Francis Bunu is the President, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Seafarers branch. Though very jovial, this is not a quality that greets you from his facial appearance but a closer relationship with you gives him out as a very friendly and passionate person.
A typical Niger-Deltan, he is very outspoken, fearless and blunt.
In this chat, he says he does not take alcohol, a claim some may not believe if told by another person but because he said it and as a blunt person, it is believable.
From the Maritime Life of this week, Bunu, a fat man said his favourite food is local pepper soup.
Enjoy the piece.
What is you full name?
My name is Comrade Francis Bunu. I am President, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Seafarers branch.
What colour do you prefer among all colours?
My favourite colour is white. I like white colour because it signifies peace, unity, cleanliness and orderliness.
I don’t really have a particular food as my favourite but as an Ijaw man, I like our traditional food more than any other food. And our traditional food is pepper soup prepared in our traditional way. It is called okodoteriye.
You look aggressive with your beards,, do you socialise at all and if yes, how?
I take my personal life and things that have to do with me very seriously. I socialise by playing football and I go out and I hang out with friends a lot. I have not seen a time that I stay alone. Every time, I am always in the company of many people because that is my nature. I am a very simple person. The beards you are talking about is nature. If you see my father, he is like Wole Soyinka, all round white hair. It is what God has given to me. My elder brothers do not have it but God granted me the favour of having the white hair. I am a very sociable person.
Are you a football fan and which club do you support?
I support clubs. I was supporting Manchester United but when it became a failure, I quit and I started supporting Liverpool because I like the winning team and if they don’t do well next season, I will leave them because I pay my DSTV bill to watch them, Liverpool does not pay for me, I buy their jerseys, they don’t buy for me, I am the one spending money so if you don’t do well, why will I spend money watching you?
Can you then be referred to as a true fan?
Don’t call me a true fan of any club but a true fan of any club that is doing well. Everybody likes good things. So, I am not a fan of any particular club.
How do you relax?
That is one thing that I do that people know. Between 4pm to 6:30 pm everyday, you will see me on the field or in the gym. It is an everyday affair. I make out time for myself when it comes to my sport.
It is believed that seamen take alcohol, how true is this and how much of alcohol do you take?
Unfortunately, I don’t take alcohol. Alcohol taking is a mentality. Some will say if they take alcohol, their bodies will be warm, no. I don’t see it that a seaman must drink. Maybe the olden days seafarers took alcohol but the present day seafarers don’t take alcohol like that. These days, there are seafarers who want to make it and take the job as their career and alcohol will always bring you down. Even in the vessel, Seafarers are not allowed to take alcohol, it is against the law. If you are caught taking alcohol, you are gone. Alcohol is not part and parcel of our lives and me in particular, I don’t take it even ashore.
Their is a popular belief that seafarers are members of Vikings and buccaneers, how true is this?
People always say Vikings and buccaneer are from sailors. Seafaring is enough confraternity on its own. I have never belonged to any cult in my life and I have never had a cut in my body and will never do that any day because the seafarer is a cult on its own
Your memorable experience at sea?
My memorable experience is when we became stranded in Greece. There are times when there would not be food onboard and you are alone in foreign country with your fellow seafarers. There are tines when there would be turbulence and you wonder if you would make the trip because there are times that you will encounter storms and regret ever taking up the employment. It is a very tedious job that is why I took the pain up on myself to help seafarers in Nigeria. There were times seafarers were paid N20,000 and some N50,000. I keep telling people that if there is any company in this country that pays more than companies with MWUN, seafarers branch, then I will resign. I have a specific mandate to salvage seafarers in this country.
As a President if MWUN branch, some people believe you are rich and have the wherewithal to throw cash around hence women may want to flock around you,. How do you manage the women that come around you?
It is expected that women will flock around a man who is not doing badly, who is also good looking, it is a natural thing but it is left for you as a person to decide what you want. They are things that normally happen but as a man, you should know how to manage them. They are women, they need your help and they need my help. Whether we like it or not, women are more than men but that does not mean that you take advantage of them. Since women are more in number than men, you expect like five or more to flock around me but that does not mean you are sleeping with them.
How religious are you?
I am a Christian. I believe in God and I believe in Christ. I am very passionate when it comes to things of God and I love God.
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