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Monday, 15 October 2018

LIKE MY MOM, SO IS MY WIFE - HON. DAYO BUSH ALEBIOSU



A father figure at home is important. Honourable Dayo Bush Alebiosu got to find that out early in life! His father had always been a top politician and his home was usually filled with party loyalists holding one meeting after another. Unknowingly to his father, the picture Dayo grew up with, had created a lasting impression in his mind. He wanted to be a top politician too when he grew up.


But his father said not immediately. “You have to have a profession, and you have to have another source of income order than politics. So, young Alebiosu picked his other love which is architecture as a profession, but he understudied his father, returned to politics and today he is a two-term member of the House of Representative.

Otunba Dayo Bush Alebiosu says, like my father’s house, so is my home. He spoke to Paul Ukpabio.

You are an architect, a profession that holds its own. Why add politics as a profession?
My early background has a lot to do with it. It is well known that from the age of 7, I wanted to be an architect and from the age of 17, just some few months shy of 18, having been influenced by my political background, I had informed that I would like to take up a political career from that age. I told my father that I wanted to be a politician and today, God has been kind to me I have been able to achieve two things that I have asked God to bless me with. The first being an architect and the second being a politician. So God has not only made me a professional but He has also made me a professional in politics.

At 17, how were you able to get to the point where you knew you would love to be a politician?
I guess it was my environment, as well as my family. I come from a political background, for me it was like a fish in water. People would say politics is a dangerous game, but business is a dangerous game too. As a matter of fact, life itself is a dangerous venture. You may live in the morning and not live in the evening. Being a member of the armed forces is dangerous. Nigeria has lost Dr Adadevor as a result of her dedication to her job. That is job hazard.
So every profession has its benefit and issues so to say. I actually feel like fish in water when it comes to politics. It is my comfort zone.

Were you born with a silver spoon?
I don’t think it was a silver spoon affair. My father has always been a strict person who didn’t believe in spoiling anybody. And I know that the same mistake that people do that he would forgive, he didn’t spare me. I have however benefited to some extent from him because if he wasn’t my father, he would be my political leader. So if I have that advantage, do I throw it away? It is like asking Femi Anikulapo Kuti if his background affected his life in music, did he have an undue advantage. No! So I can compare myself with him because it was a path Femi chose for him, he had a passion for music which is still there and I have a passion for politics.

Today one comes around to your home and the entire compound is filled with party loyalists, was it always like this with your dad?
Yes, it was more than what you see today. My father even had more people who used to come and see him back then when I was a child. My dad loved to attend to people, he loved to make people happy and I think I got that from him. I love making people happy too, so if this is my way of life, so be it. Dad is who he is and I am who I am. Nevertheless, he is a great man. You can’t tell the political story of Lagos without mentioning his name.

Tell us a bit about your dad
My dad started as a Counselor close to 50 years ago. He was in 1979 elected to the state assembly, again in 1983, he was a staunch Awoyist and loyal member of the Jakande crew then, he touched a lots of lives and in this East Senatorial district 97 % will tell you they went through his political school, they call him Professor of Politics, he has a lot of understanding of politics of which I have learnt from, I have also had the opportunity to also serve under Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, so I have learnt from two great strategists and God is helping me to define myself. I am lucky that I have him. Like Michael in the movie ‘God father’ I enjoy going back to my dad for political advice. I think I can compare myself to Michael in that regard. Sometimes I defer to my dad as regards to his experience on several issues but I have been able to merge his knowledge and my experience which I have gathered over time too. I served under Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Special Assistant on Housing; I have served as a member of the House of Representatives for two terms, so I have paid my dues. 


You seem to have particular interest in the National Assembly. And you are in the process to go back there, any special reason?
I believe that there is still a lot I can contribute there; the legislature is not what you mess with. The first four or eight years, you use to get experience. If you look at the developed democracies you find out that most of the people who rise to higher positions of leadership are people who have gone through the legislature. If you look at those who have made great marks, you will notice Barrack Obama, Bill Clinton, Al Gore were all in the legislature. When you look at the tenure of those who were parliamentarians before becoming presidents in developed countries, you’ll find out that they did very well. Again when you consider Britain that practices parliamentary system of government, you notice that they know who their leaders are and even know what their leaders are capable of doing. God has given me the gift of understanding how the parliament works. 

And I get a lot of people who defer to me to tap from my wealth of experience on it. You don’t see a judge retires after one or two years because the more they stay on the job, the more experience they garner. But that hasn’t been the situation in the parliament however, things are changing, and that is why I had to go back to school to prepare myself for more roles in leadership. I attended a programme at Harvard on leadership and decision making four years ago, I attended the programme at University College London, I went to Northamber University where I did a degree course Bsc in Leadership and Management. Presently I am running two programmes. I am at a Business School studying Strategic Leadership where I hope to graduate at the end of this year November, and I will also graduate with a Master degree from another University abroad.

