+ How I was duped of N50 m by a close friend
On Sunday, December 11, 2016, famous actor turned politician, Hon. Michael Rotimi Makinde opened his multimillion naira radio station, Oodua FM in Ajebandele, Ife, Osun State, at a very colourful ceremony. The well attended event attracted dignitaries from all walks of life.
Among the eminent personalities at the grand commissioning were the executive governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, his deputy, Mrs. Titi Laoye Tomori, former Commissioner for Art, Tourism and Culture, Sikiru Ayedun, Chief Alex Dudu Yemi, former deputy, Soko Adeleke Adewoyin, Ife Traditional Council, led by the Obalufe, Oba Daniel Adediwura who represented Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja 2) and others.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the Ife, Osun born politician took us in the journey of his giant stride as the first African entertainer to own a radio station, why he named it Oodua FM and much more.
How do you feel achieving this feat?
I feel very great and fulfilled for so many reasons. I have many reasons to thank God and will forever be grateful to Him.
Why the choice of the name, Oodua?
This is Ife, the origin of Yoruba and in fact the source. And I love those things that will promote art and culture. Then, thinking carefully, if I look into that name that connotes that and sounds big, I think that’s the only name that fits in.
I studied the history of Oduduwa very well and I concluded that he’s a person that preached unity, love, progress and had tentacles even beyond Nigeria. There’re descendants of Oduduwa in many other countries even as far as Cuba. There’re sons and daughters of Oduduwa all over the land. And I want a kind of tentacle that will spread just like that.
Oranmiyan is known to be limited to Oyo and Ife. So choosing the name Oranmiya though he was a warrior that never lost any war, I still don’t like that much. Moremi was also a heroine but also limited and connected to Ife alone. So, looking in to all these, I don’t want an identity that will be limited to Ife. Even, if I had my way, I want something that will cover the whole of South-West.
So, that’s why I came into conclusion that the radio station should be called Oodua FM. And as God would have it, I applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and I got it registered as Oodua FM. It’s a limited company. And that’s the beginning of the whole thing.
What makes Oodua FM unique?
Oodua FM is going to be different from other private stations because it’s going to be handled by somebody who has soft spot for entertainment. I am the only entertainer to be so privileged to establish something like this in the whole of Africa. So, this should be my own investment in that industry that I cannot divorce myself from. I am known to be an entertainer. And for the first time, this is probably acting interesting to that industry.
So, who can entertain better than an entertainer. I am an entertainer to the core. And that has to be handed very well. I will make sure I will never disappoint my fans. Majority of people know me to be an entertainer. It’s not that I am looking for fame again or money. I have always been very comfortable.
I left a very lucrative job for uncertainty, which is politics facing the mucky water. Today, here I am. I have made my name also in politics. The eagerness to continue where I stopped enveloped my heart but if I go back to acting again, people will say he has come back.
But when I looked into what else can I do to carry everyday thing along, that’s why I decided to establish Oodua FM.
Being a top shot in the entertainment industry, are you particularly premising the station on that to advance the industry alone?
Like I told you, Oodua FM is a very big investment. So, it’s not going to be limited to entertainment broadcasting alone. We have a lot of other aspects of broadcasting that are embedded in our programmes. Also, we’re going to go into serious marketing, of movies which has always been a great challenge in the industry which has left many of the stakeholders to be working like elephants and be eating like rats.
But how are you going to tackle piracy which has become the industry’s major headache?
Piracy is a problem and it has always been a problem worldwide, not only in Nigeria. When I was in the House as a member of Representatives, we did a lot to bring the issue of piracy to the table. But it’s just unfortunate that the lack of unity in the entertainment industry hampered the efforts.
I found it difficult to even get backing of that constituency just because there’s no unity. It’s very bad. I would have loved to see a situation where the likes of Fidelis Duker will be dining and wining with Zebrudaya, Jide Kosoko and others. There shouldn’t be anything like Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa.
I like to see the industry under one umbrella. Even, when the issue of former President Jonathan’s N3 billion came, the whole House almost concluded that the money should be shared into three along ethnic divides in the industry, I was the one that moved the motion against it. It’s on record, I insisted that the House must not be seen to further cause disunity in that industry. And I said I don’t want to recognize all these many names or identities in the industry but one Nollywood. And that the money was better taken to Nigerian Bank of Industries registered by the Federal Government.
And anybody that’s qualified should just go there. If not, the House has almost concluded that the Yoruba should have N1 billion and Kennywood, Ibo also. And that’s kind of polarizing the industry. That period also coincided with the time some said they’re celebrating 20 years of Nollywood which I also condemned because the industry was far older than that.
How much did it cost you to put the station together?
To be honest, I can’t say precisely how much I have put into it. I even lost count at a stage. Yes, so many contingencies here and there. As you can see the structure, this is the project I embarked on for almost four or five years. And it would have been the first private radio station in Osun state.
But the politics is this, and without exaggeration, if All Progressives Congress (APC) had not come to power, maybe the project wouldn’t have seen the light of the day. I would particularly want to study what’s exactly the driving force in me despite the fact that I knew I was in opposition.
But God said to me, I have never started anything and failed in my life. I am a go getter, an actualizer, I know for sure that one day, the dream would come to reality or People’s Democratic Party (PDP) government would fall and it come to pass.
There’s this issue of N50 million loan between you and one of the sons of Ife, Chief Kayode Aworinde, which has resulted in a legal battle. What’s the position of the case now?
Thank you so much. That’s one thing that left a perpetual scar in my heart till today. It sent a bad signal to my mind that some people are only having the faces of human beings but they’re animals. This is a person, until recently, I will describe as a very good friend of mine. I loved him so much. But between me and God, he ran into trouble and he solicited for an assistance of N50 million.
And with me sitting as a legislature, I was in a better position to obtain loan than him. And I used my influence to walk into a bank, pledged the collateral of my property and obtained a loan and gave to him as a friend. I have all the documents to that. I wasn’t a fool to have done that. He was equally planning to obtain a loan and he couldn’t get it. And I said this is a small thing as a friend. It’s not only him, there’re lots of people I have assisted in many ways like that. I make bold to say that I gave out more than 100 cars to people, it’s not an exaggeration. You’re free to conduct your independent findings about that.
I can also make bold to say that I had built more than four palaces. All these are perishable things. But what matters most in this issue is that this one I lent you the money as a loan and when it became very difficult for him to pay it back, I also recognized that. But when I now saw that the same money he used to complete a property and you now put the property for sale, and he sold the property for N120 million. I now approached him, “this is the time to pay my money”, he now felt it’s a politician largesse. That he was there with me campaigning. If he had been killed by then, what would have been his reward? That’s why the good intention of many politicians to help people are killed by such people.
That’s why some politicians only like to give to people only what they can dash out and forget which I think is better. What I did to him was what I thought he deserved as a way of assisting him out of his problem.
N50 million is not a joke. And it’s on record that I gave him the money. It’s exactly 10 days that I got to Abuja as a lawmaker that I gave him the money. So, he can’t say it’s a national cake for me. I was sworn-in as a legislature on June 6, 2011 and he got the money on June 16, 2011. But as of today, after exploiting every means possible to get the money back, including family members even up to the level of Ooni of Ife just to persuade him, the community now advised me to go to court.
The case is now in court. So, in court, that’s the story he gave. My own challenge was to prove that I gave him the money which I have succeeded in doing. So, it’s now up to him to come and convince the court those things he did to deserve that N50 million. I want to believe that there’s no way he will win the case.
- TADE ASIFAT