King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, the Fuji maestro who is popularly known as K1 De Ultimate speaks with KEMI AKINYEMI on his life at 60, his romance with politics, plan for retirement and other sundry issues.
What significance does attaining the age of 60 hold for you?
It is just a figure. Sometimes, I ask myself if I really look that age. I don’t look my age in any way. But at 60, I have no reason to be ungrateful to God. I am still who I am, I am still doing what I am doing, my voice is still very strong and my thinking is still very sound. I have every reason to thank God.
For a 60-year-old, you look trim and fit. What is the secret of your youthful look?
I rest a lot. I don’t joke with my rest. If I am not on my feet, I am laying on my back, meditating. I don’t believe one must sleep in other to rest. I sleep for eight hours and I observe my siesta most times, especially if I have a performance. Also, I swim a lot and I work out every morning. I do my press-ups and other forms of exercise.
What is the situation now within the house of Fuji, given the backdrop of the speculation making the round that there is division amongst the members?
There is no division of any kind within Fuji house. We are united and we will remain united. I have always maintained that even in the animal kingdom, there is headship. Fuji is nothing short of that as well. There is headship within the body of Fuji musicians. Every member has come to identify the fact that the headship lies on me. The body has appointed me as the life grand patron of Fuji. Every one of us has come together. By the grace of God, I am a successful artist and I am a leading light of Fuji music, so, it behooves me to make sure that there is harmony in my constituency. To be honest, this is not the time to talk about rivalry. Except for Kollington Ayinla, who is much more older than me, I am the oldest among the group of Fuji musicians of note. Thus, I would not do anything that will undermine my age status and leadership status as well. Rivalry is for the little minded, and we are not going to create any room for it.
Don’t you think there has been a diversion or a proliferation of what obtains in Fuji music at the moment?
I don’t think Fuji music has been proliferated. Fuji music has been a fantastic music and it is still waxing stronger. A lot of innovations have been injected into it. These innovations have added values to Fuji music. What we have at the moment is the best of Fuji. We cannot afford to remain stagnant and uncreative. We have to create room for changes.
Politics has become an integral part of you. At what point did you decide to get involved in politics?
I have been involved in politics for a long time, right from the 70’s. I have not only been in politics, I have been actively involved as well. Every human has his own belief. My belief tilts towards canvassing for good governance and delivery of democratic dividends for the people. As a politician, I am interested in building a better society and encouraging good governance. I just didn’t start fraternizing with politicians today. It is only that I do not seek for elective office. But I do have a daughter who is involved in partisan politics, and my other children are politically inclined as well. For me, politics is about understanding what good governance is all about.
Is there a chance that you might be inclined to go into partisan politics by contesting for an elective post?
Ever since I have been in politics, I have never sought for any political office. I am on the side of the masses. You don’t have to seek for an elective post to make an impact on the society. I believe in good governance and the rule of law. I have always concerned myself with making my little contribution and fighting on the people. I will continue to do that but I am not seeking for any elective post.
You are chummy with quite a number of political leaders in the South West. What kind of relationship do you enjoy with them?
I am close to the leadership of the party controlling states in the South West. I am very close to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I am a student of his class and he is my leader. I have other politicians, whom I regard as my leaders because they are truly serving the people. I rub minds and share ideas with them. I am proud to identify with these politicians because they share strong feelings in the area of delivering good governance and rendering good services to their people.
A lot of people believe that you are arrogant. Why would they hold such perception?
I am not arrogant and I will never be arrogant. I don’t know what they mean by claiming that I am arrogant anyway. I am a very principled person. I don’t get myself involved in what does not catch my interest. I mind my business and I am a very straightforward person. I don’t like cheating people and I don’t like being cheated. I am a no-nonsense person, but by nature, I am very jovial and friendly. I don’t just have room for what does not concern me. Somehow, when people are unable to get you to abide by their wish, they see you as being arrogant. I am not arrogant in anyway, I don’t just involve myself in what does not concern me.
