Hon Akin Ekundayo, a.k.a. Dayo Maxima, juju musician turned politician and a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, representing Ijero State Constituency in Ekiti State House of Assembly told ENCOMIUM Weekly’s Tade Asifat, he is the first Nigerian juju musician to be elected into the House of Assembly.
He also spoke on other issues, including his relationship with Ekiti Governor, Ayodele Fayose and much more.
Can you tell us a little about your foray into Ekiti politics and who would you say is your mentor?
I could say without mincing words today that Fayose made me. When I came across Fayose in 2003, he contributed a lot to my music career. He brought me up. In terms of entertainment, Fayose invested so much in me; he did everything to boost my music career. At the same time, he became interested and decided to establish me politically. So, both ways, he has been my pillar, he has always been there for me.
How did you meet Fayose?
The Bible says: ‘The gift of a man will make him to stand before kings and sit with the princes’. I came across Fayose while playing music. When Fayose saw me, he studied me and after studying my background, he discovered that this guy will be loyal to him. He believed in me.
He discovered that I am a very talented musician, and he believed that if he could develop this guy, he would be a good politician. So he decided to invest in me and launched me into politics proper and here am I am today as one of his disciples.
What have been your major challenges?
Being a musician is not an easy task; you need to have a strong backbone. When we started, I did not have anything. It was very difficult, even to get a loud speaker for my outings was a problem. We had to run up and down to get money to rent speakers and other instruments that we used.
And how much were they paying us then for a show? It was so small; in fact, a lot of us offered services free of charge just to gain recognition. So, it was so challenging getting to where I am today, but I thank God.
All what I did then I have started getting the rewards now. And politically, it has not been easy. Is it the monetary aspect that you will talk about or the consultancy aspect? I want to tell you that politics has two sides, the negative and the positive.
Because a lot of people who wanted the ticket alongside with me, could not even see the primary not to talk of the real election. And that after they had spent a lot of money. So, I enjoy the grace of God to have passed through that hurdle at the primary. In my own constituency, I went through series of rigorous conditions. And in the main general elections, it was so challenging, starting from the monetary aspect and other problems but I thank God that I was able to scale through. So, it has been so challenging getting to where I am.
So, what is your profession?
I don’t want to take politics as a profession, because if you take politics as your full time business and after four years, if your political party is longer in power, you may become frustrated. Where I am today, loyalty to Fayose got me there and once you don’t have any job to go back to, you can do anything to survive. So, you may no longer be loyal, the next thing, you will be running from one party to another, and from one leader to another just to survive.
But as I am today, if at the end of my four years, our political party is no longer in power, I will continue with my music profession fully, and I will not have any cause to betray my benefactor for what I will eat. And if we are fortunate to still be in power then, all things being equal, life goes on.
So, music is a noble profession. In the whole of the House of Assembly, I am the only person that is proud of my profession, I say it everywhere, even in the hallowed chamber. When I want to introduce myself, or when I am talking about my nomenclature, I would say, I, Honourable Akinleye Ekundayo, the first and the number one musician to hold an elective position throughout Nigeria.
A lot of more popular stars have tried but they did not make it. I am not mocking them, even our own king, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde tried it in Lagos; he did not get the ticket. Another very famous musician from Oyo State, 9ice tried it, but here I am, as a local star, I got the ticket. A number of musicians tried to be elected into the House of Assembly throughout the whole federation.
So, I have chosen music as my profession, I can’t leave it. Recently, I launched my newly set of instruments with a truck and people were amazed that this guy could still have time for music. I don’t see politics as all in all; no, music is my talent and even God will query me if I fail to do it; God will ask me, ‘how well did you use your talent’.
Apart from that, music is the only talent that when you get to heaven, you still have to use it. So, I will not shy away from the truth, music is my profession, politics is my hobby, and my part time job.
Do you still perform at functions even now as a honourable member?
Yes! Very well.
Your next level of aspiration?
