IT was double celebration for Mr. Kayode Opeifa, the Lagos State Commissioner for Transport, on Thursday, May 21, 2015, as he marked his late father’s eighth day Fidau prayer along with his 50th birthday.
The event which took place at the Police College ground, Ikeja, Lagos, had in attendance prominent politicians and personalities in the state as well as friends and well wishers.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an exclusive interview with the honorable commissioner who told us much about his father and how he felt on his 50th birthday…
Were you there when he (your father) died?
I left him in the hospital, and one hour after he died.
Was he sick?
He just called his doctor that he was having stomach obstruction and two days after he died.
What will you say you will miss about him?
I will miss a friend, I will miss a father. I will miss a true politician, an honest man. A man who served God, someone you can rely on. Somebody you can trust.
How much impact will you say he had on you politically?
My father was apolitical. He did not believe in partisan politics. He was more of a community man and that really affected the way I started. That was what really defined me as a social activist. He was more of a social crusader. That was what he made me and many of us to be.
Are you his first son?
No. Among his children, I am number 10.
How many children did he have then?
You don’t count the children of a big man and for a chief in Yorubaland. He had many children.
Today is also your 50th birthday, how do you feel turning 50?
I didn’t notice anything except that gradually I am getting away from being a youth by age. I am getting older.
But you look younger than your 50 years of age?
I wouldn’t know how I look but I know I am 50 years old today (Thursday, May 21, 2015).
What will you say you are grateful to God for turning 50?
I want to thank God for my life. I want to thank God for what He has made me to be. I want to give all glory to God for what I have been. I wouldn’t say I am fulfilled 100 per cent but I must confess to you, I am happy with my life.
When will you say is the happiest moment of your 50 years of existence?
That must be the day I got married. That is exactly 19 years ago. I got married on May 25, 1996.
When will you say was the saddest moment of your 50 years of existence?
You’ve been in Lagos State cabinet for upward of eight years now. How will you describe the experience?
It is a fulfilling experience and I believe that it has really given me the opportunity to serve the state.
What would you say is the best moment of your eight years in government?
The day the governor launched the taxi scheme, I was so excited.
What are the things that you were unable to do probably because time and financial constraint did not allow you?
So many things to mention, you can’t do everything. That is why you have government in place. I am not too happy that we can’t get the mass transit system issue resolved. Our plan is to get the mass transit scheme on the rail, the water and the mass transit buses. When I go on the streets of Lagos and I see the mass caused by the kind of transport system we have, I feel somehow. For so many social reasons we couldn’t get it done. I just feel we have the resources to implement it straight away in one phase rather than in phases that is taking so long.
– TOLANI ABATTI