Our man of the moment for this issue is Kayode Adeniji, a legal practitioner and dispute resolution expert, with an assignment to raise and help the endangered species of sincere leaders around the world. He is the author of Righteous Man in Power, a compendium of revelations and practical steps to be applied by any group of people or individuals, who desire a complete reformation in their nations, especially in Africa. He spoke with Valour Digest on issues ranging from his personal values to politics and governance.
Tell us a little about yourself
I grew up in Agege, attended Dopemu Primary School, later moved to Saka Tinubu Primary School, Orile, Agege. My Secondary education was at State High School Oyewole-Mulero, Agege. I moved on to Lagos State University to study Law and today I am a lawyer. I am a legal adviser in charge of litigation and dispute resolution management for one of Nigeria’s top companies.
What was growing up like? What fond memories do you hold dear?
I am the fourth born of five children. I am the first son with three older sisters and a younger brother. I was raised by my mother who became a widow at a very young age (I was three and half years old when I lost my father), but because she had to leave home for work, the responsibility of raising us was shared with our first born, who was then in Girls High School. Our house was like Girls’ Hostel where the ladies called all the shots and the younger boys had to obey or else we would not be served food.
Growing up was fun, though we did not have much. Our house was always full of people. Even families that had more financial resources would come to our house to have fun. We would gist, talk about movies, crack jokes, play games, and even have dancing competitions in our living room. We would turn our centre table to a drum and sing different songs from gospel to the reigning juju music at the time. It was fun! Everything in our house was comedy even though my mum was going through a tough time to raise us. When she returned from work, we would have plenty neighbourhood gists for her. We always did our best to make her laugh.
What informed the writing of the book, Righteous Man in Power?
Too many talks without action. Too many motivational speeches without inspiration. The need to have sincere men in position of power. The seemingly hardest thing to achieve in Africa now is good leadership. The most dangerous endeavour in the world is the governing of the affairs of men. Even the faith of believers shakes when you mention politics and governance. That was what inspired the writing of the book. The book was written to erase and correct the wrongs in the writings of Nicolo Machiavelli, Lenin and Karl Marx by the power of its superior and profound wisdom. No university or faculty on earth can teach sincere person on how to govern the affairs of men without being corrupt. It is simply impossible for them and it is beyond their knowledge. This wisdom was not available in the land of the living until Righteous Man in Power was written.
What do you consider the secret behind your success in career/business success? What ethical values do you hold dear both in business and as a family man?
Firstly, integrity. I discovered that even corrupt men are looking for men with integrity to protect their wealth. Corrupt men want to associate with anyone with integrity in order to save face. As the system of the world degenerates, men with proven integrity will become the highest paid because skills and knowledge will be available everywhere. Secondly, ownership. Work as if you own the organisation. Your boss or colleagues may not appreciate it, but is a highway to success. Thirdly, dependability. There is so much eye service going on. People will stay at work beyond closing hours, doing nothing yet you would see organisations stupidly rewarding unnecessary availability above actual dependability.
Unnecessary availability means arriving earlier and closing later than everybody, while actual dependability means your organisation can commit a task into your hands and go to sleep with assurance that you will get the job done on time. However, you can be available and not be dependable but if you are dependable, you don’t need to be unnecessarily available if the organisation follows its core values to the letter and terms of employment are strictly adhered to. That is how people innovate. That is how world changing ideas are conceived as against daily routines. As family man I would advise that you marry your friend. Would you like your daughter to be like your girlfriend? If yes, marry her. Would want your son to be like your boyfriend, if yes marry him.
Myles Munroe In Pursuit of Purpose and most of Charles Swindoll’s writings.
As an accomplished man in career/business and family life, what advice will you give to men struggling in such situation?
As an accomplished man? I do not see myself as an accomplished man. To men struggling with business and career; hit the street hard. Doors will open for you. Be spiritual because there are spiritual forces in this world. You must take your place in the spiritual realm. Be consistent and with time the world will depend on you.
How did you meet your wife? Was it love at first sight?
It was not love at first sight. I saw her passion for God. She is a very close friend that I decided to marry.
How did you propose to her and how long did it take for her to say yes?
I simply told her, “I don’t have a fat bank account and I don’t drive a car. All I have is my dream and purpose. I had like you follow me”. I said these words 2:10 pm on 14th July, 2007 she said YES immediately at 12:14 pm.
What keeps you attracted to your wife?
She thinks like a man and acts like a lady. She is so natural. Above all, she is passionate about my assignment.
What are your personal values and how have they impacted on your marriage, career, and general way of doing things?
Deadly commitment to our purpose. It solves a lot of petty issues in marriage. It guides the way we want our children to grow, how we relate with family members and friends and employers.
African men have been accused of not being romantic, do you agree with this? If you do, how do you think men can spice up their marriage and be more romantic?
Travel to places alone without the children. Talk and play together.
With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done better if you were to start your life all over again?
I am 32 years old I am just starting my life. My eyes are on the future for Africa.
If you could change one thing about this nation, what will it be?
I would change the culture of the people. There are so many stupid cultural practices and traditions holding us back as a people. Shallow thinkers think it is public leadership. I laugh.
How do you relax after a hard day’s work?
I think and meditate. Sometimes I dance to my favourite songs in front of the mirror.
What is your favourite holiday spot?
I don’t have one.