“PHOBIA FOR TRAFFIC STOPS ME FROM GOING OUT TO EAT” –ODUMOSU
(SLIGHTLY AMENDED VERSION)
Mr. Kayode Odumosu, an accountant and educationist tells BLESSING ORUCHE, how his school Principal shaped his life and why he is no longer keen about going abroad among other issues.
Growing up for Kayode Odumosu was fun. He recalls that parents were never worried about kidnappers and as such could allow their children board a bus from Island to Mainland and vice-versa.
“At the age of ten, my family moved from the Island to Mainland in Surulere. It was wonderful back then, because issues such as kidnapping wereonly fairy stories to be imagined but not experienced. I used to board buses called SKOLEE at that age, going from Yaba to Lagos Island for primary school at St Paul’s Breadfruit.I repeated the same thing coming back, but the journey from Yaba back to Surulere used to be completed on foot.”
He claims that attending Christ School,Ado Ekiti,Ekiti State for his secondary school education had very positive impact on his life.“I will say I am an Ijebu boy born in Lagos but bred in Ekiti. During my university days at Ife, my ex-Principal, Reverend Canon Mason, a Welsh, was still visiting us then. His zeal, diligence, principles, discipline and care were some of the attributes I admired so much.He was a man who shaped my life and that was why when I finally set up my school I called it Mason College named after him. I imbibed and implemented his methods of operations, such as prayers, songs, discipline even uniforms and above all close supervision of my students”
He speaks loftily about his passion for Ekiti land saying, “thank God I studied there, because it shaped my life. I learnt so many things from them, like being down to earth and desiring the truth to be told no matter the consequences.”
When he was at the university, he played volley ball, and represented Nigerian at the universities games in Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana. Speaking about his social life, he says he has affiliations with prominent Yoruba social groups and others saying. “When I was young my father belonged to popular Island Club and the Yoruba Tennis Club. After my father’s death, the club invited me as a son to fill the vacuum. I agreed and may be active someday. However, i went back there briefly when my second daughter was going to get married.The only club I had always wanted to join as a member was Ikoyi Club and i did so officially when i became the youngest company secretary for a publicly-quoted company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange at the age of 29. At Ikoyi Club most of the time, we attended as a family. It was good for our children’s upbringing. There were many activities for them especially swimming . However, as my work load increased during the running of my schools, the busy schedule took the better part of me.” I have four biological children all female,all graduates,all married,and all same mother.Thank God! But each of them still recollect their experiences at Ikoyi Club in those days. Its now left for them and their husbands to take over and for them to take their own children along too.Exception being my first girl who works with Barclays and lives in England with the hubby.
Odumosu says he craves the best form of relaxation during the weekend.“I listen to music a lot, and watch television whenever it suites me especially for quick updates on world news. I can decide to stop whatever I’m doing and relax myself at any time often starting with deep breathing exercises on my chair My weekends are usually fun-filled with social activities; name them, weddings,christenings/birthdays, burials or other family events.” To him, weekend menus are the same with his everyday food consumption. “I don’t have any particular preference, any good menu goes.And if my wife who has been my friend for 40yrs says she does not feel like cooking TFC or garri and groundnuts with extremely cold water and no sugar come into useful play.
I and my family had patronized so many restaurants in Lagos, both on the Island and Mainland. But presently I get discouraged from going so far from Festac for a good lunch or dinner because of my phobia for hectic traffic.”Sunday of course is usually an exception.
On his favourite colour, he says he has preference for navy blue, especially when combined with white. That combination, he says, was the uniform of his school.
Expectedly, Odumosu still has love for sports particularly for Arsenal in the EPL. “My best sports are football and volley ball, though I don’t play any longer I enjoy the games on DSTV.” He says he also takes delight in playing scrabble game. “One particular game which interests me more now and which I play everyday is Scrabble.I love to compete against the computer and beat it hands down.Nothing else makes me happier than when I do that. “I have never really planned a trip to watch my favourite team, Arsenal, play live. But during the course of one of the trips with my wife, we visited the Highbury Stadium in North London before it moved to the Emirates.
