PROLIFIC film maker and former Chairman, Badagry Local Government Area, Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin a.k.a Dudu, 62, got married on Thursday, September 10, 2015 to his long time friend, Olubukola Adenugba after six years of break up from his first marriage. They knew each other 21 years back but lost contact and reunited in 2013 in United States of America.
The once bulky politician narrates his victory over obesity, how he found love again and his new moves to ENCOMIUM Weekly in his country home in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Sunday, September 13, 2015.
His wife also told us on their love story.
Let us start by congratulating you on your wedding.
Thank you very much.
How does it feel to be married once again?
It feels good, it feels fresh. I have been separated for six years and I have been looking for the day I will finally say ‘I do’ to a woman. If you have had an experience on anything then you are doubly enlightened to be able to make the right choice. You know exactly what to do more than the first time. So, this time has been a mental journey for me and I am happy the day came. I am really feeling good about it.
Will you like to share the experience of the last six years and the cause of your break up with your former wife?
I want to respect my former marriage. So, I really don’t want to dwell on whatever was wrong or was not wrong. I stood for divorce, I am now divorced. The last six years has been a period of self examination. Was I wrong, where was I wrong? Was I right, where was I right? What could I have done better? What could I have done differently?
One thing was clear, I was not going to spend the rest of my life alone. I am a family man in spirit. I like the family institution and I believe that every man or woman should have a friend or a partner to walk the path of life with.
So, it was clear in my mind that at a point I will still want to marry. But I was determined not to repeat the mistakes of the first time. I might not be handsome but I think to an extent, definitely there will still be one or two people that want to have me as a husband.
So, I had to take my time knowing the values that I hold dear, wanting a woman that epitomizes those values before I finally made up my mind that this is what I want to do. So, it was a period of self examination, re-assessment, a period of trying to understand who am I, what do I really want? Once I was able to be in tune with myself it was easy for me now to look for the person that will fit into the mode of what I think I should be doing for the rest of my life because I don’t pray to ever do this again. I am happy that God finally made me do what I am at peace with.
Where and how did you meet your new wife?
Oh, this small girl (referring to his new wife, who was sitting close by)? Sometime in 1994, then I was using Mercedes 200. You know they used to call it Obokun in those days and there was no girl that would resist a man with Obokun. That day, I went to my mechanic workshop in Agidingbi to service my Obokun. As I drove in there, I saw a slim, tall lady and I felt oh this one is good. Apparently, they were servicing her car one Jalopy Nissan like that. So, I made sure I parked my car very close to hers to the extent that there was no way she could get into her car without having contact with me. Eventually, the mechanic introduced me to her. She was still raw from Ondo. She was still fresh in Lagos. Wild eyed about the entertainment industry. That was how we became friends and for few years, we went to locations and studios together. We became very good friends. When I was shooting or exhibiting films she would come and help. But there was nothing between both of us. It never occurred to us that today will ever come. After a few years, we lost contact and we only reconnected a few years back. She was living in the US, I was partially living in US coming and going, back and forth. Coincidentally, we met again and something just told me that she’s the one, because all the friendships and partnerships we used to have came flooding back. The truth is that within 30 minutes that we met again I told her that I am going to marry her.
When was this?
That was two years ago and it came to pass because God decreed it. We’ve known for 21 years and it was about 13 to 14 years we lost contact completely. I didn’t even know she was living in US and I was coming to US too. But by coincidence we met.
Within the six years I revived some old relationships, I have met new ones but nothing touched my soul that exactly this is what I want. But 30 minutes after I met her, I said this is it. That is the way God made it to be.
Was she not married or in a relationship when you met her?
She was coming out of her marriage and I was coming out of mine too. We were both in court for divorce. She was having hers in America, I was having mine in Nigeria. To be fair to her, she insisted I must stop my divorce because she used to know my ex in those days and she felt that she was such a nice person. I refused. We were on for months about it. Finally, I took her advice, came to Nigeria and withdrew the divorce. But incidentally, the other party was bent going on and when I couldn’t get her to stop it, we went ahead.
She is the type of person that I will say I don’t need your own. You’ve been my partner for a long time. We are soul mates and I could really live a life of friendship with you. She was not anxious to get to any marriage again. Coming out of the bitter experience that she just went through she was not anxious to marry. So, it was me that was impressing it on her of the need for people to never give up. To always re-assess and when God decrees it you move ahead and seek happiness.
Today, I don’t feel that I have just had a wife, I just feel that I am with my friend. It’s so easy, so relaxing because we don’t have obstacles between us. It’s just Tunde and Bukky, not my husband and my wife. We still share the kind of fun we used to have, the kind of places we go to. We both like bukas (cafeteria), we like organic places, we like country sides, we love nature. We are both introverts. Sometimes we spend weeks inside the house without caring what is going in the world. We don’t like publicity. We are reclusive so to say. We like to explore the inner self more than the verbose, the extra colourful and extra loud. We don’t like parties.
