PRINCE Demola Adunola is the chairman and CEO, Admor Group of Companies of which Dansaky Hotel, Ojokoro, Lagos, is a subsidiary. He is also the president of the famous Ikeja Club. The Oyo born prince is equally a successful businessman who has done a lot for the development of Ojokoro community where he has lived for about 20 years. Now, he has veered into politics where he hopes to serve the community better.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly at his Ojokoro, Lagos residence on Sunday, August 30 2015, he spoke on why he’s vying for the local council development area’s boss ticket of Ojokoro in the forthcoming local council election in the state and more…
You’re a successful businessman, what informed your veering into politics?
I joined politics in order to enable me contribute my quota to the development of the community. And this is what I have been nursing about eight years ago. It didn’t just come overnight. I have been waiting for a time I will be able to donate my time and wealth of experience to the development of Ojokoro community where I belong.
But politics in Nigeria is widely perceived to be a dirty game, are you prepared for that?
I don’t agree with that. Politics has not been dirty, it only depends on the way you perceive and practice it. We’re all political animals. And one way or the other, politics starts from your home as a family man. And if you can practice politics at home without failing that means you should be able to do same at a larger society as well.
You know it’s a game that attracts a lot of money and influence, do you see yourself in that cadre?
If you’re welcome by the society you want to govern, you need to spend less because they’re not there for your money but your service to the community. It’s not the moneybag politicians alone that are voted into political offices, people that merit the offices are also voted in. If you believe you can serve and you’re ready to do it, and they know you can do it, they will definitely give you the opportunity. It doesn’t necessarily mean it must be money that will determine who and who not to contest for any elective post. What you only need to do is try to convince your people on what you’re going to do for the community as dividends of democracy. I believe that alone is enough to give you a go ahead.
It’s also generally believed that one can’t forge ahead as a politician without having a political godfather. Who is the one playing that role for you either within or outside Ojokoro Local Council Development Area?
Almighty God is my godfather. Within Lagos and entire Nigeria, I have enough godfathers. I only aspire to be like some people. If I admire someone or I see the person as a role model, the person can as well be said to be a godfather. The politics that changed Nigeria from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressives Congress (APC) is worthy of note, and whoever that’s involved in that change is a godfather. If it’s Chief Bisi Akande, Dr. John Odigie Oyegun and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I believe they are all godfathers, and I respect them a lot.
It’s also a common practice that for anybody to vie for any political ticket, the person has to pay some money running into millions to the purse of the party on the platform of which he has chosen to fight for the ticket. Have you done that?
I have not been informed of anything like that, but I have been contesting elections in my association, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, where I picked a form of N500,000 or N1,000,000, and it’s just a voluntary bid to serve the association. So, if I am trying to contest for any post to serve my community or state, and I have to pay some dues for me to contest, I believe if I can’t do it, people that want me will definitely do it.
What actually motivated you to join politics?
I have been in politics for a very long time, it’s only that I have been sitting on the fence. But now, I have discovered my better can’t be best achieved if I am not involved fully in it. That’s why I said to myself this is my youthful age, and it’s the best time I can offer myself to effect a change in my community and Nigeria as a whole.
What are the things you want to change in Ojokoro Local Council Development Area if you eventually pick the ticket and win the election?
There must be youth empowerment, education for adults that are illiterate or semi illiterate. Then ensuring there is good drainage system and road network in the whole area. Also to make sure there is a total change in line with the slogan of the party as far as Ojokoro is concerned.
Politics is a big venture, how would this not affect your business?
One journalist has also asked me a similar question a couple of days ago. My businesses are managed by directors, I only happen to be the group president of all the companies. And if they have been managing them well when I am there, if I am not there, I believe they still have to make sure they do everything the right way because the main objective of every businessman is to maximize profit. If the business profit margin can be sustained, why do I need to bother myself? And of course, I am sure they’re ready to do that even better than imagined. They are all ready to give me their maximum support. I am not leaving my business. My business will still be running concurrently with politics.
You’re many in the race now. What are the qualities you think you have that will stand you out among other aspirants?
The qualities are so many but I think my supporters know exactly why they want me to be there, and by the grace of God, I won’t disappoint them. Just as you rightly said, we’re many in the race, we’re about 15 aspirants now. I think they should look back and find out what each aspirant has been able to do for the community. Your performance and hat you have been doing in the society and how you’re welcome by your community would be the factors that will actually give me an edge above others. I have been handling sports competition for the youth for a long time in Ojokoro, I have been helping those who wished to pay for their West African Examination Council (WAEC) fee for long without even being in politics. My house is always like a Mecca when it comes to people coming in to seek assistance. I believe everything is from God. If God could be able to give me the little I have to take care of my business and my family, any other responsibilities that come in as well, I should be able to accommodate them as well. So, if I should be able to do all these without being in politics, I know when I eventually come in, I will do better.
The election is not far away, how prepared are you?
I am fully prepared, anytime it comes.
How acceptable are you by the community elders and other party supporters?
The whole community has accepted me, even a lot. I have been two times chairman of the Community Development Association (CDA). I have investments in the community as well which has about 30 people from the community working there. And that does not mean I don’t encourage those among them that still want to further their education. This is one factor I have ahead of every other aspirant in the community.
You’re a first timer, how are you going to scale through all the hurdles on the way?
I have been in politics for a very long time. I have been party secretary, vice chairman in those days. I happened to be the secretary of Liberal Convention when I was in Agege. I have been a full fledged member of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP). I was very active during the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was annulled. I have been a member of human rights. I was the vice chairman, Campaign for Democracy, Agege Unit in the 90s. All these posts I have held successfully. But you’re only looking at it from the angle that I have never contested, they’re all elective positions as well. I have been in Agege before and I have lived in Ojokoro for about 20 years. So, if by now, I say I want to contest, in my 40s, I think it shouldn’t be an issue. I have always contested and I am always a winner. I am currently the president of Ikeja Club, it’s an elective office as well. So, that’s nothing new to me.
What do you think is not good in Nigerian politics that if it’s amended, it will surely make it better than it is now?
I believe there should be a level playing ground, justice and fair play. Politics shouldn’t be a do or die thing. It shouldn’t be a game of winning takes all. If you contest and win, try to embrace other aspirants and make them relevant in the scheme of things. Let them have a sense of belonging, move them nearer to you, listen to their ideas and proposals and be friendly with all. You should always remember that two good heads are better than one.
If you eventually win, how are you going to take care of the home front going by your perceived busy schedules as a businessman and a politician?
My home front has always been taken care of. I am married and blessed with kids. My wife is a businesswoman as well. She knows her husband as a person that never fails in whatever he wants to do, and that’s why she is very supportive all the time.
Are you sure you’re going to grab the ticket?
Insha Allah, I will.