I have to be very strict with my children. I lost my father at a very tender age. He died at a time when I needed him most, and this resulted in my inability to go to school. I always asked myself what is the essence of being a successful musician and not being able to give my children quality education? If I could attribute the reason for my inability to go to school to the death of my father, how will I explain why I cannot send my children to school? I believe that education is one of the best legacies I can bequeath my children. I believe that bequeathing properties or money for your children does not guarantee that they will live a better life. I did not enjoy the privilege of being educated by my parents. My father was a learned person but he died when I was very young. My mother was not learned. The only thing she learnt was trading. When my father died, she told me to join her in trading. She didn’t know the value of education. For instance, when my son, Mustapha told me he wanted to go into music, I put my feet down and insisted that he should acquire proper education first. I told him that it is not just enough to lay claim to having the innate talent to sing or being the product of a musician, he must have his certificate by the side. Today, to the glory of God, he has a Masters degree. One must do what needs to be done, at the appropriate time so as to place one where he belongs.
Would you say they have done you proud in return?
They have done me proud, in the fact that they grabbed the opportunity from me. I am still working and I labour for everything that I have. There is nothing as important as raising good children. The best legacy I can give to my children is sound education, not money or property. I am proud of them.
You love hunting a lot. Do you still find time to do game?
I do that once or twice in a month. I am a member of the Rifle Association and other group of hunters, with whom I do a lot of gaming activities. If I find that I am too busy, I make out time to join the team. We go hunting in Epe, Lekki and Igbo-Elerin areas. Sometimes, when I go to Ijebu-Ode, we will go to J4 for hunting. I love hunting a lot. My love for hunting gives me access to rifles. I have been doing games for over 32 years now. And I own license to carry rifles. I enjoy games a lot.
You love wild pets. Do you still keep them?
I still have them. I have my dogs, crocodiles and birds. I have had my crocodiles for many years. I intend to bring new breed of dogs to my house in Ijebu-Ode.
What about your love for cars?
I love cars. My love for Mercedez Benz is still intact. The problem is that Nigerians do not enjoy good roads nowadays. So, one is forced to have a re-think before investing in high-powered cars. One cannot even enjoy a good speed if one were to drive from Lagos to Ijebu-Ode.
You erected an estate in your native home in Ijebu-Ode, and this has given rise to a swirl of speculations, chief of which is that you are planning to retire soon. What informed this decision?
I just feel that I should have something befitting of that magnitude in Ijebu. I live well in Lagos, but I feel it is only fair that I will erect a much more befitting home in Ijebu. I want to be in the midst of my people all the time. Besides, I belong to the Regberegbes and the Bobakeye age group. Anytime I went home, my people would want me to spend more time with them. I felt it would not be appropriate to stay in the hotel all the time. In actual fact, the house is not my first. I gave my first house to my mother. I shuttle between Ijebu and Lagos because of my business engagements. I have concluded plans to go into farming. This sees me going to Ijebu a lot. I want to go into full-scale farming. I want to do livestock farming. It is a very good business, if one is able to do it well.
I want to take life in my own hand. I love to drive myself because I believe my driver is human, and he has issues bugging his mind. We tend to forget the fact that a driver may be thinking of something that is different from your own train of thought. I know my limitation. When I am tired, I will dare not go near the steering wheel. If I feel tired while driving, I will ask people in the car with me to excuse me, park the car and rest for a while. God has been on my side and He has enabled me to imbibe this habit over the years. I enjoy driving myself, and as long as I still have strength, I will continue to drive myself. I do have drivers and they drive other cars. When we are going out as a group, I ride the bus and allow the driver to take the wheel. But when I am in my car, I drive myself.
What platforms have you put in place as your way of giving back to the society?
I have always done my bits to serve and give back to the society. You will find me anywhere the masses were to be fully represented. You will hear my voice anywhere the cause of the masses is being championed. This is more important and creates more impact than doling out money to people. You cannot satisfy people with money all the time. I know what I have done in reaching out to people, in terms of giving out money. I have some outreaches, through which I use to reach out to people. In my little way, I have touched the lives of people in the areas of scholarship, empowerment and some other aspects. But I have refused to stop there. I decided to join hands with good forces to create a better society that will be worthy of living for the masses.
No, I don’t have any regret. There is no cause for regrets in my life. Anything that has happened in my life has been the grace of the almighty God. I take responsibility for whatever action I have taken. I wasn’t forced into doing anything. Nobody is perfect and I don’t even want to be perfect. We make mistakes at every point in our lives, but we improve on those mistakes and move on to the next level.