Adedapo Matthew Alalade is the immediate past president of Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNWTSSA). He recently relinquished power to Capt. Bob Joseph Yousou after two terms of eight years.
Soft spoken but down to earth, Alalade’s look gives him out as a man that has fear of God. His actions suggest same.
During his tenure as President of seafarers, he never for one day took an action that constituted or led to shutting down the port because according to him, he believes in negotiation and that there is not matter that cannot be resolved with friendly engagement.
In this chat, he revealed some rare information that many didn’t know about him even those that have worked with him for years.
Tell us your full name.
I am Alalalade Adedapo Matthew. I am from Awe town in Oyo State.
I started my education from Baptist Day School in Ajegunle, Lagos state before the civil war and during the civil war, my father was transferred to the north because he was headmaster at that rime. So, I had to relocate and continued my primary school in the north to another Baptist Day School in Kano. I came back to Lagos after two years where I finished in Salem school in Ebute Metta in 1972.
I proceeded to Oyo State for my secondary school at Ilora Baptist Grammar School.
How did you get into Maritime?
After my secondary school, I worked with Palm Line Agencies as harbour clerk and from there to cargo supervisor. I went further to the college to study Radio Communication on-board ship because at Palm Line, I developed an interest in working on-board ship. I studied Marine Communication at Sri Lanka then I came back from the college and it was during the NNSL time but I worked as freelance radio officer, I worked in many companies outside the country before I came back to sail in Nigerian water.
From there, I took many courses because in this our job, there are many short courses.
In year 2000, I started making efforts not to sail anymore because I was already a family man with grown up children that I have to see to their affairs.
I started looking for greener pasture on land by surveying job and I started with Heinkins marine and I was an instructor there. Up till today, I am a class surveyor.
How did you delve into unionism?
I have delved into unionism since my early days when I was sailing. I never knew I would become the President.
I have been the scribe of the shipping Zonal council, I rose to chairman for two tenures and later became the vice president before I eventually became the President.
I have been in the association for the past twenty-five to thirty years.
My favourite food is amala and I also like pounded yam. My favourite colour is blue because of my background in maritime
It is often believed that sailors keep women friends, how many did you have when you were sailing?
That is true because women make life go on and when women are not there, life is not balanced. While sailing, if everybody on-board ship is a male, if anybody offends you, it will be very difficult to forgive but once there is a woman in-between, you can easily forgive. That is the life of seamen.
Women like coming into the ship and men too like going to them, such keeps balance in the ship because if there is nothing like that, there will be fight in the ship and nobody will know the cause.
How many girlfriends did you have then?
I didn’t have girlfriends and I didn’t have trademarks anywhere I went. Trademark is having children anywhere they sail to.
Did you participate in it at that time?
Yes, I did it in my early days of sailing; but when I was getting close to leaving the ship, I stopped because I had started hosting fellowship on-board ship even on Sundays. I would gather two or more of us that are off duty and we would pray together even though I never knew I would become a pastor.
My mind-set then was to praise God for saving our lives because if you have encountered storm before and have seen ship gone aground, you need to come to God to thank Him.
Even those days when I had girlfriends, I was doing fellowship in the ship to give thanks to God.
I believe it is only seamen that know how to praise or honour God because considering what they might have seen like colleagues saying save our souls and you don’t hear anything again, which means they might have gone.
What’s your own perception of life?
You take life as it comes but it is good to always give glory to God because it is God that made it possible for man to witness everyday.
If you don’t give glory to God, it means you don’t understand what God has done for you.
My goal is to reign with God; to be on the right hand of God and that is what I seek for anyone that comes near me.
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