At 80, I have swallowed Lions who wanted to swallow me — Chief Abiola Ogundokun + How he spent 3 Years in his mother’s womb

Chief Abiola Ogundokun to Asabeafrika…’Life is not all about what people say about you but what your conscience dictates to you’
Chief Abiola Abiona
Akinnpenu Ogundokun
is a famous Nigerian politician and
media practitioner of over 5 decades. This Iwo,
Osun State (South West Nigerian)
born political titan is seen from two sides like a coin. While some view Chief Ogundokun as a very controversial
figure others at the other side of the coin will rather describe him as an
extra-ordinary entrepreneur with investment in real estate, media, politics and
industry. Chief Ogundokun came into
limelight in the early 70s (1972) when Juju Music Maestro Chief Commander Ebenezer
Obey
(MFR) waxed a special album in honor of Iwo, the  local home town of
Ogundokun in Osun State—South West Nigeria.
The Juju Music Lord used Ogundokun’s personality in that popular
album to illustrate the royalty and wealth associated with Iwo as a town. That was the beginning of the enigma called Abiola Ogundokun. He will later feature
prominently in national politics via the regime of President Shehu Shagari where he played the role of Publicity
Secretary of the ruling NPN party at the time. 
However, that role didn’t give
Ogundokun
much limelight than the one he played during the regime of late General Sani Abacha where Ogundokun through his magazine, CONSCIENCE International played the
role of the image maker  cum image
launderer of that unpopular regime at several forum in the Diaspora. 

There is more to the name and
personality of Abiola Ogundokun than
you will ever know. On Thursday July 7, 2016, the Balogun Musulumi of Iwo land
clocked 80.
Your soar away Africa’s number 1
Celebrity Encounter blog, Asabeafrika
paid the Chief a courtesy visit at his Lagos home in the heart of Festac town where Chief told us the
story of his life which looks more like one scripted for a good thriller movie.
Enjoy the excerpts. In this Part 1 of the exclusive encounter, we bring you the
entire story of Chief Ogundokun’s
social and political lifestyle in the last 50 years. Ogundokun who is also a stalwart
of PDP has just resigned from the party.  He told us why. 

Ogundokun as the Apesin Ola of Erin Osun land

Chief you clocked 80 years on earth
today, July 7. How would you describe life at 80?
I thank God
for sparing my life as regards what I am; against the wishes of enemies who
never see anything good in honesty, dedication and struggle to ensure justice
in our society. I thank God for making me what I am. One thing about me is that
I don’t ever celebrate birthdays because I prefer going into prayers. On such
days, I go into prayers but some people believe they still have to pay you
homage and they do come around and you have to just do little and the best you
can to make them feel honored with their presence and respect for you.

The GDA with Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey (MFR) The Man who Made Chief Abiola Ogundokun famous since 1972

Can you share with us the greatest
lesson life taught you at 80?
The journey
of 80 has been a very turbulent journey; highly educative and a highly well
guided life of discipline. If you live a life where you run away from injustice
and corruption, you will enjoy your later years of life because there is nobody
who can say ‘yes, he took my money’.
Or ‘I had a business with him and he
didn’t do me right or he chop my money’.
What life has taught me in one way
is that you must love God, you must respect God, you must obey God and you must
do justice to your fellow human being no matter what you do. Even if enemies
rise up against you, you will conquer. And that is why people fear my existence
because when I go into war with people I always win and no matter what they
say, there is always that fact that debunks the falsehood they try to wrap
around me. When there is nothing to talk about, they tell lies but one good
thing is that with your good record, there is nothing the world will say that
will work except you are equally in the bondage of deception. Well, I will say
with all due respect, that the major thing that I know should be the key mind
of every human being is that ‘you should
know God. When you know God, you will do justice, you will do everything
right.  And God will protect you no
matter how powerful your enemy or the opposition may be’
. I have contested
elections several times in my life I have never lost one. It is the making of
God, not me. I have contested so many battles, I have gone into war launched by
people but they get disgraced at the end of the day. I am no God. I have seen
lions, they come to fight but I swallow lions instead of the lions swallowing
me. So, the biggest experience I have learnt in my life is knowing God and
serving him. Being honest and providing for the less privileged people in your
society. Whatever money you have, don’t see yourself as a rich man, use it for
your fellow human beings when you don’t have let them know. Don’t go borrowing
and don’t go stealing. Don’t do anything that is going to deny others of their
rights. Whatever people say about you let your conscience guide you. It is not
really what people say about you but what your conscience dictates and what you
do right inside you.