Do you hope to still have a child between yourselves?
Oh, we already have a baby girl, a beautiful baby girl that God gave us. Her name is Sesi. Sesi in Egun means a gift from God. The rest we leave to God. For now, that is the person we are nurturing and we are both crazily in love with her.
Is she an adopted child or something between two of you?
She is our child. Your child is your child. You don’t start naming child and start qualifying children, no. Your child is your child. She is our baby and she is God’s gift to us.
Are you still bitter about your past marriage?
Bitter? I was never bitter. You see, there is something about life. Destiny is very powerful. Certain people are programmed to play certain roles to a certain stage in your life. Beyond that stage there is nothing you can do. Even you in the life of your children and children in the lives of their parents. At a certain stage when a child still lives in his parents’ house they take it as a curse. This is a relationship between parents and their children not to talk of relationships generally. I’m not bitter. I was married for 29 years. May be that is the limit that God put into that relationship. We are blessed with wonderful children and grandchildren.
How are they?
I have five beautiful boys and I have four grandchildren. They are all God’s gift. So, what will I be bitter about?
Did you inform your children about your new marriage?
Oh, we are a close-knit family, there is no conflict with anybody. Everybody is successful in his own right, everybody is living his colourful life. So, there is no bitterness. Since I separated (from the first wife), we’ve had marriages for our kids, we had naming ceremonies for kids. We are all Christians, we all have the fear of God in us and so there is no space for recrimination, there is no space for bitterness. We can only celebrate each other because we celebrate God every day.
The last time I interviewed you was in 2007 or thereabout and you were still the Chairman of Badagry Local Government. The figure of you that I saw then was far bigger than this. What is the magic?
Rebranding (general laughter). At that time, I was weighing 350 pounds and I was dying. I had sleep apnea. I would not be able to sleep throughout the night. I could not climb steps. The highpoint was that I had two massive cardiac arrests and it was only God that used former Commissioner for Health, Dr. Leke Pitan to help me to get the best of medical attention timely in LASUTH. After that, I went for treatment in Medic Clinic in South Africa every three months. Later, I went to Thailand to get herbal treatment. Later, I went to Florida. The long and short of it was I knew I was dying because I was excessively overweight. But my fear was not about dying. My fear was about being vegetative. You will see people now they will be paralysed for years, may be half of the body. Some even lose their voice for years. Some you see them dripping saliva on their bodies, some people are changing diapers for them. Some that die go to rest. But when you see people suffering from stroke, then you will understand that is higher punishment when you don’t even die. I tried to face fact that if I wanted to live in good health I had got to drop that weight.
You know over the years, I acquired a lot of bad habits, no exercises, I drink alcohol a lot, I eat excessively. Even soda alone -all these Coke, Fanta and all that, you just killing yourself.
So, immediately after my 60th birthday, I have a friend who is in medical field who approached me and asked me if I have done my Will. I said why would you ask me about my Will? He said, you know I am medical person, what I noticed about you is that it can happen anytime. That you can just drop dead. Because you are so over weight that when you sit down beside somebody you will be snoring openly and yet you are not asleep. You can’t climb one flight of staircase you will be sweating excessively. It was then I realized that I have got to save my life.
In the last two years, I have never, never exercised with control over my life. I walk average of six, seven miles every morning. I exercise a lot. I go to swim. In any society I am, I must make sure I find a place for my walk or swimming. My eating habit became totally radical. In fact, it got to the edge of anorexia, where you can’t even take in food. I mentally programmed my brain to hate food. Yet before I will feel a whole table with stockfish, bush meat, cow leg, I was a glutton. But at a point, I told my brain it is not what you eat now that you have to celebrate, it’s what you don’t eat. So, it’s a change of life.
Then, I stopped alcohol entirely and stopped taking soda. I bought a scale because somebody told me a scale is what will tell you whether you are doing it right or not. I check my weight every week and enter into a book. The basic thing is that you must burn out what you put in. It’s been wonderful.
You didn’t do any cosmetic surgery like liposuction?
No , this is my stomach (removes his cloth to his stomach). Liposuction is just cosmetic. If you do lipo and you still go back to your old lifestyle, you don’t do exercise, a few months time you are back. I remember what Oprah Winfrey said. She said I have succeeded in everything in life except being able to drop my weight. And she has the best experts in the world.
Whatever surgery you do, it can only remove what is in body as at that time. The body will continue to grow. So, if you still cannot cultivate the lifestyle that will keep your weight down you go back. The discipline is in your brain. I read some scientists that we only need 20 per cent of actually what we take in for a good health life. That the rest 80 per cent is poison or chemicals that belabour your organs that is working so hard to dispel them.
The message that I want to put out there is that what we considered sweet life might be the surest route to your grave. The day I was able to cross my legs like this in Florida, I had tears coming down from eyes, because I had not been able to cross my legs in 10 years.
