Incumbent Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Dayo Olumide Adeneye, is many things rolled into one in the entertainment industry. Adeneye was part of the wave-making team that shot the numero uno, Rapower 100.5 FM to the top of radio broadcasting in Nigeria. He and his alter ego, ‘Keke’ Ogungbe ruled the airways then with their variety of music jams, culminating in the establishment of Kennis Music. Meanwhile, the Odogbolu-born ace presenter was playing politics by the side and it paid off shortly after. Prior to his appointment as commissioner, the popular DJ was in the Media and Publicity Committee of the Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s second term campaign. In this interview with Effects, the Ogun State spokesperson speaks on his trajectory, his foray into politics and other sundry matters. Excerpts:
What has the experience been like since you joined the cabinet?
It has been a very good eye-opener for me. It got me exposed to a lot of things, especially how government runs. One would realize that things are not actually what they seem to be. When you are outside the government, you tend to complain about so many things, but when you are inside, you’re privileged to see what comes in and goes out on a monthly basis. For example in Ogun State, we receive a little above N1billion as allocation from the Federal Government every month, yet the state has a salary obligation of over N9billion. So, we play catch-up every month. We still have social amenities, like roads, water, electricity, schools, hospitals and several others to provide for the people. Where will the money to do all that come from? That is why we need to diversify our economy and increase our IGR. That is what a good government or administration should do.
What is the magic wand Governor Amosun’s using that makes it appear as if Ogun is in a straight competition with Lagos in terms of rapid industrialisation, despite your humble IGR?
I don’t think we are in competition with anybody, let me state that first and foremost. Yes, our neighbours are important to us. Lagos remains the commercial capital of Nigeria, but Ogun State, with over 500 industries established and over 120 located in the state in the last six years, with investments between 200 million to two billion dollars, is indeed a force to reckon with in the area of industrial development of the nation. We are not competing with any state but we’ll continue to think up ways to increase economic development and generate employment for our citizens.
It should be noted that Ogun State government has put in place, policies and programmes which will attract 75 percent of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Nigeria in the state.
You contested for a seat in the State House of Assembly in 2015. 2019 is beckoning, are you angling for any political office?
I am still committed to serving my state and my nation. Like I said, my life is about service and this is about what your people want you to do. Yes, I heed the call of my people that I should return home and contribute my quota to the development of my constituency in 2013/2014. That call brought me into politics in the state and I’m still committed to it. Our late sage, Papa Obafemi Awolowo, is being remembered for his service to his people and the nation. He left a lot of legacies. In my case too, I want to be remembered for good. Wherever my people feel I can serve them, when that time comes, I will take it up. Man proposes but God disposes. But I remain committed to this political adventure. I tell our people that it is not just enough to sit in the corner of your room to complain or go on social media to abuse government. Be part of the process. If you bring one problem, provide five solutions. As my dad used to say, we Nigerians should stop talking and get involved.
What has life taught you as a person?
Never give up. Winston Churchill once said. You are going to have some moments and people would always tell you these can’t be done It has never been done, but if you look at any achievement or progress made on earth, progress has always been made by people who believe it can be done. Look at President Muhammadu Buhari contesting three times, you must believe in yourself. Life has taught me that I must believe in myself.
When we came into entertainment business, people were talking, what are you doing in music, you read accounting, what is there in music?
You have to sometimes swing against the tide. The same thing applies to Politics. I decided that I didn’t want to be a spectator anymore; that I was tired of sitting in the parlour and complaining about others taking decisions for me. Be a participant and not an observer. Never give up. Once you’ve made up your mind, that this is what yoi want, go for it, but never, ever give up..
You are a fashion freak. Must it always be a ‘designer’ for you?
Not really. Maybe when I was younger. Maybe when I was in my teens through my late 20s in the university. We cared about the labels and the names at that time. Of course, at that time, it had to be Versace or Gucci. The way I’m right now, comfort is paramount. My comfort is very important. I won’t because I want to wear a Gucci or Versace wear something I won’t be comfortable in. I like to stand out in a crowd. I dress in a unique but not in a loud way, I like to stand out in my unique way and still be able to blend. I like good things, but I also know that when you pay for good products they will last longer. If you want to label me a freak for something, it has to be for my glasses and wristwatches. I like wristwatches. Even as at now, I have stopped collecting wristwatches. I found out that once you have one that you like and you are comfortable with, I stick with that. I like shoes and I like glasses. My mood depicts the kind of glasses I wear, but comfort for me is the most important thing. I like to be comfortable. I like linen a lot. I like soft clothes that are brief that allow your skin to get some air.
You are a versatile traveler, where is your best holiday spot?
