Showbiz great and one of the owners of PrimeTime, Otunba Dayo Adeneye, aka D1, you already know, has joined politics. As a matter of fact, he took part in the Ogun House of Assembly primaries, on the ticket of All Progressives Congress (APC), which he was eventually prevailed upon to drop by some elders of the party. Still keen about impacting lives via politics, YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, AZUH ARINZE, cornered him on Sunday, December 21, 2014, for an interview on all the political lessons he has learnt so far and more. Enjoy…
How would you describe your political experience so far? What was the experience like?
Oh! Let’s not put it in past tense – because it is present continous. I’m in it for the long haul. Quitters don’t win and winners don’t quit. The journey has been fabulous, it’s been fantastic. The reception from my constituency, from my State; it’s been tremendous. It made me understand and to also realise and acknowledge that I joined the right party. The reception I got…I mean, you were there at my declaration; you saw the support. My people are yearning for change and in as much as we didn’t get the ticket; we were prevailed upon to support another candidate and I believe the interest of the party is bigger than the interest of any individual. When the party succeeds, we all succeed. What we basically want is change. So, the journey has been tremendous. I’m very convinced that I made the right decision, because I’ve thought about it over the years. We can’t continue to sit in our parlours, in our living rooms, in our offices and complain and complain. Some of us have to get up and go and make the change and I’m very happy that I took that bold step and I’m in it for the long haul.
What are some of the lessons you have learnt so far about politics?
Ah! (Laughs). It’s never what it seems. If a politician tells you something at 11.59, by 12 midnight, it might change. It’s just to be optimistic. I’m a very, very optimistic person. It’s also a challenge; it’s not easy. People will always resist change, no matter how good your ideas are. No matter how fantastic your schemes or your plans are, people are resistant to change. Especially the elderly ones. But if you are able to table your plans and table what you have, they have a listening ear. It’s also a very expensive process, but I thank God that with the help of God, my able wife (Caroline) and some friends, we were able to run a very, very successful campaign. And I dare say, we have no shame. We ran a very, very successful campaign. The short time we were in it, we ran a very, very…I mean, Odogbolu was shaking. They knew somebody, an elephant had entered the town and we thank God for that. It’s the grace of God. I can’t take all the credit. I have to give a lot of thanks to all the people that supported me; people like yourself and all my friends in the media, my wife and so on. I mean, the support was tremendous and till today, I still get people telling me congratulations, don’t give up, we are supporting you, bigger things are going to come, which I definitely believe. Change doesn’t come over night. So, I’m in it for the long haul. We must change and move this country forward. We’ve done it in the private sector and I believe we can do it in governance.
A lot of people expected you to get the ticket, which you lost. What exactly happened?
Well, to be honest with you, people say you lost; I didn’t lose the primaries. Let me just put it that way. I did not lose the primaries. But if you are not in politics, you won’t understand how the game works. I was prevailed upon, I was prevailed upon and I say this boldly. I was prevailed upon to support another candidate, which is in the interest of the party and it’s okay! Politics is not a do or die thing for me. I want to serve and the party elders appealed to me and I went with their suggestion. I’m believing that something bigger and better is coming and like I said, I’ve made my intention known; I want to serve. I’m not in it for the money. Everybody knows my track record. Is it cars that I’m looking to buy at this age or is it houses that I still want to build? Is it Dollars that I’m looking for? So, I thank God that we’ve taken it to this stage, but it’s a welcome development. Everywhere I go, till today, people tell me oh, we want to see people like you in politics, we want to see people like you in governance. It makes me feel good. We can’t continue to say politics is dirty, politics is dirty; somebody has to go in there and clean it up and by the grace of God, we will get in there and do it. We are in the process already and we will effect change and we will make change.
In the next political dispensation, what are you looking at? Are you…
(Cuts in) – No, no, no…I’m in this dispensation, my brother. I’m already in this dispensation and we are in it. Look, we have to understand that a political party is like a football team. You have coaches, you have referees. The coach will tell you, look, you play forward, you play defence; you are the goal keeper. So, you have to play along with the rules. It’s like any club, the coach or referee, the manager will tell you, you play left wing, I want you to play defensive midfield. So, I’m looking for that role that my party wants me to play. As long as the club, the party wins, I will get my medal. So, that’s the way I look at it. You have to be open-minded about politics. It can’t be about me, me, me…or what I want, what I want…So what, if I didn’t get the House of Assembly ticket? Who can say that something bigger or something better might not come? But I’ve made my intention known. I have effected change in my constituency. If you go to my constituency, they will tell you that they felt the impact of D1 for those few months that we campaigned there. And till today, I still send some things to my constituency. If you go there, they will tell you they saw D1’s Christmas present. So, mine is to contribute and help make change and develop my constituency. Whether I get the ticket or not, I want to change lives, I want to impact lives and I’m doing that on a daily basis. And that was what I promised them – I said whether I get the ticket or not, I’m going to make a change and we’ve done it. I mean, everybody knows that I’ve tried. We’ve done it inside Nigeria, inside Lagos, outside Lagos, why not go back and do it at home. So, I’m in it for the long haul. I don’t want to talk about it in past tense; I’m not quitting politics. I’m in it, I’m still in entertainment and I’m going to campaign for our dear governor, Amosun, to make sure he’s re-elected and we are going to campaign for change in Abuja.
