The name Hon. Shina Abiola Peller is synonymous with Nightlife. Away from that narrative, he is a peace-loving individual, who has his hands in several thriving businesses littered across the country. Over the years, the Oyo state born businessman, has taken his trade to the top. His doggedness and creative mind has helped galvanized his imprint -Quilox, to an enviable height, therefore making it the best premium luxurious night club in West Africa.
The honourable member representing Iseyin, Itesiwaju, Kajola, Iwajowa Federal constituency in Oyo State at the House of Representative, spoke to Zaaki Azzay about his foray into the murky waters of politics, his passion for humanity and philanthropic works among other issues. Excerpts
In your own words, who is a true Nigerian?
A true Nigerian is the person that puts himself in another person’s shoes before taking decisions. Someone that is selfless, not tribalistic, not selfish and he put the interest of the nation ahead of his own. It’s everybody’s task to make sure that we fix Nigeria. It is not one person’s obligation.
What is your formula for success? What are you doing differently?
It is hinged on my drive to succeed. I always want to be the best in whatever I endeavour to do. There is a saying I hold on to. “What is worth doing, is worth doing well.” I hold on to this quote dearly and strive to always be the best in whatever I do. I am also a very restless and relentless person. Once I achieve one thing, I move to something else. That is why everyone can see how I moved from oil and gas to building and construction, entertainment and now politics. Politics is something I never saw myself in. I have had several interviews where I spoke against politics. It got to a stage a when I realised that; whatever anyone wants to be in life, being a political illiterate is the worst thing that can happen to a man.
What was the turning point for you to go into politics?
I thought deeply about it and made up my mind that we cannot fold our hands and continue to watch things go bad. Nigeria is a country that is loved by God. We have the best weather, natural resources and human resources; an average Nigerian can work for fourteen hours a day because we are very agile. Having all these and still remain at this level spurred me to action. I believe if I am successful in business, I will also do well in politics. More so, I have always been a philanthropist who has always been there for my people and I have done a lot. While doing that, my people clamoured for me to come into politics and I had to give it a try.
It is said that most politicians in Nigeria have godfathers who pushed them into politics and they become indebted to them in various ways. Would you still be able to say you are in politics to help people if you had a godfather?
I definitely would have made the statement because it is something of the mind. I am very sincere about the role I want to play in politics. In my opinion, it is not bad to have a godfather. You can have a godfather, you can have a mentor and it depends on the role they are playing in your life.
I will not appreciate a godfather that does not believe in performance but celebrates mediocrity. I would want a godfather that pulls someone that has what it takes. For me, while I was going into politics, it was never my interest first. In all honesty, it is easier for me to win an election with PDP (People’s Democratic Party) than my own political party because of my step father who is the PDP chairman in Oyo state. If it was based on godfatherism, I will be in the opposing party because of him and it would have been a lot easier to get the party ticket and even win election. More so, the state was won by PDP.
Have you always been like this even before politics? What are some of the things that you have done as a philanthropist?
Yes, I have always been this way and even hard on myself. “Sometimes, the hard way is the only way.” Is what I say to myself. Before I ventured into politics, I did a lot. I have always been a philanthropist. There is a school for the blind in Surulere where I have five students on my scholarship scheme. Every year, I celebrate my birthday with them and it is the most important part of my celebration. I also gave out tablets with full educational syllabus to students from Kuramo secondary school and Victoria Island Secondary school. After all these, I decided to go back home to try and encourage unity among our diverse community. I am from Okeogun . Okeogun occupies the largest mass of land in Oyo State and they call us the food basket of Oyo State. I noticed that there was disunity. To bring these communities together, I came up with the idea of a football competition “Peller Unity Cup” which I used to immortalize my father’s name during his twentieth year remembrance. The competition was among the ten local governments from my region and it was successful. The Alaafin of Oyo, the Ooni of Ife was there even to top celebrities were in attendance.