The GDA meets the Balogun Musulumi of Iwo Land at home on his 80th birthday, July 7

How I Spent 3 years in mum’s womb
Ten years ago, I paid you homage in
your country home in Iwo and I couldn’t imagine the huge love local people have
for you. It is like anytime you come around your home automatically becomes a
mecca of sort. Why are you so passionate about Iwo?
Well, Iwo
is my home. I was born in a village after three years of my mother carrying me
in her stomach. I spent three years in pregnancy. She delivered me by the bush
path where she was buying cocoa. My
mother was a produce merchant. Delivering me three years after pregnancy is the
reason they named me ‘Akinpennu’. And delivering me by
the foot path (of the road) is the main reason they call me ‘Abiona’.
I am also Abiola, Oladepo and other names. One thing
about my birth is that my father and mother lived a very kind hearted life. They
were so good to people, they are peace makers and peace lovers. I inherited all
these traits and principles from my parent. In my home town and in my life, I
have settled problems between people more than me doing any other thing in
life. And you see, I stay with my people. Many of my colleagues and
contemporaries were afraid to build their house in Iwo. I built my house
back in 1960s in Iwo town and my house is the first three storey building built
with a block wall. I built my first housing estate in 1977 which was burnt in
1983 on the allegation that I was part of the instrument used to remove the
then Chief
Bola Ige
and his government, which is not true because we didn’t rig
the election. And you see when you stay with your people, you grow with them,
you share their problems with them. They love you whenever you come around and
whatever you have, you share with them and that make them love you the more.
You see, there is poverty all over the world and Iwo is not exceptional,
so, what I do is that whenever I go home, the little I have I carry with me.
Nobody in Iwo land will tell anybody that he came to me for assistance and I
denied him. I make sure that I treat every case with uttermost passion. Many
people come with deception, with falsehood and we have continued to do things
for them but in recent times we are becoming careful to find out before we
give. People want jobs; I do my little best to help them wherever it is
possible to find job for them.

The New Olu Iwo, Oba Akanbi recognizes Chief Abiola Ogundokun as Iwo’s biggest Image Maker

Let’s talk about your social life, in
the 80s you were very popular on the social scene that the Juju Music Maestro,
Commander now Evangelist Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi (MFR) did a track on you and
Iwo in his OCD58 album?
(Cuts in)
That album was done in 1972
Wao! 1972? Are you saying you have
started making money as at then?
I don’t want
to claim that I was one of the few most popular socialites in Nigeria. We have
been in the frontline; right from the ancient times of people before Ebenezer
Obey
. Peole like Haruna Ishola, Yussuf Olatunji, IK
Dairo
, Abalaki, Eric Enuoha in Central
Hotel
, Yaba and Victor
Olaiya
and many others. We have been in the forefront of making life
good for them (Musicians) because God blessed us and when Obey and others like Tatalo
of Ibadan became my favorites, every
week you will see us at Obey’s joint at Yaba and every week, we
go there to dance. We promoted Obey like anything and we thank God
that today, Obey is a child of God and he is still very sweet in his
music. He waxed two special records for me. Like the Iwo Olodo Oba you just
mentioned is the first album he did for me in 1972 and then you will remember
in 1974 he waxed another one titled “Around the World” where he sang ‘Awa gbe ere wa d’America, Abiola ni Biola
Omo Ogundokun’.
 

Chief Abiola Ogundokun to Asabeafrika….’No journalist will ever say i didn’t pay him before sacking him’

And that is why
Mutiu (Obey’s talking drummer) said ‘Ko
sibi t’ieti n jaiye, ko ba ja’merica, cruising global, ko sibi t’ietin jaiye’
.
That is the special talking drum for me. We thank God; you see it got to a
stage that even when they want to engage Obey, Sunny Ade, Sikiru
Ayinde
Barrister
they will ask ‘have you
been able to invite so-so set of socialites?
’ and when they are able to get
us there, they are easily ready to go and play there because they know we would
do justice to them (Musicians) and we will enrich their pockets. God gave it to
us and we were able to help so many people. We became so popular in Nigeria. I
cannot but thank those musicians too for recognizing my patronage and singing
my praise. It brought me so much fame. My present traditional ruler (Olu Iwo)
said to me that there is nobody like Ogundokun, he propagated Iwo
to the whole world. Up till now, he tells everybody that; and that he believes
he should give me the respect and love that he extends to me because he is
asking for hands of fellowship in the progress of Iwo and developing Iwo.
I have never seen such a wonderful traditional ruler like the present Adewale
Akanbi
the Oluwo of Iwo, the Emperor of Greater Iwo who is there
now

The
GDA hands over Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey’s CD where he praised
Chief Abiola Ogundokun to the Chief as his 80th birthday gift which he
appreciated so much

