The Gbobaniyi of Odogbolu, Chief Dayo Adeneye, better known as D1, in this chat revealed that despite his inability to clinch the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket to vie for election into Ogun State House of Assembly, he has resolved to remain in politics for good.
Can you recap your experience as an aspirant for Ogun House of Assembly?
Honestly, it was very fulfilling and rewarding for me. I have made a lot of new friends. It has opened my eyes to a lot more things. When you are on the outside looking in, there is a lot that you don’t see or understand but in interacting with the people of my constituency and the people of Ogun State, I came to realise that I made the right decision. There is a lot more that we could do. I have always pride myself in the fact that what I do should impact lives positively. My going to contest for the house of assembly was just an extension of that through government machinery but I thank God that I made that decision. I have no regrets whatsoever; I am in it for the long haul. Like I always tell people, quitters don’t win and winners don’t quit. It has been fulfilling, it has been very interesting and it has opened my eyes to a lot of things.
You said quitters don’t win and winners don’t quit, does it mean that you are satisfied with the outcome of the primary, which you participated in and lost?
I am a team player and like I said, there is a lot more that I understand now. I liken politics to the game of football. The collective interest of the team or the party is bigger than the interest of one individual. Sure, things might not go your way, you might be a bit disappointed but if your team wins, all 22 players get medals, the coaches, the trainers, everyone that is involved in the process, so I look at it that way; it is not a do or die affair. If D1 doesn’t get the ticket, I have to support whoever gets the ticket as long as the party wins, there is something for everybody. You have to look at it that way. The collective interest of the party is bigger than my individual interest and I know that bigger and better things will come my way. My father always told me that it is not how many times you fall, but it is how many times you get up. In the game of boxing, you can get knocked down many times but you are not counted out until you refuse to get up. That is why I tell people, I am in it for the long haul, I didn’t get into it to see what it is like. I thought about it severally; it has taken me seven years to make that major step. I have been thinking about it for quite a few years and the people of my constituency said to me, ‘come and do this thing’. I’m happy and I have no regrets with the way things went.
So it wasn’t a spur of the moment thing as we thought?
No, Kenny (Ogungbe) and I have talked about it for quite a while and we have always asked ourselves ‘if the opportunity arose, would you take?’ And the answer was, ‘yeah, if it is the right place and at the right time but then there is no such thing as the perfect opportunity’. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and just go out there and see what difference you can make; just like we did in music, in entertainment. Nobody thought it would blow up like it did. In the same vein, you have to take a leap of faith and hope that things work out, if they don’t, you keep trying, getting in there and see if you can make a change. One person cannot make a change and that is the way I look at life.
You sound so hopeful that this is a stepping block to big things, is there any horse-trading that makes you feel this way; because in politics?
I look at life in its entirety, forget politics, because I always tell people that we are all political animals, some of us are just more active than others. When you sit in a beer parlour or in your living room or with your friends, you talk politics, what Jonathan is doing or not doing, whether Buhari is qualified or not; we are all political animals. A man who is not willing to die for something is not fit to live for anything. There must be something that you are willing to give your all for, your time, sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears. And look at the way the country is going, we have become a nation of complainers, we all complain but nobody wants to do anything about it. We complain about bad roads, lack of electricity, this and that, everybody is checking out, who is going to rebuild the nation? It is you and 1. Look at what the late Nelson Mandela did with his country. One person can make a difference. I mean, I dare to say that if the history of music or entertainment in Nigeria is written today, they will dedicate one or two paragraphs to Kenny and D1. It just goes to show that one person can make a difference and I think with the influx of new minds, you saw how many people in entertainment came out to contest for various positions, these are people who have made it in their fields of endeavour, so they are celebrated, that is why they are celebrities. They have made their marks; they are tested and trusted. They are educated. Why can’t you give them a chance in governance? The people who are there now, some are lawyers, architect, so why can’t an actor, musician be in government especially when they are qualified? That is the way I look at it.
How do you access the performance of entertainers across parties in the last primary because you said, there was a whole lot of you guys that signified interest but unfortunately about one or two actually scaled through, leave the likes of Tony One Week, Rotimi Makinde, they have been in politics before now; I’m talking about those who caught the bug this time round?
I think we cannot help but encourage them. It takes boldness and sacrifice. Once you cross over to this thing we call politics, it is a full time thing. You have to dedicate your time except you are using mouth service, which I don’t think most of them did because I know what I did. I campaigned in all the 15 wards in my local government, I visited party elders, Obas, I went to the people of my constituency and consulted with them and they made their demands known. We need more like minds to come out, let us be honest, Nigeria needs help and when you need help, you call on people who have credible track records. What’s wrong with Desmond Elliot helping to make laws for this nation? These are the people who have placed Nigeria on a high pedestal. Whenever you go to any award and they say the winner is from Nigeria, it is positive things that are associated with them. Why can’t they be put in place of authority? What separates them from a Solomon that is there now? Why can’t these people be put there? Look at Richard Mofe-Damijo, he is doing us proud, Abike Dabiri, Tony One Week, like you said, these are people that have gotten there and have done very well. None of them have been marked in any scandal of stealing money or anything else, so it was a surprise to me when I started reading in newspapers when people saying that we are going there to steal money, that our careers have faded. How much do you earn in the house of assembly that you are going to use to buy a Bentley or other cars some of these people ride? I think it is just time for Nigerians to be open minded. Right now, you have tailors and mechanics in governance, would you rather have a tailor, mechanic or vulcanizer ruling you than somebody that you admire, that you look up to, a role model on TV and radio? So I think we should just encourage more of them.
