Posted: 2:03 am // Urowayino Warami
WITH a boisterous image that makes his presence conspicuous anywhere, he has traversed the private and public sector remarkably. He depicts the kind of confidence that could be mistaken for self-worth. Such assertiveness is not self-importance, but the true picture of the man of ideas that Bimbo Daramola is. True to the axiom that ideas rule the world, Daramola’s ideas have been instrumental to his successes in the private sector and public service where he represented Ekiti State North Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. The man, who wants to govern his state, reveals the things that could not be disregarded as momentous experiences in his life.
By CHARLES KUMOLU
In the begining:
I started my life clearly by stating that I want to live a life of impact and I am still committed to that. A few days ago, I was still thinking about this and I said to myself, “Oh Bimbo, this is how time flies.” I am grateful to God. I don’t feel 50 considering my looks. But honestly, I am grateful to God. It is a privilege for me to live up to 50 in a challenging environment like ours. It is a privilege from God considering that a lot of my friends have died for one reason or the other. Some of them died due to medical challenges, bad management, and institutional crises, among others. It is a great privilege for me to be 50. I have been in a romance with death many times. Even my political activity involves romancing with death on a daily basis and by seconds. Yoruba have a saying that the chameleon that walks creepily, death comes for it, how much more the frog slamming itself on the ground. So, for God to have spared my life to see 50 is a great privilege. I am eternally grateful to God for the opportunity and I look forward to more years.
What are those things that encouraged you in life?
What encouraged me is that I love biographies and autobiographies. I love to know about people who made their marks and how they made their marks. I am talking about people, who history cannot feel shy of mentioning. In my office in Abuja, when you walk into the place, you will see the pictures of great people and whenever people come to my office as they walk upstairs, they would admire all the paintings on my wall. They will see Barack Obama, Mother Theresa, the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikwe, among others. Somebody asked me one day why I put all those pictures in my office and I told him that he will never see the pictures of multi-millionaires there. It is instructive and it means that I don’t worship money. It means I don’t regard being wealthy as the ultimate determinant or depth of success. Character and the capacity to inspire for me would point in the direction of success than anything else.
What are the memorable periods and turning points?
There are so many of them. In the journey on earth, there have been a lot of great moments. For example, when I won elections, going into relationships and many other things. There have also been bad moments; when I was let down, treacherous relationships I have had, when I was let down, when people deserted me and said bad things about me even when they knew that what they were saying about me was not true. One of the things that hurt me most in life is when people lie to me, particularly when I invested trust in a relationship. One of my happiest moments was the day I premiered the documentary of Olusegun Obasanjo titled “From Prison to Presidency.” Nobody gave me a chance. Everything that could frustrate me was thrown on my way to frustrate me as a young man. And don’t forget that I ‘m not a contractor In 1998, when I met former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Ota when Chief Kenny Martins took me to him, I took an idea to him titled “Mobile Billboard.” At that time, we didn’t have electronic billboards like we have today.
On business ideas
The idea just came to me that we should do that to abridge the process of mobilisation for the election of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Don’t forget that I had I joined Bola Tinubu before this time in an organisation called BATCO. We were meeeting at 13, Sunday Adigun Street. And then I had the opportunity of meeting and working with people like Ogochukwu Onyema, who later ran for governor of Abia State, Chris Mama, and Rauf Aregbesola, who we called our symbol then. I had the privilege of meeting great people. We used to call Rauf Aregbesola symbol at the time. He was such a nice and great fellow, who is an ‘Egbon’ to me. I still regard him as one of my very good ‘Egbon’ because he is very idealistic. I have also met a number of other people like Uncle Dele Alake, Uncle Bayo Onanuga and a whole lot of people.
On going to Abuja
When Obasanjo won the election, I had to go to Abuja. My contribution to the party and to the election were recognisable by him. I became not just one of those boys who were part of the process, but one of the boys that they could rely on because of what we could offer. I remembered that as soon as Obasanjo became the President-elect, people were jostling to for positions but I didn’t do that. At that point, introspectively, I saw that Obasanjo’s life was something to learn from. How could a man who had been at the peak of life go down to the extent of being imprisoned and even almost being killed having been sentenced to death? And the same man found himself making a journey from the prison to presidency. That was amazing. So, I asked for the consent of President Obasanjo to shoot the documentary of his lifetimes and he gave the approval. He also said he wasn’t going to fund it. I told him that we would raise the money by ourselves. Obasanjo, of course, was happy that he wasn’t bringing money to do it, and we went about it ingeniously. That was how my path crossed with Atiku Abubakar, who was the Turaki of Adamawa at that time and now Waziri Adamawa. We had the privilege by God’s grace to be able to shoot the documentary of Olusegun Obasanjo and travelled to about eight countries. The journey took me to Nelson Mandela. I met Nelson Madiba Mandela, who called me his son. He wanted me to marry his Secretary but we couldn’t consummate that relationship.
Mandela called me his son
I met Robert Maratna, the former United States Defence Secretary of State and also met some important people. And then to be able to get a date to premiere the documentary, all the principalities around the Presidential Villa prevented me, They said I wanted to shine. President Obasanjo was very excited about the documentary because cumulatively we spoke to Obasanjo for more than 100 hours.
To be able to get the attention of President Obasanjo for 100 hours, you must be doing something right. We also spoke to Atiku Abubakar for almost 30 hours. We interviewed many people in the schools he attended, his home and many people within and outside Nigeria and cumulatively the interview is about 3,000 hours. The documentary was a very nice job and on the night of the premiere, I was satisfied when President Obasanjo got to the podium and broke down in tears and said he wished his parents were alive to be able to watch his documentary today. Up till today, the documentary remains a standard. Humbly speaking, I dare anybody to show me the documentary about any President of this country that has been done like that. Our archives are very porous and I hope this will be a challenge to those in the authority to be able to do things to enrich our history. I am a student of history and that is one of the reasons I always advocate that the perspectives of history must play a role in who becomes the next governor of Ekiti State.
Would you consider yourself successful and can you point out the lessons that can be drawn from your experiences?
I am going to be very hesitant to say that, I am successful to an extent. By God’s grace I am still alive, but if you check my bank balances, it would not reflect the bank balances of a successful man. Looking at my antecedents and the path that I have walked, I would deem myself a little bit of a success. If you reflect on where I am coming from, the lives I have imparted and touched, the potentials that I have given to people and inspiration I have given to people; then my life could be termed some level of success. But in terms of peculiarly, physical and material stuff, I am not by any chance successful in that sense and I don’t think my success in life could be determined by bank balances or the number of houses that I have on Bishop’s road in London. My success could also be determined by inner comfort and satisfaction.
I am completely at peace with myself. I am not competing and I am not in competition with anybody. I am not comparing myself to anybody and to that extent it is a great success for me.
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Source: Vanguard News