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‘Some people think I am flamboyant, I’m not’ – Hon. Tunde Braimah on 57th Birthday

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Hon. Tunde Braimah is a member of Lagos House of Assembly representing the good people of Kosefe Constituency 2. He turned 57 on Saturday, September 30, 2017. He used the occasion to give out a donation of N25,000 each to 200 people from his constituency aside treating many of them to sumptuous food and merrymaking. encomium.ng who was there also used opportunity to get this exciting interview from him. 

 

Congratulations on 57th birthday

Thank you very much.

How do you feel turning 57?

It feels great, I feel good. It is just that changes are beginning to occur little by little in human anatomy and physiology. But we thank God.

Will you say you are lucky turning 57 in a country where the average lifespan is said to be 54?

Extremely lucky and I still hope for many more years. I don’t feel my age.I don’t feel any inhibition on the ground of age. I have been lucky, I feel young, I act young and I don’t feel weighed down by factors of age. Thank God, one is still able to enjoy some little comfort of life.

When you say you don’t feel your new age, are you saying you can still do those things that you use to do when you are younger?

There was nothing that I was doing when I was younger that I cannot do now except, for the fact that I have indulged myself a bit. I don’t exercise very regularly. I don’t dare to run, I don’t dare to play soccer but if there is the need for me to run or jog or to move briskly, I will do. Relatively, I don’t have any inhibition.

Maybe if I am more disciplined in terms of physical exercises, I think I will be more fit than now. My lifestyle is not fit for the kind of health that I enjoy. Were it not for God, I don’t deserve to have this kind of healthy life. God has been kind to me.

When then will you say you are grateful to God for turning 57 and still fit as a fiddle?

I must be honest with you. I am extremely grateful to God because when I remember my antecedents, even my present lifestyle was worse than this before, in the days of yore. One way or the other, I thank God.

Will you say your growing up was a privileged one or a humble one?

It was not a privileged one at all. It was a humble one, a very humble one. Because my father was a slender arm full of kindness. What I mean by that is that he was not exactly a rich man, but he was full of so many responsibilities. I can say my father was poor. He was a salary earner though, somebody who was at the top of his career. But because he himself had a large family. We were 22 from him alone.

How many wives? 

Three wives. My mummy had eight out of the 22 children.

What position are you amongst your mother’s eight children? 

I am the second child, I have a sister. But I am the first son of my father. I have many responsibilities because of that, I have many young ones that look up to me. My father had children from other women that were not married to him. There were also his sisters and brothers’ children that he was taking care of at that time. He trained all of us with his meagre income then. He did not discriminate. So, if you looked at the size of the family that solely rely on one man meagre income you won’t say children that were brought up in that kind of circumstances are from a privileged family background.

Where was this, in Lagos or Ibadan? 

In Lagos. It was when he retired that he relocated to Ibadan. He later died in 1995.

Today, you are a lawyer and a prominent politician. Will you say you are a professional in politics or a professional politician?

I am both. I am a lawyer and I am in politics. Right now I can even be a political consultant. I have had 26 years cognate experience.

In politics?

Yes, I am not ashamed to say I am a professional politician. Politics is beyond what you people think. Contemporary politics, not political science. I am proud to say I am a political consultant. I am professional in politics and I am a professional politician as well. If I don’t participate in an elective post, I can be a political consultant. I can draw a roadmap or charter for any presidential or governorship candidate in the country. I have done it for so many people.

Does that mean you have left the law profession? 

Let me be honest with you, I have not been able to practice law appreciably since I left it for politics in 1999. Though I made an attempt in 2003 I was always taking away by political exigencies.

Certainly, you are not interested in being a Senior Advocate of Nigeria? 

It may not be because I am not qualified. Though, I am qualified in terms of the number of years. I was called to the bar in 1989. But my number of appearances in Supreme Court and other courts are certainly not enough to qualify me. If I want to qualify for it, that means I have to devote another three years to it.

When will you consider the most challenging period of your 57 years of existence?

Many challenging periods. My life has always been full of one challenge or the other. When I was young I drank a whole bottle of kerosene and I was hospitalized for three and half years. I was given up for dead. My father gave up on me.

How old were you then?

Nine months.

You were told later in life.

My mother told me with tears in her eyes. It affected my going to school. I started school late. By the time I left the hospital, I was not a complete human being.  All of a sudden after about my seventh birthday, I started picking up and I had smooth sail throughout my primary and secondary schools.

Again, after my secondary school, getting an admission into a university became a problem. I had to do HSC (Higher School Certificate) and preliminary school before I could gain an admission to study law.
After qualifying as a lawyer, it was a bit difficult to establish myself. I had to fix myself in chambers here and there to get the normal tutelage. So, for three good years, I almost did not get my bearing.

After three years, I had my own chambers and I had a lot of clients until politics came calling.

In politics too it was not easy for me. Two times, I contested for the Chairmanship of Somolu Local government council I did not win.  I did not win until 1998 and then Kosofe (LG) has been carved out of Somolu.

Another challenge was when I got married. I got married in 1991 and for about six years she did not have any child until 1997. Today, we have four lovely children who are doing very well.

What would you say helped you in overcoming these challenges?

Belief in oneself. I have this unputdownable sprit. Something must be able to speak to you within you. It is called intuition. That is my guiding spirit.

When will you consider your happiest moment in life so far?

I am a happy go lucky guy. I don’t bother myself so much and I enjoy myself to the fullest within my resources. Some people think I am flamboyant, I am not. I am somebody who likes to enjoy himself within the limit of his resources. I don’t go borrowing to enjoy myself and I don’t envy anybody for whatever reason. I just like to have comfort and God has given me comfort.

Even wealth has its own problems like poverty too. I don’t aspire to be extremely rich nor do I want to be poor. I am okay if I can pay my bills. I don’t use anybody’s yardstick to measure my own pace.

By any standard one could say you are rich and comfortable and yet you are married to one woman. What is the reason?

One wife is one problem. No two human beings can exactly be the same. My wife is fantastic. She is a great human being. For someone to tolerate me to this level, I don’t think it is easy. We have been married for 26 years now. Yes, we have our high moments, we have our low moments too.

Were there no pressures from your parents to marry another woman during those years when your wife did not bear you a child? 

There were but I was in love. I love my wife. The love was so much. Though I had my own of philandering as a young man she was on a pedestal of her own. She is an honest and reliable woman. She was not materialistic. If she was materialistic she won’t marry me. I didn’t have money when we met. I had a Passat car, fourth hand. I was the fourth registered owner of that car at Somolu.

Many times she had to lend me money to buy tyres for that car. And she was very beautiful when she was younger and still beautiful now. She knew what she was doing. She knew where she was going then. It is now that God has blessed us that she is trying to flex like a big man’s wife. Then she would do anything for me. She was the secretary in my chambers. After closing from her own office she would come to type for me in my own office because I couldn’t afford to employ a secretary then in 1992. She really suffered for me. She worked for me. She weathered the storm with me.

Let me be honest with you, what attracted me to her then was her beauty, just the way I want my woman to be. So, I was in love with her. We didn’t court for a very long time. We courted for about six months. She contributed to my growth and development.

  • Tolani Abbati

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