My campaign was based on identifying the need of the community and trying to find a solution to that need in my own capacity. During the cause of my campaign, I was able to identify some communities that had issues with portable water. I dug sixteen boreholes even before I obtained my party ticket. People said to me that things are not done the way I was doing it. I was supposed to get my ticket first before laying hands on these projects but I believe that there is a blessing in giving someone a cup of water. How much more boreholes to sixteen communities. This is something that they are in dire need of. I also built hostels for youth corpers, laboratories, libraries etc.
What kind of background did you have growing up?
I never had luxury when growing up but I had access to the basic things like three square meal and education.
When did you experience your big break?
My big break happened during AASU strike. I have always been a restless person. I like getting things done. At the time of the strike, I will journey to Lagos, buy top designer wears and bring them back to Ibadan to sell to the “big bros” in Ibadan and get a little profit from it. I ventured into procurement after that and I went into oil and gas, entertainment. The entertainment business started fully after a sour partnership. I acquired the name “lux” which was coined out from “luxury”. Since I already had a business (Aquila Group) and I like the ‘lux’ name, I brought the two names together to become “Quilox” which I defined myself to represent ‘night life’. I also started a record label and now, I am in a different terrain entirely. The youths today need to take a cue. If there is a break, there are some vocational skills one can learn that even when you get your certificate, you can still have these things to support it.
With the high rate of unemployment, kidnapping and all that is going on in the country, what measures do you think can be taken to curb them?
Security has always been a recurring problem. It is not a new one. We have the increase in population. I think it’s high time for our Executives to take a decision on our security apparatus. I will be sponsoring a bill very soon on how to tackle insecurity in Nigeria.
I will want to admonish that there should be a structure that provides information to the mainstream security system. The country is divided into states, the states are divided by local government and the local government are divided by the ward. I will suggest that there should be ward security products that would be trained by the mainstream security system so that their main obligation would be to provide information before a crime is committed. Once a crime is committed in that ward, they would be held accountable for whatever happens under their watch. This way, there would be accountability.
How would you rate the first tenure of power led by the APC and what are your expectations for the next four years?
I believe the first tenure has always been a work in progress. Taking over from an opposition party is not always easy because the parties usually don’t have the same agenda. The first year was already operating
APC is a party that has what it takes to take the country to another level.
It’s been said that the entertainment industry in Nigeria can increase the GDP of Nigeria. If you were the President, what will you do about the entertainment industry?
What I will do is empower the industry. Nigeria has taken over the entertainment world. It is high time we understand that creativity is our next goldmine. If I was the President, I will give more opportunity to the entertainment industry in terms of investment because they say to whom much is given, much is expected. If we are expecting an industry to generate all the revenue that you want, you should give that industry the support that the industry requires.
Where I come from, there is a place called Adunawaye suspended lake. There are two suspended lakes in the world. The one in my place Iseyin where I come from and the other one in Collorado America. It takes you forty five minutes to climb the hills and at the top of the hill there is a suspended lake. These can be used to shoot Nollywood movies, music video shoots and even tourism thereby generating revenue. We need to explore and not limit ourselves since we are still growing.
Now that you are a lawmaker in the ninth assembly, what type of bills should we expect from you?
I have started working. Just before we went on break, I raised a motion on the need to tackle rape and sexual violence in women and children in Nigeria. It was a motion that received positive attention. I believe that it has got to the stage where we need to protect the children because they are the leaders of tomorrow. We can’t call our children the leaders of tomorrow and not carter for them.
According to UNICEF, “one out of every four Nigerian girls has been sexually harassed before the age of eighteen.” This caught my attention so I have a bill that is coming out on it. It is high time we make some amendments to the existing law. The sexual amendment act, section 7 has the age definition of a Nigerian child. Section one says eleven years old, section two is thirteen and section three says eighteen. I think the inconsistency in the section is giving room to child marriage. I see myself as the voice of the common man and that is how I introduce myself in the House of Assembly.so, I will be sponsoring bills that affect the life of the common man.
There is also a bill on security coming up like we discussed I mentioned earlier.
What does your wife hate most and what do you love most about your wife?
She hates the fact that I don’t rest because I am always working.
What I love most about her is the fact that she is very caring.