Oyemade At 60: ‘Accomplished, Yes. But Now, I Thirst More For The Kingdom’

Oyemade

Oyemade

Niyi Oyemade, a two-term member of Lagos House of Assembly and former Commissioner, is undoubtedly an accomplished man. Devout in service to God, committed to family and shrewd in business, he currently sits atop two business concerns – King Solomon’s Mine, a gold mining firm and Sam & Sara Limited, a garment making firm – as chairman. Recently, he turned 60. And on the sidelines of the low-key celebration, he reflected briefly on his life, his new desires and shared views on how to improve the nation’s economy.

“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”

It is with the above scripture that Niyi Oyemade summed up his outlook on life and indeed, the new direction his life would tow as he grew into the diamond age of 60.

Dressed in blue lace, Oyemade was all glee as he welcomed visitors who had come to felicitate with him on the occasion of his birthday at his palatial residence in Lagos.

“I have been through thick and thin. I have been through series of ups and down. All I want now is to know more of God and get closer to Him,” he says as he began to speak on his journey through life.

But could he have wanted more? For a religiously inclined man, who has recorded modest successes in virtually every sphere he’s actively forayed, there perhaps can be no better desire at this juncture in his life.

Dedicated to his private concern now as Chairman, King Solomon Mine, his strides while in public service and politics are also well documented. He was a two-term member of Lagos State House Assembly and a former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in Lagos State.

His achievements notwithstanding, it is not lost on Oyemade that he could not have achieved them without the backing of the Supreme Being. He acknowledges this much. And it is perhaps for the same reason that he now craves to be “closer to God” more than ever.

“I have been close to him in the past but I want to get closer. As I grow older, I am dropping those little escapades and things I should not be doing as a Christian. Even if I will spend up to 90 years on earth, I am going to live for God. I want to connect and worship him more for the rest of my life,” he says.

In reflections, Oyemade sermonizes on the need to be grateful to God for the gift of life everyday. “It is another year added to me and am so grateful. Even if you are one, two, or three year-old, you should thank God for enabling you to celebrate another birthday. It is not easy to grow up to 60 years. It is God’s grace that has kept me alive. I thank God for my families, friends and colleagues who God has put behind and around me.”

At 60, the unassuming former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly has covered a lot of milestones and he feels fulfilled. But more than anything, he believes there are still a lot more for him to achieve. “I am still moving and still expecting promotions upon promotions, more elevations. My current position is the beginning of God’s glory; I know God still have something very special for me, because I am a special being. I still have lots of things to do. I can only ask him to perfect other areas of my life and lead me according to his plan,” he says.

Oyemade, a former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in Lagos State, regards one of his major achievements as being able to thrive in business five years down the line since leaving public service work. “The phobia of leaving the office was there as at the time of leaving. I have now witnessed life after the public sector and God has been faithful in his provision. I believe I am doing fine in business than when I was in the public sector. Meanwhile, the connections I got from the public sector has also made contributed in no small measure to my success so far in the private sector. God’s direction is key to success in life. If you walk in his commandments, he will guide your footsteps,” he surmises.

Oyemade has been directing affairs at King Solomon’s Mine in partnership with foreign partners from Canada and Australia. Having observed that everyone’s attention in the country is in oil exploration with other mineral deposits being overlooked, he obtained license from the federal government to explore mineral resources.

Though, exploration is capital intensive, he says that self-driven individual would succeed in the sector because it is quite lucrative. “The mining is still at the surface but we will soon start the real mining. We have seen few gold but we hope to get more when we get into the deep mining. We deal with raw gold and by the time we fully blossom, the world would see our company in its full glory.”

On allegation of his withdrawal from politics, Oyemade replied: “ I am not running away from politics. Politician will always be a politician. I am just a bit busy and I still see Asiwaju and other politicians and we make plans. I am involved in my ward and local council politics. The truth is that one need to leave the stage for some young people at certain level. We have to step down and allow the young chaps to attain the positions. They also need to grow under our tutelage to get the experience. Grown up men need to groom the young chaps.

When I became the commissioner was when Fashola came into power and that was where much success were recorded. The 10-point agenda passed to our government by Asiwaju after implementing some, worked perfectly for the state. We were able to bring all the artisans together, encouraged them and boost the State revenues.

We were able to bring lofty ideas from out side the country and implement them in Lagos. The success recorded in Lagos during our time was a combine effort of the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and former governor Fashola. I won’t take anything away from Fashola because he did lots of things. Fashola has good vision and he was focussed. he vision started from Asiwaju and was transferred to the Fashola and now to Ambode, because we have continuity in the governance of Lagos.

With his years of experience in Politics; how does he see Nigerian politics? Politics right now is where I really want it to be, because we have moved away from money politics. Politics was being estranged before but with the APC; normalcy has been restored to our democracy. President Buhari has not done any serious thing yet; but his personality has changed a whole lot of things. Having the right head in power is translating into good thing in Nigeria. It has put decency and transparency into every area of governance. I don’t believe I could have uninterrupted power supply for hours. I never imagine Nigeria to be free from the pressure of oil cabals on oil scarcity.

But with the round peg in the round hole, politics has changed from the old ways to the right direction, because the president and party in power are focus and they have the right sense of communication, visions and dealings with human. People’s mindsets have been changed and I believe democracy is now thriving better in Nigeria.

Given another four years, Nigerian politics will be where people want it to be and many well-meaning Nigerians would come into politics. People run away from politics before because it was a do or die affair, filled with violence. God has put Nigeria in the right place and with time Nigeria will be competing with developed countries economically.

Not done, Oyemade also advised the president to diversify the economy. The likes of Kano’s pyramid and cocoa farming should be revived. Nigeria can revive her agriculture sector to boost the economy. We can go back to our starting point before the discovery of oil. President Buhari should also look at how to explore and refine many mineral resources the nation is blessed with. Nigeria should cease depending on imported products alone; we can produce our own products and export it to boost our economy.

“The nation can use what she has to get what she wants. We can use these raw materials to entice investors and more jobs will be created. Government should pay more attention to the manufacturing sectors. When this is done, more people would be employed and very few youths will be left unemployed. When people are gainfully employed; crime rate reduces automatically.

“Whoever is in charge of the commerce and industry should explore informal sectors because those are the catchments area we need to strengthen our economy. The Small and Medium Scale enterprise (SMEs) should be encouraged because that is what drives any big economy. The bank of the Industry is already working with them but other banks need key into this. As a commissioner, my governor encouraged us to use this informal sector to enhance the revenue base of Lagos State.

At 60, Oyemade also finds time to advise the youths. He charges them to carefully choose their role models. He also discourages them from following quickest way to wealth. Hard work with patience pays a lot. Youths should desist from anything that could spell doom on their future. Above all you, he charged al youths to follow God’s directions.

Busy as he is, the former commissioner still finds time to unwind. He said: “I am just withdrawing from something. I love to go to club a bit. At 60 I am just trying to appraise myself, I love a little of sitting in the club, little of exercising, swimming. I am a man of everything, the only thing I don’t like is anything I can’t do.

Asked of things he would do differently given another shot at life, he says he will ask God to make him live a more Godly life. “Nothing was too much for me to do when I was in the world but it is a different situation now. I will only ask God to make me a contact for humanity and make me more committed in His house and in the society. This is my only concern right now and I thank God he is putting me on track.”

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