Senator Sikiru Adebayo Osinowo aka Pepper( will be sworn in as a senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria today, Tuesday, June 11, 2019), was one of the ranking members of Lagos House of Assembly in the 8th assembly. He was there for 16 years.
In this interview by Tolani Abati, few weeks ago, he spoke about his 16 years experience as a member of Lagos House of Assembly. Here are excerpts from the interview.
Q – Which of the four terms you spent in Lagos House of Assembly would you say you enjoyed most ?
A- First of all, I thank God almighty for all the terms that I have spent here. I will say I enjoyed all the terms . Because, for all the years I was here, I was not denied anything that was due to me.
Q- Many sees you as a power broker in this assembly. How did you achieve this?
A- It is only God that is a power broker. However, God will not come down , He will use somebody . When God put you in powerful position, all you need to do is to follow the rules, be fair to everybody and fear God.
To be a successful leader , you must be intelligent and hardworking. As a leader, you must be able to persevere, endure and have patience in all things, particularly, when taking decisions You must be extremely patient. You don’t rush to make a decision as a leader.
You must have ability to manage people, ability to interact with people. You must not desert them in their time of need.
Once you are able to do all of these, people will believe in you and be loyal to you.
Q – You played a prominent role in the impeachment of Rt Hon Jokotola Pelumi, in 2005 . Why was he impeached?
A- The impeachment of Pelumi was an act of God. He is an intelligent and brilliant guy. He has done nothing compared to what is going on in the country. But as a believer , I want to say his impeachment was an act of God .
So, let us allow a sleeping dog to lie.
Q- You were also instrumental to the emergence of Rt Hon Adeyemi Ikuforiji, as the Speaker of this House of in 2005 ?
A- Yes, of course.
Q- You supported him throughout his 10years reign as speaker? How far is it true that you are no longer on talking terms with him ?
A- Ikuforiji and I are brothers. We relate with each other. We attend each other social events . So, I don’t know where you got your information that we are not talking with each other.
What are we fighting over ? He was elected in 2003 . He became the speaker two years later. He served 10years as the speaker of Lagos House of assembly. He is the longest serving speaker in Lagos and Nigeria in general. That is enough thank God for.
He is still favour by age and time. He can still vie for other positions, like the governor, president or become a minister in future. So, politically, it will be dangerous for him or me fight each other. Nobody knows tomorrow.
As a Muslim, I am not fighting him. But, I know one must be remembered even for one day, for the role I played in Ikuforiji’s attainment politically. I think it is only God that can compensate me. I like him , I believe in him , he is a brilliant guy. He is intelligent too. But when it comes to issue of power, it is another thing. That is what led God to send away Satan from paradise. Issue of power is another thing . But let’s leave that till another time.
Q- Of the three speakers you served under in this House , which of them would you say you like his leadership style most ?
A- We are not endowed equally. Ability to manage human beings is different from one person to the other. Those who made it , find it difficult to get it . Those who got it , find it difficult to make it. Some of those who had opportunity to be there lost it because of political inexperience and not academic prowess. They are sound academically, they are intelligent but, political intrigues is something you need to learn.
The ability to manage other human beings is from God. Leadership is from God. The instrument use to manage human beings is wisdom and God giveth. You may be brilliant, you may be intelligent but if you don’t have wisdom, you cannot manage human beings well. With wisdom you will be able to mange all criss. You will be able to swim in the rivers and oceans of criss. You will know who to fight and who not to fight.
Q- You have still not told me the speaker you like his leadership style most among the three .
A- You can deduce from what I have said so far.
Q – What will you say prepared you for the leadership roles you played throughout your years in this House ?
A- I have been in politics for a quite a while now. I started politics in 1979 during the Second Republic (1979- 1984).
I was the Chairman of the Youth Wing while MKO Abiola was the chairman of the parent body.
Q – Where was this ?
A- Ogun State. I played important role as chairman of the Youth Wing then. I was part of the decision making body then. Then, the roles I played in the Third Republic too, particularly, during the June 12( 1993), crisis cannot be wished away.
Q- Many attributed the relative peace enjoyed in this House of Assembly for some years now to your dexterity in handling members during crisis . How did you achieve this ?
A- First, you must be seen as leader by your colleagues. You must not be seen as a boss who always give orders. A leader always give respect to the opinions of his followers or colleagues. In doing that you must be transparent. You must also not be a deserter as a leader. You must not desert your followers or colleagues at their hours of needs.
With these qualities , you will have their absolute loyalty and they will have trust in you as their leader.
Q- When will you say was your best moment in your 16 years in the House?
A- I am a Muslim and as a Muslim, which of Allah’s favour will I deny ? There is no year I can deny the favour of God . It has been very smooth throughout. I thank God for everything including the life and good health He has given me .
Q- When will you say was your most challenging moment ?
A- As I have said , it is total submission to the Will of Allah. I don’t have any challenge. Life is a combination of challenges and triumphs. At times, it is these challenges that you need to lead you to your success in life. Some challenges are good for you . There was no challenge that God has not put under control.
Q- Now that you are on your way to the Senate , what will you miss about the House of Assembly?
A- Having served for 16 years in the House of Assembly , I will miss the good and fruitful relationship I had with my colleagues. I will miss the robust debates on the floor of the House , the camaraderie we used to have at social events , seminars and workshops. I will also miss discussing personal and general issues and being there for each other .
Q- How did you come about the name Pepper ?
A- That was from my secondary school days. I used to have red eyeballs then and my mates used that to nickname me, “Omi ata o se boju (You cannot wash your face with pepper water)”. From there it was shortened to pepper eyes and later pepper alone. Tried as much as I did to stop the name then , it was not possible.
Q – You are very close to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. When and how did your relationship with him start ?
A- You are correct about my closeness to Asiwaju. That is a fact. Don’t forget that we both fought for the actualisation of June 12 that everybody is enjoying today. Since then we have been together. I have followed him since then because he is not a deserter. He is a leader that will not desert you at your hours of need.
Such leaders are very rare today in our country. They are leaders that money cannot buy . They are very important in our nation building. They must be protected and pray for. I pray for him and all politicians for God guidance. May God help us all.