The Executive Director of Socio- Economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP), Barrister Adetokunbo Mumuni can be very fiery when it comes to issues relating to the right of Nigerians and accountability of public office holders.
He hates corruption with passion. Much as he avoided getting interloping, during an exclusive interview with him in his office at Ikeja on whether the senate committed illegality by buying imported cars, versions of which are readily assembled in Nigeria, Motoring World Lagos Bureau Chief, ROTIMI ASHER used the opportunity to find out other things about the human Right activist, especially his kind of car and how passionate he really is about cars. He was blunt at admitting he was not at all a freak. Read about his first car, one he inherited from his late father and other revealing aspects of his motoring life.
Motoring World: May we meet you, sir?
MUMUNI: I am Adetokunbo Mumuni. I am the owner and head of Eko-Akete chambers, a legal practitioner firm. I am from Isale-Eko in Lagos Island.
Motoring World: How much of a car freak are you?
MUMUNI: I am not at all; I don’t think about life in terms of earthly materials. Whatever thing that moves, I will move with it. I have a car and my wife has. Sometimes my friends may want to go somewhere; I will give them my car and go in a public bus or take Okada. To me, a man that determines his worth by material acquisition is an empty person.
Motoring World: For instance, if you had money to buy a car, what kind of car will you like to buy?
MUMUNI: You know Suzuki Jeep, when it came out newly, that was in April 2008, and I bought my own in June; I was the first set of Nigerian to buy it.
Motoring World: Any particular reason you chose to buy it?
MUMUNI: Before it came out, I used to drive Tokunbo cars. The last Tokunbo car that I bought was Cherokee jeep, and when it was given me problem, I said to myself, I won’t buy a Tokunbo car again. Whatever type of car I would buy must be a new one. I bought the Suzuki Jeep in 2008 for N.6 million. I have a law firm; I don’t live by NGO business alone. I do this as community service. That is what I live with. I thought if I could afford it, so, the next time I wanted to buy a car, I bought a Peugeot 307. That was in 2009.
Motoring World: would you say then that Suzuki SUV is your dream car?
MUMUNI: It was just what I wanted because I could afford it.
Motoring World: Perhaps that was in vogue then?
MUMUNI: If there were 61 people to buy that Jeep first, I think I was one of them. It was made in April and I bought in June. If you go and find the record of Suzuki, you will find out. There is this company in Mushin, around the challenge area, they sell cars there. That was where I bought it, the Suzuki Jeep.
Motoring World: Are you actually saying you don’t have a dream car?
MUMUNI: There are more important things than having a dream car in Nigeria.
Motoring World: You bought the Suzuki SUV then, because you wanted to drive Tokunbo car, do you still drive the car?
MUMUNI: I have given it to my wife. I won’t say the car is my dream car, though I like it. What really appeals to me is the functionality. If I want to look big, if I am in the SUV, it will appear as if I am a big man but what really appeals to me is the functionality of a car. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it must be easy to maintain and fuel efficient.
Motoring World: When did you start driving?
MUMUNI: Ah, I started driving since the time I inherited a 504 from the will my dad left behind. My father died in 1997. He made a will and the last 504 he bought in 1986 brand new for N10, 500 came to me. I still have the receipt. He gave me in his will, because my father has the habit of maintaining cars. When the service was due, he would take it to PAN for servicing. It is the same habit that I cultivated. The 307 I bought from Oluwalogbon Motors is still being serviced by them till today. My method of using a car is not to have too many hands servicing it. From day one, if I purchase a car from you, I will see that the car comes to you when it is due for servicing.
MUMUNI: You know the way we learn driving then. You learn from whoever knows how to drive. That is the formal way of learning how to drive, instead of going to a driving school.
Motoring World: What time was that?
MUMUNI: I was already a lawyer when I started driving. I became a lawyer at the age of 25 in 1990. I turned 50 last year in August 4. I will be 51 in August this year.
Motoring World: What bad experience have you had since you started driving?
MUMUNI: I have had an accident before in 1999. That was with the 504 I inherited from my father.
Motoring World: How did it happen?
MUMUNI: I was coming from Surulere where I live. You know the CMS bookshop on the way from Bariga, as you want to enter into Odunlami Street where there was an interception. As I was trying to negotiate into Odunlami, a car was coming and I never knew, so, I just rammed my 504 into the car. The radiator got spoilt right away and my car had to be towed away from the scene. That was the only time I have had an accident.
Motoring World: Were you hurt?
MUMUNI: No, it was on a Sunday. And what actually happened was that the man that I damaged t his car just looked at me, entered his car and drove away.
Motoring World: You are a very busy man; you have a law firm and still run SERAP, how do you relax?
MUMUNI: The basic thing that I do is to listen to traditional music. Once music is not traditional, it does not really appeal much to me.
Motoring World: How many wives do you have?
MUMUNI: I am a prince and a Muslim. I am entitled to have the number that I have. I have two wives.
Motoring World: With the two, how many children do you have?
MUMUNI: I have six, three each. One lives at Surulere, the other at Ikorodu.