Olusola Dada: My Greatest Fulfilment is in Helping the Needy

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Not many old men still dream as he does. With clear vision and agile mind, he feels he has much to give to humanity as he lives. A man of many parts and a part of national history, his ingenuity and honesty shine through whether he is negotiating a deal, working for the government or demonstrating love to his wife and beautiful children. Chief Olusola Dada is an unassuming septuagenarian, known for success, pedigree and humility. He knows first-hand what it feels like to be a successful businessman and a happy family head. And he has been helping to put smiles on the faces of the less privileged for nearly four decades. As he turns 76 in three days’ time, the chairman of Anchoria Investment and Securities Limited, and District Governor-elect, Lions Clubs International, District 404 A1, Dada believes the greatest satisfaction he has found in life is in service to humanity. Vincent Obia writes

Amid documents and attractive items in Chief Olusola Dada’s Obalende office in Lagos are his photos and the Nigerian high society, as well as different medals of honour. But Dada is proudest of the stuffs that depict his relationship with the lowly. “That is why I joined Lions Club International about 37 years ago,” Dada says.  “I want to be involved in taking care of the needy, the less privileged people.”

Service to Humanity
Dada believes, “Making money in life is really nothing because you will leave this life whether you like it or not, and whatever money you have made, you cannot go with it. Even if you leave it for your children, they can fight over your wealth, whereas, if you take care of the less privileged, God will be happy with you.”
A native of Aiyede Ekiti, in Ekiti State, the septuagenarian was elected District Governor of Lions Clubs International, District 404 A1, Nigeria, on May 12 in Ilorin, during the national convention of the organisation. He will serve for the 2017-2018 Lions year, after his confirmation at the international convention of the club later this year in Chicago, where he will be inducted alongside other governors-elect from different parts of the world.
Lions Club in Nigeria has been involved in the treatment of people with eye diseases, such as cataract and glaucoma.
“Our core project in Lions Club International is to prevent blindness, especially, among less privileged people,” Dada explains. “When you do that, you are happy. When you see somebody that could not see, and they perform the operation on him or her through your own financial contribution, you are happy. Ordinarily, that person could have remained blind for life.”
Hundreds of people have benefitted from the organisation’s eye programme in the current Lions year alone.

Career
Born in Osogbo, Dada was educated at the University of Ibadan and University of Lagos, where he obtained Bachelor of Science degree in Economics (1970) and master of Business Administration (1976), respectively.
He had an excellent career in the federal civil service where he rose to the post of director. He joined the federal civil service in 1971 as administrative officer Grade V and rose to become Principal Secretary in 1983.
Dada served as special assistant to three Secretaries to the Federal Military Government between 1983 and 1988. He was special assistant to the late Alhaji Shehu Musa, who served from October to December 1983; late Chief Gray Longe, who served from January 1984 to August 1985; and Chief Olu Falae, who was secretary to the federal military government between 1985 and 1988.
He became Director of Finance and Administration in the Presidency in 1988 and Director of Political Affairs in 1990. Dada was appointed Executive Director of NAL Merchant Bank, the first merchant bank in Nigeria, in 1993. He held the position until 1996, when he co-founded Anchoria Investment and Securities Limited and became its pioneer Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer.
Dada was on the board of Nigerian Wire and Cable Plc and he was chairman of Great Nigeria Insurance Plc. He is a former member of the Ekiti State Economic Council, former national president of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, and ex-president of the Institute of Directors of Nigeria. He is Chairman of Council and Life Member of the Nigerian Economic Society and member, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.
He was conferred with the national honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) in 2008.

Memorable Moments
Dada has a lot of things to thank God for, and many moments worth remembering. They include, in sequence, the day he graduated from UI, when he started work, and the day he got married in 1972.
“The next occasion I consider to be a very happy day for me was the day I had my first child, a girl, in 1973. I couldn’t believe that I, who had been a child of somebody, was now the father of somebody.”
He has four children. “Any time my wife gave birth to each of the children, I was very happy,” he points out.
Among the memorable moments of his life also was the day he was promoted in the federal civil service to the position of director; the day he was appointed executive director of NAL Merchant Bank, and when Anchoria Investment and Securities Limited was established after his term at the bank.
“And all the time my children passed their degree exams. All of them studied abroad. I was always a happy person because my money was not wasted.”

Family Man
The septuagenarian is a happy family man who maintains a strong bond of love with his wife and their children. He sees such family bonds as very essential for good life and business success. His disposition to relationship, however, contradicts that of many rich people who tend to feel relationship can hinder success.
Unlike the United States President Donald Trump, quoted as saying in an interview that success is not very good for relationship, and, great success leads to bad relationship, Dada notes, “Honestly, I don’t know what Donald Trump means by that. I feel that behind every successful man, there is a woman that is assisting. If the home front is settled, you will be able to achieve a lot in work or business. I don’t know how he came about the notion that you have to cut the family ties to succeed.”
The ace stockbroker believes his wife occupies a special place in his life and business.
“Women should be very complementary in the success of a man,” he says. “My wife has been a support to my achievements. If I have a business appointment and I’m sleeping more than necessary, she would wake me up: ‘Darling, my dear, you said you had an appointment, wake up, your food is ready.’ She would not allow me to get out of my house without my breakfast. I enjoy her support. Our children are all married now, and they always want to know what is happening to me and my wife.”
To him, “A happy man is a family man.”
But Dada’s wife is not directly involved in the running of his company, though two of their children are on the board of the firm, with one in executive capacity. He says it was a deliberate decision he took, moreover to give her room for her own business.
“Besides, I want to make this place a company that is not a one-man business,” he admits. “In fact, my ambition is to make this place a public limited company.”
Nonetheless, Dada says his wife has been very supportive and has even helped to sell his company to many people.

Humble
Asked to describe himself in one word, Dada says he is humble. “I don’t expect too much from anybody. If you expect too much from people, you may be disappointed. I am a service-oriented person. I want to render service to humanity.”
He describes dishonesty as the single biggest put-off in his life. “What gets me most irritated is deceit. I want anybody I’m dealing with to be straightforward with me. This includes my wife, children, and people around me. Whatever I do, I want honesty. This is the best policy.”

Finding Fun
The indefatigable old man relaxes watching the television and enjoys mostly news and international football. He engages in Christian activities like fellowships during the weekends and goes to Lions Club meetings and town meetings at month ends.
“Occasionally, I have time to enjoy with my children, especially, those of them in Nigeria here,” he says. “Besides, I have good friends that after the day’s job we meet and have drinks together.”

Dream
Though in his seventies and fulfilled to a large extent, he has a bigger aspiration. “My biggest dream is to make this world better than I met it in terms of whichever contributions I can make. I want to be remembered for my contributions in the church, place of birth, and other places, when I leave this world,” he reveals.
He adds that people should refrain from bothering themselves with too many things. “We have many people with hypertension and stroke because they carry too many things on their minds,” Dada says. ”People should learn to free their minds. The Bible says take care of today, tomorrow will take care of itself. The problem of the day is enough for the day. Don’t get yourself involved in something you cannot solve, and pray to God to help you.”