I JOINED POLITICS TO SERVE THE MASSES THE MORE - Akinlayo Kolawole -Describes his representatives as docile and lack vision that requires genuin
I JOINED POLITICS TO SERVE THE MASSES THE MORE – Akinlayo Kolawole
-Describes his representatives as docile and lack vision that requires genuine development
Mr Akinlayo Davidson Kolawole is the C.E.O of KADYET Nig. Limited with interests in Real Estate, Oil and Gas, Fabrics and so on. The young philanthropist is an employer of labour, a successful Businessman and Politician. In this interview with Chronicle Crew, he talked about his background, how he started his business, his challenges and what led him to politics.
Can you lead us through your background?
I was born about 40years ago at Ikosu Ekiti in Moba Local Government Area of Ekiti State. I grew up at Ile-Ife where my dad was a cocoa farmer. I attended Ibikunle Lawal International School at Ile-Ife. My dad died in 1987 when I was in primary 4. So, we had to leave Ile-Ife for Ikosu Ekiti where I joined L.A Primary School. At L A Primary school, I was given double promotion. I skipped primary 5 and continued from primary 6 as a result of my brilliance. I later got Scholarship from the then Governor of old Ondo State, late Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua for my Secondary School Education before the military truncated the democratic process in place then. The Administration of Bamidele Olumilua ended as a result of the military intervention.
Because of this, I had to go back to a local secondary school, which was Igogo Commercial Secondary School. I was also at Otun Comprehensive High School, and I finally wrote my West African Examination Council at Notridam Secondary School, Usi Ekiti where I passed in flying colours.
Meanwhile, being the first born of my dad with four siblings, there were financial challenges; my siblings couldn’t go to school because of me. So, I realized that as the first born and as a man, I had to carry my siblings along. I had to make sure that the education of my siblings continued. Hence, I dropped my WAEC result and started looking for a job as a clerical officer. So, I was using the little money I was getting to sponsor my siblings in school. It was after two of them graduated that I went back to school and I actually graduated with our last born in 2015.
But before then, I have been into business. I had worked with an Estate Firm, Bisibello & Co situated in Abuja. I worked with the Akure branch for about 5years. When I gained more knowledge about real estate property development and from the link and little money I was able to gather, I set up my own company KADYET NIGERIA LIMITED in 2007 as a lone ranger. I later went into other ventures like Oil & Gas, Fashion school, and so on.
To say that you are a successful entrepreneur is an understatement considering the various companies God has established through you.
How challenging as it been before you attain this feat?
It has been so challenging because during our youthful days, we used to look up to people that are successful in their chosen career and be determined to be like them. But the youths of nowadays want to start big. They don’t want to go through the tutelage and the step by step training they need to acquire wealth. They just want to acquire wealth overnight. And I believe any wealth acquired overnight will definitely vanish overnight.
We started gradually and it was so challenging. Another big challenge is different government policies which can scramble one’s business if care is not taken. Imagine paying 10% tax, it’s just too much. But when you are focused with great determination, God will make what looks impossible possible. However, in all we thank God for where we are.
What has been your greatest challenge in all these?
My greatest challenge has been the unfaithfulness of employees. They are not patient and not sincere. They want to join the company and probably take the company out of business. A lot of staff want to make money through fraudulent ways. Honestly, it’s not easy. Most businessmen took loan from bank to set up the business which must be paid back with interest, you have to service your machineries and pay worker’s salary. Most staff don’t understand all these things; it is only few that can reason like the employer and work with target to your vision and mission. It has been so challenging.
You were known to be criticizing some bad government policies, but all of a sudden we found you in this dirty business of politics. What got you into it?
What got me there is service. I want to serve my people. I looked at most of the people that have been representing us, and I realized that they are just selfish; they are there for their own interest. Especially in my Federal Constituency, I have never seen any of our Representatives on live show speaking in favor of the constituency they represent. My representatives are docile and lack vision that requires genuine development. And I’ve noticed that most of the people representing us are old people that do not have a voice.
I believe that it is high time for the youth to be in the saddle of the leadership. Leadership entails your exposure, your level of education, and the way you see things and interact with people. And I believe the youths will do things in a very unique way. That was why I joined politics. My priority is service to my generation, the homeless, the elderly, the motherless, and so on.