You took the word out of my mouth because I wanted to ask you what your take is when the news was all over the place that some people are saying do these entertainers think politics is a tea party. What qualify them to aspire to become House of Assembly members, House of Representatives, local government chairmen and others?
I can only speak for myself. I think it is just the desire to contribute to make change; desire to help and I am saying this honestly from the bottom of my heart. Another side to that spectrum is that there was a documentary that I watched on the internet and they interviewed, I think 10, people on the street and nine of them actually said they don’t see anything wrong with entertainers contesting and the people that are there are not performing, who would you rather prefer? Give them a chance, at most it is four years, if they don’t perform, vote them out like anybody else but don’t say because they are musicians, entertainers, they are not qualified? What qualifies a Jonathan to be there? Is it because he is a teacher, lecturer? I was a lecturer myself. What qualifies the senate president to be there? Is it because he was a soldier? What qualifies any other person? I think every Nigerian has a constitutional right to vote and be voted for. You can aspire to any office in this land. It is now left for the people to say, we agree with you or not. I still go back to that point that says that we should encourage like minds because right now, we are not happy with the way we are being ruled and if you are not happy, you make change.
Albert Einstein said, insanity is doing the same thing everyday and expecting a different result. So this people that you keep voting for and they have not done anything for you for over 20 years, why don’t you try something different? Try it a different way, try these entertainers that have made you proud. Try other cadres of people; it’s just four years. We have tried the PhD holder, it has not worked out. Let us try something else. We can’t keep doing the same insane thing and expect to get positive result or get a different result and that is the way I look at it. And that is one of the reasons I threw my hat into the ring because I believe I have a lot to contribute to this country.
What exactly do you intend to contribute?
My record speaks for itself. I don’t want to brag but most Nigerians know what we have contributed to the entertainment industry in Nigeria, creating jobs. For each one of those super stars that we made, they in turn hire band managers, pay taxes and stimulate the economy. Look at it in terms of what the entertainment industry is bringing to Nigeria not just in terms of aesthetic value of popularity but in terms of revenue. Professor Pat Utomi quantified it as over $500 million annually and that this entertainment industry adds to Nigeria’s GDP. When you start to quantify, you will now have an idea of what kind of impact that we’ve had. I now put it to people. If people like myself, Kenny, in their own private capacity have been able to do that using their own funds without government aid, imagine what they will do with government machinery behind them. Imagine what they will do about piracy. We have done it in the private sector, why don’t you give us a chance to do it in governance?
You are now into politics, you are going up and down and it is tedious, so, what happens to your first love?
Nothing happens to it. What I am doing now is just an extension. I always tell people, I have not quit entertainment. I’m a journalist, I read radio and TV, I’m also a businessman, I own my own businesses and I always tell people that I’m not going into politics to look for money. I thank God, I have been blessed, I’m not looking to buy the latest car at my age. I’m not looking to build a new mansion in Banana Island. I have lived a good life and will continue to live a good life but I think at this stage in my life, it’s time to give back. For whom much is given, much is required. It is not the time to go and sit back in my house and be enjoying by myself and that is one of the reasons I went back to Ogun State because most people from where I come from, retire back to the village and if you see that it is not done well, is that what you are going to retire to? And that is one of the things that encouraged me to go back home to see what we could do to help bring it back to its lost glory and I have a governor that is doing it, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. If you can help, join the team and help rebuild that state. We are reaching retirement age and I want to retire to a nice peaceful country home.
Looking back now, what exactly do you think that you did wrong that made you not to clinch the ticket?
There is no particular thing that you could say made me not to clinch the ticket. Let’s just say things didn’t work out the way we wanted it. I’m not saying this to make a defence, I always look at the positive side of everything. I never see the glass as half empty; I always see it as half full. I came out albeit, some people say late, it was strategic for me. I made a bang! I was able to help people within that short time; the people of my constituency know what I am capable of. I talk positive all the time because I see positive things. If this door closes, don’t stand in front of that door and start crying, I’m looking at the window because I know there will be something else opened to me. There are other ways; man proposes, God, disposes. Somebody that carried a ticket for House of Representatives ended up being deputy governor, you might say this is what I want to do and God will say ‘my son, I have a different plan for you’ and that’s the way to look at life. You should not see everything as a do or die. The Obama that is there today, the Reverend Jesse Jackson of this world tried for 20, 30 years to get to the White House but didn’t get it, Obama was in the senate for just two years and went on to become the first black president of the United States of America. So if it is your time, it is your time; we just pray that God should let us be at the right place at the right moment. You can see I’m doing well with my party. I’m a team player, first and foremost. If the manager, the coach, tells you I want you to play centre forward or left back or defence, you don’t question the coach. The party decided and told me where they want me to play and I go along with that.