I have so many of Arsenal jerseys, most of which my kids bring or sent to me for me,” Odumosu says with excitement. The trained accountant ,auditor and Chartered Secretary had eventful working years with the prestigious Coopers and Lybrands and Akintola Williams /Wisan Management where he says he met lots of expatriates along with whom he went round the world.
“We usually traveled where ever our clients were. Eventually, I joined Modandola Investments as the pioneer company secretary.It was a quietly strong group of companies which had about 23 companies under it and more than 100 expatriates. My bosses at different times thought me so many things, as a young aspiring man.For example Mr Akintola Williams made me realised there was NOTHING important about chieftancy or Otunba titles. The last company I worked for, before setting up my school was Chrislieb where i was also the Group Company Secretary. I later set up my first school PASS in 1988 with some partners and then Mason College Festac Town in 1994” he adds.
His perception of life is quite different, especially as regards religion. “When i was growing up,we all grew up together as Christians and Muslims but we knew the programmes of the Muslims and they knew ours.We even attended their mosques and did SUKU NABIYAH together. But today PERSONAL interpretations of the Bible and Quran are responsible for several problems in the world today. People keep struggling for supremacy all the time, which is not necessary,” Odumosu points out.
Though he no longer runs his schools, he is still very busy as a blogger managing eight blogs, saying, “I have imported most of my teaching aids from my schools into my blogs, and I do connect with so many people from about 202 countries round the world who visit my blog, most of whom are lecturers, teachers and students.” The educationist says he is still in touch with his students on Facebook and his blogs.
“My students are planning a reunion in December,” he says. Talking about his 21 years experience as educationist, Odumosu believes that the Nigerian child’s education has greatly improved.He does not believe compositions in Queen’s English can be used to define the quality of today’s graduates.Today the Nigerian graduate is more exposed and street-smarter to what is going on around him and faraway from him.He is more exposed to what can be called LIFE 101 than the ideals of quality education when we were growing up.I have written loads and posted many articles on our blogs about this.
“As an educationist I believe that one of the things our parents should always look out for, when enrolling their children is whether the proprietor or proprietress knows anything about computers and the internet.This is because computer education is the most important in a child’s life today. Otherwise the computer teacher may not be competent enough to give the students what is required. Another one is the school library.That is the brain box of every school and libraries have been central to my life from the age of 10.
“My international experiences have influenced my life positively, even though I believe home is home, but there are so many things I was able to pick during my trips.
After I started working at Coopers and Lybrand, I visited Ghana,Liberia, Serria Leone, and the Gambia. We were auditing the accounts of the West African Health Ccommunity then.
“When I was with Akintola Williams (WISAN MAGT), I was able to travel to countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, Britain, Germany, US, Canada, Brazil,Turkey and another one was on the cards for India when one of our clients decided to employ me with almost triple my remunerations at Akintola Williams.I had to go and plead with Mr Williams specially to give me his blessing to move on.We had clients in all these places, and most of the trips were work- related, while others were holiday trips,” Odumosu recalls.
An interesting experience which he recounts was about a board meeting of a Nigerian company held on a ship, from Barcelona to Tunisia on the Mediterranean Sea and that was how he visited Tunisia.”It was on the ship i experienced the importance of ballroom dancing and the need for acquiring proper table manners right from secondary school.I therefore ensured they were both included and implemented in the training of my students at Mason College.We started Ballroom Dancing seriously before any school in Lagos and definitely before Maltina Dance competitions started.
Today when people talk about traveling out, Odumosu feels it is not important to him.“I have seen it all. I’m no longer keen on the idea. Today I spend my time in Nigeria enjoying the life style I have created for myself. It pleases me so much to live here and no other place in the world .In Nigeria a lot of things have gone bad. Wrong operations, but I believe God has a plan for this country and things will turn out for the better.Opportunities abound in our country. The population is a plus and minus. Sometimes all you need to survive is the population to patronize what you are selling or services you are providing,” he says.