21st April, 2011
As party candidates take to the political turf for the April elections, it is intriguing to imagine how they would approach the electorate to earn their votes, against the backdrop of the nationâ€™s electioneering history in this regard, and the current resolve for credible polls.
No doubt, some old guard politicians would resort to their timeworn approach of distributing staple food or outright cash for vote. But for Otunba Yomi Ogunnusi, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate for the Ifako/Ijaiye Federal Constituency seat, individual antecedents and personal pedigree count.
If merit is the basis for selecting a political leader, if caring for others and hard work are all essentials that must be considered before choosing a leader, then Otunba Ogunnusi has the credentials that will impact positively on the lives of those he wants to serve.
This is because when the nation took definitive steps to return to the path of democracy in 1999, Ogunnusi was among those who took the lead to rebuild an enduring democratic culture in Lagos State as a grassroots mobiliser in the progressive culture of the South-West. He was one of those who did everything possible to support the growth of Nigeriaâ€™s fledging democracy in Ifako/Ijaiye Constituency. At the state level, he is equally known politically and has helped to build and nurture the ACN.
Without doubt, Ogunnusi made his way up in life through dint of hard work rewarded by the grace of God. Growing up, he was a brilliant student at the prestigious Odogbolu Grammar School after which he went on to attend the University of Lagos and endded up at the University of Ibadan where he bagged a Masters degree in Business Administration. Today, he is a Chartered Accountant of high repute and an industrialist of note.
Ogunnusiâ€™s interest for the less privileged is legendary. This is probably due to his background and simplistic view of life. Otunba Ogunnusi has tremendous love for his neighbours and has always preached love to humanity. His personal mantra is â€œlove your neighbour and brother as yourself.â€ As to why his heart is always tuned to giving, Ogunnusi says he believes that â€œgivers never lack,â€ even as he often tells his friends and associates that the poor and the rich are inseparable because both groups constitute the society.
His contributions and positive impacts on his community and beyond in the last 15 years have endeared him to the people. In recognition of his feats in this regard, the lengthy Isheri Road in Ojodu was named after him five years ago by the local council.
Otunba Ogunnusi has equally been involved in the health care programme as well as vocational training and security in his community. He has single-handedly donated vehicles to the police as well as refurbished all broken down police vehicles in his area to aid the police in the discharge of their duties.
Ogunnusi is one man who has often advocated that the rich must learn to give back to the society through humanitarian initiatives. With proceeds from his businesses across the country, Ogunnusi has awarded scholarships to indigent students and donated computers to schools in his immediate environment.
With these contributions to humanity spanning over 20 years, Ogunnusi was summoned by his community to run for office this year, as he has proven that he would provide quality representation for them at the National Assembly.
Having secured the ACN ticket, Ogunnusi has been on the campaign train canvassing for the peopleâ€™s votes in the April polls.
To a large extent, the ACN has performed remarkably well in Lagos. Ogunnusi is in the race to keep the flag flying, especially by joining the indefatigable and dynamic Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Babatunde Raji Fashola, towards the development of the state.
Ogunnusiâ€™s bid for the House of Representative is to attract more federal presence to Lagos State by initiating landmark bills to that effect and networking with members of the House for them to sail through.
Otunba Ogunnusi is a firm believer in the servant-leadership style. Without gainsaying, a vote for him in the Ifako/Ijaiye Federal Constituency election is a vote for a progressive and dynamic representation in the House of Representatives.
His views about education are very strong. For this reason, he has continued to build classrooms for government schools in his immediate environment.
The Principal of Omole Junior Secondary School once spoke glowingly on Ogunnusiâ€™s generousity. Her words: â€œOtunba Ogunnusiâ€™s philanthropic gesture is incomparable. I wish to thank him for making his shoulders available to the school. Anytime we write to him to assist the school he has always responded. Only last month, I wrote him that our school need toilets. He did not only build toilets for the female and male students, he went ahead to provide new and modern computers for the school.â€
Ogunnusi has been supporting the National Union of Road Transports Workers (NURTW), Community Development Committee (CDC) Landlords Association in Ifako/ Ijaiye Ojokoro, and this has endeared him to the heart of the people in the area..
Otunba Ogunnusi also identifies with the youths. To him, â€œit is only when the youths are catered for that we can have a safe environment.â€
Otunba Ogunnusi hopes to emulate the visionary former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He stated that Tinubu imbibed and built on the legacies of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Ogunnusi hopes to follow suit.
According to Ogunnusi, â€œthe generation of the Yoruba race are indeed grateful to have a man like Bola Tinubu. He is the political icon of our time; patient, innovative and tactical. Tinubu is likeable, loving and caring. For his tenacity of purpose, as followers we have every reason to queue behind his leadership. In politics there must be leadership and the people of ACN believe very much in the leadership of Asiwaju.â€
He added: â€œThe platform of ACN is important because of the progressive nature of our struggle. When Tinubu was to vacate office, people thought that he may not have a good replacement but today Lagosians can see that Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), who took over from him, remains the best governor in terms of performance in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. By this, we can see that Tinubu is a man of foresight, a man of focus, a rear gem in the field of politics, replicating the feats of Awolowo in terms of leadership.â€
Ogunnusi relies on the electorate to translate into reality, their cry for good and adequate representation by voting him into office. He has the interest of the people at heart. He believes that those elected into public offices must see this as a call to service bordering on the sacrificial.
Without doubt, a vote for Otunba Ogunnusi is a vote for adequate and effective representation of the people of the Ifako/Ijaiye Federal Constituency.
â€¢Alhaji Lawal writes from Ojokoro in Lagos