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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Dad used to encourage my teachers to beat me when I was naughty – Senator Kaka’s son Ayotunde


Sometimes, one wonders what life could be, living in Nigeria as a
first son of a two term Senator, ex Commissioner and former Deputy Governor of Ogun State.

That has been the privileged lifestyle that Hamzat Ayotunde Kaka the first son of Senator Sefiu Adegbenga Kaka, has lived in the past years.



An accountant by profession, Ayotunde Kaka studied Agriculture
Economics at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye in Ogun state and later got his Masters’ degree in accounting from the University of Hull, United Kingdom.

He worked abroad for a while before returning to Nigeria where he is presently, a partner at OCS Inventory and Professional Services, an accounting consultancy firm. He is also a Director of Solace Farm limited.

Ayotunde Kaka in this interview with Paul Ukpabio, shares some of his growing-up experiences, and relationship with a father who has spent life in topmost public positions.


How was growing up under your dad Senator Adegbenga Kaka like?

I have to start by saying a very big thank you to my parents for the
kind of upbringing I got while I was growing up. It surprises me the way and manner they channelled their energy to train us. You will understand what I mean when you have a very strict father and if your mother is a teacher, then you will know and then understand the kind of training we went through. It was a very tough one indeed.

Does that mean the cane was always around in the house?

Well, I was a bit naughty as a growing child but I thank God for the kind of training I got from both my dad and my mum. I thank God for what it has done to me today. So growing up was a tough one. Those days, once you do something wrong you were beaten for your mischief. You can even get beaten for crying. But these days, the case is different. In a situation where a kid goes to the school and the teacher raises the cane to beat the kid and the child goes home and report and the next day, the parent storms the school and probably get the teacher arrested or even beaten up! These are part of the things that is destroying good morals among our youths today. While I was in school, if I got beaten by any teacher, my father pays the teacher for beating me.

My father used to encourage my teachers to beat me anytime I was
naughty. That is the kind of upbringing I got and that is the kind of
parents I have. I thank God for them and I thank God for what their being strict has done to me and the kind of personality their training has made of me.

If you are to describe your father Senator Adegbenga Kaka, what will you say?

Of course he is a public figure but he is someone I hold in very high esteem. Mr. Adegbenga Kaka in a few words is a blessing to humanity. If you know what I mean, you will tolerate my opinion about my father. This is somebody that has been a two time commissioner in Ogun State, a former Deputy Governor and a Senator. He believes so much in humanity, he believes so much in the youth. If you go across his constituency in Ogun East, you will come across so many schools, so many projects being built by him. I am not supposed to mention this but personally, I discovered and found out that even 14 to 15 months
after he left office as a Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial
Zone, he was still completing outstanding projects and commissioning schools. This is something that touches my heart and makes me happy. If the privileged class of our society can have so much passion like my father has for the youth, maybe our environment would be a better place for the youth and the next generation. So, in a word, I will describe him as a blessing to humanity.

What are his philosophies that worked for you?

Actually, I learnt a lot of things from him. I learnt honesty. I
learnt hard work. What you don’t work for, you don’t get. So, by and large, considering the situation in our environment today, I think honesty is the most valuable virtue I got from him. I mean, it is very hard these days to come across honest people in the business and work environment and everywhere else. You find out that almost everybody is dishonest. So, honesty is the most valuable virtue I got from my dad. And as you know, honesty is a very scarce commodity today.

Dad is a tough man whose principle was, ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. He never spared the road. And today, with benefit of
hindsight, I will say I am grateful for it. My mom is a teacher by
profession. She is a bit on the reserved side. She is a bit soft like
all mothers are generally. She played an important role in my life. I will call her a pillar of support. She is always there; whatever I
wish for, she is always willing to let me have, even at her own
detriment. So, she has really been a great mother to me. I thank God for her life.