How I enjoyed my celebrity status for
50 years
How would you describe social life in
Nigeria of your younger age? How was the social scene at the time you made
parties thick for famous musicians?
Age is not
stopping me but religion has catch up with me because I have to spend more time
serving God than those social things. And now, it is not the same thing. In
those days, you could go out at night for your parties and nobody stops you.
Today is a life of crime that you have to be very, very careful. You have to
spend more time at home, talking to God, praying at night and in the morning.
So, the lifetime was so sweet, so good that you even see women fighting over
you. When you don’t even know them from Adam, they claim you are their
boyfriend when you have never talked to any of them. It was so sweet. It was so
sweet. We enjoyed it. Dynamic, young and handsome men we were, and you know in
those days I wear tosudo with bow tie and my suit is always a special
designer. My perfume and all paraphernalia of fashion were extra-ordinary; when
I move pass you; you can have a smell that you cannot compare.

The Edition of Chief Ogundokun’s CONSCIENCE Magazine which seeks to demistify Professor Wole Soyinka

How Obasanjo made me to lose my
London garment factory
How would you describe your
experience as a socialite for 50 years?
It is good
to be socially connected, it exposes you to people. You get to know more people
and through that you do get business too. I won’t deny the fact that my social
exposition through musicians also exposed me to business. Like I did a lot of
contracts for the (Nigeria) Army during (Late General) Murthala Mohammed’s
regime; when you see the Supply and Transport (S&T) unit of the army today,
I designed all their logo and their alliance, I provided it for them and I made
good money. And I was able to build my first housing estate; the money was from
my garment business because I used to own a garment factory in London
at the time. I sold it when I was elected to the constituent assembly in 1977. Obasanjo
pleaded with Nigerians to stop bringing imported goods to Nigeria and in
obedient to him, I obliged. In those days, I travel London-Nigeria three times a week.

Chief Abiola Ogundokun to Asabeafrika…’People fear my existence because i dont lose battles i wage with them’

And I was selling to Balogun
Market
women, they will be waiting for me at the airport and they will
just clear whatever I bring because there were so many women, so many traders
who were my retailers. The business then was fantastic; they collect today,
tomorrow you are paid. So, I made that good money from garment business until
in obedience, through Obasanjo’s clarion call that
Nigerians should stop bringing in imported fabrics. And I fend for it, I was a
member of the constitutional assembly in 1977 and that was how I gave up my
garment factory. Maybe that money would have grown today, maybe I would have
had too much of money. But I am happy that despite the fact that I gave up my
garment business I went into other contracts and businesses and I bounced back.
I played politics early enough. I was the Publicity Secretary of the NPN.
I was financial and publicity secretary of the NNA Youth Alliance
in 1964, 65, 66 until we were pushed out of government. Maitama Sule was my
President of the Youth Wing; Obatolu at the center was national
publicity secretary. The party is an offshoot of NDCN/DP coalition.  With all these, I got exposed and became a
national figure and highly respected because the good thing about it was that I
put journalism and professionalism into my activities which helped very, very
much. I can never thank those who groomed me very well in journalism. People like late Akinsuroju. My very good friend Peter
Ajayi
was very good to me, he was my News Editor and when I write he
appreciates my skills.

Chief Abiola Ogundokun with First Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Isiaka Adeleke aka Serubawon’

I remember Segun (Osoba) we were together. Segun
grew up in Oshogbo.  That is Segun
Osoba
, we were all colleagues on the job though politically, we don’t
belong to the same path. I am of the NCNC breed and I thank God the politics
there is politics of honesty not chop-chop. We don’t hunt after people in the
NCNC. But one thing that is killing Nigeria that I want to talk about is that
politics of Nigeria is such a destructive politics. There is no government that
can rule and succeed unless politics of bitterness is eradicated and politics
of love is preached and exhibited by individual political class. I do not see
why a government will not succeed. Americans don’t destroy their
government; Britain don’t destroy theirs either but here, it is ‘if I
don’t get it, I destroy’
. And that has been in existence for long from
the first republic up till now. When are we going to succeed? It is when the
government understands that they have to work hand in hand with the opposition
and the opposition must embrace the government. That is the time we will be
able to solve our problems. I am not happy about what is happening in Nigeria
today; everybody is suffering for it and I don’t know what this is going to
become of Nigeria. I can only beg the government to take it softly and find a
way of reconciling and settling the major various inconveniences being created
because of disunity among the political class.

