Stories by Louis Ibah There is nothing that can be as traumatic as arriving at an international airport with all the excitement of traveling out of the country only to be turned back at the airline counter for having not fulfilled some of the critical conditions to board the aircraft. International flights are indeed different…
For the young man born some 48 years ago without a silver spoon or indeed any spoon, not many would have imagine the man Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola making it this far in the affairs of our nation. In Lagos State where he was born to Ogun State parent, he has made a name for himself as a noted grassroots politician that delivers at all times in public office without blemish.
His meteoric rise as a technocrat politician winning four elections at state and federal levels consecutively apparently marked him out as a peoples’ politician. In our peculiar political terrain, the electorates are not that patient to continuously re-elect an indolent non performing politician. Some performers are even knocked out on the altar of zoning or similar contraptions of our peculiar democracy. But mostly for reasons of delivery on his numerous mandates, the people he represents earnestly want him to serve in higher capacities.
His sobriquet ‘Yayi’, an abbreviation of the Yoruba name Omoyayi’ meaning a “Distinguished Son” indeed fits perfectly for his current elected position as a “Distinguished Senator” of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And in that capacity Adeola is living no stone unturned to deliver on his current mandate. You can easily count him out of the so called “bench warmer” legislators that are only seen but hardly heard during debates on issues of national importance. As a legislator of over 14 years experience at state and federal levels with a bias for public finance, it is not surprising his views are eagerly sought on legislation and oversight function of the Senate. Only last week a national daily newspaper published the statistics of bills sponsored by Senators of the 8th Senate in two years. With the exclusion of a present principal officer and a former one, Adeola has sponsored the highest number of bills among the 109 senators, two of which were recently passed as part of the Constitutional Amendment bills.
If the people of Lagos love his brand of politics to bits, his people back home in Ogun State are earnestly waiting for him to deliver the goods based on the experience gathered in the “Centre of Excellence” and his brand of politics in the race to succeed the incumbent, Senator Ibikunle Amosun as governor in 2019. When he made his political foray into Ogun State as far back as 2011 to contest for the senatorial seat of Ogun West, many easily acknowledged that he brought a paradigm shift to the way politics is done in Ogun West in particular and Ogun State in general. The Yayi brand certainly found reception in Ogun State more so with many Ogun citizens in Lagos and others telling stories of the goodies of the man in service of Lagos and its people. It looks real that he was going to the Senate from Ogun pre- 2015.
But by some queer self interested politics of the ruling party and the power that be, he was advised to tarry a while in Lagos until a future time. Coincidentally, what he was denied in Ogun West he got in Lagos West to the embarrassment of the negligible few that opposed his foray into Ogun State politics. Since then he has left no one in doubt that he is in the race for Ogun 2019 with his massive consultation that resonates well with many in the “Gateway State”.
Across major party lines in Ogun State key actors from PDP, SDP, UPN and his party APC are teaming up with him. Some incumbent governor’s appointees are also leaving their positions to stake in for Yayi in 2019. At the grassroots level many will swear by Yayi even without physically meeting him. And when he makes appearance in his country home in Ilaro or elsewhere in Ogun State it is always to the reception of welcoming tumultuous crowd who just want to have a glance at the man many are calling ‘incoming’ in reference to Ogun 2019.
For the few that grudge him and his touted ambition in Ogun State, all manner of dirty and debased politics have been played with such thing as his origin, his Lagos connection encapsulated in the ‘Tekobo’ concept, which backfired on its author, and even his contributions on the floor of the Senate. However the more they attempt to play the politics of exclusion of Yayi from 2019 race, the more it becomes clear that you cannot exclude a front liner who is now a household name from a race that is supposed to be democratic.
Adeola was born on August 10, 1969 at Lagos Island Maternity Hospital to family of Mr. Ayinde Adeola Ogunleye and Madam Abeeni Olasunbo Ogunleye (nee Akinola) of Yewa South and Abeokuta South Local Government of Ogun state respectively. His paternal ancestral origin is Agbole Onibata, Ago Isaga, Pahayi, Ilaro-Yewa. Yayi began his education at the State Primary School, Alimosho in Lagos State. On the successful completion of his primary education, he proceeded to Community Grammar School, Akowonjo, Lagos for his secondary education. His quest for educational advancement in life took him to the prestigious Ondo State Polytechnic, Owo now Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo state where he bagged the Higher National Diploma (HND) in Accounting. Adeola became a Chartered Accountant at a relatively young age. He is a distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, (ICAN), a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation as well as a Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).
Adeola variegated experience in both private and public sector finance started in “The Guardian Newspapers Limited”, where he put in almost 12 years of meritorious accounting service and rose to the position of Accountant. He resigned from “The Guardian” and proceeded to Olatunji Omoyeni &Co where he led the audit team for several years and was later promoted to the position of a Senior Auditor. Adeola later established his own company, Sootem Nigeria Limited, where he was the managing director and chief executive officer until his foray to serve the public through partisan politics.
Politically Adeola pitched his tent with the progressive arm of Nigerian politics by joining the then Social Democratic Party, SDP. In spite of challenges relating to military government, Adeola bravely continued with his foray into politics at the dawn of the 4th Republic. He won the primary of the then Alliance for Democracy, AD and was elected as a member to represent Alimosho State Constituency 2 at the Lagos State House of Assembly from 2003 to 2007 and again from 2007 to 2011.
At the Lagos Assembly he was appointed the Chairman of Finance Committee and Joint Chairman of Appropriation Committee, where he was instrumental to the enactment of the law that strengthened the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service. The legislative reforms laid the foundation that catapulted the revenue of the state from a paltry N5billion monthly to about N30billion presently! He was also part of the legislative team that passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Public Procurement Act of Lagos State, two laws that saw Lagos State qualifying to access developmental funds from international financial bodies like World Bank.
And in all his years as a legislator, Adeola set the standard for effective representation that saw his repeated re-elections. He is noted for his numerous personal and constituency projects. The people of Alimosho and indeed now Lagos West can never forget his developmental initiatives in the area of provision of water through boreholes, provision of electric transformers, regular free medical programmes and rehabilitation of roads. Other areas of life changing programmes that are the hallmark of Yayi’s representation include educational empowerment and support in the form of building classrooms with ancillary facilities, annual purchase of GCE forms and tutorials for indigent students as well as ICT training at NIIT for hundreds of youths in his constituency.
As a member of the House of Representatives, he was selected as the chairman of the only constitutional committee of the House, the Public Accounts Committee. It was a feat that he got this important post usually reserved for ranking members as a first time member of the House. In fulfillment of his core function as a legislator, Adeola sponsored and successfully pushed through to passage a bill that repealed the colonial Audit Act of 1956 and Re-Enact the Audit Act of 2014 on May 22, 2015. The new law seeks to establish the Federal Audit Service Commission as well as grant autonomy to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
Adeola, a Christian, is a believer in religious freedom for both Christians and adherents of Islamic faith. The great philanthropist is happily married to Mrs. Temitope Adeola and the union is blessed with children.
At 48 years of age, fourteen served as a legislator at state and Federal level and still counting, Adeola is setting a worthy record of an experienced legislator par excellence and look set for executive position having transverse the legislative hierarchy of Nigeria.
Media Adviser to Sen. Adeola