Elder Olutayo Soyode
While speaking in an exclusive interview with PUNCH newspaper on Friday, 74-year-old Elder Olutayo Soyode, the father of the wife of the Vice-President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, said in spite of his daughter’s position and the exalted office of her husband, he dreads going to Aso Rock for a visit.
According to him, going to the villa was like going to jail, given the way his movement would be monitored and he would need to sign various forms before he could go out, for security reasons, adding that he loved to be free and he wasn’t the type to sit in one place and be watching television under heavy security.
Soyode, who was a close associate and son-in-law to late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, explained that it was the will of God that Prof. Yemi Osinbajo rose from being a university lecturer to become the Vice-President, and that all her daughter wanted to be was a confectioner despite being a qualified lawyer.
When asked how often he visits the Aso villa to see his daughter and her family, he said,
“I don’t go there often. Going there is like going to jail, as far as I’m concerned. It’s like locking me up. The way you see me, do I look like someone that can be kept in one place? Before I could go out, I would have to sign papers and there would be plenty phone calls; I would just run mad because I wasn’t used to such. I’m a free man.
“I cherish my freedom and I’m not used to having security aides around me. I love to be free. That place is a very good place but I’m not the type to live there, so I don’t go there often. Anytime I go, I give them time, like telling them I was coming for two days. I don’t even live with them. Let us say we are in Abuja now, you possibly can’t visit me for this interview. They won’t allow you to come in, and if you have to, you would have to sign different papers.
“I would be there alone, watching television. I remember when her husband and Buhari had been elected but not sworn in. In their church, I was trying to call her but she didn’t hear, so I stretched my hand to tap her, but I just found that my feet were no longer on the floor.
“Those security people carried me, I had to be screaming her name, then she looked back and shouted that he’s my father. I don’t know where they would have thrown me to. I even told her I would be referring to her as Her Excellency.”
When asked if his son-in-law, VP Yemi Osinabjo offers him an appointment, would he take it?, he said;
“I can’t take any appointment from government now. We (Nigerians) are not mature up to that level. There are lots of things I can offer this government from my experience, but I would rather do that privately. Else, somebody would come and make noise about it.”
When asked if he ever had any premonition that his daughter, Dolapo would rise to such a level?, he said;
“I never saw it coming. What I thought was that she would have been a very good confectioner, because she told us clearly that she would not practise as a lawyer but she would please us.
“That was what she told her mother, Mama HID and myself. Her mother and Papa were so keen for her to be a lawyer. She said she would be and immediately she was called to bar, she called and said she wanted to go into cake making.
“I had to open a cake shop for her and she started and she was doing that very well. She never practised for one day as a lawyer. If she had continued on that confectionery line, she would have gone really far.
“That was her natural passion. And many people don’t know she’s a very good artist. As you are sitting, if she takes a pen, it would be your copy. She loves gardening too and it’s part of her love for arts.”
He recalled that by the time his late wife, (Dolapo’s mother) was delivered of Dolapo in the United Kingdom where they met, he was believing God to have a male child, as it was customary in his family to have a male as their first child. However, he said if she had been a male, he might not be as close to her as they are today.