Oludare Alabi caused a stir thiw week Monday when a video emerged of him returning his certificate to the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho, Oyo State for allegedly not being of any value to him. He speaks with SAM NWAOKO on why he took the action.
You have been trending since Monday when you went to your alma mater to return your certificate…
I don’t have a mobile telephone handset that can browse the internet. So that has made it impossible for me to see what has been happening online.
You must have been receiving calls from many quarters.
That is true. Some of my friends have been calling. Some of them who, before now, would not pick my calls are now calling me, including those who had blocked my number.
What was the reaction of the first officials of LAUTECH that you met when you went there on Monday to return your certificate?
When I got there, I told them why I came and I told them that I wanted to see the Vice Chancellor himself so that we can talk one on one. The security personnel there said I needed to write formally that I wanted to see the VC and state the reasons. They said I should go and do that and promised that they would process the letter when I bring it. That infuriated me.
That was not the first time I would be going there. I had been there before. I went there on Monday, January 17th this year and they were not forthcoming. That time, they referred me to main security post. When I couldn’t make any headway, I visited one of the professors in the Faculty of Agriculture where I graduated from. He gave me N10,000 that day and from the money, I bought the phone with which I am talking with you right now. So this time round, I decided and made up my mind that I must see the VC. That is why I created a scene. I didn’t even know that the incident was being recorded by someone there. I was ready to be arrested and detained, but I needed to be heard and I was determined to be heard.
At what point did you realise and decided that the certificate you have with you, which you earned, is not helpful to you?
Last year February, I felt strongly about this matter. After I had thought about it, I realised I might not have the privilege of seeing the relevant authorities. So, I decided to make a video in which I said that I would return the certificate to the university. My conclusion was that the certificate is not useful to me and I have to take it back there. However, there was no response to the video, not even the school. I tagged the state governor with the hope that someone would just ask ‘who be this guy?’ but there was nothing from anybody anywhere. It was painful but I cannot commit suicide even though I have concluded that I am a disappointment to my family, to my generation and even to those that I should help. That is why I decided to return their property to them and tell them to refund my fees so that I can use the money to pursue my career. So, that is why.
You graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture but you did not put what you learnt into practice. Don’t you think that is a failure on your part?
I tried to do something. I cultivated about seven acres of land and we lost the farm when cows invaded it and destroyed our crops. The man who helped me with the farmland also lost his farm to cows. The man arrested the cows and took them to the police station but instead of treating the matter, the policemen detained the complainant and released the cows. I also ventured into the sale of cow hide. I processed the skin and sell. I sold a piece of land and invested the money in the business but it failed. I tried to do a few things but they failed. If I should kill myself, would Nigeria not continue? But I cannot kill myself because this life is beautiful and I still have a lot of help to render.
You have tried, but do you believe in starting small and grow your business, even you music career you are talking about?
Why not? I started small in some of the things I did. Besides I have started small. People like Dangote and others started small. Olamide and all those big stars started small. I realise that.
How have you been coping in feeding your family, especially your children?
It has not been easy. When you go to my Instagram and compare my picture of a few years ago and now, you will pity me. I was looking better than I look now. My Instagram handle is “Director of Ancestors” and “Woli Apari”. Those are the two handles I operate simultaneously.
Going by your social media handles, you must be a unique human being
Yes. I have a lot of gifts and talents God has given me. I thank God for the privilege.
You said your friends who had frozen you out are now calling you. What are they saying?
Yes, I’ve been receiving their calls. Some of them are asking why I did what I did and I told them that I don’t care what they think about my action. I told such friends off. Some of them agreed that what I did was normal, and they say that they too are passing through difficult times in their respective lives. I understand that things are difficult for many people. I am a victim too because some people would call me for help and such people don’t get favourable responses from me. However, that should not lead to us to freezing one another out. We are supposed to be friends in good times and bad times. We should not live life like that.
Has the LAUTECH authorities reached out to you following the incident?
Yes, they called me and we spoke at length. They really did well with what they told me. However, it is a school and they have their ways of doing things. They also have a limit to what they can do, so I accept it as that. If I go by our discussion, I would not pick any calls or hold discussions with regards to that encounter. But I am the one in need and I am focussed on my development. When the university teachers get paid the arrears of their salaries after the ongoing strike, they would be better off. But am I expecting any pay from any quarters? So I have to face my problems.
What do you really want…? What do you want Nigerians to do in your case?
What I want now is that I want to fulfil destiny. I will be happy if I can get the right connection and support to start my career. If my wife can get a job and be gainfully engaged, I will be able to face my own job and pursue my career and I know that one day soon, God will lift me higher. I believe He has lifted me already.
Which career are you referring to? Agriculture, your area of study or music?
What agriculture? The agriculture which I ventured into and that was destroyed by people’s cows? How do you expect me to go back there, that I might be killed? I have a load of talents God has given me so much gifts – I can sing Hip Hop, Gospel, I can dance and I can make people laugh – and you are talking about agriculture. Do you realise how much I lost in my venture into agriculture? That is not an option because I went there and left in bitterness.