Ask within Lagos social and political circle about Prince Demola Seriki and you will be told that the In-law of Aare of Lagos, Chief Rasaki Akanni Okoya has remained relevant both politically and socially. Despite leaving the APC for PDP at a point and returning to the APC again, he has remained relevant.
Ademola is a Lagos Island-born politician, teacher, accountant and administrator. This grassroots politician who worked with a former president, Late Umar Musa Yar’adua, as the former minister of interior is one of the few politicians who have worked with the PDP & APC. The astute politician is turning 60 on November 30th. Of course, he was not looking his age when he was seen at Oba Oniru’s burial at the Oceanview.
This politician who is very close to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinibu had an exclusive interview with City People where he spoke on his life at 60. He talked about how he met Asiwaju, and what has brought him this far in the interview with City People’s Assistant Society Editor, ABIOLA ORISILE, enjoy it.
How long have you known the late Oba Oniru?
The late Oba Abiodun Oniru, may his soul rest in peace. I have known him for many years. I have known Kabiyeesi even before he became the king. I was a little boy then and I grew up within that line of knowledge through my father and particularly my grandmother, who was the head of the chiefs in Lagos then. She was Alhaja Keshinro, nee Agbabiaka. And really, Kabiyeesi was a good custodian of monuments, tradition and culture. He has a lot of young men and women as friends, including myself. He greeted people with a cordiality that attracted enormous loyalty. He was a befitting Oba, indeed.
You are a Lagos boy and despite moving from APC to PDP and back to APC, you have been able to remain relevant. How have you been able to do it?
Well, loyalty is the father of character. What a lot of people there don’t have is loyalty. They are always impatient. They don’t have the resilience and perseverance to go through the turbulent moments. At the time of tribulation, work harder and consider it to be your period of challenge. A lot of people don’t have it. That is why we have a problem of value and virtuous in our society call Lagos. Too many miscreants are in our society. For me, I have a name to protect. I am a Seriki, Keshiro and Agbabiaka. And I have a huge name to protect. I was not born with a silver spoon, but we were like silver spoons of Lagos Island in those days. In other words, I wasn’t a child of any tenant, I belong to a family where my maternal side were landladies and father’s side landlords. So, we were silver spoons in our own little way and education was a priority.
You are so stylish, and your command of English is superb, which school did you go?
I went to Holycross Primary School first then moved to St. Gregory and my father because of his Islamic cleric stance, withdrew me from there and took me to Ahmmadiya College. I have lots of kids and they know I can never compromise on education, I was a Teacher of Business and Accounting, Mathematics and my daughter is also a teacher in New York. I am a Licensed Teacher number 628884 and till tomorrow, I will remain a teacher. So, I consider education to be the strongest bedrock we can use as instrument to develop our environment.
Do you still teach?
I am qualified, but I don’t teach again, but I can if I want to.
You are one of the closest persons to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, how best can you describe Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu?
Asiwaju is our next President if God willing. We will do everything humanly possible to make sure he has a date with destiny. We love Asiwaju because whatever the case may be, he is flexible.
How did you meet Asiwaju?
I have known Asiwaju Bola Tinubu since 1992. So, it is a relationship that dates over 27 years ago. We met at the INEC office. I was running for a Senatorial seat and he was also running for the Senate. So, INEC staffers had to screen the 2 of us together. So, it was an alphabetical screening of “ST” Seriki and Tinubu. That was how I met him and since then, we have been very cordial.
What do you like about him?
I like him because he has touched a lot of people’s lives. When I was going to boarding school in 1971, my grandmother told me that the success of a man is not in the amount of wealth he has amassed, but in a number of people, he has made. Asiwaju has touched a lot of people’s lives. That is why I love him.
You look so youthful & one may have to look at your wives to guess your age, how old is Prince Demola Seriki?
I am turning 60 this month of November.
What has life taught you at 60?
Life has taught me patience, resilience & strong virtues. These are all elements of character.
What has brought you this far?
Resilience and loyalty. My late boss, Umar Yar’Adua, liked me because of my loyalty to him and because of my very strong stand on issues. My friends, foes and adversaries will tell you that one thing they could not take away from me is that I speak all my mind. I don’t do what I can’t defend. I don’t do anything in-defensible.
What has shaped your life?
I don’t attach importance to money, but I attach importance to character and touching people’s lives. I believe I should give lots to society, which is what I do most. I am very patient. I have gone through a lot of hard times in life & good times too. In fact, I consider myself a very lucky person and I feel God was being impartial with me.
You are so stylish, what is style to you?
I have always been stylish as a youth. I wore my first watch at the age of 10. My grandmother gave me “Oris”. That was my first wristwatch and I was the envy of my classmates in school. What do you love most in fashion accessories are they watches or shoes. I was not like President Jonathan, I was never barefooted. I had 2 bicycles when I was young, DMX and Raleigh and I have house helps, taking care of me. They were Rally & Fatimo. So, they ensured I look good as a young boy. Fashion has always been inborn.
What is the secret of your skin?
It is the grace of God. I have always been very fair.