Senator Iyiola Omisore, is the former deputy governor of Osun state and a two time senator representing Osun east senatorial district from 2003-2009. The well respected politician is an astute engineer by profession. In 2014, Senator Iyiola Omisore contested for the Osun state government house under the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) but he narrowly lost out in the bid to occupy the Osun state house. Sofowora Oladapo of Happenings, had an exclusive interview with this top politician and he spoke about his political and business career.
People see you as Arrogant and Snobbish but you are a very soft spoken person, Who truly is Senator Iyiola Omisore?
The fact is when you are far off, you can’t conclude on the personality of the person your seeing from afar. As a young man, the way I grew up, building my first house at age 22, I have staffs and expatriate more than 30 of them, so there is a general perception that I am going to be proud. They can’t access nor reach me so to know the true me will be pretty hard, hence that’s how I device the means of reaching out to people, even among the elite I face such issues.
Congratulation on your PhD, sir we want to know the motif behind you going back to complete your PhD degree?
As a core professional in engineering, the higher you go, the more you master your skills. It’s like academics you are a higher advantage than your colleagues. At bachelor degree level you are an engineer, at masters level you specialise, when you go further, you are more specialised, then you become an authority in your area of specialization. Its’ not like law or accountancy that you have to be a Chattered Accountant or a S.A.N at the end of it. Engineering is a day to day course, it involves invention and you can’t invent without research, and you can’t research without a PhD. PhD means research. It’s makes you more exposed and get professional jobs more than your colleagues. The more you study engineering the better for you.
What were the sacrifices you made before you got your PhD?
In a PhD class it’s in two part the course work which comprises of the seminar and dissertation. A PhD holder is a body of knowledge. PhD means doing things that nobody has ever done before. It took me about 8 years from 2006 – 2013 because of work; Luckily for me, when I left Senate in 2011, I was already half way, so I worked two years fully on it. For my course work, I had about 16 courses. It’s so difficult to lie. Getting a PhD is not so easy, I am sure in Nigeria too it’s the same rigorous process. You must account for yourself, you can’t pass by chance. I read 3 hours a day. Between 6-10 pm, if I can’t read, I sleep early and read between 12-3 am. For a PhD student any book is a material that can be useful.
You were born and raised with a Catholic doctrine, how has it affected your lifestyle generally?
Catholicism is a very strong creed. There is no way you are raised in a catholic family, and it will not show in your lifestyle. When you have stubborn children, they are transferred to the catholic church for them to be enlightened until very recently when everything is changed. It’s just a normal creed, that is why you will see Muslims in catholic schools those days. They will learn faster because most of our teachers are Reverend Fathers who are not married and the students are their children. They apply their own life to their students, there is no issue of my wife is sick or child sick. It gives us an orientation and determination while growing up.
While growing, did you see yourself becoming a Reverend Father?
Yes. It’s a common thing among young catholic kids then. I wanted to be a reverend father, but my mother resisted the idea. I lived with Reverend Fathers, I was involved in sacristan, holy communion and altar management. I wanted to follow that trend because my role models were the Bishop and Reverend Fathers. Until my parents kicked against it. I attended the seminary school. I grew up with most catholic Reverend Fathers, we were class mates. It is like a family thing, from Ondo, Owo, Akure, Ife, Ibadan and Abeokuta we were one catholic family.
As an altar boy what were the things that changed about you?
Being an altar boy, it is very difficult to play pranks. I attend the morning mass with the Reverend Father at 6 am every morning. From church to school, on Monday Altar rehearsals, Tuesday choir rehearsal, Wednesday bible service, then you go to school. So the time for other things was never there because I was always pre-occupied with church and school activities. It is very rewarding trust me.
What lesson did you learn as an alter boy that is still working for you till date?
One of them is hard work. No short cut to glory. Dedication and Determination.
You were born in a royal family, how did that affect your life?
Being born into a royal family and catholic religious background balances my mood. My temperament and conduct changed positively. With the royal background I try as much to take off pride. I find a balance in everything. The royal background teaches me how to listen more and argue less and it has helped me learn more.
