Cover Stories, Interviews, Politics

Hon. Lateef Abiru unveils his divine desire @ 50

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Former Deputy Chief Whip of Lagos State House of Assembly and now the substantive Chief Whip, joined the golden age (50) recently. In this birthday interview with Honourable Lateef Abiru, the gentleman, among other things, bared his mind about what he wants God to do for him at 50.

He talked glowingly about his wife, Adeyinka, why his first child is 17 at 50 and much more…

 

Congratulations on your 50th birthday, sir.

Thank you very much, to God be the glory.

abiruHow does it feel to turn 50?

It feels great. It is obviously a far cry from younger age. I give glory to God Almighty for seeing me this far.

Will you say you feel your new age?

In my heart and spirit, I don’t feel I am 50. But of course, the body has been giving me signs that I am not getting any younger.

What are those things you did in your 30s and 40s that you can no longer do?

I have realized that I no longer have stamina for my usual regular sporting activities. Although I still have the skill of an athlete that I was in my younger age but the stamina is no longer there. Again, I can no longer eat late as I did in my younger age because the digestive system of a man at 50 is no longer the same as it was in my younger age. So, anytime beyond 6pm, I no longer take solid food.

What would you consider the highlight of your 50 years of existence?

First, I give glory to God Almighty for giving me life. I give glory to God Almighty for having a family that I am proud of, both my extended family and my immediate family, which is my wife – Adeyinka and my God given three boys (Abdulkadiri, Abdulgafar and Kalim). They are all doing well in school.

Again, my wife, who is just two years younger, has always make me happy. To a reasonable, extent, she had given me so much support.

Again, I give glory to God for my achievement today. As I speak, I am the Chief Whip of Lagos State House of Assembly. I have been the deputy Whip of this House of Assembly.

As a matter of fact, I have served in the public domain for 13 years. I have every reason to thank God. I have a reason to thank my leaders, my constituents, who thought it worthy to push me forward as their spokesman in Lagos State House of Assembly.

I can attest to the fact that God has actually given me the fruits of life. It is just for me to continuously thank Him for His kindness to me and my entire household.

When will you say was the happiest moment of your life?

Looking at myself now with no sign of health deficiency, disability, challenges beyond the normal health condition of an average Nigerian, which is usually malaria fever. I have not really been diagnosed of depression, heart problem or any debilitating ailment.

These are things that I need to be appreciative of God. I give God the glory.

When would you say was the saddest moment of your life?

Going by some of the preachings of the Holy Quran. It is said that whatever situation you find yourself you have every reason to thank God. The day I lost my mother was a very bad day for me. But I was quick to remember the wordings of the Holy Quran that “He giveth and also taketh those that He wish for reasons best known to Him.”

Are you the only son of your mother?

I am not the only son.

But you were very close to her?

Yes and she did a lot in terms of contribution to who I am today. I am from a polygamous home. When I was in secondary school, I was very rascally to the extent that it affected my studies but she never gave up on me.  That really endeared me to her. I have other siblings. We are 10.

From the same mother?

No. There are seven of us from my mother. Our late father, Hon. Justice M. A. Abiru, sowed the seed of love among his children. Of course, irrespective of who our mother was, we, the children saw ourselves as one and uptill today, we jointly look after ourselves and we do things together.

The day I can call saddest was the day I lost my mother. It was actually a sad day for me. After a very long while, tears flowed freely from my eyes.

I dodn’t have any doubt in my mind that she is resting on the bossom of the Lord. Because she gave up the ghost during the Ramadan. As a muslim, I believe that anybody that God chooses to call during Ramadan goes straight to heaven.

At 50, would you say you are fulfilled?

To the glory of God Almighty, I can say that I am fulfilled at 50. Yes, there are targets that I have not yet met. There are wishes that have not yet been granted. But beyond all these, if you look at the state of the nation today, if you look at some of your colleagues, friends, one will sound like an ingrate to God Almighty if you don’t appreciate what He has done for one in 50 years.

wise-ken-6I have a roof over my head. I can guarantee three square meals for my family. I do not have any health challenge that surpasses my power. This is worth thanking God. If you ask me, are there things you wished God to have done for you before now. I would have said yes.

For instance, I sometimes think that at 50, I should have been done paying school fees. But I didn’t start early enough. I didn’t get any child until I was 33. It was that particular year that God granted me my first son. So, as I speak, my first son is 17. How I wished my children have finished their university education. So that at 50, I could play Mr. and Mrs. with my wife alone. But all the same, I give God the glory for seeing me this far.

You talked glowingly about your wife. Tell us how and where the two of you met?

She is my God chosen wife. I grew up in Gbagada Phase 1 where I also have a private business venture. She was working right in front of my business office. In fact, the company she was working for was occupying one of the wings of my father’s house and yet we did not meet at Gbagada.

You didn’t see her?

I didn’t notice her. I had a girlfriend who was a Christian. But my wish before Almighty God was to marry a muslim. Though I had a Christian background too. I attended Baptist School but I purposefully started attending Islamic programmes.

One of the Islamic organizations I belonged to was Movement for Islamic Culture and Awareness (MICA). It was at 2004 Flats, Victoria Island, Lagos. It was during one of our meetings that I met my wife.

I approached her myself. Nobody introduced her to me. We got talking and in the course of our discussion, we realised that we were so close to each other and yet we never met in Gbagada. We didn’t court for more than six months before we got married.

I will say one thing. Since we got married, we’ve never had any irreconcilable difference. She is soft spoken and to a large extent she has high level of maturity. She is also well read. She has a Master’s degree in Geo-Science from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State. Her first degree is in Geology. We’ve been happy together.

At 50, what do you want God to still do for you?

I want many things o (general laughter). Sincerely, I wish God could bless me with resources that will sustain me long after I might have quit active politics. I pray to God for long life in good health so that I could do His wish and His mercies on my children. I pray He grants me long life and good health to witness all my children’s marriages.

-TOLANI ABATTI

 

 

 

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