Olukayode Ezekiel Salako is an educationist, a social activist among several other things. In this interview, he talks about his being a social activist, being married to actress Foluke Daramola and more.
You are a man of many interests, what is your present focus?
Basically, I am into social wellbeing, advocacy and activism. You might want to say that it is too much for one person, but I would say that it is my nature. I am an energetic and passionate type of person. I also try to manage my time among the subject matters I want to operate on.
Can you tell us about your road to activism?
I have been into activism for the past 19 years. I can tell you that I have been into productive social advocacy and activism in Nigeria since the beginning of this democracy. I think that I have done it so well that today I have become notable with it. People who know me are aware that I say things the way they are and the way I see it. There is no need celebrating what is not as a social advocate or activist.
What is the essence of social activism?
The essence of social activism is to continue to talk, to advocate for the ideal survival and development of our society. You have to continue to say it the way it is so that the people in authority can hear it, think about it and pick one or two things to use in the process of running the society, so that it can function well.
How effective would you describe your job as an advocate?
The government has not written me a letter before to say Mr. Salako we have decided to listen or to now start implementing some of the things you have been saying in the past 19 years, but I know that many of the things I have talked about as part of the necessary changes I want in Nigeria as a society are already manifesting.
Can you mention a few?
One of them is the emergence of decent, disciplined, responsible and modest leadership in Nigeria. Quality leadership; I think the country is experiencing that now.
In what terms do you describe quality leadership?
A political leadership and civil governance to govern the people for expected impartations. If you are governing people and you cannot impact positively on their lives then you are not ideal as a leader.
Would you describe the government of President Muhammadu Buhari as an ideal one?
The government of the All Progressive Congress (APC), from Lagos to Abuja, Kaduna, Oyo, Osun states and other places have been governing to impact, governing to develop Nigeria infrastructurally. Go to the State of Osun and see what Aregbesola is doing. That is my state and I know what I am saying. I can tell you that I am impressed with Aregbesola. Look at what Ambode is doing in Lagos State. Look at what is happening in Abuja, Abuja is improving every day. If you go to Kaduna you will see what Nasiru El-Rufai is stubbornly doing there. The same applies to Imo State. The Imo State of today and that of yesterday are incomparable. Nigeria is experiencing quality and ideal leadership presently.
Are you aware of complains of hardship in this country?
Those who are leading the complaints are the same people who destroyed the economy. The people complaining are the looters we voted out in 2015. Those that are complaining are those listening to those looters. If you are not listening to those looters then there is no reason to complain because as a mentally balanced person, an educated man, a well-informed individual, I know that when a house is under renovation, you cannot enjoy that house at that same time. Nobody can prove otherwise to me. Nigeria is experiencing necessary reformation and those who are there now are making efforts. They are being sincere about it; they are restoring Nigeria to return all our lost glory.
Are you saying this as a member of the APC?
I am not even a member of any political party in Nigeria. I am only a member of one political movement in Nigeria and that is the Nigerian Intervention Movement (NIM), also known as the Third Force.
The same Third Force?
Nigerian Intervention Movement (NIM) is the real third force in Nigeria; Obasanjo’s Third Force is the fake. Two people started the need to have another political platform, a party, as an alternative for Nigerians two years ago. I was the second person.
Who was the first person?
I won’t mention any name. If I mention the person’s name then you will know that I am saying the truth. The same person who I was discussing the idea with, who we created it together is the same person who organised President Goodluck Jonathan’s congress. He was also the person who advised President Muhammadu Buhari to contest the election. He is a social person and I call him a social project engineer and I am a member of that enterprises. I am not a member of any political party, but I have a kind of political inclination with the APC because the party is a progressive political platform while the PDP is the conservative political party.
Fasholamania was a project you worked on for several years, what happened to it?
Fasholamania is still my passion because Babatunde Raji Fashola is still in this government. He is doing what he did in Lagos State for Nigeria on a Federal level, and that is one of the reasons why I believe in this government. Fashola did fantastically well for Lagos; so let’s give him that eight years to work and we will see what he will achieve. So, Fashola is still my passion and I have hope that someday he will realise that there is someone somewhere called Olukayode Salako who has been his passion for eleven years because he is my kind of leader. I appreciate his leadership style, ideologies and principles.
On a lighter note, how do you relax?
Addictively, I relax with my phone. I relax by advocating on my phone for the betterment of Nigeria. Asides that, I like walking, I like endurance treks. If I don’t want to do those, I hangout.
You are married to an actress Foluke Daramola, does she enjoy your socialising?
I am a domesticated man. I am a person who considers and satisfies the needs of his home. I operate with that consciousness to satisfy the needs of my home. So, if need be, andI have to stay at home with my wife then I stay.
Do you watch your wife’s movies?
