It was Jim Rohn that said whoever renders service to many puts himself in line for greatness – great wealth, great return, great satisfaction, great reputation, and great joy. This saying aptly describes the birthday boy, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun (SIA), the immediate past Governor of Ogun State and the Senator representing Ogun Central Senatorial District. His reputation for service to humanity, which towers above many, has really endeared him to the people.
Amosun’s service records span many areas of human endeavours. When Amosun assumed office as Governor in 2011, Ogun State was rated 35th out of the 36 states on the ease of doing business index. Through diligent governance, the State moved to 3rd position in 2014. Even this record could not be sustained by the present Ogun State administration who has taken it back to number 19 according to recent ratings by BudgIT. Amosun’s exemplary leadership turned Ogun State to Nigeria’s industrial capital with over 300 high profile industries coming on stream in Ogun State during his tenure as governor of Ogun State. The huge investments of his administration in infrastructure did not only attract businesses to Ogun State, the face-lift as well as comfort it brought made the state a destination of choice for investors that earned it the status of Nigeria’s Industrial Capital. Similarly, Amosun’s financial reengineering positively impacted revenue generation drive in Ogun State as the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) witnessed a mammoth growth from N700 Million per month in 2011 to an average of N6.8 billion per month in 2019.
SIA is widely regarded as the architect of modern Ogun State due to his enviable leadership style which turned the fortunes of Ogun State around when he was the Governor between 2011 and 2019. His five-point developmental agenda tagged “Mission to Rebuild” became the special purpose vehicle for delivering on good governance. The agenda which encompassedd Affordable and Qualitative Education, Efficient Health Care Delivery, Agricultural Production and Industrialization, Affordable Housing and Urban Renewal as well as Rural and Infrastructural Development / Employment Generation not only redefined political administration but also raised the bar of excellence in the Gateway State.
Amosun does not shy away from challenges. He was confronted with multifaceted problems of insecurity and empty vault immediately on assumption of office in 2011. Banks refused to open in some areas of the State because of high incidences of armed robbers, Incessant kidnapping even in broad daylight, armed banditry on Sagamu-Abeokuta Road, rampant cult wars by delinquent students, were just some of the many hazards to safety and lives in the State.
Amosun who believed that security was fundamental to the achievements of his agenda within weeks set up the Security Trust Fund (STF) headed by Mr. Kayode Are, former Director-General of Department State Security (DSS). He procured 60 double cabin patrol Vans operational vehicles fitted with sophisticated communication gadgets that facilitated easy communication for security operatives. His administration later acquired 10 Armoured Personnel Carriers, APC.
Amosun didn’t just procure those materials as well as funds for the security operatives to work, he was, at many occasions, with them right in front on the missions to fight insecurity even against the advice of top security cadres. He believes in hands-on leadership which ultimately provided needed motivation for the men and women of the security forces. These actions reduced insecurity greatly in the State with the people heaving a big sigh of relief.
He has a Master of Arts holder in International Finance from the University of Westminster in London, United Kingdom and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) as well as an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Amosun is a trailblazer with an unrelenting pursuit of excellence.
Towards the end of 2022, Amosun empowered a whopping 5,600 Ogun indigenes in a mega rally, unarguably, the largest of its type in the annals of the State. In one sweep, he distributed 2,000 grinding machines, 2,000 sewing machines, 500 deep freezers, 500 5kva generators and 500 laptops and desktop computers for students. Amosun also gifted away 100 buses to the entire people of Ogun State.
It is worth of note that though representing Ogun Central, his reach was the entire State. In his words, he said “One novel thing about what we are doing today is that we are not limiting this to just Ogun Central even though Ogun Central will have more because I represent Ogun Central, but I know we have our people as well in the East and West, though Ogun East and West have their own Senators and they have been giving their people things, but I’m doing this in the Central and I felt that I should extend that courtesy to our people in Ogun West and East. It is not only the people of Ogun Central that have been supporting me since, our people from Ogun West and East have also been supporting our course and I feel they should also benefit from this empowerment”
However, Amosun has been accused of being too uncompromisingly rigid. He is seen as someone who doesn’t bend once he has made up his mind. This attribute could also become an advantage because with an Amosun, what you see is what you get. Unlike others who employ stalking horses, Amosun doesn’t address issues with tongue in cheek.
His uncompromising trait for equity, fairness and justice was demonstrated in the wake of 2019 elections when he put his political and financial weights behind a Yewa-Awori man in the gubernatorial race. The Ogun West Senatorial District which comprises the Yewa-Awori people hasn’t produced the Governor since the creation of the State in 1976. Although Amosun wouldn’t be the only Governor to support the aspiration of Ogun West people to produce a Governor, his staunch unwavering support stands out over that of others. In spite of the narrow loss in the 2019 gubernatorial election, still undeterred, Amosun is throwing his weight behind another Yewa man, Barrister Biyi Otegbeye (BOT) to be the Governor of Ogun State
He is speaking boldly and openly on many fora including the popular BBC Yoruba channel that he is fully in support of Otegbeye who is the Gubernatorial Candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC). Otegbeye is the CEO of Regency Alliance, a reputable insurance company that is quoted on the stock exchange market with a capitalization of over 10 billion with branches in Ghana and South Africa.
Amosun a man of strong persuasion yet accommodating to the pursuit of common interest of many truncated his bid for the presidential candidacy of APC for the greater interest of South West. who believes the overall interest of the people and zone is more important than his political ambition especially when such ambition is about the people.
Despite having campaigned vigorously to emerge the Presidential candidate of APC and with overwhelming acceptance from delegates across the Nation, Amosun stepped down for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu when it was becoming clear that not doing so would make the South West lose the ticket. At a mega rally at Ake Palace in Abeokuta upon his return to Ogun State after the APC Presidential Rally in Abuja, Amosun declared to his supporters who travelled the length and breadth of Ogun State to welcome him that “I want to be President of Nigeria no doubt, but my wanting to be President is just 20%, and that 80% of it is that I want the Presidency to come to the South West. Lo and behold, Almighty God has answered that prayer and ultimately, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is our flag bearer will be the President of this great Nation, Nigeria”. He has since thrown his full weight in words and deeds behind the candidacy of , Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Many people and organisations have honoured Amosun for his exemplary conduct and disposition. On August 6th, 2022, at the 50th anniversary of the prestigious Abeokuta Club, Amosun was given accolades as he was honoured. At the event, Amosun said, “Well, I am happy. When you are in a place and they are telling you that you have done the work of four or five governors altogether. I feel elated. I am happy that they appreciated our little efforts”.
As this enigma turns 65 today, my prayer for him is that Allaah should continue to strengthen him, guard, guide and provide for him all his heart desires, both in this world and the hereafter. 65 hearty cheers to Ibikunle Muhammadu Ikleel Oluwatoyin Akano, Ajiri Omo Oye.
Raheem Ajayi wrote from Imashayi in Yewa North Local Government area of Ogun State.