- The Untold Story Of Arakunrin-Keji, AGBOOLA AJAYI
Many people may have been wondering why Ondo Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, picked Agboola Ajayi as his Deputy. We can tell you why. City People gathered that it’s because of his political relevance. He is an astute politician. Arakunrin-Keji, Alfred Agboola Ajayi, who was sworn-in on the 24th February 2017 as the Deputy Governor of Ondo state, was the first Apoi man from the riverine area of the state and the second person from Ondo South Senatorial District to become a Deputy Governor.
Recall that during the administration of the Late Pa Adebayo Adefarati, an Ikale man, the late Pastor Afolabi Iyantan from Ondo South Senatorial District was the first deputy governor of the sunshine state during that tenure. Arakunrin-Keji, Alfred Agboola Ajayi, was born on Tuesday, 24th of September, 1968 to the famous Ajayi family of Kiribo in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State. He had his Primary and Secondary Education at Kiribo and Bolorunduro communities of Ese-Odo Local Government Area. He had his academic foundation solidly rooted in his communities before pursuing his university education and came out with Second Class Upper Division in Bachelor of Law (LL.B) from Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Nigeria. He was called to the Bar in 2010 after his graduation at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja. This passionate lawyer is happily married with children.
HIS WORKING EXPERIENCE
The successful businessman, lawyer-cum-politician is a barrister at law and a solicitor of the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has served on the boards of many blue-chip and multinational companies which include Xedex Nigeria Limited, Donfrat Jerces Construction Limited, Signol Fred Security Limited, Neton Rebka Investment Limited, Signol Fred Oil and Gas Limited and Piccolo Bruneli Engineering Limited, to mention a few.
HIS POLITICAL JOURNEY
The deputy governor of Ondo state, Arakunrin-Keji, Alfred Agboola Ajayi, started his political career in the late 80’s when he became the chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the Old Apoi ward-1, between 1989 and 1992. He steered the wheels of the party so perfectly and transparently that he gained the trust of his people and his performance impressed them so much that he was unanimously chosen secretary by the eminent leaders of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) formed in 1998 in Ilaje / Ese-Odo Local Government. His performance was the reason he was picked. They believed that if he was given greater opportunity, he would give them good representation and would not forget his roots. He was appointment Supervisor for Agriculture for Ese-Odo Local Government between 1999 and 2001 and in recognition of his excellent performance between 1999 and 2001, he was appointed Supervisor for works for Ese-Odo Local Government between 2001 and 2003.
Furtherance as a recognition of his meritorious service in the previous offices, he was appointed Caretaker Chairman of Ese-Odo Local Government between 2003 and 2004. And in 2004, he won election as the democratically elected Chairman of Ese-Odo Local Government. His victory was seen as the reward of his selfless and humanitarian services to his people. He served selflessly and meritoriously as the chairman of Ese-Odo Local Government between 2004 and 2007 and the Treasurer of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Ondo State chapter between 2004 and 2007.
Having served as chairman for 3 years, his political fortune soared in 2007 when he was elected member Federal House of Representatives to represent Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency. He regarded his emergence as the House Of Reps Lawmaker as a landmark opportunity for him to serve his people better. At the National Assembly, he served as the Chairman of the House committee on NDDC between 2007 and 2010. He was also a member of various committees, which included House Committee on Gas, House committee on Habitat, House Committee on Justice and House committee on Industry between 2007 and 2010. He also contested the Ondo South Senatorial seat twice on the platform of the PDP. Now, he has become a household name in the state and Ondo south senatorial district. And he has a major determinant factor of socio-political issues in the Southern senatorial district of Ondo State. One thing about the deputy governor is that he has remained a loyal party person and he has always pitched his tent with the progressives. One thing you can’t take away from him is that, he was a loyal party person and stakeholder in the PDP for more than 10 years before he joined the APC in 2015 when he emerged the deputy Governorship candidate, a running mate to Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, fondly called Aketi as the 6th Governor of Ondo state. Another thing is that, the deputy governor is a silent achiever and a great political communicator.
HOW HE EMERGED THE DEPUTY GOVERNOR
At the emergence of the governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, at the APC primary election in September, no fewer than eighteen individuals were jostling for the Deputy governorships ticket. The aspirants were from the South and Central senatorial districts of the state. This led to the forming of Search Committee set up by Akeredolu headed by Barr. (Mrs.) Olajumoke Anifowoshe, daughter of the second Republic governor of the state, Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin. Other members of the committee included Mr. Wale Akinterinwa, a former Finance Commissioner; Hon. Victor Olabintan, a former speaker; Mr. Bankole Oluwajana, who served as the secretary to the Committee and a former permanent secretary, Dr. O. Shebba. Among those interviewed were Hon. Agboola Ajayi, a former House of Representatives member: Hon. Lucky Ayedatiwa from Ilaje Local Government area; Boye Adegbemisoye a former Commissioner for Special Duties; Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde, a former House of Representatives member from Akure South. Besides, there were two governorship aspirants who contested the primary with Akeredolu, Messrs Tunji Light Ariyomo and Odunayo Akinrisola. Engr. (Mrs.) Janet Adeyemi, a former House of Representatives member and Special Assistant to the President; Mrs. Oladunni Odu, a former SUBEB Chairperson in the state. Initially, 3 of them were shortlists, but owning to Arakunrin-Keji, Agboola Ajayi’s financial commitment and support during the primary, he was given the slot of the deputy governor.
HIS HUMANITARIAN SERVICES
Otunba Mayeigun of Apoiland and Aare Bobaselu of Ugboland is, no doubt, a man of the people and a grassroots politician, who many described as a dedicated community leader, kind-hearted philanthropist, compassionate, humanitarian, astute politician and a role model to this generation. He has had a weighty impact on many people in the southern district in particular and Ondo State in general. In appreciation for his humanitarian services, he had been honoured with various merit awards within and outside Ondo State, such as Award of Excellence for best Local Government administration in Ondo State 2005, Merit Award for an Outstanding Leadership 2006, Distinguished Merit Award for Philanthropy 2008, Patron, Apoi Student Association among others.