During my electioneering campaign, I toured all the villages in my Federal Constituency and I felt the pain of the people. I could feel the level of poverty written on their faces. I realized that the governments of the past were not doing as expected. I have been doing my humanitarian services even before I contested. I know how many people I pay their school fees and even while I was contesting I paid WAEC, NECO and JAMB fees for virtually all the secondary schools in the three Local Governments in my Federal Constituency because I felt their pains and realized some of them wish to become something great in life but they don’t have the financial power.
So, I tried to lend a helping hand. I joined politics so that my name can be written in gold. I know that the government is trying, just that their best is not good enough.
Now that you have contested as a politician, were you able to have different opinion from what you used to have concerning the politicians and even the governed?
Yes I have a different opinion because during my campaign, when you interact with the elderly and you ask them what they want the government to do for them, what you will hear the farmers ask for is farm tools and fertilizer which ordinarily the government should be able to provide. They are essential things to aid maximum production. And what most youths ask for is that they wish to go to school but their parents are poor, which means they need free education. I know that government cannot do it all, but I expect the government to do a survey of all the schools, fish out the ones with genuine need and pay their school fees without making noise.
I also saw some market women that soft loan of five thousand naira (#5000) can go a long way in their business. There was one woman that I met; this woman said in her entire life, she hasn’t counted 5,000 at once. She was roasting corn. I was so touched that I had to increase the money I gave her to 20,000.
The level of poverty is very high so I believe government needs to go to the grassroots for it to be eradicated. Another thing is that most of the graduate youths are not employable because of the decadence in the education sector.
Recently, there was Endsars protest by the youths in the country which later degenerated to pandemonium and looting, what is your position on this?
I was in support of the protest. It was indeed a noble call. The youth protest was justified. But the problem I have is that they allowed hoodlums to hijack the peaceful protest, which is very unfortunate. Because, when you start burning houses and destroying people’s property, it is no longer a peaceful protest. We need a government that will listen to the cry and the need of the people. I believe one of their mistakes was that they didn’t have any particular leader. Everybody wanted to lead in the protest and that was why it was hijacked by hoodlums. They made it difficult for the government to interface with them because there were no leaders to rob mind with.
So, the youths were supposed to appoint leaders from the three major tribes; Hausa, Ibo, and Yoruba that will be their spokespersons. Most of the things destroyed by the hoodlums were meant for the masses; BRT Buses for instance. Look at the free shuttle Buses that were set ablaze in Okitipupa. All these are for the benefit of the masses and yet they were destroyed by the hoodlums. The youths can change the narrative of politics if they agree and work together in unity.
As it is now, do you think it is possible for them to have an accord to dialogue with the government?
Yes. I believe nothing is impossible. Youths can still come together and champion their course and make their points known. It is when government doesn’t listen that they can now say they want to protest again. I’m convinced that the government will listen because I believe that no government wants war.
As a politician of high repute, there is this saying that you don’t have any relationship with the government of Ondo State compared to Ekiti State and even the Federal government.
I do have good relationship with Ondo State government. I’m not just a lousy person. I supported the election campaign in little way that I could to make sure APC retains the State; I just decided not to blow my trumpet. I’m just not the type that looks for contract from the government. If contract is available and they feel I have the capacity to do it, so be it. But if it’s not, I face my business.
Still on the government of Ondo State, is there anything you think you want the government to correct?
Yes; a lot is lacking in this country. I see Ondo State as a very rich state if properly managed. As it is now, you will see new buildings coming up and begin to wonder who approved the building plans. It’s like people are just buying land and building houses as if there is no regulatory authority which can never happen in Lagos; they have different departments that look into everything that happens in the state.
Another thing is the issuance of Certificate of Occupancy (C of O); it takes forever which is not supposed to be so. This is not encouraging to the investors because some of them need C of O to access loan from the bank.
So, let the government issue C of O within a maximum of 1month because right now, it takes up to 2years. With that, it will make business more encouraging to do. The revenue generation arm of the government needs to be harmonized. There are many taxes and they are the same thing with different names. So, those are what I think is critical, government should work towards that.
On a final note, where do you hope to be in the next 10years?
I hope to have expanded my business. I hope to have as many as possible gas plants; I hope to create a brand. I also want to bring real estate business to Ondo and Ekiti States. What we are doing in Lagos, I want to replicate it here. Because I know our people too are financially buoyant. They should be able to buy new houses if the environment is conducive. Those are my target for now so help me God.