Your memories of early life

Well, those days when I was a child, it was during the military era.
So we could not see the situation of the country politically. But
right now, the beauty of evolution is that one can see clearly what it means to be in a free democratic atmosphere. However, one can say the situation is getting worse or more disheartening. The more one dispensation takes over from the other, the more you find it difficult to get honest people or find honesty. I mean now the governor of a state can promise to give certain political dividends only to get there, fails to deliver. I think that saddens people of my age. That is the saddest part of our political evolution. We have a democracy that can hardly deliver verbatim. So I think the electorates should begin to look before choosing. We all have a collective destiny. We are talking about the future of your own children and every other thing associated with it: From quality and affordable education to quality and affordable health care, goods and durable roads. Not roads that will break after six months: Great welfare packages that will guarantee a good living condition for the populace. These days, our people are ready to cast their votes for anybody that can offer them N1000, N500 or at worst N2000. I mean that is quite ridiculous. It is what is killing our society today. How are you going to survive on
such mundane gift for four years or eight years?

Would you be going into politics like your dad?

If our politics can be tailored after the politics of the western
world, maybe I will love to play a role and use my wealth of knowledge to make changes and make the society a better place to live. But the political scene as it is right now is not encouraging. You talk about politics of money, politics of godfatherism. That is not too encouraging. It is only God that can shape the destiny of a man. I don’t know what God has in stock for me as I speak to you today. But for now, I am concentrating on my business and my family.

Who is your role model? Do you have any?

If you ask any young man that question, I think your first role model will be your parent. From your childhood, you already have one. Your parents are your first role model until you begin to see other people’s lives depending on what you want to become in the future.
 
Youths of today must first see their parent as their role model before anyone else. Then, probably if you want to play football, you must start seeing the likes of Messi and Ronaldo as model or mentor. My father is my role model, I really admire him. I admire his courage, his honesty and his service to humanity and the entire society.

But what do you dis-like about your father?

There is no human being without his or her own short comings. He as a person has his own short comings. But by and large, it is hard for me to find anything I really don’t like about him. My father is my role model and mentor.

Your favourite book influenced you most?

I have read quite a lot of books and it is pretty hard for me to point to one as my favourite one. I read any magazine, newspaper or book, I lay my hand on: If not to gain a new knowledge, then to entertain myself. So, reading books is part of me but I don’t think my inspiration came from books. My inspiration comes from God and from within me.

What does your normal day look like?

I wake up very early and say my prayers and step out for work. I leave the house very early in the morning. My schedules are not too direct. I go to my office if I have to keep an appointment with a client. And some days, I visit the farm if I have to. So, I can’t say my days are predictable. Sometimes it’s in straight usual directions, sometimes triangular and sometimes none of both.

Where is your favourite holiday spot?

Well, I have been to a couple of countries in Africa, in Europe and
even in America. But home remains home. There are lots of holiday
spots across the country, in Badagry and  in Calabar. These days I
don’t encourage going abroad for our holidays. These are part of
things government should do to boost our economy. Our tourism sector is not in good shape. I want to beg government to make our various tourist attraction centres across Nigeria more attractive for people to go for holiday rather than flying out all the time especially in a season when dollar is very much expensive. We must encourage ourselves to look inward for our holiday spots.
.
You got married about two years ago, what can you say about your wife?

My wife Opeyemi Fausiyyat Kaka, is a wonderful lady. She has been very supportive, patient, calm and loving. I thank God for making our path cross. I pray we continue to enjoy good relationship in love and in good health.

What does success mean to you?

Good success is in diligence and intelligence. You cannot isolate
both. I think both goes together. If you are intelligent and you are
not diligent, your intelligence comes to nothing. And if you are so
diligent with no intelligence you might just see that finally you are
migrating to the wrong direction. So, I think none of the two can be isolated from success.

Let’s talk about your fashion and style, what kind of clothes appeal to you?

Well, fashion to me is not an important item, aspect or way of life. I believe in what is comfortable. You know the kind of youths we have today, particularly the ladies, you see them wearing hilly shoes when they are actually not comfortable in those shoes. You see men wearing thick fabrics under the sun. Fashion should be about comfort. So comfort decides my fashion and style.