So far, what do you like about politics?
It’s a very intriguing game, it’s very interesting. Everything is never quite what it seems, so you have to ‘shine’ your eyes (General laughter). Shine your eyes well, well. But most importantly, it’s a very expensive process.
What don’t you like about what you’ve seen so far about politics?
Like I said, when people tell you one thing, of course, they are thinking about the next thing. People tell you oh, we are going to A, we are going to Ibadan, but actually they are facing Akure. So, you have to be very, very aware, you have to be politically observant and smart about things otherwise you will be left in the lurch. But it’s also part of the learning process; it’s part of the game. Just like any coach will not tell you we are going to play defensive game; Mourinho will not tell you his game plan, he will not tell it to Manchester United. So, politics is a very intriguing game, but you have to play it like it is played. And I’m very happy I got into the process. It’s just another level of intrigues, but it’s very vibrant and it’s very entertaining as well, if you can survive it and play it and you don’t take anything personal. Politics is never personal. It’s about changing lives, it’s about impacting lives and changing our country and making it better.
What’s D1’s definition of politics?
Haaah! What’s my definition of politics? Look, I always tell people that we are all political animals. Some of us are just a bit more active than the others. Whether you sit in a beer parlour or you sit in your office, you talk about Jonathan or you talk about Tinubu, you talk about Buhari, you are being political. Whether you choose to be active about it, go and vote or participate in elections, give yourself up for election or support a candidate, that makes you more active about it. We are all political animals and whether you believe it or not, whatever decision you make, whether you decide to be active, or not, if your life is going to be impacted, that local government chairman that’s not doing what he’s supposed to be doing, your road is not tarred, there is no water in your house or there is no electricity, you are suffering the consequences. So, why not get up and go do something about it and that’s what politics is about. It’s about being involved, participating, helping to make a choice about who governs you, who rules you and where your country and community is going to.
What do you think the people of Odogbolu Constituency are going to miss for not voting for D1 to go and represent them at the Ogun State House of Assembly?
The people of Odogbolu didnt have much of a choice; the people of Odogbolu, as you saw at my rally, they were very, very eager to have a personality like D1 join the House of Assembly and they trooped out en-masse. As a matter of fact, they almost rioted the day another candidate was announced. I had to calm tempers down, cool them down and tell them look, it’s for the interest of the party, let’s move forward. I mean, there’s calm in Odogbolu right now, it’s very quiet because they are missing the presence of D1. They know that something is missing, but I’m trying not to let them feel that much, because I believe it’s for the greater interest of the party and I believe that the APC being the party that it is will do whatever is in the interest of the party. So, Odogbolu, I’m sure, they are missing D1, because they still call me every day. But I’m not going to be too far from them, because my promise to them was ticket or not ticket, I’m going to help develop this constituency, I’m going to help make a change.
What didn’t you do well that you hope to rectify subsequently? Something that you didn’t handle well that when you run again, you are going to make better?
I think we did basically everything we needed to do. Em…probably we didn’t declare early enough. That might be the only thing that I can think of; maybe we declared late. But I think man proposes, they say, God disposes. Everything went the way it was supposed to go. I mean, like I told you at the beginning, I did not lose the primaries and I quote it and you can tell anybody anywhere that I did not lose the primaries. So, everything went according to the way it was supposed to go. I mean, those few months that I campaigned, I touched every ward in my constituency, I met just about every chairman, every councillor, every woman leader, every youth leader; even the Kabiyesis were in support of D1. So, it’s not a question of the misconception that the people have out there that D1 couldn’t win. It’s not so! We were prevailed upon to go another route and as a team player, you have to think about the team. It’s not about how many goals I score, if the team doesn’t win, you don’t get the medal. So, I’m a team player and I’m believing that once the team wins, we will all get the accolades.