Sunday, July 23, 2017 4:43 pm
Why don’t you wear English dresses?
I dressed in English attire when I was working in the Ministry of Information. I had quite a lot of suits as a General Manager, Radio Oyo. But as a news broadcaster, I was dressing in Yoruba attire. An incident happened when I vied for the post of General Manager, Radio Oyo. Sunday Afolabi, the deputy governor to Ige insulted me by saying, “Se eyi alagbada giegie yen la ma fi je general manager” (is this man who wears picturesque gown that you want to make General Manager)? I felt insulted and I changed all over again and began to wear English dresses. Now that my job has to do with culture and public, I change again and started wearing Yoruba attire.
What is your view as regards Yoruba language and culture going into extinction?
Yoruba language is not going to extinction and can never go to extinction because people speak it with their family and those that don’t speak it will regret it in future. If a language is going to extinction, there will be a limit to it being written down or read and spoken but this has not happened to the Yoruba language just like Latin that is dead because it can only be found in old manuscripts. But thesis at Master and PhD are now being written in Yoruba. Lots of people in Diaspora (Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, America, and South West Africa like Ghana, Republic of Benin) speak it. Yoruba scholars have worked so hard on it. It can only come to extinction if the world is destroyed. All the universities in the South West have it as a course up to PhD.
Are you a fulfilled man?
Who is a fulfilled man? Tell me what you mean by that?
For instance, late Chief MKO Abiola could not be said to be a fulfilled man because he did not achieve his political ambition?
Abiola was too ambitious. Why must he become a Nigerian president? Is it because he was rich? Why is it that Rockefeller did not struggle to become a president of America with all his wealth? You can’t be fulfilled when you are over ambitious. He was fulfilled as a wealthy man but refused to limit himself to that. Why did Adedibu not want to become governor of Oyo State? He was contended being a kingmaker. That was what MKO should have done. I am a fulfilled man. I am married, God gives me children, and they are doing well. I am still relevant at my age as you can see, I still act, I am still a public servant. I have a house. I don’t want to build a skyscraper. That is being over ambitious. Why must I aspire to have ten houses when I can’t sleep in more than a room in a house? An over ambitious person will perish. You can’t aspire to be greater than what God wants you to be. God has over given me more than what I need.
What was your best and ugliest moment on earth?
A man should have many ugliest moments in life not just one if you live long. I was detained for a crime I didn’t commit. I am happy today that Olusegun Obasanjo also went to prison he created to know what it is to be detained. I was removed from Radio Oyo but later returned when they found out that I was not guilty of what I was accused off. The detention period was a trial moment of unhappiness because I didn’t commit any offence.
What is your best food?
I eat almost anything except stones but I like yam and meat.
Are you a polygamist?
I am not a polygamist. We are all pretenders. I want you to know today that a Yoruba man except by circumstances, nature or origin is not a polygamist. I married more than one wife but not at a time.
: Endurance, endurance. My father left me in various hands to be trained. There was a time he came to see me in Ogbomosho and he wept bitterly when he saw me because my condition was bad. I had plenty lice which had invaded my hair and my dresses. He had to boil the dresses so the lice could die
How was your background?
My father was a farmer, commoner, traveller, story teller and ‘babalawo’ but not into divination. He was a ‘talaka’. A ‘talaka’ in Oyo town is not a poor person but somebody who does not come from a royal family. My mother belonged to a royal family from ‘Atiba’. She was a daughter of Atiba and that is why I have this royal marks. The Oyo tradition says that if you marry from a royal lineage, the first child belongs to the Oba and not to the father of the child and to show that they will give him royal marks. These are the royal marks of Alaafin. I lived the way a commoner’s lived because my father didn’t have money. So I had learnt basic things at home before I started school and my hands touched my ears before starting school. I also worked in the farm. I was only lucky to go to school.
What is your advice for the youths?
Endurance, endurance. My father left me in various hands to be trained. There was a time he came to see me in Ogbomosho and he wept bitterly when he saw me because my condition was bad. I had plenty lice which had invaded my hair and my dresses. He had to boil the dresses so the lice could die. You should close your eyes to train your children so they can be better in future.
How do you spend your day?
I work all day and night with little time to rest and play with my family but my wife tolerates me. I have stopped hunting in the bush.
This interview was conducted and published by TheNEWS (hard copy) in 2010