It was a beautiful Sunday morning, right in his abode in company of my crew. With a warm reception, I was welcomed like an August visitor filled with smile and accolades to my media prowess which he has been following, with a dazzling close-up teeth I smiled to appreciate the encomiums as we were urshered in for cups of coffee and tea as we wish to refreshen our tommy.
Our discussion began in earnest and I was able to bring back these inquiries plus memory I am about to share with you as regards Omo Baba Teacher’s aspiration to govern Ogun State come 2019.
Shakirudeen Adebisi Olabosipo Jimi Lawal was born on the 22nd day of September 1959 at Odo Esa in Ijebu Ode to the family of Late Hon F.O Lawal a former Chairman of Ijebu Ode (aka Baba teacher, knowledge is power or baba 36) Local Government after the reign of Chief Bisi Onabanjo. He attended the Muslim Primary School, Isoku Ijebu Ode and proceeded to Omo Edumare Model School Ago Iwoye but finished his grammar school at Ijebu Muslim College, Ijebu Ode. Jimi moved to London at Southwest College London, Harvard University and other foreign institutions where he bagged Certificates that qualified him as a Business Administrator and also a Lawyer of repute. At an early age, Bisi became a toast in his academic as he joined the banking industry at an early age of 17years.
Adebisi Olabosipo Jimi Lawal told me he was inspired to join politics because he had Public service intent i.e given back to the people which has metamorphosed towards his aspiration; this is a common saying to many politicians though, but for JAL, it is beyond enriching ones self.
He was appointed into his first laudable public service by Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babaginda in 1991 to head (the Chairman) the economic board despite being the youngest among the committee characterized by Professors, University Dons and successful business icons. His collegue and friend Mallam El-Rufai, also appointed him in his cabinet as a Senior Special Adviser and before that worked as a consultant on Federal Capital Territory, the achievements recorded and still going is what gave him the impetus to aspire to bring on board his expertise dexterity into the furthered development of Ogun State.
He has designed a five (5) cardinal programs to guide his administration if voted into power, which are;
- Rapid Economic Development especially exploiting the crude oil that Ogun State is blessed with alongside other natural resources deposited in Ogun State most especially as it could be found in Ogun Waterside, Sagamu, Awa etc; Housing forms part of the economic development via mortgages for the low income earners paid over long time of years; Agriculture isnt left out, he believes in the potential of Agricultural produce to feed the state and boost the IGR which was the tool used by the Late Siege, Obafemi Awolowo, creating an environment where the illiterate and semi illiterate will be fully empowered via aggressive investment in agriculture.
- Human Capacity Development is his second agenda, Shakirudeen opined that joblessness is a cankerworm in our socioeconomic development as a state. He nonetheless alluded that investment in Health sector via HCD is vital. He reiterated his commitment to human capital development especially as it relates to health practitioners minding that the health status of a state determines its gross domestic produce,creating employment opportunities and conducive environment for business to strive.
- Good Governance; he listed that efficiency is key thereby ensuring the public servant and civil servants who are trusted ambassadors of the whole constituents are trained to fit into the twenty-first century economic trend, he said reduction of recurrent cost for the benefit of other constituents is non negotiable while fixing his eyes in remolding the educational sector.
- Infrastructure: Infrastructure includes good road network, pipe borne water system that will flow across the state etc. Focusing on roads is very key because transportation is the engine to economic development especially in the rural areas. He gave kudos to Governor Amosun but insisted that more can still be donedone while ensuring public private partnership becomes a benchmark for achieving these as practised even in Kaduna State.
- Security of lives and property formed his last agenda, reducing crime to the bearest minimum via engaging the youth in meaningful employment.
Like you know I queried Jimi Lawal on Youth and Women which I know many of you would have love to know what he has for them. Yes he answerd hear him;
women are the majority and of course for any house to prosper lies on the women. We have designed our economic development to encompass appropriate empowerment that will keep them busy and contributes to the GDP . On our youth I’m keen on investing in Sports and Entertainment; these are very key I must say except we want to keep deceiving ourselves. We have talents every where
JAL told me he believed in merit, its not about Ijebu or Yewa/Egbado lokan issue, all he said he asked for is to let the best person emerge even if its from Egba that is about to culminate their tenure. On a fair note, the Egbados are Egba extension so it behooves on our leaders to see that its the Ijebu/Remo turn in which Remo has done hence its the turn of Ijebu. Note that OGD and Obasanjo believed this rotation in 2011 fielding GNI and Rtd. General Olurin but for Egba who stood up to now claim the mandate at the polls, Egbados would have become the Governor. He journeyed into history beginning from the administration of Olabisi Onabanjo an Ijebu/Remo mandate to Akinrogun Olusegun Osoba an Egba/Egbado mandate down to Otunba Gbenga Daniel an Ijebu/Remo mandate to Sen Ibikunle Amosun an Egba/Egbado mandate. He submitted that acknowledging fair play Ijebu deserves the opportunity but will not shy away from the fact that he will Gladys embrace the best candidate for the job in a level playing contest no matter the zone.
Asking him futher on his philantropy especially in his father’s land, Adebisi Lawal said, “God gives us resources for ourselves and for the betterment of the people”. He confessed his believe, passion and love for Education, which he said he has been sponsoring educational activities and programs via scholarship give out, prizes and award. He remembered his donation in Olabisi Onabanjo University Computer laboratory which was as far back in the 1990s full equipped by him with computer sets, though the then Vice Chancellor insisted he his honoured with Honorary Doctorate Degree but vehemently rejected it not because he doesn’t live titles too as a social man but because one doesn’t take credit in place of God. His widows mite and less privileged is uncountable so also his contributions in his Alma mata, Muslim College, Ijebu Ode.
He noted that things were not that rosy for him especially when he nearly went bankruptcy after his organization Alpha Merchant Bank went on distress, but thank God he was able to bounce back many folds like that of Job and in cognizance of his name “Olabosipo”.
He concluded that youth and women folk that constitute about 70% of our voting strength should queue behind a credible candidate rather than sell their future for a plate of porridge. He pledges to abide with the leaders of the party’s decision (ALL PROGRESSIVE CONGRESS) minding if the best for Ogun is taken at heart in their decision while admonishing Ogun State people never to go for less taking note of the promity of Ogun State to Lagos. He submitted that if he is given the necessary support will strive to position Ogun State next to Lagos as an economic hub and a true gateway State.