I’m going to give you two answers. Before I joined government, my favourite was in the Caribbean. There’s an island called Agueila, I like Barbados. I like most of the islands in the Caribbean. I’m looking forward to going to Sychelles; I hear the place is very beautiful. The beaches are very distinct; very sandy and nice. But for now, my favourite destination area is Ogun State. Seriously speaking, our parents always retire back to their home states for a reason and that’s why they live longer. They move away from the traffic, from the stress, the hustling and bustling of Lagos. I have found out that my last few years in Ogun State has been comforting. It’s a bit hard for me to drive to the neighbouring states now. With all sense of modesty, I really found Ogun State very serene and very calm. I’m in my fifties now, spending a weekend in a nice quiet area, eating cooked catfish soup is a bit of fun now.
What is the state government doing to ensure that the state-owned television station, OGTV meets the demands of the NBC as regards digitalisation as well as having a wider reach. Moreover, how did government resolve the recent industrial crisis at the OGBC?
We have to thank His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, for his efforts in that direction. When I was appointed commissioner, the first thing on my agenda was how to restore OGBC and OGTV to the heights they were noted for. It was not that they are doing badly, but technology has changed. Gone were the days the two stations were next to FRCN and NTA. Those were the dominant stations then. These days, you can start a radio station from your room. And with the proliferation of TV and radio stations all over, that era of dominance is over. That aside, regarding the signals of OGTV getting to certain areas, the only area without proper signal is Ijebu-Igbo and it has to do with the topography of the place. There is a kind of valley in that area that absorbs signals and there is little we can do about that.
We have just changed our transmitter. The governor was able to approve and release money for the purchase of brand new transmitter last year from Italy. We have also ordered for a back-up 10b killowatt transmitter. When we tested the first one, our signals were received as far as Ajah and Epe in Lagos. Our signals are also received in Oyo and parts of Ondo states. However, people, who can’t receive our signals within Ogun State may need to change their antennae. We have been operating on a new transmitter for the past one year, and we are about to install the second one for the same OGTV. We have been able to upgrade OGBC as well, in preparation for the digitalisation process.
Look, when you talk about digitalisation, it is a very expensive process, which government cannot fund alone. Even in the US that is at the forefront of pushing for digitalization, it is being stalled a bit because if you consider the amount the process will gulp, it is humongous. They too have gone back to the drawing board to let their people know how expensive the process is. We are doing the same thing in Nigeria.
The date has been shifted a couple of times, and NCC and NBC think we will make headway this year. They held some meetings with state commissioners for information and we are making some progress. The problem is that when you go digital, you might not be able to receive signals with your antennas, you will need what is called set-up boxes, like your decoders at home, but a bit cheaper. Everybody must have this in order to be able to receive signals. But when you talk about the box, that will cost between N15,000 and N30, 000. It’s not everybody who will be able to afford that. Definitely, government will have to step in. So that is where we are in terms of digitalisation. We are ready as an organ of government. Our transmitter is digital ready, to send out signals, but another issue is will our people receive?
What of the OGBC?
OGBC and OGTV were set up as independent organs, yet government has ownership of both. They don’t pay their revenue into the coffer of the state government. So, they are like business concerns, and you know that the first rule of any business is to sustain itself; pay salaries and generate its running cost. Any business that fails to do these has a problem. Considering the fact that the media outfits air state functions, this administration increased their subventions. I don’t want to start naming figures, but the two stations receive subventions and these have been paid up to date. Remember I told you that the stations generate revenue which government does not ask how they are spend. We also give subventions which have been paid to date. So, there is no reason these organs should owe salaries…
(Cuts in) They claimed the subventions were not adequate to take care of salaries of staff
The subventions are not meant to pay salaries but to augment. Like I told you, they were set up as independent business entities. They have laws guiding them. They have boards and we do not interfere with what they do with their revenues, even though we should. So, it behoves on them to ensure that salaries are paid, more so, government does not ask them to pay their revenues into the coffer of the state. And in a situation where you can’t pay salaries, you need to look inward and if you need to restructure the organisation, that should be done.
Finally, your advice to journalists and information managers alike?
As members of the fourth estate of the realm, we owe the masses our obligations, but in reporting the activities of any government, I urge our media friends to be fair and just in their reportage. In as much as we want to report what a government ought to or not to do, we should endeavour to report what they have done well. Any government that is making effort to provide and continue to forge ahead, despite the challenges in Nigeria, should have its activities well propagated in the media. As information managers, we should learn to say the truth, not just coin it in the way to suit our principals or proprietors. We should allow the people have the true picture. However, what we have discovered is that we do things to serve interests. That is not peculiar to the media, but to everybody. But for the sake of fairness, justice and equity, we urge our media friends to keep supporting this administration, not just at the state level, but at the national level as well. We are all privy to what Nigeria has gone through for almost two decades and these things can’t be fixed overnight. We have to be a bit patient. Things will surely get better. The toughest part is over in 2016 and we pray that the country, called Nigeria, will not fall apart. We shall continue to forge ahead and take our rightful place in the comity of nations.