My name is Olatunde Jamyh Dawood-Akerele. I was born on 7th March 1973 in Erin Oke, Oriade Local Government, Osun State. My father Alhaji Abugansoro Dawood-Akerele and my mother Madam Sarat Adefisola (nee Famakinwa) are both from the town. I’m from a polygamous family. My father has eleven children, six from my mother as the first wife while I happened to be the 5th child. I lost my mother 27 years ago, it was during the period when I was writing my WAEC.
GROWING UP EXPERIENCE:
Really, my early stage was full of training but for the fact that my parents were not rich made life seemed somehow tough. My father was into the distillation of local dry gin in Ibadan coupled with petty farming while my late mother was also a petty trader. Initially, they were not based in the same place. I had finished my primary education before my dad relocated back to our town.
Due to poverty, they were unable to provide us with all our wants but they always struggled to cater for our basic needs. They didn’t toy with our school fees as we always paid even faster than the children born by the golden spoon in their mouths. Either rich or not, with or without meat, we ate thrice a day. I used to support my parents’ economy with hawking oranges, leaves and vegetables. Whenever I was in need of any personal item, I would go into the bush to fetch firewood and sell. Sometimes, with my friends, I used to do labour such as bush clearing, hoeing and planting for money. Yet, I never joked about my education. I was the best pupil in my class throughout my primary education.
I used to look neat all the time. I love looking good in my school uniform, my shoes and socks were always neat because of that; many thought that my parents’ economy was slightly better. My mother could beat while my father could threaten. The duos of them were disciplinarians.
Indeed, we must sweep the floor, pack the thrash, throw it into the bush, fetch water both from the public tap and the river, cook and eat before going to school in the morning while going to Ile-kewu after the school was also inescapable. It’s routinely.
I love Fuji music and I could compose very well. I have the tone, the skill. While in secondary school, I used to sing Fuji during the break time. My classmates would be beating desks, bottles while the ladies would be dancing. My friends used to call me Fuji Tomato or Dajistar Fuji.
After my secondary school, I tried to give it trial but my people so detested it because the popular belief then was that no well-trained child should attempt to venture into such a profession that is known to be the exclusive of the “bad boys”, street boys. They believed I must smoke, drink alcohol, womanize and fraternize with bad boys. That’s why I neglected it and faced my original aim of becoming a lawyer. After writing the Jamb two times, I was forced to go the polytechnic to study Banking and Finance.
I attended Ansar U Deen Primary and Irepodun High School both in my town.
I bagged Ordinary National Diploma and Higher National Diploma HND in Banking and Finance from Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke in 1996 and 1999 respectively.
I sat for both Diploma and Certificate in Nigerian Institute of Public Relations and passed the three diets with recording any reference.
In my quest to become a lawyer, I enrolled to study law in the National Open University of Nigeria. I just completed my LLB Law, now waiting for mobilization to the Law School.
Before my admission to polytechnic, I have done a number of factory menial jobs. I was a loader with one distributor of Guinness and International Breweries in Surulere, Lagos.
I had my NYSC with Union Bank Plc, Ogoja branch in Cross River. I worked with Standard Trust Bank as a contract staff but was forced to pull out after two years of no promotion, no prospect. It was another experience entirely. I joined LAF &CO (Chartered Accountants) on a special assignment of collecting withholding tax receipts for some companies. Through that, I made my first visit to Abuja and Port Harcourt in 2006 respectively. After the expiry of the said contract, with assistance from friends and relations, I bought a Ford delivery van that I was driving by myself. The loading point was Ojuwoye Market, Mushin. I would load seasonings, soaps, sugar, and beverages, to the customer’s destinations. They preferred to hire my bus because it was tokunbo while my approach or relationship with them was more refined and polite unlike that of those common street drivers who have no education.
Those drivers began to gang up against me. I was frustrated out the market. I went to continue at Sango garage where I was carrying bags of rice for customers. It was fayawo rice, therefore, a policeman must escort us just to scale through the checkpoints. Agbero and bad roads were the main discouraging factors. Lagos roads were not motorable then unlike now. I drove the van for two years before I secured a job as a cashier with Arab Contractor in Equatorial Guinea. I was in that only African Spanish speaking country for just six months due to a breach of contract. Before I left the country, the company promised to pay me in the dollar, take care of my feeding and provide a good accommodation but on getting there it reneged on the initial agreement. I was paying in Naira, N60,000 monthly salary in a foreign land, I was instructed to be living in a room apartment with three boys on one slim bed while all the foods were Egyptian. It was a gross disappointment. The term was to spend six months in Guinea and two weeks holiday in Nigeria, in short, I struggled my way back to Nigeria.
