CSP Dolapo Badmos discusses life, living, passion and growing up with SEGUN KASALI. It is vintage Badmos, one of Nigeria Police’s finest image-makers.
YOUR mother is a disciplinarian and so are you.
My father is the quiet one. He never raised his hands on us. In fact, we would listen to sermon whenever he called us because he would use the two holy books to talk to us. That is why we think deep before we do anything. Anywhere we find ourselves, we always ask if he would be proud of us. He told us that his name was more important to him than other things in the world. My mother was a teacher who believed in not sparing the rod. Although she didn’t use the rod on us, she believed that in correcting the child, you needed to beat him. That iron hand helped. We analysed my mother to be the ‘Margaret Thatcher’ of the house.
Can you recollect receiving her ‘Margaret Thatcher’ treatment?
My mum didn’t allow us to have recreation moments. You must be up and doing every time. If you were not reading, you would be sweeping or be washing plates. While I was growing up, I learnt everything. The first four children were girls and then we had to do everything. We did not identify that this is the job of a man or a girl. I was in primary four when she called me one day that I should sweep the living room. Before then, I had wanted to play with my playmates who were around. I picked the broom, but she saw that I was doing the sweeping in a hurry, so she came to the living room, removed her slippers and felt the floor with her barefoot. She said “there is still sand and dirt here. Start all over again”. I am talking about a massive sitting room that I thought I was almost finishing. I was so sad and I revolted by saying ‘I have swept that place and it is clean’, and she responded saying, ‘Eehn I gave you an assignment and you are complaining? I will tell you I gave birth to you’. I can remember that she beat me that day to the extent that I was begging her that I didn’t even want to play again.
And those experiences made you ‘a man’ as they say?
I would agree with you. This is because growing up, we were all females with no one to do the male job and we were not going to hire to do our own chores. We had to become boys. I ironed my father’s clothes, washed his car, etc.. It was a routine that we had to do all the time. You didn’t need anybody to remind you that when you woke up you must sweep the compound; the second girl would sweep inside the house and so on like that. We had our daily chores. They did rosters for us.
Have you ever engaged a man in a fist fight?
While growing up, I never saw myself as someone that should play the second fiddle as a girl. This is because of the way I was brought up. I didn’t even understand what was gender because I could do what a boy could do. So, if a boy challenged me, I engaged him. My primary school mates came to me when they were cheated. And I also came forward to let them know that they should not think because we were girls we couldn’t engage them. So, I engaged them. One of my primary school friends told me at a recent function: ‘You were our cheerleader because you fought on our behalf and rescued us.’ So, it was like that in the primary school. But I went to girls-only secondary school and there was no opportunity for me to do that. But I did in my primary school days.
Did you choose police or it chose you?
I was cajoled into joining the police. My only uncle, Bodunde Adeyanju, cajoled me into joining the Nigerian Police. It wasn’t part of my plans. After I graduated, I wanted to work in a bank, but my uncle wanted me to join the Nigeria Police Force. I looked up to him as a mentor and he told me it was a good job, telling me stories of how he wanted to be a police officer when he graduated from the university and could not. He said ‘Don’t you look at your height? I mean it is the height for a police officer. Look at your physique! It is that of a police officer’. So, I got the form, studied, went through every test and scaled through, finally finding myself being a police officer. But, I thought by the time I would finish from the training, I would go out but they won’t allow you leave the training, but the passing-out parade gave a resolution.
What was your immediate reaction when he first mentioned police?
I said ‘No! The police you see on the street?’ I then asked, ‘Is that what you want me to do? To be like the policemen you see on the street, abi?’ But, he said, ‘Look, you are a graduate. The level at which you will be joining will be different from those you see on the street and I am sure that when you join, you will be able to affect their psyche with your tenacity’. He cajoled me that I would sit inside office and that there was AC there (laughs). So, I said, ‘Okay, if I am going to be different from those on the streets, of course I will join’. I will tell you that I decided to join because I didn’t want him to feel bad. You know when you look up to someone as a mentor, you want to respect his words. But when I got there, there were things that made me stay.
Never, but I almost gave up in the training school. You can imagine no attachment on your body, including nails. The only thing we could wear was a pair of shorts and white top. We were regimented. Even the way you walked because you couldn’t walk anyhow. I almost gave up. It was one of my friends that said we should endure and that by the time we finished in 18 months, everything would be different. I can remember a training they took us for and we were there for one month. The training was called mobile training. This is a place they wake you up with tear-gas and they take you to bed with tear-gas. You don’t even have time. So, that was the toughest part of my training and in that place, we were not allowed to go. If you ran away, they would track you to your village and bring you back. So, I said if I survived that, then I won’t leave this job again because that was the most tedious. We were made to walk, to climb mountains for 12 hours. That was a morale booster for me. All these things sent a message to me that what does not kill you will make you. I survived it.