Normally, I don’t have the time for sitting down with Yoruba Nollywood movies or any movie at that. I prefer to sit in my house reading. The phone has everything you can think of, so I sit down and surf for information or write for advocacy. Because I use glasses, if I want to relax my eyes I relax with my wife and we watch one or two movies together. After the movie, we savour the lessons. I am a very humorous person and my wife calls me the family comedian. When my mood is good, almost everything I say makes people laugh. I could be someone like that. I am not saying that I am a perfect man, I am not perfect, but I am a disciplinarian. I am a strict father and I am highly principled.
Are you a strict husband too?
Yes, I am, but also a loving one. I am both strict and liberal, but I am more of the liberal husband than the strict husband. The strictness comes when I want to tell my wife or children that this thing is wrong and daddy will not take it.
Many didn’t expect your marriage with Foluke Daramola to last this long, what has been the secret thus far?
The secret is from the saying of a philosopher that, “nothing is a problem only thinking makes it so.” Most of the problems that destroy homes are problems allowed through thinking. For instance, I come home drunk and my wife doesn’t see it as an issue. She welcomes me, even helps me to remove my clothes, pushes me to the bathroom, lay me on the bed and the next morning she says, “Kay you were drunk yesterday, I don’t like it,” and I say, “I am sorry dear.” It ends there. But imagine I come back home drunk and my wife starts shouting, yelling and abusing me. You know that when a man is drunk he could be violent and he could do anything. That is a simple analogy of the way we handle things. The truth is that most women are too confrontational, they are too daring and they are not afraid of their husband. A woman should be afraid of her husband not because the man is a terror, but for the basic purpose of the fact that the man is your husband and you wouldn’t want to do what will make him angry. A woman should have that. Once a woman is the daring type who reads meaning to everything, who picks up issues, who drags issues with her husband over everything, then that kind of home cannot stand. Basically, the secret of my marriage to Foluke Daramola is that I am a mentally balanced person, so I don’t have inferiority or superiority complex problems. I read little or no meaning to whatever she does. Let me tell you something, it is not easy to live with celebrity women especially today’s women, they misbehave. It is not like Foluke Daramola doesn’t misbehave like the normal woman that she is, but instead of me taking it up with her every time with the children observing, I just overlook. I decide not to read negative meanings to the things she does. Most importantly, I trust her a lot, I trust her absolutely. I don’t suspect her, I don’t go to her location to harass her and I don’t keep funny feelings in my head about her. If Foluke goes out and tells me this is what happens, then that is it. Let me shock you, I trust my wife so much that if she stays in a room with a man for three months and she comes out to tell me that, “Kay, nothing happened between us,” I will believe. That is Foluke for you.
What are your excesses as a man?
I am a man who gets angry. As simple as I am, and as liberal as I am there are certain things that you will do that can get me angry. That I can get angry doesn’t mean that I read negative meanings to things. I can get angry when I want to stop you from giving some things I don’t want to take from you. For instance, you don’t give me bullshit. If you are giving some things as your husband and I don’t like it if I have to engage you to stop it, I will engage you. I engage Foluke and when I engage her, she knows that it is for the purpose of stopping those things I don’t want and for the purpose of correcting her with love. Sometimes, Foluke is stubborn and if you don’t engage her she won’t stop. So, deliberately, I argue out one or two things with her to make sure that she stops giving them to me.
Nollywood actresses are hardly content, is your wife a pleased woman?
Foluke is a very content woman. She doesn’t put me under pressure. A lot of celebrity women out there put their husband under pressure to go and get involved with what they are not supposed to get involved in. Foluke doesn’t put me under pressure. I operate an open system with her, if I have money she knows that I have, but that doesn’t mean that I will tell her how much I have because if you tell a woman how much you have she won’t relax until that money is finished. I just let her know I have money, but I won’t tell her how much I have, and she knows that when her husband has he spends. I am a spender. I don’t spend anyhow, but I spend when I have to spend. So, I operate an open door policy with her. I am not a stingy man and she is not stingy to me because when she has money I know.
How do you know?
If Foluke goes out and makes N1,000,000, she will put it on the table for her husband to know. That is how we operate. Another thing is that we are also both convinced that we are spiritually meant for each other. I am convinced that she is my wife, my destined wife and she is also convinced that I am her destined husband. Those are the things making our marriage work.
On a final note, would you encourage your children to follow the career path of their mum?
As a liberal and ideal man, I will never impose any profession on my children. They will chose whatever they feel like becoming. Mine is just to advice and guide. If I advise my daughter not to be an actress and she says that is what she wants to become, what right do I have to stop her? Besides, what justification do I have to stop my daughter when I didn’t stop my wife? So, if my wife is an actress why can’t my daughter be?
What then would be your guiding principle if she chose to be an actress?
I will tell her to be the kind of actress her mum is. She is a very responsible woman.