Dayo Adeneye, famously known as D1, is co-owner of Kennis Music, which is the label to many famous Nigerian singers. As co-anchor of mega-popular TV show Primetime Africa, he became one of the most influential people in the Nigerian music industry. Weekend Magazine cornered him for a chat, in which he spoke about his political ambition, career in showbiz and many others. Excerpts:
Youâ€™ve made your mark in showbiz, why are you venturing into politics?
Itâ€™s a natural progression, an extension of what Iâ€™ve always done in the private sector. Like I always say, weâ€™re all political animals. Itâ€™s just that some people are more active than others. Whether you sit in your house and you talk about government, or you discuss electricity and bad roads, youâ€™re talking politics and being political. Iâ€™ve chosen to stop sitting on the fence and do something about it by participating. That is why Iâ€™m taking a bold step by joining politics.
How prepared are you for the task ahead?
I didnâ€™t just wake up and decide to go into politics. My being into politics has been a steady progress of thoughts and events. I have been thinking about this for some years, I have been officiating party events, talking to friends and families. When my people asked me to come and represent them, I couldnâ€™t say no anymore and had to accept their request. I have been doing it in the private sector by contributing to the growth of the economy through my various businesses.
WM: Running for a political office in Nigeria is a financial burden. Are you Ready to commit that kind of money?
Weâ€™ve started spending it already. People are always resistant to change, so whenever you want to effect it, you have to be ready to put in your blood, sweat and tears. Making it is not easy and may cost you your time and money. But money is just the small aspect of it even if itâ€™s needed for campaigns, ads on various mediums, posters and more. Itâ€™s part of the price you pay, just like any private business you are running. You cannot sit in your room and make change. You have to go out there.
Itâ€™s a season of entertainers flocking into politicsâ€¦
These are celebrities who have distinguished themselves in their chosen field. Remember the days of our fore-fathers, such as Awolowo, Azikiwe and the rest, they were lawyers, architects and other professionals, politics was not their full-time job. And these people have distinguished themselves. If showbiz people chose to participate in governance, I donâ€™t see why people should see anything other than them wanting to serve.
Does this mean youâ€™d detach yourself from showbiz if elected?
No. I see it as an extension of what Iâ€™ve been doing in the entertainment sector. Iâ€™m going to reach back to my colleagues in the entertainment industry, the multinationals that know my name and face, to bring my influence to my constituency. I will always be a part of the Nigerian entertainment industry.
How about your other famous business partner, Kenny Ogungbe, how does he feel about you going into politics?
He has been very supportive. As a matter of fact, we have always talked about it over the years. I just needed the opportunity to come and thank God and it has. Kenny is very happy for me. He is the Director-General of my campaign organization, and he is a hundred percent behind me. Like I said earlier, it is an extension of what we did before.
Do you think entertainers can bring change to politics?
I donâ€™t like the word â€˜entertainersâ€™. These people are humans who are distinguished personalities and graduates. They have distinguished themselves in their field and are very qualified to contest. They should be labeled â€˜Nigeriansâ€™ and they have a right to vote and be voted for. If they have what it takes to be politicians and bring about change, then they are free to contest.
One of your mentors in the entertainment industry, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, is in a different political party from yours. Why did you choose a different one?
All Progressive Congress better suits my personality, philosophy and where I am headed politically. I have always been affiliated with APC. The philosophy of APC is progressive change, especially in Ogun State where there is a mission to re-build. Everybody knows what is happening in Lagos State and if you go to Edo State you will see the transformation there, too.
What have been your challenges so far?
I wonâ€™t call them challenges, but stepping stones which help me get closer to the people at the grassroots and also helping me to know my people better. That is why I chose to run for a constituency and not House of Reps or Senate where I would have to go and sit in Abuja. I want to be able to hit the ground running, making an impact and a difference in the society. My people in Odogbolu constituency have been very welcoming; the words of encouragement have been tremendous. They have been saying â€˜you are the one we have been waiting for, go for it, we are strongly behind youâ€™. That kind of lets me know that I made the right decision.
Would you miss your famous Grammys telecasts?
Like I said, I am not dumping entertainment completely.Â I am still part and parcel of it, it is my first constituency and it is a platform I hold dear to my heart. What is wrong if I take some youths from my constituency to the Grammys? That is part of my goal to further enlighten and expand the horizon of people in my constituency. I still look forward to doing the Grammys as long as it doesnâ€™t interfere with my official duties.
What has been the reaction from your family?
My family has been very supportive. My wife goes with me on campaign trips, and sheâ€™s been extremely involved. My uncles, brothers, all of them. My mother calls me every day to advise and pray for me. I just feel for my children because they donâ€™t get to see me as they used to, but they are happy. Itâ€™s all been very encouraging.