I Am An Accidental Politician – Metuh

The national publicity secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, on Thursday, described himself as an accidental politician, adding that his dream was to make a mark as a successful lawyer.

The PDP spokesperson who will turn 50 years tomorrow, November 28, made the revelation during a chat with newsmen in his Abuja residence.

In the interview, Metuh spoke on so many issues ranging from his personal life to politics.

Read the interview below:

What is life like to you at 50?
Well, for me, turning 50 is a question of numbers. I keep being the same, I love the same people, I love the same kind of things, I love the same kind of foods; I enjoy watching football and I still have the same friends. So, it’s a question of numbers. It’s good to be 50 but it is significant in the sense that at 50 one should be able to get some wisdom that one can apply in handling the knowledge that you have acquired.

So, it means significantly that people expect you to be much more mature; much more decent and civil in every single thing that you do. But for me as a person, it means I’m just a year older and still the same person at 50.

So, what has life taught you at 50?
Life has taught me a lot of things. Let me say that there was a time I never knew that there is struggle in life; strife, envy, jealousy. That was just a few years ago. I have come to see the other side of the world in terms of the struggles, the challenges, and the strife; for me at 50, life has taught me that as long as you have faith in God, nothing is impossible. You can surmount anything and it has taught me that the arm of flesh is always a failure. When you have faith or hope in human beings, they’ll always disappoint you or fail you but only God can change your destiny. That is one thing I have realised and therefore, I do not look up to people to help me. It is between God and I – late at night and early in the morning.

About 15 or 20 years ago, did you ever think of getting to where you are today in politics and life?
Well, about 15 or 20 years ago, I thought I would be a very successful businessman. I thought I would be one of the best corporate lawyers in this country; I thought I would be an expert in privatisation taxes; I thought I was going to be an expert in corporate law and be quoted everywhere especially in serving arbitration and other things. That was my ambition. I thought that in real estate development and practice in this country, people would know me and hear about me internationally. That was my prayer but in that aspect, I have fallen short of it.

But in the aspect of people reading about you or hearing about people abusing you or saying some bad things about you, I didn’t know that it would get to this extent. But I thank the Almighty God for the privilege and opportunity I have had to serve my party (PDP), be useful to my friends and make my little contributions to the society. I thank the Almighty God for that privilege. It has been awesome and a very good experience.

So, do you have any regrets because of what you have experienced in politics?
No, no regrets because I believe in what I have done. I have been able to assist people to get into office during the primaries, during elections and helped people to get elected as senators, National Assembly members and governors. They served humanity; they made worthy contributions to their people and I share part of their success.

Can you throw a little more light on the other side of Olisah Metuh that we don’t know, such as when you were growing up?
Growing up, my father was a lawyer, mother, a headmistress. I believe I had some kind of privilege when I was growing up. I grew up in Abakiliki and went to a primary school where I was the only one that had footwear when I was in Primary two. Growing up for me had two phases. When my mother was alive, we had a happy home in Abakiliki and I was very close to my mum being the first son and the third child and at some point, the only boy after four or five issues. So, I was particularly close to my mum.

Then, when my mother died, growing up shifted to a different place – Enugu – where my father’s younger sister became a mother to us. That was how we grew up in Enugu but my father still played his role and paid every necessary attention to our happiness. He paid more attention to our needs than his own happiness. He never remarried because he felt that having a new wife would affect the love he had for his children and that it might take away his focus and attention from his kids. So, he remained like that without re-marrying.

You have been a very busy person. How do you create time to relax?
For me, work itself is relaxing. I leave my house in the morning and I don’t remember that you have to eat till late at night. Sometimes, maybe when I travel out of the country. I come in around 6am, go for a walk and come back around 8am and get ready to start work till about 11pm. So, to me, work is relaxation itself because I’m doing something that I enjoy. I like what I do and I get job satisfaction in what I do.

But for informal way of relaxation, I love watching football. I like being addicted to watching football – Champions League, Premiership

You are a fan of which club, Sir?
(Bursts into laughter)…I’m a fan of Arsenal FC (The Gunners). I’m also a fan of Enugu Rangers (before); after that, then Arsenal but now, it’s Arsenal and Ifeanyi Ubah United. Sometimes, I actually take off from here to Nnewi to watch Ifeanyi Ubah United. I also enjoy Nigerian Leagues; I think it is getting exciting now but the most exciting is in premiership and I’m addicted to Arsenal.

Assuming you are a music-lover, what kind of music do you love?
Oh! I’m a lover of music. In short, if I have a very important meeting, I have to blast my music before the time of the meeting because I believe in blasting my music. I have to play it very loud and it prepares me for that meeting. I use to play the kind of music I played when I was in the university about 30 years ago. I like a little pop; I like raggae music; I like a lot about Nigerian music. I enjoy all of them – from Olamide, Davido, Tuface to others. I like all of them.

You said you wanted to make a mark in Law. How did you find yourself in politics?
Yes, I actually wanted to make a mark as a lawyer. I’m an accidental politician. I actually believed (before) that politicians are liars; I thought politicians were very indecent people and most of it all, I believed that politicians were people who couldn’t succeed in their chosen professions. So, for them, politics is an easy way to make a living; easy way to make money or to steal from public funds. That was my impression. Then, I was a lawyer and after I got married, I could never sit down and discuss politics. I used to think that politicians are like what they call ‘efule-efu’ in Igbo (good-for-nothing). Then, I could never stand any discussion in politics.

Who are your role models in politics in Nigeria precisely?
Well, every kid grew up loving the Awolowos and the Ziks because in those days, with elderly people in the village, maybe with newspaper turned upside down and saying “Zik has spoken something again oh” but with the newspaper turned upside down, you will be wondering what this person has read that Zik has spoken.

Then, Awolowo commanded great followership and was very committed, especially to the socialist cause. He affected a lot of people. Even growing up in Abakiliki, I remember some of my father’s friends who were disciples of Awolowo and who believed in ‘Awoism’. Then, in primary school, they kept on teaching me the ideals of ‘Awoism’. Yes, if you have to look back, you remember those kind of people.
I also enjoyed Jim Nwobodo in PDP and I enjoyed late Solomon Lar in PDP. In the new brand of politics, I have seen so many good people that actually play good politics. For instance, I’m impressed with Ghali Na’abbah. I think he made a mark and he demonstrated the fact that he has characters.

What kind of relationship do you have with Lai Mohammed, the former APC spokesperson?
(Laughs again)…Lai Mohammed has done very well for himself and his political party because I believe he has a passion for his job. I have no problem with that. We have exchanged calls and ridden in the same car several times. So, we have no problems. We are not enemies.

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