I want to be improving constantly in terms of music; I want to be moving higher everyday in my music career. Music is not just getting a new set of instruments and believing that you are on top of it all. No, music is developing everyday with innovations and you have to keep on moving with it. Though, I have just acquired a new set of instruments, I still want to move higher.
Recently, when I played alongside Evangelist Ebenezer Obey at Idiroko Festival in Ado Ekiti, it was my newly acquired set of instruments that gave me confidence to face him at the show, but I was amazed seeing the kind of instruments he brought to the show.
So, this is the kind of thing I am talking about; I want people to know that when you are talking about the best music instruments in Nigeria, you will say Hon. Akinleye is number one, and in the entertainment industry in Nigeria, I want to be mentioned as number one. I want to be at the top, that is my aspiration.
You said Fayose made you, have you ever invested in or made anyone?
I am on it, I want to be mentioned as someone who has made persons and we have started, we are on it. I want people to say that I was made by Hon. Akinleye.
Your happiest day?
Because it is my music career that got me connected to Fayose, he discovered me and then developed me to make me what I am, so my happiest day was when I was sworn in as the first musician to be elected into the state House of Assembly throughout the whole nation. And not just an ordinary member in this house of assembly but also a Principal Officer, the Deputy Chief whip.
So, whenever I remember this day, I am always happy and thanking God. There are so many people who are better than me in the music industry who could not get it but I got it through the grace of God.
Presently, do you hold any office or position in Ekiti as a musician?
Presently, I just received a letter from the Association of Juju Musicians of Nigeria, Ekiti State chapter which I belong, appointing me as their Special Adviser.
You always put on white, what is the secret behind it?
No secret, that is just my identity. I want to be known as a stainless person. You know that white does not take stain, and you cannot be in white and be dirty. I want to be recognized, I want to be different anywhere and at any time as somebody who is clean, bright, and stainless both inwardly and outwardly.
Your message to the people?
I have two messages for our people, especially our youth. They should not depend solely on politics, some of us when we get into politics we forget our profession. The danger there is you might be frustrated and switch to another mentor, and that is disloyalty. I told you loyalty got me to this level, so that is why it is not good to abandon the profession for which you are known. I was a teacher for 12 years before I joined politics and I was playing my music alongside.
Even up till now, I’m combining the two as a musician and a legislator. So, they should please, face their job and take politics as part time like I do. Second, our people should endure; endurance brought me to this level; our youth should endure and should not be looking for short cut to success. If you go through shortcut, you will not be able to manage the success when it comes.
And no matter what comes, no matter what happens, it pays to be loyal to any political father or boss you choose for yourself.
Tell me about yourself?
I’m Honourable Akinleye Ekundayo, otherwise known as Dayo Maxima, the Deputy Chief Whip of Ekiti State House of Assembly, representing Ijero Constituency. I was born in 1978, at Ijurin Ekiti. I attended Ijurin Iloro United Primary and secondary school. I was at College of Education at Ikere Ekiti, where I studied Music. I proceeded to University of Nigeria, Nsukka for my BA in Music Education.
I have been a musician since I was a student at College of Education. I started my music career in 1999. Though I started on a very rough note, but I thank God today, my music career has gotten a serious boost. I started practicing politics since my College of Education days. I was elected the Vice President of Music Department from Part two to three.
Again, I was elected the president of the same department, same year I was elected Director of Social, Student Union, of the institution. My track record is there as an active politician during my school days. As God would have it, I came out for the election into the Ekiti State House of Assembly in 2014, to contest as member representing Ijero Constituency, and I won. My constituency comprises Ijero, Ikoro, Ijurin, Iloro, Odo Owa, Ipoti, Ejiyan, Ekameta and Ekamarun.
I have taught in both secondary and primary schools across Ekiti State. I joined the teaching profession in 2002 and resigned in 2014, to contest for the House of Assembly as the first Nigerian juju musician to ever win an election into the House of Assembly.