There is a calm aura about you. Is it a reflection of your personality?
I am a calm person. There is no situation that bothers or threatens me. I also have the peace of God in me. I have held various positions in the land and I am still myself. I donâ€™t move around with security guards because the bible says â€˜When your way pleases God even your enemies will be at peace with youâ€™. I am not perfect but I strive as much as possible to be of good conduct. It is only the guilty that is afraid. I am not afraid to move around freely. I try to be good to all men. I always remind myself that public office is a public trust.
Do you still have political ambition?
At 61, I believe very strongly that God is still taking me higher. For as long as I live I will always aim high. And I have that conviction within me that God is not done with me yet. I donâ€™t know the time but I am hopeful because God has endowed me in all my faculties and I want to be an instrument of positive change to my society, I want to give to my society, to my nation and humanity. As long as I have the energy, I will forge on.
What do you remember about your parents that have been quite instructive?
As a Christian, it was compulsory to attend Sunday school. And right from that tender age we were taught the fear of God. My parents were teachers but they were disciplinarians and very religious. My father taught in so many places: Baptist Boysâ€™ School, Abeokuta where he was teacher to the likes of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola, and Prince Bola Ajibola and so on. He was also a teacher at Odogbolu Grammar School where he taught the likes of General Oladipo Diya.
He was also a teacher at the Olu-Iwa College that later became Adeola Odutola College, Ijebu-Ode where he was teacher to the present Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona. So a lot of dignitaries passed through his tutelage. Coming from that background, my parents inculcated discipline into us right from that tender age.
I remember some of the values we imbibed are: â€˜Do good to all men, humble yourself and family valuesâ€¦.â€™ In dressing, they believed you must dress in a dignified manner because the way you dress is the way you will be addressed.
Did growing up under such a father place a burden of expectations on you?
Yes, because he was someone people looked up to in the society as community and Christian leader. My mother was a headmistress of a primary school that I attended, Baptist Day School, Ijebu-Ode. They impacted the community with their profession so much that the Awujale, Oba Sikiru Adetona, conferred on my parents the chieftaincy title of â€˜Akewela of Ijebulandâ€™ meaning somebody that spurs children to prosperity. It was a kind of burden because one cannot afford to disappoint parents with such high pedigree.
What was your aspiration as a child?
Well, I aspired to be a doctor. In fact, before I was conscious of it, my father wanted me to be a medical doctor. Naturally, I worked towards it. Again, in those days, it was customary for parents to want a medical doctor, lawyer and engineer in the family. My senior brother was being tailored to be a lawyer and he is a lawyer today.
I was also being encouraged to be a doctor and by the grace of God I graduated from University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1981 as a medical doctor. In fact, my name Olorunnimbe was taken after the first Mayor of Lagos, the late Dr. Olorunnimbe.
As a child, my father was always calling me doctor. I worked towards his expectation. After graduation, I practiced between 1981 and 1999 when I was elected into the Lagos State House of Assembly where I served as Speaker.
When did you nurse the ambition of becoming a politician?
I believe that God has charted a course for all of us in life. The Bible says â€œI knew you even before you were formed in your motherâ€™s wombâ€. I pray on a daily basis that God will give me the grace to work within the course He has charted for my life.
Right from my childhood, my father, the late Chief Kolawole Adebowale Mamora was a leader of the Action Group. Since that time I have looked forward to take part in politics. As I was getting older the desire became a reality. As a medical student, I stood for an election and won as Financial Secretary of the Studentsâ€™ Union Government.That was the progression and when I left school I participated in a lot of political set-up which culminated in my election into the Lagos State House of Assembly between 1999 and 2003. In 2003, I was elected into the Senate representing Lagos East Senatorial District under the Alliance for Democracy (AD). I was in the senate for eight years.
Have you abandoned medicine totally?
No I have not but I donâ€™t practice actively now. I started my own private clinic in 1987 and it is still on in Ogudu. I only visit once in a while. But I am still very active in politics.
Looking back, what would you consider your greatest achievement?
I have tried to contribute my own quota to the growth of democracy and good governance in Lagos and in Nigeria as a whole.
Are there things you would have done differently?
I am happy with myself and looking back I have cause to glorify God for what He has been able to do through me. I believe my life has not ended and whatever remains can still be achieved. I believe God will give me long life and good health. My father died at the age of 83 in 1999 and my mother is 93 and still alive. Longevity runs in my family by the grace of God.
What lesson has life taught you?
To be kind to everyone around you and do whatever good you can to anybody. You never know what tomorrow will bring because what goes around comes around.
Culled from THISDAY