If you meet Isaac Fayose for the very 1st time, you are most likely to fall in love with him. He has a warm personality. He is a simple and easy going guy who takes life as it comes. A few days back, Isaac Fayose clocked 50 and he marked it at his Lagos hotel in Lekki. He is the younger brother of former Ekiti governor, Ayo Fayose. They look alike, in so many ways.
They share facial resemblance. They also have similar heights. And they walk the same way, with a swag that makes the opposite sex admire their ruggedly handsome look.
But they are also different in many ways. Isaac is a businessman who owns a chain of hotels in Ibadan, Lagos and Abuja while his elder brother is a seasoned politician and a 2-term governor of Ekiti State. Politically, they are poles apart also. Whilst Fayose has always been a PDP chieftain, Isaac is a great supporter of Peter Obi and the Labour Party. His elder brother, Ayo Fayose does not like the fact that his younger brother is in a different party. He would have preferred for him to be in the same party as he is.
But Isaac does not mind. He feels he is old enough to decide what he thinks is good for him. Both of them have that stubborn Ekiti streak running through their veins. Once they take a position, it is always difficult to get them to change.
How does he feel at 50, City People asked him a few days ago, in the comfort of his Lekki hotel. “I don’t feel any different. I still feel the same way. Age is just a number. I have been looking forward to it. Looking back, I thank God. So far, so good. I thank God. I have lived a good life”.
Any regrets? “No, I have no regrets. None at all. Its been exciting all the way,” he explained. How did he celebrate his 40th, we asked. “It was also exciting. I was in America then. I celebrated it in America, Washington DC, Los Angeles. And when I turned 45, I was in Europe. One of my wives lives in Europe”.
What sort of a person is Isaac Fayose”. “As you can see, I am an easy going guy. I am care free. I like to be happy. I live my life to help others. My calling is to create jobs. From my early 20s, I have been doing business, helping people. That is what gives me great joy. My role models are Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola.”
“I like their exploits in business. They are employers of labour. They are entrepreneurs. I am also an employer of labour. I will like to employ more people and create more jobs”.
When did he start business? “I started in 1996. That was when I got my 1st phone licence in Dublin then. I became a Digi Cell dealer. That was my 1st major break through in business. I was 24 at the time, in Dublin, Ireland. I had 3 branches. From there I moved to London in the 90s. Then, I moved back to Nigeria. I sold my club and restaurant in the UK and I used the proceeds to start my business in Ibadan. I relocated to Ibadan”.
Why Ibadan? “My family grew up in Ibadan. We grew up in Ibadan and I have been wanting to do something in Ibadan. So, I set up Viewpoint Resort in Ibadan. After that I set up Viewpoint Hotel in Lekki which is about 2 years old. I also have another one in Abuja which is 7 years old. Ibadan is the oldest. It is 17 years old now. So you can see that I have been a serial entrepreneur all my life”.
How come his brother did not come for his birthday? Only his mum came. And 2 Obas who are his friends. “Oshoko, my brother didn’t come because he does not like my support for Peter Obi and the Labour Party. So, he used style to avoid coming to celebrate with me. He is a supporter of Atiku. I am not a great fan of Atiku. I am a great supporter of Peter Obi. I think my brother’s political position did not make him come.”
“My other brothers are in the UK. I just marked my birthday in a simple way. My dear Mum came”.
What sort of relationship exists between the 2 brothers, namely Ayo Fayose and Isaac? “We are close, very close, like normal brother to brother. Politically, we are in different camps. He tried to convince me to share his political view, but I don’t. I am my own person. I am free to say whatever I want. He is into Politics. I am a businessman”.
How does he see the forthcoming 2023 elections? “We are watching with keen interest. I am supporting Peter Obi, though I believe Tinubu is going to win because Obi does not have structures. As at today, it looks like Tinubu, because he has money, social capital, and structures. But I am still going to support Peter Obi”.
Why not support Atiku? “Because I believe Atiku is dividing us. He is not the unifier he says he is. It is our time. I am not his fan at all. He is not going anywhere. He is going to be 3rd. People now see PDP as a regional party”.
“APC has really messed up. It is an ugly situation. It is really, really bad. They have not done well at all. See the dollar. See how it jumped from 180 to 700 per dollar under Buhari. They have not done well at all, compared to the time of Obasanjo and Jonathan. The Buhari regime didn’t keep to their promise. They have not done well at all. If you are to go by that, I don’t think Tinubu will win. See their handling of ASUU. It is so sad”.
Why is he supporting Peter Obi? “No 1, APC has not done anything. APC has not done well. APC has not done anything special. No 2, Atiku hijacked the PDP.”
“See what is happening to him now. Peter Obi is young and vibrant. I believe he knows what to do.”
“Let us give him a chance. I am supporting Peter Obi because I have Igbo daughters. And they keep saying daddy, support us”.
“What I don’t understand is if truly Buhari is supporting Tinubu/Shettima why can’t he begin to allow them help take on some problems facing us now. Why can’t they form a team to begin to solve some of the problems like that of ASUU.
Isaac Fayose reveals a lot more about himself. “The unique thing about me I will say is my love for business. I am always thinking of the next business opportunity. I am here to support people and to bless people, to bless others. The reason God is supporting me is to be able to bless others, to continue to bless people, creating jobs, empowering people. If I make 10 million, 4 million should go to people”.
How come he has not been drawn into Politics all these while? “I don’t like Politics. I don’t like the way politicians betray themselves. I don’t like betrayals at all. It has never been in any aganda to go into Politics. All I want to do is to create jobs, do business and help people.”
“That is why my role models are business people, not politicians. That is why I like Peter Obi. He is not your regular Nigerian politician”.
What do we expect from him at 50? “Now that I am 50, I will slow down and give more, back to society, to people. I want to be able to empower more people. God has blessed me at 50 and I want to concentrate on blessing others, solving problems for people in the next 10 years”.
Where was he born? Where was growing up? “Ibadan. I was in Ibadan till 18 years, I now went to England, came back to Lagos, now Abuja.
I lived in various places. That is why I am an easy going person. I like to just sit down like this and enjoy myself. I am not a party person. That is why I hardly go to Owambe. You can hardly see me at parties. I am always comfortable in my own little zone with my friends”.
What do we expect from him now that he is 50? “I plan to set up a radio station. I want to apply for a radio licence next year. I had a TV station before, but I closed it down a few years back”.
“I am more worried and bothered about the political situation in the country. People didn’t get the change they had expected from APC, because APC leaders messed up. If Tinubu was not a Yoruba man, no one would have voted for APC”.
Who are the 2 traditional rulers who came to celebrate his 50th birthday with him 3 Sundays back? “They are my friends. They are the Kabiyeesi Ewekoro and Oba Ifo in Ogun State. They were all here all day. One of them is giving me Chieftaincy title on 22nd of September, 2022. I will be made the Borokini of Ewekoro. They were here all day with me on my birthday. They just came to celebrate with me. But I am wondering, as a Prince, am I supposed to take Chieftaincy title again? Anyway lets see how it goes”.
– Seye Kehinde