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Today, he quintessentially represents the new face of Offa, a fortuitous blend of the old and new, a blessed and divine mix of tradition and modernism. Welcome to the world of Oba Mufutau Oloyede Gbadamosi Esuwoye II, perhaps Offa's most enigmatic monarch yet. In the twilight of his ascendancy to the throne as the 24th Olofa of Offa on May 8, 2010, Oba EsuwoyeI unveils his vision for the community in this rare interview in which he opened up on the odyssey of his life, his guiding ethics and of course, the challenges of leading a community in a hurry to develop. The interview was anchored by Gbolahan Balogun and Funsho Ojo

Kabiyesi, let’s look at your background. How was it in the beginning?

Well, I was born in August, 1963, precisely 10th August, 1963 in Sokoto. I attended Maru Teachers College from1976 to 1981. I think I stayed at home for a year because at that time, if you finish your teacher’s training, you go and teach for one year. But I didn’t go and teach for one year, I stayed with my father because he didn’t really want me to go to school in the first place. He had always wanted me to manage his business.

Sorry, I called him my father, but in reality, he was my uncle but I stayed with him right from my childhood, so I called him my father. But he is Alhaji Gbadamosi.

When I stayed home for one year, I now enrolled into Birnin Kebbi Polytechnic where I was between 1982 to 1985. I read building Technology. So, after finishing in 1985, In was to go for industrial experience, the compulsory one year working experience before you go for the HND and I said no. some of my friends had gained admission into Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. So, I also sat for the examination there and I passed it.

I was given B.Sc in Building. I owe a lot to Alhaji Ade Sanni in this regard. I was at ABU between 1986 and 1989. I was posted to Katsina State for the National Youth Service Corps Between 1989 and 1990. By the time I finished, I returned to Sokoto in 1990. My uncle still insisted that I should stay and work with him because he was into bakery business. That time, he owned Kajola Bread. But because as at the time I finished from the university I began to realise that even though he took me as a son, I was not actually his son because he also had grown up sons. We were about 13 in number.

None of them went to the university. It was only me because he loved me very much. But there was one of our brothers- Baba Oyedeji, who once told me that I should go in search of a job.

He said if I continued to stay with my uncle, after his death, I would not be entitled to any stake in property or wealth. Whatever he would give me, he had already given me now, at least I had finished my university education and that was my own entitlement. He insisted I should go in search of a job to make my own fortunes.

I went to meet my uncle and I said this is what Baba Oyedeji said oo. “That I have nothing to benefit from you. For that, let me go and better still, I will be able to look for my father. As at that time, as I said, he was not my father; my real father was here in Offa by name Alhaji Mohammed.

But my uncle no, vehemently. He said I would be the caretaker of his property and accountant to the whole business. After about a year, 1991 precisely, we used to supply Sokoto prisons with bread as sole contractor through Sarki Shefi.

So, we went to contact Sarki Shefi that I’ve finished school and I’m in search of a job. I said I didn’t want to be doing this bread business. He asked me what I read and I said Building Technology. So, he asked one of his sons, then the Managing Director of Federal Housing Authority, Lagos.

He gave me a note to him and I left without my uncle’s consent. At that time, Sokoto to Lagos was just like N11.00, that was mass transit. So, I struggled and got the N11.00 and left. That 1991 was the first time I would come to the South. That was the first time I would know anywhere apart from the Northern states.

So, I came to Lagos. They dropped me at Maryland. From there I didn’t know where to go again because I hardly spoke English or Yoruba as I was always speaking Hausa. I spoke Hausa to one man selling cigarettes by the road side. He told me we should go to Obalende.

On getting to Obalende, I met a lot of people I knew before. I think I slept in Obalende for a day and the next day, I went to Amukoko I met one of my old friends who worked then with NITEL in Lagos.

I was staying with him and after about two days- I think I got to Lagos on a Friday-he now took me to FHA on Monday to meet Engr. Yabo, the M.D.

I gave him the note and instantly, he gave me the appointment as a Building Officer II. He even gave me transport fare to go and bring back my load from Sokoto. That as how I became a staff of FHA.

Now, because of this business that I had been doing with my uncle, I had been used to counting money right from my secondary school days.

At FHA, as a Building Officer II, my monthly pay was N600. I had not been married at that time. N600 that time would not last me even for one week, it would finish. I would now go either to meet the M.D for money or go back to Sokoto and tell my uncle I needed money.

That was what I had been facing until 1994 when my father said I must get married. I now settled down with my wife at Sokoto. At that time, I was shuttling between Sokoto and Lagos.

There was this friend, Bashir. Apart from working with NITEL, he was selling other remnants of sugar as well as rice. All those Indians who came to NITEL to make calls, he got to know them and often collected their cards and interacted with them to know the kind of business they were into.

They would later help him in getting sugar, rice and would now follow him to understudy the business. When he goes to work, I would follow up on the business.

That was how I ventured into the business. He would take like 70 percent of the profit and I would take 30percent until he finally relocated back to the North and left the business for me to do.

Of course, at that time, it was not capital intensive. You collect money from the customers, you go and pay into the bank and you get your product and the profit was waiting. I now found that in a month, I was making like N5,000 as against the N600 salary.

In 1997, I decided that why should I be punishing myself to go this far in collecting N600 when I can struggle and make N5,000. After all, my father had advised me to do more of business than government work. So I decided to resign in 1997.

Would that be the turning point in your life?

 Yes! I resigned in 1997. And that year that I