good health, it is useless. I sleep with a clear conscience every day. I don’t have any enemy that I know. If you annoy me, I may shout at you at that time, but after that I forget about it. I don’t keep grudges. I don’t plan evil against anybody. I always deal with people with sincerity. If you deceive me, I leave you to God. Matters don’t go far with me because I hand them over to God. I am a happy man.
What would you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as a man who came, did his best for his people, country and family.
What is your advice for the younger generation?
The younger generation should be disciplined and honest. They should persevere and do their best in every circumstance they found themselves. They must not compare themselves to others because every human being is unique. God has a purpose for each of us. Make the best of what God gives you. Don’t be in a rush in life. Hard times come and go, but focused and determined people stay the course. God always blesses the patient, so I advise young people to be patient and focused.
Culled from the DailyTrust
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