Why are you doing all these?
It is to have a broader understanding of leadership. There is what we call 21st century leadership, the likes of The President of France, Canada, Belgian and their Austrian counterpart, are experiencing it and preparing for the future.

You are contesting again, are you contesting to win?
Yes (laughs) I am contesting to win! God has been wonderful to me in the first two terms, I was re-elected overwhelmingly with the highest number of votes in the nation. This last one was surrounded with lots of controversy but there is no point going to that, it’s now in the past. I’m presently faced forward in this journey. I know that with God and the support of the people, I will win again this year. I’m contesting under Kosofe Local government for House of Representatives.

While growing up, you saw your mom usually hosting large numbers of party supporters like the one I see in your house today, but how did your mom use to feel about such crowd at her home?
I think she understood it. They have been married for like 50 years, and most of those years he was in politics. Obviously she must have tilted to politics herself in her own way, which means she has been accommodating.

And how has your wife reacted to same crowd in your home?
She has learnt to accept it. She has known me to be a politician. What applied to my mother, applies to her too.

Did your wife know that you were going to be a politician?
Yes. I never hid it from her. Moreover I was a politician before I met her although I had not participated at the level that I am now participating.

Was it love at first sight?
Yes, it was. And it also grew along. We met after school. I was already graduating from the university when we met. And today I can say that I have a wonderful family. I am blessed with wonderful children and I thank God for that.

Do you have time for the family?
I try to make time for the family. I try to make sure I return home early to be with them, I have a wonderful relationship with my children, I don’t want to feel like a failed father. I can’t put work before my family. So I work at it to ensure that I have a good relationship with my children. I also ensure that they are comfortable wherever they are. We do holidays and every holiday we do together is the best for us, as long as I get the opportunity to take time off with them. 

I also train my children to always tell the truth, I have trained my children not to be fearful but to greet people and be respectful. I even train them to tell me when I am wrong. They respect me as a father but not necessarily fear me. That’s because I know that in the process of instilling discipline, there is tendency to dominate. That is one of the areas where the leadership programmes I have undergone has helped me, so it is not just for politics. It has helped me to become a better friend, a better father, a better husband and so on.

If you were not a politician what else would you have been?
I would still have been architect.

Having dabbled into politics and got neck deep in it, do you still have time to practice architecture?
I never left architecture, not for a moment. I still do constructions. My father has always told me that you must have alternative means of livelihood to be a credible politician. That is why I am usually careful and that is why I said earlier that I am a professional in politics rather than being a professional politician.

What kind of person will you say you are?
I pay attention to a lot of things. I love animals. When you look at the animal kingdom, you will find out that even among the monkeys, there is respect for hierarchy. If you study hyenas for instance, you will realize they respect one another, it’s amazing. I have been able to learn a lot from animals. I also have respect for culture and tradition. I enjoy travelling; I give talks, usually on issues that has to do with leadership. I have been an advocate for cultural reforms.

What your view on leadership and youths?
There is need for infusion of young leadership. Nigeria has been ruled by three classes of people the colonialists, the nationalists and the class of 1966 are still around, we can’t do away with their experience, but I think that we need to infuse a large number of younger people comprising of both male and female.

You served under Asiwaju Tinubu what can you say about his style of leadership?
He has his style, leadership evolves and I have learnt a lot from his style of leadership and that of my father and so on.

How about your style and sense of fashion?
I am a traditional, English or simply casual person. I believe that one must package one’s outlook. Packaging is important no matter how good the content is. Your outward look is always your calling card. Until people engage you before they know what you are made up of in the inside. At a glance look is important because people say first impression goes a long way. One must be well groomed. My children come home and without seeing me, they can tell that daddy is at home and that is because of my choice of perfumes or cologne. I ask them for instance how they knew I was home and I will get a reply like, ‘oh daddy, I could smell you from downstairs.’ It’s not really about how expensive your perfume is, but about the right fragrance. Knowing what to wear to places: and when to wear them is important. And I am also an Otunba of the Awujale of IjebuIand. I took over the title of the Late Otunba Adeniran  Ogunsanya.

As a successful politician how do you handle female admirers who want you to possibly make themselves your second wife?
Well, you have to handle it, otherwise you get into trouble. One has to strike a balance. You can have female friends but you must strike a balance and know that they are friends, else distraction sets in. Late Chief Awolowo summarized it when he said that while he was busy preparing himself and studying at night, some of his friends were busy clubbing. It shouldn’t be so.

What does success means to you?
It means not just riches but impacting on lives. I have always loved seeing things grow, that was why I chose to study architecture. I derive joy when I get to a construction site and see dirt, grime and rubble and then after a while, in a matter of months something beautiful replaces it. I like plants, manicured lawns, gardens because I love nature. Planting a seed and watching it grow is success to me.  

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