What do you eat now?
I eat a lot of fruits, a lot of greens. I have a cook who understands how to do a lot of green stuff and my wife is an expert too. She is a registered nurse in the US. She understands all the nutrition things you need to do. Our home is a green home. When I have to eat meat its white meat like snail, fish. Even at this you have to take very little portions. Portion control is very vital. Eating too much of the right thing will still come back to the same thing.
What do weigh now?
I am just 190 pounds. I actually succeeded in removing 50 per cent of my entire body mass. I sleep very well now. My wife will tell you that I now do certain things better than I used to do it (general laughter). It’s so funny. I have never linked libido with weight. I never knew I could be a superman (another round of laughter).
Now everybody is happy in the house because I am at optimal performance level.
You were once the Chairman of Badagry Local Government Council. But much has not been heard of you in terms partisan politics in recent times . Have you left politics?
I am still very much in around in politics. I am a member of APC and part of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s political family. The only thing is that I will never go into elective office in my life again. There are ways one can contribute to the society without going into elective office. I am excited about the wind of change in the country, I believe that after Buhari, Nigeria will never be the same again.
Four years ago, I had personal contact with Buhari, I did his advert for the election, I did the documentary and advert for him. My personal experience with him shows that the man is very humble and prudent.
I will tell you a personal experience. In the course of working for him, I went to his house in Abuja and I saw clothes spread out on the grass in his compound. I asked one of his aides who owns those clothes and he told me Buhari. The aide said that is his tradition, that he still uses his military wash man. That shows how humble and frugal he is. What I saw that day shows a frugal and self-effacing man. In my little professional area, I am part of the wind of change in the country. I have worked with Aregbesola, Amosun and Fashola, when he was in government. I am still very much part of the political family. I will continue to contribute my quota to the development of the society. But for another elective post, count me out.
‘Dudu is destiny fulfilled, I am at peace’ – BUKOLA HUNDEYIN
How do you feel being married to Tunde Alabi Hundeyin?
It feels like I am married to my friend like he told you earlier on. We are friends. We are buddies. So, I am excited and I thank God.
What would you say is responsible for you two coming back again after being apart for several years?
I think it is destiny. We met over 21 years ago as friends. Even in those years that we never saw each other, I knew I had friend in Dudu. I knew if our paths cross again that we will still be friends. That was why when we met three years ago within 10 minutes we already…
Where was this?
In the US.
Where in US?
I was living in Maryland then. Right now, we live in Houston, we share a home in Houston, Texas. So, when we met it was just like old time. Oh my God, it’s Dudu, oh my God it’s Bukky. We wouldn’t stop talking to each other. We have been friends on Facebook for years but it was just regular friendship. We were not into each other’s lives. Eventually, he was going through his rebranding and I just came back from the gym, I was in pain so, I posted something online. He replied and we joked about that, oh you are in US, yes I am in US and we started talking and that is it. That was why I said it’s destiny that brought Dudu back into my life and I can’t stop thanking God for having Dudu back in my life. I am now having him as my husband.
Will you say seeing him again took away the pains of your first marriage?
Out of respect, I don’t want to talk about my past marriage. I will just let that go. That was an experience that has made me…
For how long were you married?
Over 10 years.
How many children did marriage produced?
The marriage did not produce any child. It’s okay, I wish everybody well. Dudu is just who God has ordained for me. Every morning, I wake up beside Dudu is just destiny fulfilled. I am at peace, I am very happy, my life is different because am with my friend. There is nothing he doesn’t know about me and there is nothing that anybody can tell me about Dudu that I don’t know. So, there is no room for surprises.
Are you not bothered about the age difference between the two of you?
Age is nothing but number. I respect him because I am an African woman who should respect her husband and as someone who is older than me. But as friends age does not play any role. We see each other as buddies.
What is the age difference between the two of you?
We have about 15 years, but it’s almost nothing because we relate to each other as equals. We have mutual respect for each other. We enjoy pretty much the same thing. I tell people that are close to us that Dudu is male version of me and I am female version of Dudu. That is the absolute truth. We have the same taste. We enjoy the same thing. We do the same things pretty much. I don’t think there is anything about Dudu that I can’t do and I don’t think there is anything about me that he can’t do. But I choose to respect him. He is like my father and friend. He completes me.
Where did you people do your marriage, church or the registry?
Yeah, we went to the registry and our reverend came to bless the marriage. So, we had a little service and we received our friends. It was just a gathering of friends. We are not owambe (open party) people. We had fun but it wasn’t the conventional way of doing things.
Does that mean you will relocate to Nigeria?
I will be going back to US. He told you, he lives in the US now. We have a home in Nigeria and a home in US. But mostly anywhere my husband is that is where you will find me.
– Interviews by TOLANI ABATTI