How challenging is this your new vocation?
It is very tough. It is time consuming. It takes you away from your family. Just like entertainment does, I am relieving those old days when we were following artistes up and down, this is the same thing, you are following your candidate up and down, promoting them, selling them to the electorate. It’s just the same thing only that we are doing it with old age now. That is what I have been telling people, and they said, isn’t it different? And I say it is not different because when we were promoting Tuface, Edris Abdulkareem, Tony Tetuila, we carried them from here to Jamaica, to Australia, to everywhere. You will sell them, sell their music, sell their brand and this is the same thing; you are selling your party, you are selling your candidate, you are selling your manifesto to the electorate and it’s just the same thing-sleepless nights, it is a thankless job. People will always see it when you are doing wrong, when you are doing right, they assume that is what you are supposed to be doing anyway. It is fun when you see the contributions and impact you are making, it kind of gives you that encouragement that you made the right decision. I’m happy that I’m doing it.
What is the big picture you hoping to see Nigeria in the nearest future?
When we were growing up, we knew what Nigeria was like; it is kind of hard to go back to those old days when the dollar was about 80 kobo. We know it’s never going to be like that but I still see a Nigeria where jobs are available for those who want to work. When I went to my constituency, I saw engineering graduates working on farms, although there is nothing wrong with graduates working on farms if that is what you want to do but can you imagine electrical, mechanical engineering graduates frying ****garri**** because there is no job, not out of choice. It’s saddening and you now know why it is easy for these people to be drawn into negative things like fraud and insurgency. There is a lot that needs to be done and I see a Nigeria that will get it right. We can’t give up; this is the only country that we have. I am not going to move away, we just have to join hands and move it together. We will get there. If nations like South Africa can rebuild, if nations like Korea, Hong Kong, Dubai can get it right, Nigeria can get it right. We just need the right leaders.
I know that now you are in a very strategic position in the re-election campaign of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, if and when he is re-elected and you have the opportunity to talk to him especially now that there is clamour for alternative source of revenue for the country, how and what are you going to advice him to use entertainment industry to do in Ogun State and the state being a very unique state in the sense that most of the creative talents, musicians, both the dead and living, are from Ogun?
You are very right; it is one of the things we raised during the last administration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel. He was with us in South Africa, I think during Channel O Music Awards and out of the 14 categories of awards, Nigeria won about 12 that night and out of that 12 Ogun State indigenes won 10 and he was very surprised because we are talking of Dbanj, WizKid, they are all Ogun State indigenes. He invited and hosted us to a parley. That is always what we have been talking about. When we say government should create an enabling environment for the entertainment industry, we are not saying give us money. Create a ground where seeds can germinate. We have an abundance of talent. You can make it such that if they film in Ogun State, any hotel the cast uses can be subsidised by government by way of tax holiday. Those are some of the things, hopefully, by God’s graces we would be able to do. As I earlier said, we have done it in the private sector, if given the chance we will be able to do it in governance with government machinery. Nobody is going to do it for us. We have to go out and do it ourselves. His Excellencys knows what my track record is and I know because he has already told me ‘we will utilise you in your area of specialty’. If my opinion is sought, I will give my candid opinion. I want nothing but the best for Ogun State and I know His Excellency wants the same thing. Ogun occupies a pride of place in Nigeria and like you said most of the great musicians, from Ebenezar Obey, Haruna Ishola, both living and dead, even the D’banj are all from that state. They should be celebrated and we should be proud of them and harness from that and those are the things we will hopefully build on and harvest from.
What is the relationship between you and Kenny right now and what is happening to Primetime Africa now that you have gone into politics and Kenny has returned to Daar Communications to prop it up?
My duties and that of Kenny go beyond owners of and founders of Primetime Africa. You have to build a business that will outgrow and outlive you. We have capable managers who run the business. We have producers. Our job, mostly now, is that of presenters. We come, we present the programme and go. We still find time to do that and like I said, I have never left entertainment, it’s my first love, I enjoy doing it. I don’t intend to give it up for anything unless I get tired of it but as long as I enjoy doing it, I will continue to do it. It is what puts food on my table, what enables me to feed my family and send my children to school, so I have not left entertainment but our businesses is in capable hands. I have also expanded. I am into hospitality business. I have various sources of income. I am not dependent on Primetime alone for my source of income. I can go face other things. I say this honestly; I really want to contribute. I don’t want to get to 60, 70 years and now sit in my parlour in my old age and say, ‘what if, what if, maybe I should have done this or that’ and that was why we contested the last election to see if we can make a change and that is what I really want to do. Kenny and myself are fine, we still jointly own a couple of businesses, we still find time to talk. He was my biggest supporter and still my biggest supporter in my political endeavour and I support him likewise in his endeavour at Daar Communications where we both started out, nothing untoward.