Dr Obafemi Hamzat is the newly elected Deputy Governor of Lagos State under APC before his election, he was the Commissioner for Ministry of Works and Infrastructure in Lagos State. He was appointed as the Commissioner for Ministry of Science and Technology Lagos State in August 2005. He held that position until June 2011. Thereafter, he has reappointed Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure by Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola’s administration on July 4, 2011.
He was born on September 19, 1964 in Lagos State. A graduate of University of Ibadan with a degree in Agricultural Engineering and further subsequently furthered his studies at home abroad, resulting in both MSC in Crop Processing Engineering 1988 and Ph.D. in System Process Engineering 1992. He worked in several organisations including the city of New York, RTP Consulting Services, Colombia University, Merrill Lynch Inc, Morgan Stanley and Oando Plc.
Dr. Hamzat’s father Olatunji Hamzat is an influential grassroots politician in the state, he had served as a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and also as a Commissioner for Transportation in the state between 1979 and 1983.
At the advent of the current democratic dispensation, he rose to become Vice Chairman South West of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and later became the Lagos West Senatorial District Leader of the Action Congress an Elder Statesman in the Action Congress (AC). He remains the de facto leader of the Justice forum, and the second strongest political group within the APC in Lagos.
It was revealed that beyond the family name Dr. Hamzat comes highly recommended adding that he performed excellently well and if not he could not have worked in the Babatunde Fashola’s cabinet for 8 years given Fashola’s passion for performance and dedication to duty. He comes to the table with many pluses, some of these includes huge political capital, the understanding of the inner workings of governance in the state and a proven capacity and high level of competence.
He is indeed blessed with brains and this he proved, while working as a Commissioner under Governor Babatunde Fashola, he brought the idea, the adoption and employment of oracle, a modern technology based application in the state’s ministries, thus changing the face of data and record keeping in Lagos, which eliminates all forms of sharp practices in the state’s civil service, including the cases of ghost workers, before he was later appointed as Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure at the beginning of Governor Babatunde Fashola’s 2nd term in the office.
His competence and hardwork was also stated as one of the reasons why Fashola backed him against Ambode at a time and xxx to appoint him a ministerial aide when President Buhari appointed Fashola the Minister of Power, Works and Housing.
He was also Bola Tinubu initial choice to succeed Fashola in 2014, he also had Fashola’s blessing at the time but was dropped in favour of Ambode.
Hamzat is one choice that not only compliments the Lagos APC ticket for sheer political balancing but certainly a worthy developmental ally that could reset the governance of the state. Sanwoolu, the new elected Governor of Lagos State and Hamzat, the newly elected Deputy Governor confessed to a friendship of over 15 years.
At the special dinner party organised by his friends and family from Ministry of Works and Housing to host him as the new elected Deputy Governor of Lagos State. He took his time to explain how he joined politics, and how Bola Ahmed Tinubu brought him from U.S. to work for him. He also talked about some of the problems facing the country.
I want to extend my gratitude to all my brothers and sisters in the Ministry of Works and Power, I remember when I visited Abuja for the first time, as a Commissioner, I called it a city without a soul, the reason I said that at that time is that you built a city with a capital, which does not have a National Museum, so our children can not even know about our history, built a capital without a good library.
I have been to the library in the United States, I saw the campaign materials of acting group in the 50’s, you can imagine learning more about Nigeria abroad. While working, I have travelled with other Commissioner as a special adviser in the length and breath of this country by bus, with other reputable engineers, after all these trips, one day I asked the minister, how do we solve the problem of this nation. For me, the fundamental issue of Nigeria is citizenship and it starts with the way we take ourselves. In one of those trips, when we were in Kastina, we stayed in one hotel I spoke to the security guard because I could not sleep, during the conversation. I realised he is a 36 years old man with 17 children, so he is a very busy man.
The United Kingdom gave us independence our population is 5 times, their total population out of their total population out of their total population 12 million are still Nigerians. So the issue is citizenship, as the population grows, our landmark is actually shrinking and the resources too. A lot of negative things happening to Nigeria today was predicted a long time ago. If we have 12 million children uneducated, what will happen to the country, they become gainsters because everybody has to survive.
So the peole in the Ministry of Works Power and Housing gave me hope that Nigeria can really more forward. They have well trained and experience engineer and while working with them, my experience expanded, I know every part of Nigeria now, I am so lucky and proud to have worked with these wonderful team.
We are trully not different in this country, the Hausa, the Igbos, the Yorubas. The landmark is unbelievable, when I met with the Kwara State Governor, I said, the leaders have questions to answer before God because God has been so wonderful to us so what is our excuse before God.
He went further to appreciate his family for standing bye him.
In all I want to appreciate my wife Oluremi, I don’t like going to parties inviting me for parties is like purnishing me, she will always encourage me.
Initially, she was skeptical about my going into politics, but later, she said I should be extremely careful and that she supports me fully. She is very prayerful and most times, she wakes me up for prayers. I want to thank her very much. Also to my daughter Eniola for being so understanding, she stays at home by herself often this days, as Daddy goes out more now.
Then he talked about his journey into politics, I must thank Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a man that does not know about what is happening here today. A lot of people have different opinion about him, some true, some not true.
I never wanted to be a Commissioner, that is the truth, I met Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the U.S. of America, when his administration took a proposal to U.S. firm, where I was working at that time, I was among the team that evaluated the proposal. I was the only black man in that presentation, when I finished with my presentation, and I was going, he called me back, to ask me questions, because he was not in the room, when I introduced myself, so he said “are you a Nigerian”? I said yes, he said, what is your name I answered, he was like which Hamzat is this, I explained further, he said oh my leader, what are you doing here? He said you are coming home, that was how we met, he didn’t relent, he even got my father involved, so my dad was on my neck to come home, that he won’t take a no, for an answer, and that was how I initially worked with Oando Plc, then later he brought me to join his cabinet at his second tenure as the Governor of Lagos State.
The truth is that he is a ferocious fight if he believes in something, he goes for it no matters what it takes, he will give it, it’s all. He allows us to make mistakes, he gave us all enormous responsibilities and always support us. I must thank for everything. I must also thank the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, a workaholic, he believes so much in this country, that we can do it better, he believes if you have the plan, the funding will come.