As an entrepreneur, how would you describe leadership?

It is usually said that leadership is inborn. But I think leadership
is much of genotype and the environment. Yes, you might be born with a strong gene but my pain is that youth of these days are a bit laid back. But we can also call it a general phenomenon due to the
environment we find ourselves. The environment seems not to be too encouraging and you find out that the youths are a bit laid back. They don’t aspire and work hard towards achieving their dreams. Most of them dream alright, but I don’t think they dream in the right direction. They want to have material wealth without having to go through the channel of hard work. But I believe people like Mark Zuckerberg the Face book founder and other inspiring youth-leaders around the world should be a good inspiration to us youths. The youths in our clime need to draw inspiration from them. Yes, we have found ourselves in a very disheartening situation but I will still say we can dream out of our challenges. So in my own definition, I think leadership is inborn but we should strive towards achieving success by working hard.

Are out youths rising to the challenges of today?

It is a sad situation that majority of our youths don’t have the right
channel to direct their energy. Our youths are no doubt very energetic but the situation around them is quite disheartening when you find youths at lotto shops playing bets. We can’t totally blame it on government. We have to share part of the blame with the parents. Most parents didn’t properly mentor their kids while growing up and that has resulted in a cream of disorientated youths in the society. It is a systemic problem really. The government cannot be totally absolved from the blame of the young people because they failed to put in place a check and balance mechanism. Demoralizing environment affects the psyche of children. Even now, you will still find school structures in this country with leaking roofs, with less or no furniture for convenient education in some schools

Your advice to youths

Remain focused. When you dream and you imagine yourself living a good life, driving good cars, don’t end that dream in the realm of self aggrandizement. Think of positive ways to achieve those dreams, you can actually get your dreams legitimately. Think of good ways out, not by winning lotto over night or doing drugs. There are lots of positive things you can get involve in, that will give you success. Attend seminars, read newspapers, get accustomed to a lot of opportunities online. When I say online, I don’t mean fraud but genuine opportunities that can guarantee you genuine success: And of course, much as it keeps coming back, let’s stop the blame game and face our future by working hard. Life is not only about focusing on white collar jobs. For instance, I am a farmer, I am also an accountant and I am into other businesses as well as an entrepreneur.

So why did you major in Agriculture in school, what influenced that?

I cannot run away from ‘Agriculture’ because I was born into
agriculture. I am a farmer by birth. I grew up in the business of
farming. My father is a farmer. I studied Agricultural-Economics from Olabisi Onabanjo University. I knew at some point I was going to go into farming. I had my Master degree in management and at some point, I felt if I could have a degree in Agricultural economics and one in business management, then, I should be able to add accounting to it. So, I decided to add accounting to it. So I am a chartered accountant and I run my own accounting firm as well.

That means we still have youths who are still interested in farming today?

Well, it is sad to find that youths are not interested in doing
farming today. But agriculture along with ICT seems to be one of the few ways out now. But youths now see farming as a dirty job. Instead, they prefer the non-existing white collar jobs. But the energy in the youths can be properly invested in farming. Having said that, I need have to add that, we need good government policies, agricultural infrastructure and incentives to encourage more people to go into farming, particular the youths. We have reached the point where everyone must be encouraged to plant yam, grow pepper, vegetables and other farm produce at the back of our homes. That is the way to go now. Instead of waking up in the morning and running to the lotto
joint.

So how do you combine farming and accounting?

Well, it depends on the angle you are looking at. Like I said, I did
agricultural economics as my first degree. I had my second degree in business management. So, when you look at the economic aspect of the Agro-business and you look at management as a social science, you will discover that adding accounting to it is not out of the picture. I think it is very nice combination.

For relaxation what do you enjoy doing?

I love football. That is my greatest hobby and I am a great fan of one of the prominent clubs on the European Premier league.



1 comment:

  1. I can confirm what Ayotunde said coz we spent years together both in Mayflower school days and Olabisi Onabanjo University.. Senator Adegbenga Kala is a real blessing to youth and humanity.. May your days be long sir...

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