The Chief shows the GDA an article inside his new edition of Conscience Magazine

At 80 you said you are retiring from
politics, what are you going to be doing now?
I am now a
father of all politicians. I don’t belong to any political party again. I am
now a statesman.
At 80, what are those things you
normally do before that you can’t do any longer?
I am
actively doing everything good. You can see I am still fit at 80. I still write
and publish my magazine. I go out to events whenever I get invitations and like
I said earlier, the ability to socialize is still very much there but religion
has caught up with me. I must talk to my God every time now and that is the essence
of living a life.

One of Chief Ogundokun’s editions of CONSCIENCE Magazine

What about your children and grand
children?
 They are all happy and I am happy with them.
My grand children called me this morning and they sang ‘happy birthday to grandpa’
to me (burst into hearty laughter). I was on the bed when they called. Most of
them, about six-seven years old I don’t know how they did it. They all
assembled themselves at 5:40 am this morning and rendered a song for me.

Chief Abiola Ogundokun to Asabeafrika…’In 80 years of living, i have swallowed many lions that wanted to swallow me’

What about your meal regime for 80,
what do you eat that gives you this trim stature?
I try to eat
any good food that comes my way. I don’t think about problems. Take problems
off your life, don’t think at all. Don’t create hypertension for yourself. When
any problem comes, accept it as one of those things in life and don’t run
beyond your level. Don’t short cut. And this is very important, wait for God’s
time to come. Be disciplined. Good food. Good sleep. And above all, be honest
and helpful to the society.

Chief Abiola Ogundokun in a rare pose with the GDA of Asabeafrika

MKO Abiola was my greatest friend
Your 80th birthday today
also coincided with late MKO Abiola’s 18th year’s anniversary. How
would you describe the legacy of MKO?
You know MKO
happens to be my very good friend. He is a very nice man. I am one of the
trusted friends of Abiola. Abiola happens to be one of my
highly trusted friends, very good friend and when I was opening my housing
estate in 1977 at Iwo, all of them were there, Abiola, Shagari—that
was my first housing estate in life and it was Admiral Dele Abiodun
(Adawa Supper) who performed that day. Ha, Abiola is a big loss. The greatest
loss; Nigeria could have been better if that man was allowed to be president.
But it is the same Yoruba people that lured Abacha, the same Yoruba.

MKO Abiola; His Death Anniversary is Chief Abiola Ogundokun’s birth date and Birthday

But you were Abacha’s friend; would
you say he was wrongly advised on MKO Abiola?
Well, it was
ambition. When they lured him (Abacha) and the greatest mistake that happened
again after his death was the fact that Al-Mustapha trusted Abdulsalami
Abubakar
and brought him in when actually, Mustapha was asked to
take over the reins of power.
So, Al-Mustapha would have taken over
instead of giving it to Abdulsalami who came in and rubbished him?
Apparently
they wanted him but the struggle between him and Jeremiah Oseni caused a
big trouble. Jeremiah was to take it but they didn’t like themselves.
I guess Jeremiah Oseni was a
lieutenant General and the highest ranking officer at the time?
Yes, they
didn’t like each other. So, he gave it to Abdulsalami and the rest is history.

The Iwo born Chief welcomes the GDA to his Festac Mansion

My advice for up and coming
journalists
As a veteran journalist, what do you
have for young and upcoming journalists if you are to be their guest lecturer
at a seminar?
The
journalists should be practical. Go to the school, do a good job, get fully
identified by the society and the profession before you jump out to want to
start your own magazine that will not last two months. And internet journalism
is not it. When everybody becomes internet journalist how many people will read
and how do you make the money? And they become redundant, they don’t make
money. They have to go begging, they have to look up to people. This profession
is not that kind of a thing, the profession is for you to go and work. Get
identified, get known. When you are known the money will come. Be creative. All
these things that is going in the society today is bad, they are all thinking
of what a publisher is making and they want to make the same thing. It is not
possible. Journalists should learn to be good explorers in the sense that they
have to become creative and serious professionals in their chosen fields. You
cannot be a master of all trades in journalism. You have to pick one thing. If
it is judiciary, be a super judiciary reporter. If it is business, try to
report the beat well. But today, once you employ them, they don’t even respect
their publishers any more. They want to see the money. How many people have we
employed and they are gone? And when they go out they will not tell the truth.

Chief Abiola Ogundokun to Asabeafrika….’At 80, i eat any good food thatt comes my way’

Maybe they will say Chief Ogundokun
didn’t pay them?
Nobody can
say that in this world. Even when I want to sack you, I pay you off. No
Nigerian journalist that ever worked with me will tell you I didn’t pay him
before firing him.

Chief Abiola Ogundokun to Asabeafrika….’I spent 3 good years in my mother’s womb and i was born mysteriously’

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