With your royal and religious background, will you say you regretted delving into Nigeria politics which is regarded as ‘a dirty game’?
It’s not a mistake, it is a call to service. When I joined politics. I learnt to come down to everybody’s level. Some say I am arrogant which is abstract. I saw politics as a game to assist people. Most politicians are jobless. Check out their background they want to retain power by all means because they don’t want to come back and mingle with the masses so they do everything to retain their position. Those are the kind of people who are flooded in the Nigeria politics. But for me in and out of politics, I am doing my job.
How do you manage your Business with Politics?
As a business man and a professional, every business must be handled by different people. I have partners. They run the business while they give me feed back. I am just a principal partner, while managing partners do the job on management and the smooth running of the business. Before politics, I was active in my business but when politics came in I had to let people handle them for me.
Before being the Deputy Governor, you were rich and you were the toast of many artiste even KSA did an album in your praise, you were comfortable but what drove you into active politics is it the money that it entails?
It’s not about money. When we started in SDP, PPP, and AD we spent less. Later people brought money into it and it became expensive. When we were in government, our allocation for Osun state was 153 Million Naira before it was later it was increased so its a call to service not because of the money. I felt that’s is the only opportunity to serve
Long time friends that have betrayed your trust, have you forgiven them or do you still hold a grudge?
In life you have to be philosophical that’s why the Bible is there to guide us. The heart of human is desperately wicked. I don’t expect anything from anybody, just live your life the way it comes. Who are we not to forgive? Anger must not be in your mind before sun set, I have forgiven everybody.
As a foremost politician in Nigeria what have you learnt now that you never knew before?
Now I realise that INEC has merged with APC, I never knew it was possible. Police is investigating police. Those are the things I never knew was going to happen.
What is your dream for Osun state as election is fast approaching?
My dream for Osun state is what we had in 1990, where poverty would reduce, where infrastructure will be optimal and citizens will have a feel that they are being governed by people who put them first.
Are you contesting for the 2018 elections in Osun?
Yes I am. So we are making plans, to make it a reality.
As a Politician and an Astute Businessman, spending more time outside your home what kind of father are you to your children?
All you need to do is planning. You can be jobless and not be a good father. You need good time planning. I am very particular about their welfare and I even put them through in selection of courses during their university days. I know better than them in the labour market. My daughter wanted to be an entertainment lawyer which I know cannot work here in Nigeria, so I advised her and she adhered. In all I am a loving and caring father to my kids.
You Wife and Daughters are all lawyers, how did you come about this? Was it planned or it just happened?
Ordinarily I would have loved my kids to be in the engineering profession, if I were to force them but my advice them, is that they must become professionals in their chosen fields.
What ideology drives you politically?
You do better greater thing for the people around. You develop your society if you are in position. When I was in the senate I drove many positive development to my senatorial district so that’s my ideology doing greater things for the empowerment of the masses. I know what my people in IFE wants, so I drive the federal government to invest in them.
Every January 1st, you go round to Hospitals and Motherless baby homes to donate items, what motivates this?
You must find a way to affect your society positively. Even as a Nigerians and a Yoruba person, we have the culture of helping each other. Back then, you were your brother’s keeper, people would come and sleep in your home and you did not have to know them. As a young man, I even bring my friends from school to sleep in my house and I ensure they are well fed and taken care of. I realise that I need to make people happy, to do this, I must inconvenience myself and humble myself.
January 1st , 10 years ago I began spending it at the motherless baby home; school for the blind and hospitals. Thus I start the year with a lot of profit because no one does business with God and loses. I sow into peoples life through charity. I give generously, so I am blessed and have not regretted it. I have students in my scholarship scheme as well.
What does style mean to you?
Style means comfort to me. I dictate my fashion, I don’t follow trends. I have carved a niche for myself so people follow my trend.
How do you relax?
I play lawn tennis and golf too.
You are not so verbal at social gatherings, why?
It’s my upbringing that’s the way I was brought up. I am now growing old, I just maintain my cool nature.