How did you meet your husband?
We met after I graduated from the Police Academy. He doesn’t like his life in my public affair. He knows that I have signed for this job and he is supporting me. Of course, I met him with his friend and his friend called the shots. His friend is also a friend of mine. He told me ‘my friend says he likes you, that you are beautiful.’ I told him that was a national anthem I had been hearing right from school. Anything new?. Of course, I didn’t give in initially but he was persistent. So, when I saw the seriousness in him, I gave him some kind of listening ears. And the rest, they say, is history.
Why did you say yes to him?
He is a straightforward man. A kind man; you know when I say kind, he is kind. I think that is what I desired. So, that endeared me to him.
How easy is it being a police officer, a wife and a mother?
It is not an easy task because as a career woman, raising a family is very tasking, just like it is for other women. But what makes mine different is the kind of job I do which requires you to be at work 24 hours. In my profession, annual leave is a privilege, not a right. So, raising a family was not easy. But I thank God for having a good family. At times when I am not there, he is there and vice versa. I thank my siblings for taking charge of our children when we are extremely busy.
What about the problem of late night duties?
There were things I set out for myself while I was growing up. Number one is never to relocate from my country. Number two is to live a life of service to my country. I believe in this country. I will do my own to make it work and thirdly, I have made up my mind that I don’t want to marry and divorce. So, it is part of the reasons I took my time to look front and back of the man I wanted to marry. I started having marriage proposals while in higher institution but I told them it was not yet time. I took my time I graduated, I did my youth service and got a job. Then I wanted to know the best thing in a man. So, my man met me during my job and he understood my job. And I can tell you that even when I am on night duty, he would tell me, ‘I will take you there.’ At times I would say ‘do you feel like going home?’ But he would say he would hang around.
Was that rigorous search for ‘Mr. Right’ responsible for you marrying late?
I don’t understand the word ‘late marriage’, but I understand the word ‘right marriage’. Let people marry at their appropriate time. The right time is when the right time has come for you. It is not how far but how well. The foundation you will use to build a bungalow will be different from the one you will use to build others. Maintaining a successful time has to do with the foundation you lay. There is nothing like late marriage. What we should care about is ‘right marriage’. You see the society never tells a man the time to marry. So, let’s stop telling the younger ones about late marriage but right marriage.
Much isn’t known about your husband, what is his best food?
He likes freshly prepared okro with eko. If you give him that, you have given him the whole world. He loves watching movies and he is a good dresser. My husband is everywhere. I have used him on my Instagram page before. There was a time I posted that I came back very late from duty and it was this man that went to the kitchen. I posted the picture of when he was cooking. But he doesn’t want himself in that media space. So, I respect his privacy for him.
How did you earn the ‘celebrity cop’ name?
It is you I should still ask. I think why I am being called a celebrity cop is my openness and a whole lot of people have told me that I am approachable. They said in the fashion world, I am present. They say in the news and the happenings I am present. And I have a couple of friends in the entertainment world. One told me that all these culminated in me having that name. But I want to say I remain the servant of the people. My duty is to serve the people. My duty is to protect, and I prefer to be called a police officer.
How does a beautiful celebrity cop deal with male advances?
Ahhhh! Hmm! But I have been able to find my way out of it. If I notice that your handshake is getting beyond the wrist, to the elbow, I will not hesitate to let you know that I am happily married. But like I told you, I have not seen advances from men as something to worry about. I not only tell them to hands off but also to eyes off.
How many do you get per day?
You are on your own (Laughs). Are you doing statistics or a research?
Can you recall any event that almost cost your life?
I think the one I will be so thankful to God for is while I was a Divisional Crime Officer and there was a robbery incident. I love challenges and I am highly inquisitive. My DPO was to go with his men but I insisted I must go with them. My DPO advised me to stay back but I told him that I am also a police officer. When we got there, I saw the exchange of fire power. Ah! I asked myself why did I come out? It was a scary moment and that was the first time I would witness that. And since that day, personally, I appreciate police officers because I have experienced how people risk their lives. So for me to escape that incident that day, I am still grateful to God because it was just by His grace that we escaped. So, looking back to that every time, I am always thankful to God almighty.
You are a social butterfly, do you club? And what is your type of music?
Well, I am not really a club person. A club is a place you go to, to pay a lot of money to hear noise, to be smoked out, and at the end of the day, you will see all those things that you are not to see. I love good music. Thankfully, we have internet connections that we can surf music of all genres. I am a social person. I honour invites. Be rest assured, when you have a good musician at your occasion, that will be till hubby calls.
And you kind of music?
I love juju music and I like I told you I am a Nigerian to the core. I love pieces of Nigerian music that are full of messages that give me deep thinking, essentially, those ones with good lyrics and proverbs.
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