Immediately I returned from Malabo, I joined my friend Segun, at Computer Village, Ikeja in merchandising table, mobile phones, landlines and Internet modems. I could not remember the number of Multilinks modems I sold. Bankers, company staff, cyber cafes were my major customers. When the market was over saturated and modem became a product one could easily get at a cheap price anywhere mostly beside the roads then I ventured into creative writings and graphics.
Currently, I’m publishing an education-oriented magazine called THE CLASS. I run a firm, Multi-M Climax. We are into printing, publishing, book writing, graphic designs, mentorship, public relations, marketing and supply of printing materials.
CAREER IN WRITING
I had begun my writing career while I was in primary school. I so much loved to write a composition. While in high school, I participated in a number of inter-schools writing, quiz and debate competitions even up to the state level.
While in the college, I wrote every week on our hall board. I was the chairman editorial board of both my department and faculty respectively. I did writing speeches for the union, club executives
Professionally, I began my writing career in 2008 when I started publishing a faith-based magazine titled Islamic Mirror. I was the editor-in-chief, the cameraman, the reporter, the proofreader while my wife and Ahmed later joined me in the areas of sales and graphic design respectively. I published ten editions before I paused. The publication attracted me to a number of who’s who among Islamic world like Sheikh Al-Gamawiyy, Sheikh Habeeb Al- Ilory, late Sheikh Zuglool, Sheikh Ramadan, Abdul Hakeem Abdul Lateef, Sheikh Abdullahi Akinbode, late Sheikh Taiwo Tijani, the late TV presenter, Gawat just to mention few. I had interviewed them, featured their write-ups and events. Likewise in the Islamic musical circle, singers such as Ayeloyun, Wasiu Sodeeq, Iya Nghana, late Waheed Ariyo, Oyun Oro, Alqeeqy and much more were featured more than twice particularly Ayeloyun in Islamic Mirror.
The publication was well patronized in some areas where there is high concentration of educated Muslims (the elite) such as Lagos Island, Victoria Island, Festac, Surulere and Ikeja. Its types were not many then, therefore, it really enjoyed a considerable volume of readership but the area of advert placement indeed, it is not encouraging to revisit. People, groups and businessmen would place adverts of their events, products and services without paying.
Another discouraging factor was the contributions of the so-called religious fanatics who would call or send text messages to me claiming that such a development is not allowed in Islam. That, it is an act invention hence I should stop publishing it. Ultimately, the dearth of support forced me out of the market. I just pause for now while I will continue when God empowers me to do so.
I started writing my first novel in the year 2008. When I was done with the manuscript I consulted one of my elder brothers, Mr Dele Olomolatan (he was the one who advised me to be publishing magazine) to assist me in editing the novel. He had not started editing the first one when I went to give him another manuscript. When he discovered that my flair for writing was unquenchable that’s why he advised me to venture into magazine publication. He returned the manuscript, directed me to meet Mr Daniel, the author of Indispensable Money who later recommended an Ikorodu based pastor.
The pastor agreed to edit the book for the sum of N40,000, instantaneously, I gave him N30,000. He later requested for the softcopy which I sent to him. The pastor didn’t walk his talk of delivering the edited copy within an agreed period. One day, he lied to me that he wasn’t opportune to edit the book himself thus he had contracted it out to some Unilag lecturers and they have done the job perfectly. That pastor could lie. One day, one lie. He is a minus in the vineyard. When I couldn’t bear it again, I made my way to his of office in Ikorodu, seeing me in his office, he was just fidgeting, so confused.
In short, he surreptitiously issued a cheque for his secretary, after a short while, the lady returned with a cash of N30,000. The man handled the cash over to me and brought the manuscript clean, untouched, and unedited. I felt so disappointed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t account for how I expended the money. That’s the first setback. The book titled MY CHILD MY PRIDE took me almost nine years to get it published. It was eventually launched on 5th August 2017. It was a blessing in disguise as the novel later came out better, richer and bigger.
In the past, I used to sell short stories both the manuscripts and the copyright for publishers at a cheap rate of N20,000 whenever I wanted to pay for my school fee at NOUN or my children school fees. To the glory of God, I have written 15 books, published 7 – one novel and six short stories are currently in circulation. There are; My Child My Pride, Tortoise And The Men Of God, A Fool And His Money, Mr Alawaye: The First Disabled Commissioner, Between A Richman And A Wealthy Man, It Can’t Happen Again and Much Ado About Social Media.
