Hon. Olarenwaju Moshood Oshun, a third term member of Lagos House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja, turned 47 recently. Though, he did not roll out the drums, but his colleagues, friends, constituents and well wishers bounded him to birthday wishes and prayers.
ENCOMIUM Weekly met with him and asked how he felt on his 47th birthday anniversary.
Congratulations on your birthday?
Thank you very much.
How do you feel turning 47?
I think age is just a number. For me, it is still the same me. But most important, I will say Alhamudulillahi.
Do you feel your new age?
No. I said it is just a number and it is another day. I don’t think it is about age. Yes, as you grow older, there are something you were doing before that you would not be able to do again. I don’t feel that yet.
Are you saying you can still do most of the things you used to do in your 20s and 30s?
As far as I know, I still do everything. I still use my treadmill every morning.
What would you say is responsible for you to do all these at 47?
I think it is the grace of God. Two, the vices that so many people indulge in I don’t do them. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke. I think that puts me in a better state.
It is rare to see a relatively comfortable Nigerian who does not drink or smoke?
I have never indulged in them right from my childhood. So, I don’t think I am missing anything now. But talking about being comfortable, I don’t know what you mean by that.
Does this have anything to do with your religious belief?
Absolutely not. It has nothing to do with religion. It’s just something that I grew up to detest. When I was young, my father used to smoke and drink. But at a stage, he stopped smoking and drinking. And he made me understand that there was nothing in those things, because there was nothing to gain in them.
You mentioned using treadmill every morning, could this be responsible for your youthful look at 47?
I don’t know. But talking about treadmill, it is something or a habit I just started not long ago. I used to play football but I realize that I don’t have time for that anymore. So, I had to do something to cover that. That is why I went into treadmill and lawn tennis.
Could your involvement in these exercises be because of the short average life span of Nigerians which they say is 51 now?
I even learnt that the average life span in Nigeria is 46, 47. But, again my mother died at 84. I think the whole thing has to do with how you use your body.
After I turned 40, there were so many things I stopped doing. But again, I think the most important thing is the grace of God. There are some people who indulged in all these things and they are hale and hearty. I have an uncle that drinks and smokes and at almost 70. He is still looking young. I think it is the grace of God.
When would you say was the most exciting moment of your 47 years on the existence?
I have had so many exciting moments. When I have my first baby was exciting for me.
The one that turned 18 recently?
Yes. When I had all my babies actually were exciting for me, because I was there in the hospital with my wife when she delivered all of them. Though, it was scary but seeing my babies coming out eventually was exciting for me.
So, how many times were you in the maternity ward with your wife during delivery?
Three times. Three times that produced three boys.
When would you say was the happiest moment of your life?
I have had so many happy moments. Was it when I came out in flying colours in my school certificate exams? Was it the day I graduated from school? Or the day I won election into the House of Assembly for the first time? Or the day I had my first baby?
When would you say was the most challenging period of your life so far?
The days I lost my dad and mom.
How old was your dad when he died?
My dad was 67 when he died. That was about 26 years ago. My mom was 84 when she died and that was about three years ago. Those were sad days for me.
Which of them would you say you were very close to?
I was closer to my mom because as at the time my dad died, I was still in school. So, after he died, I became very close to my mom. When i was getting matured, I spent more time with my mom than my dad. I was in my early 20s when my dad died but I was in my 40s when my mom died.
I loved both of them and their death was a colossal loss to me.
Which of them would you say impacted more on your life?
Both of them. My life is shaped by so many things my father said and did. Two, since I was elected as a House of Assembly member (2007), my mom would not ask me for anything but she would trouble me to give to others.
My mom was a cheerful giver. She was ready and willing to give anything out. She was very spiritual. She prayed as if prayer was going out of fashion. Those are the things I learnt from my mom. I learnt from both of them and the lessons were invaluable.
You’ve been a member of the House of Assembly for three terms. How will you describe the experience?
The House of Assembly is one place that if you come back 10 times, you will continue to learn because each time you are around, you are dealing with different people, different members and different members of staff. It is a place where you want to be friendly with the 40 members and at the same time you want to protect yourself.
You want to make sure you are there for the people that elected you. You want to be there for your party. So, no matter how long you’ve been here, you will still continue to learn.
Even the Speaker who has been here four times will tell you he is still learning. Certainly, he would be learning his new role as the Speaker which is entirely different from what he has been doing before. So, you learn everyday in the House of Assembly.
But by and large, the experience has been pleasant. I could hold my head high in the place. I have tried to have my integrity intact. I have tried as much as possible to be honest with people. So, it’s been a pleasurable experience.
How easy has it been for you to adjust to the fact that you are not Speaker today despite your attempt?
There is really nothing to adjust. I knew from the beginning that it is only one of us jostling for the position that will win. So, I prepared my mind for that from the beginning. And I was ready to support anybody that won.
Two, for me it wasn’t a do or die affair. Yes, I felt that I was qualified. I felt that I could do it very well and I applied. My application did not go through or was not successful but from the minute one of us was chosen, that was the end of that contest. It now became for me the house that must work. And that is what I have been doing.
What would you say was responsible for your inability to win the Speaker’s seat?
There is nothing.
Could it be because you did not belong to the right caucus?
It is not about caucus. What was important then was the House of Assembly not an individual. What is important was the state.
What I think should be our priority is the people that elected us. It is not about our personal ambition. The unity of the House should surpass anybody’s ambition. We must have a House that must continue to excel.
Two, the state. We must have a state that must continue to excel.
The two things should be above our ambitions. Not winning (the Speakership) is the wish of God. That is what God wanted. God knew from day one who was going to be the Speaker.
Two, it was a contest and somebody won. The person that won has been doing well. That is the most important thing.
What lessons of life would you say you have learnt at 47?
So many. I have so many sayings that guide my life. One says the gem cannot be polished without friction nor man perfect exact trails.
So, we ensure that there will be trials. It can’t be a completely smooth sail. Another one say, nothing venture, nothing gain.
My father told me that anything you apply yourself to the extent that when you are in front of the rumour, you can say to yourself I have tried my best.
At 47, what do you want God to do for you?
Good health, long life, successful children, successful state and successful country. I thank God, though I am not rich, I thank God and I will continue to thank Him. He has been wonderful to me.
My mom used to tell me that when you are running a race and you are trying to catch up with the people in front of you, once in a while look back and look at those who are also trying to catch up with you. That has been my philosophy of life.
For me, Alliamududlihi. I thank God.