He was not born with the proverbial spoon, yet that did not stop him from achieving his aim. From one odd job to the other, he assisted himself to fame.
Sikiru Akinola had a chat with Barr. Adesina Michael Adeyemo, current speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly.
Excerpt: In 2020, he woud be 50-year-old. The first of a family of 9, from Alaarun compound of Lanlate town, a few kilometre drive from Eruwa, headquarters of Ibarapa East local government area, he was christened Olusegun Adesina with Michael as his Christian name, on the 8th day.
His parents would soon leave for Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, where young Michael was enrolled at IMG Primary School, Oke Ado and Celestial Church High School, Oke Ado, for his primary and secondary education.
Tortuous Journey, Glorious End
To further his studies after secondary education almost hit the rock. Undeterred, he tried his hands on many things, odd jobs. Hear him: “If somebody is determined that, no matter what, I will get there, he will. Talk of any job I have never tried my hands on. I go there, do my work and collect my money. My rise in life surprised many people. Some people will remain where they are when you are doing these odd jobs, till you rise. That is the beauty of it.”
He went further: “I remember when I wanted to raise money for my GCE, I didn’t have anybody to give me money and I had to think of what to do. It may sound funny but it was not. I was a bus conductor and after doing it for like one week, after I had raise enough money for my examination, I left. Another thing is whenever bricklayers want to contruct the decking of a house, they usually need more hands. Then I had a friend who worked with them. He will just invite me and I would join. We would clean up, get the money and go. These were the little works I was doing before I started organising private and home lessons, from one place to another. I was at a point a PTA teacher. I was doing it without expecting something bigger. I have passion for teaching. Some of my former students, who are now doing well in their various fields, can testify to that. Many of them are abroad. These are some of the things I did. And thereafter, I became an examiner, marking WAEC script and before you complete, you mark NECO, GCE and others. From there, I was able to get little fund, coupled with money I got from people who saw me as a determined person, to augment my savings. No matter what, if you are doing the right thing, some people will support you; they won’t just close their eyes. They will send me to Lagos, to deliver documents to people on their behalf and I will be paid for that. I ran errand for people. It has been a surprising experience.”
…Two Bachelor Degrees
Michael, who is currently writing a motivational book about how he grew up, narrated how determination to succeed has always propelled him. Few years after obtaining a bachelor degree in education management (second class upper) from the University of Port Harcourt , Rivers State, his love for equity, fairness, social justice and his unwavering passion for the legal profession led him to the University of Ibadan (UI) for a law degree. He was called to bar in 2004 He hates oppression. ”One of the things that motivated me to study law had to do with the fact that I hate oppression. I hate people being cheated by virtue of the unavailability of people who can rescue them. So, anytime I see people being oppressed or being cheated, I am touched, that I say how I wish I were a lawyer. Two things came to my mind; I wanted to be a security person- police or intelligence officer who would be able to assist people from being subjected to undue oppression. Another thought came to me that as a lawyer, you have a means to assist the people- people that are being cheated will come to you for legal assistance or protection. Being a lawyer has helped me a lot in my career, politics and everything that I can think of in life.”
Michael who was, until he ventured into politics, practising law at Olujinmi & Akeredolu Law Firm told insideoyo.com “but I was determined to succeed.
There is this adage that one of my uncles used to say: “iran meta kii to si”. Whenever he says that, I used to ponder; my parents are not rich, my grandparents were not rich as well and what will happen to my own generation? I now looked at it that okay, no matter what, one must succeed. I was determined; it was not a straight journey. But with determination and commitment that I must succeed, we are here. I looked at it from one angle that I didn’t know of anybody that will help me secure a job, I didn’t have any godfather who was going to assist me as soon as I finish my education. I now began to think that what was that thing that I can do, that without writing an application, I will be independent. Law came to my mind and I now discovered that if I study law, I will be self employed. And I began to try my hands, having completed a degree and Nigeria certificate in education courses. I now began to work on it and God crowned that effort with success. To the glory of God, I became a lawyer. “And I like used to tell people, especially the younger ones, who want to be rich by any means- people who do not want to make any effort or sacrifice, that they should be hardworking and focused. There are so many things I have tried my hands on; odd jobs. ‘Owo igbe kii run’. Whatever you might have done to get yourself to where you think you will be relevant in life would not reflect in any negative way. So, we must be ready to do anything legally. We don’t want to be seen doing certain things. That is why I so much respect people when we talk of dignity of labour; the person doing odd job may have something else he is doing, he may be doing it to assist himself to get more money. So, you respect everybody doing certain things, you treat them with respect. You accord them the deserved dignity. Don’t look down on people. The youth must be determined to do anything to achieve greatness. When God sees that you are determined, that your little effort will be rewarded. It is not that I have a father who is rich. We competed in the university with the children of the rich. You look at your background and set a goal for yourself. And along the line, God will begin to manifest His purpose in your life and you will get there. I am appealing to the youth, they should not be pessimistic; nobody should see himself as somebody who cannot make it in life. Whatever you become depends on your own mindset, your own perception about whom you are and what you can do and become in life. And once you have a positive thinking that I have to succeed, no matter what, you will succeed. There is a lot of things that may be taken away from you, you cannot have your cake and eat it. I don’t socialise; my career was more of academics from College of Education to Univerisity; all the way from Ibadan going to Portharcourt, I made a second class upper. What did I do? I tried as much to organise some coaching classes, odd jobs here and there. “Once you have a goal, you’ll move up but how many of our youth have a goal? They want to ride the best car, overnight. They don’t want to know how the other man made it. They want to be in the midst of girls, show off, spraying money. Those are the things affecting our society till today. We are not ready to work but we want to be rich. We want to eat without working. And the two books, Quran and Bible are both of the view that you work and pray. But some people are of the opinion that you pray and don’t work. And the Bible has already established it that ‘ninu oogun oju wa l’awa o ti maje’ ( out of your sweat, you shall eat). If the Bible says that, how come we have suddenly realised that we don’t need to work before we make money?. His Foray Into Politics Three years after becoming a lawyer, at 37, he felt that his people needed a better representation, especially in the Oyo State House of Assembly. He consulted his people and he was given the go-ahead to contest the Ibarapa East State constituency seat. As God would have it, he contested but lost narrowly. Not deterred, he returned to his law practice but was always in touch with his people. In 2011, he contested and defeated the man who had defeated him in 2007. In his first term, he was made the Deputy Chief Whip of the House and member of other juicy committees In 2015, he sought re-election and won, becoming the first to be re-elected to the House from his constituency – Ibarapa East and second to emerge as speaker of the State Assembly from Ibarapa land since1979. Few months after, he was made the vice-chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislature of Nigeria.
But What Next after Completing His Second Term
“One must look at politics from the angle service to humanity. If God still wants you to continue with what you’re doing, He will decide; except He has another assignment for you. So, I cannot say that I will be this and that. I always look at it that if it is the will of God that I will continue, so be it, if He says no, that means he has other plans for me. Politically, I am not ambitious. I always like one thing at a time. Presently, I am praying to God almighty to give me success in the present one. What will follow thereafter is your performance; the success you have achieved will determine the next line of action. But for now, I only pray for God to spare. Our lives beyond 2019,” he answered.