With the special grace of Almighty God, I should have written 50 books across different genres before I turn 50. God on my side, before I clock 50 years of age, I must have inspired no fewer than 50 potential writers. May He bless my efforts abundantly and continue to spare my life, henceforth my birthday shall be known and celebrated with the donation of books to school libraries, the less privileged, book launching, organizing writing competition and delivering career talks. I wish to be known and celebrated worldwide like Prof. Wole Soyinka, Dr Chinua Achebe and Chimanmada Adichie.
I’ll be happier when state or federal government approves my novel, My Child My Pride to be used in schools. At present, I’m working on a number of books. My writings will go a long way to affect lives positively.
Achievement is a relative term. What Mr A considers as an achievement may not be seen as that by Mr B. My achievements are uncountable. I so much appreciate God for the kind of creature He made me. Like I said on my 40th birthday, I’m a hub that connects many people. Many students that I had assisted in gaining admission into universities in the past are graduates today. I’m proud of few students I had lectured because today, they’re doing well in their various fields. Many friends got their wives through my link and recommendation, friends, relations had travelled abroad through my link. I have linked some friends together and they have now valued business partners today. Many people had become landlords through my link. Several had secured jobs via me. I love living an impactful life. My strength is my attitude. I love everyone, open to everyone. I don’t discriminate. 70 percent of my friends are Christians. Most of my friends are older and younger than me.
Furthermore, as a writer, many people had read my books. In many schools today, students are reading my books. A friend has introduced the novel to his children’s school in China.
Through my mentorship in writing, a number of students had made up their minds to become writers. I’m always pleased and fulfilled whenever I received messages from younger ones saying that they wish to become a writer like me.
My writing skill had fetched me and my wife conferment of chieftaincy titles: Aare and Yeye Afikalamugboye of Apomu Land, Owu Kingdom in Ogun State.
Materially, I may not have built houses in Lekki, Abuja or Port Harcourt or started riding Range or G Wagon yet I’m not a laggard among my equals. God has been merciful and I’m so optimistic about making it big very soon. When it’s time, God will bless me with unstoppable wealth.
Politically, I’m the state image maker – publicity secretary of Accord party in Osun State.
Socially, I’m the life president of Egbe Jimoh Akerele of Erin Oke. I was the general secretary of Fellow International Club, Oscotech for more than five years.
I have a wife of my choice, very supportive and caring. I enjoy a happy home. My children are healthy, not troublesome. They are my best friends as they love to address me by my alias, Dee Jay or Aare. Now, which of Allah’s blessings will I deny?
My gratitude to Him is infinite.
Unarguably, I’m a politician. The way politics is being played in our country at the moment doesn’t give room for quality delivery of dividends of democracy. Selfish interest is the main target of almost every politician.
Again, our politics is too expensive. Everyone wants to collect money from the contestants.
The old politicians are not ready to leave the stage while youths are not willing to take over the mantle. What a dilemma! However, the inclusion of young vibrant politicians like me has started to make a difference within the party politics and by the time we have more young minds in power, the difference will be clear for all and sundry to see. We need to work on the mindset of our people especially the youths.
I enjoy the youths to participate actively in politics so we can become the leaders of tomorrow they have been calling us.
Every potential writer must not harbour fear of criticism. I don’t fear criticism that’s why I feel free to write. I love constructive criticism but abhor fake praises.
Every youth should get prepared ahead of opportunity. Let me cite my own case as an instance. When the office of State Publicity Secretary of our great party – Accord Party was vacant and there was an earnest search for a replacement, coincidentally, it was zoned to Ife/Ijesa. Many people were interested in it but by the time the requirements were spelt out that the new PRO must possess a certificate in Communication or have a degree in Law, which was how I became the only anointed candidate of everyone from our zone.
The haves should try to help the have-nots. Lack of support slow down my progress like many others, but thank God for His mercy.
There are many youths with resourceful ideas but the dearth of assistance rendered them useless. There should be a paradigm shift of priority, Nigerians prefer lavishing millions of Naira on frivolous things, luxury items of no significant value, oppression but could not afford to invest just a token on a talented youth. It is a common problem while the government at all levels should discharge their responsibilities strictly as enshrined in the constitution.
I love reading books of all genres, newspaper, profiles a lot. I listen to the news, political discussions. I love partying, watching football, playing scrabble. I love looking simple, nice and wear dark specs and customized caps.