Left Nigeria as an undergrad for UK, came back to set up businesses in Nigeria, now lives in US … the intriguing life of a Nigerian politician
In this interview by ogbomosoinsightweekly.com for Mr. Femi Onireti, a businessman and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), via WhatsApp chat, he opens up on why he abandoned his university education at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) for the United Kingdom. The Ogbomoso-born politician also speaks on the administration of Engr. Seyi Makinde, Oyo state governor, why he could not get conferred with the chieftaincy title of Akeweje of Ogbomosoland by Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi last May 28, his name having been on the original list, how he handles slanderous remarks that are bound to follow him as an aspiring politician.
See excerpts of the interview:
Good day, the local government election is over with your party, PDP, claiming victory, how did it feel?
Seeing my party emerged as winner has really been an enthusiastic thing for me, I felt so elated that people have really woken to see the future in PDP and we will try our best possible not to let our people down. We can only go stronger further from there, what of the unrelenting administration of His Excellency, Engr. Seyi Makinde in making life more meaningful and positively impactful for the people of the state! So, you can’t expect less in any election, he will always triumph. Governor Makinde rules with the fear of God, vision, purposefulness and focus. As an instance, he promised to construct a 65 kilometer road (Moniya to Iseyin) in one and a half years and he delivered, it would even have been earlier if not for the covid-19 pandemic. That is unprecedented, and that is enticing to the people of Oyo state. He is really taking Oyo state from poverty to prosperity. What I still love about him is that he carries on with humility and respect for human dignity; no airs, what matters to him is service to the people. He also reconstructed Oke-Ado-Under-G road in Ogbomoso within record time, so what do you expect? You can’t expect such a leader to walk alone; people will always cheer for and support him and his party. He is a real blessing to Oyo state.
You were one of the personalities initially penciled down for conferment of honorary chieftaincy titles by Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III but you were missing on the day of the ceremony, did you lose interest or the offer was withdrawn as being claimed in some quarters?
Well, I wouldn’t want to say much about this, I had an emergency in the United States and I needed to travel before the conferment date hence my reason for being absent. Interestingly, I am not the only one that did not eventually get conferred, I learnt some eminent personalities for one reason or the other also didn’t make it. I have the highest regard for our monarch. I wish His Imperial Majesty many more glorious years on the throne of his forefathers.
Tell us about your background and what you do presently.
I started my primary and secondary education in Ibadan, Oyo state, after which I proceeded to the Federal University of Technology, FUTA, Akure, between 2003 and 2006, I later moved to United Kingdom to further my education in Business Management, then, came back to serve my fatherland. I am currently the CEO of Dohertis Global Resources Ltd, where we deal with multinational companies both home and abroad.
So, you did not finish in FUTA, why did you abandon it for the UK?
The reason I left for UK was my bid to try to extend my tentacles and also acquire knowledge from the unusual but then I realized that no place is like home. I actually started afresh in UK.
How did you become a businessman and what were the challenges faced and how you overcame?
As a child, I was always supportive of my father, being a business man, growing up in this really motivated me to starting my own business. So, after my university education, I ventured into business squarely, knowing fully well that I will be returning to my fatherland and I do not want to go through the stress of unemployment, rather, I decided to create a job for myself and others. There were a lot of challenges faced as to starting a new business, part of them were bad government policies, people’s dishonesty and bad economy, to mention but a few, amidst all these I still thrive to ensure that we keep moving.
Where is the headquarters of Dohertis Global Resources Ltd?
The headquarters of Dohertis Global Resources Ltd is in Port Harcourt (capital of Rivers state, Nigeria). We also have offices in Ibadan and also United States of America.
What has Nigerian politics taught you?
Nigerian politics over the years has really taught me that regardless of the situation I really need to stand up for my people, their entire well being should be paramount to me and to continually strive to contribute my quotas in various aspects like security, that is ensuring the safety of our citizens; education, ensuring we have a well literate and educated populace; employment, providing adequate job for the youths and so on. All these and many more cannot only make the country stand out but also stand strong and tall from others. And they say charity begins at home.
How do you take slanderous remarks?
Well, with my little experience about life, I have realized that slanderous remarks are inevitable especially when you are trying to get into or holding a public office by which some people might consider you as blocking their chances but I am always calm about situations knowing that truth will always reveal itself. I am never bothered about such or else your speed of movement will be impeded and you will end up getting bogged down. Dead woods don’t get pelted with rocks, only living trees get exposed especially when they ones that bear fruits. As long as what they dwell on is not the truth I don’t take it to heart.
You promised to provide boreholes for the wards that got the highest votes for PDP in each of the three local governments making Ogbomoso federal constituency in the last council election, have you fulfilled the promise?
Our fulfillment is still in the pipeline but I can assure you that whatever we have promised, we will definitely fulfill so there is no cause for alarm. I assure you we will start the execution any moment. We can only follow in the footsteps of our boss by fulfilling what we promised.
We heard you further promised to pay UTME and WAEC fees of the student that came first in the quiz competition you staged last month in addition to the bounty prizes already won? How true is this?
It is very true and we are not backing down on our promises.
We are now descending the hill towards 2023, intra-party politics will soon take the centre stage, how prepared are you?
I can categorically say I am prepared in all ramifications.