‘I was born in 1912, I have a younger sister who is 98’
Pa Samson Olayiwola Lakondoro JP is 108 years old. He shares his experience as a teacher, soldier and politician with Faith Adeoye and Temitope Adegbuyi. He also speaks on the circumstances surrounding the killing of his 175 old father and his relationship with late Pa Adebayo Faleti. Excerpts:
You are 108 years old and you still look very young and agile, what is your secret?
I don’t have any secret at all. I am grateful to God for long life. I believe contentment is one thing that is still keeping me. I have always been contented. My first wife deserted me during the world war that was the reason I had to marry another wife. I don’t womanize, that is another reason for my long life.
You claimed recently that your late father was 175-year-old before he was killed?
Yes, long life runs in the family. I have a younger sister who is now 98 years and she is still very agile and she visits me till date. It is a gift from God.
How was your father murdered at 175-year-old?
My saddest moment was March 30, 1958 when my father, Pa Babalola Lakondoro was killed by Adelabu rioters.
Tell us about your background?
I was born on the 7th of January, 1912 to Pa Babalola Lakondoro and Mama Ifaranti Lakondoro. I am a native of Ibadan, Ibadan North East Local Government. I am 108 years old.
I attended Catholic school, Oke Aare from the year 1918; I attended Ibadan Boys high school for some years before I proceeded to Lagos.
What was your growing up like?
Growing up was rosy. I was the only educated person in my family. Circumstances did not allow some of my siblings to go to school. Some died as a result of small pox; reason I was the only one that went to school.
Tell us about your life as a teacher and a military man?
I was a teacher under the Roman Catholic school after I left school. After 12-13 years in teaching, I left teaching for Army. I joined Army in 1939 with the late Olubadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade. After the war, we had to go to our different areas and after sometime, I joined another line, Marina line and from there I joined politics. I am a real politician. I joined Action Group of Nigerian at inception.
How were you able to combine these jobs?
When I’m tired of one, I move to another.
During your time, did you enjoy free education and to what extent?
To a great extent, no school fees, I didn’t pay any kobo, I stayed with the Reverend Father and they pleaded with my father to release me for them to train. Education then is far better than what we are seeing today.
With the way education was during your days, can you compare it to how education is now?
The Reverend Father trained us for our own benefits; they didn’t collect anything from our parents, at catholic seminary. After some years and we were tested and qualified, they divided us to different Missionaries of their choice that they put in place. After some years, I left Oke-Are for Abebi in the year 1933; I became a student at St.
Patrick School, Abebi, in 1936. After that I started my secondary school at Ibadan Boys’ high school. I was there before my result of the second examination I put in for came. Then, you can write as many exam as you want because you don’t know which one will work. The first I collected was IBHS here in Ibadan; I did like 6 entrance exams, Osi college, Warri, Lagos, Kano etc.
You mentioned being a politician?
I joined politics through my father’s elder person of the party. At first, I joined the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) because I didn’t want any god-fatherism, I wanted to paddle my canoe according to what I want.
However, my father was angry with me and stopped taking care for me. Took a while before I knew it was because I joined the NCNC because they belonged to Action Group. I withdrew and joined Action Group in other to avoid any issue with my parent.
Are you still a politician?
Yes I am.
Politics of then and now, is there any difference?
Yes there is, politics of then is about service but now, you must promise people money before they can vote for you. Things have really changed. Awolowo was the best president that Nigeria never had. He was the one that started free education from primary one to six. He is the author of it. During our own time, we did take bribe; we do politics because we want to serve.
What can you say about colonization?
It is better than what we are seeing today the only thing about it is slavery, if not, it’s better. If they can leave us to our own idea, then it would have been better but their intention was to enslave us.
What is your relationship with Baba Adebayo Faleti?
Adebayo Faleti is my friend, we were schoolmate. We were together in the same school, catholic seminary. He is from Oyo, I am from Ibadan. We went to Israel the same day, year 2001-2002. We have been together from primary 1-6. We didn’t use primary during our own time, we use infantry 1-6. We were together up till 1939. He was a teacher like me until I joined the Army with late Olubadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade.
As the former chairman of Shooting Stars Football Club, how do you feel?
I play football when I was young. I am really blessed to be the father of 3SC. If the current players are dedicated like the player during my time, there is no trophy they won’t win.