As He Moves Around OGUN State On Consultation Visits
When Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, the Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce & Industry, joined Ogun governorship race several months back, many didn’t give him a chance of success at all. There were so many reasons. One, he is not a core politician. Two, he was seen as too clean for a dirty game like politics. Three, he has always be known to be a straight forward person. He is one man whoseYes is Yes and No is No. With him, you know where you belong, at anytime, on any issue.
But no sooner than the Ijebu-Ode-born banker-turned-Ogun Commissioner joined the race, did he begin to attract mass followership from both the elite and the grassroots. Of course, the high and mighty in the state had been used to him, since his days as a banker. But the speed with which he warmed his way into the hearts of Ogun State people, across the 3 senatorial zones, was amazing.
His humility, decency and gentility won him a lot of admirers. Many of the traditional rulers in Ogun State and elders kept describing him as an Omoluabi, literally a virtuous man, a commendable comment to make about anybody in the South-West part of the country.
His guber ambition was boosted when Ashiru visited Ijebu Ode Club members in February, 2018, in Ijebu-Ode. Members of the club immediately adopted him as their candidate for governorship. His Consultation Committee then moved to Ijebu North Local Government with visits to the palaces of Ebumawe of Ago Iwoye, Oba Adewale Adenugba and Limeri of Awa, Oba. Amos Awobajo.
At Ago Iwoye, Ashiru was received by the monarch, palace chiefs and eminent personalities. He thanked them for the rousing reception and show of love. He reiterated his motive to contest the governorship election, which was borne out of his genuine desire to consolidate on the achievements of the present administration and employ the experience he has garnered over the years in both private and public sectors in taking Ogun State to greater heights.
This, he stated ,could only be achieved with the support of all especially community leaders whose positions are very significant in the running of the society.
Ashiru also assured that no area will be left out of the development process as he is aware of the peculiar potential of each community in the State and Ago Iwoye is not an exception.
Oba Amos Awobajo, the Limeri of Awa, said the aspiration of Otunba Bimbo Ashiru could be likened to that of the biblical Moses who took his people out of the wilderness.
According to the traditional ruler, Ashiru’s audacity and resoluteness to lead the Ijebu cause and vie for the position of governor is laudable and deserves every support being a beacon of hope for the Ijebu people both home and in the Diaspora. He also charged Otunba Bimbo Ashiru to mobilise notable sons and daughters of Ijebu to strengthen his chances and ensure victory at the general election in 2019.
Ashiru also visited the Akarigbo of Remoland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi, who lauded the emergence of Otunba Bimbo Ashiru as the consensus candidate of the Ijebu-Remo Agenda saying it is a ‘choice that cannot be faulted’.
Dr. Gbolade Oshinowo, one of the party chieftains in the state thanked the Akarigbo for the reception. He then highlighted the reasons for the grand birth of Ijebu- Remo Agenda. He said Ogun state was created on the basis of 2 Divisions: Egba and Ijebu-Remo divisions and leadership of the state ought to rotate between the two. The political history of the state, has shown that the people of Ijebu and Remo have been marginalised in the scheme of things and this led to the choice of Otunba Ashiru as the consensus candidate of Ijebu-Remo Agenda.
Otunba Ashiru, he stated, has been presented to distinguished leaders in the state, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and they have all testified to his sterling character as someone who is eminently qualified to govern the State and exploit the economic potential of Ijebu-Remo for the benefit of the people. In his address, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru stated further that he wanted to continue with the good works of Gov. Ibikunke Amosun, whom he referred to as his boss, friend, brother and mentor and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.
Oba Ajayi, expressed his shock on the huge turnout of followers he saw on the occasion. He said he had known Otunba Ashiru for many years as an upright man, who would do his best to move the state forward having been part of the present administration, which has turned Ogun State into an excellent state in terms of attracting investments.
“This is a cause I agree with. The candidate you are putting forward cannot be faulted. He is a man of peace, who would not hold anything against you and I will only advise that the team intensify more efforts by working hard to ensure victory. “If you have a good candidate, you still need to work hard to reach your goal”, he said.
Present at the occasion were Pa. O. Okuboyejo, Aare Are T.O. Dawodu, Bashorun Adebisi Adesanya, Senator Dipo Odujinrin, Chief Bisi Rodipe, Prof. Toyin Ashiru, Asiwaju Tobi Lawal, Alh.O. Adenusi, Prince Segun Aderibigbe, Hon. Tokunbo Oshin, Chief Jare Dada and other distinguished personalities.
Ashiru also visited Dagburewe of Idowa, His Royal Highness, Oba Yinusa Adekoya, who described Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, as an exceptional performer, who can turn around the fortunes of the State and take it to a higher pedestal.
Oba Adekoya stated that Otunba Ashiru’s achievements as a two-term Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in Ogun State were fantastic and, commendable feats and therefore, should not waver in his ambition as his records while in office will surely speak for him.
Assuring him of his support, Oba Adekoya enjoined Otunba Ashiru not to entertain any fear.
Ashirus campaign also received a boost when his team visited His Royal Highness, Oba Kayode Alakija, the Akija of Ikija-Ijebu.
To receive Otunba Ashiru at the palace were high chiefs and notable personalities in the community. Oba Alakija stated that Otunba Ashiru had performed exceptionally well as a Commissioner in the cabinet of Gov. Ibikunle Amosun and, therefore, is a credible personality who can take Ogun State to greater heights.
“You are credible, you have performed creditably well, you have made us proud as an Ijebu man. Otunba, you are the best man to continue the good job come 2019”.
“We can see your meaningful contributions in the present administration as the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry. Without mincing words, Otunba, you are the most qualified person to succeed Governor Ibikunle Amosun come 2019, ” he stated.
The visit also gave Otunba Ashiru an opportunity to highlight some of his programmes, which included employment generation, youth empowerment and skill acquisition programmes as priority projects if elected Governor.
Otunba Ashiru’s convoy later moved to Odogbolu, where Alaye of Odogbolu, Oba Adedeji Onagoruwa also gave his blessing to the aspiration of the gubernatorial hopeful. Otunba Ashiru also took time to inspect one of the State Investors site; the Solis Agro Group, located in Odogbolu local government area of the State.
He also visited the palaces of 3 eminent Ijebu Obas and the turn outs were impressive, while praises, blessings and support for his aspiration to succeed his hard-working boss Senator Ibikunle Amosun were loud.
The most exciting moment was when Oba Engr. Mufutau Kasali, Moyegeso of Itele-Ijebu, made a U-turn at his palatial residence in Itele-Ijebu declared his support for the aspiration of the governorship hopeful and prayed for him.
It will be recalled that, Oba Kasali had openly opposed the emergence of Ashiru when the Ijebu-Remo Agenda presented him to the Ijebu Obas at the palace of the Awujale of Ijebu land on the 17th of November, 2017.
At the palace of Oba Adesesan Oguntayo (FCA), the monarch eulogised Ashiru’s contributions to the economic developments in the state as Commissioner for Commerce and Industry. He expressed confidence that Ashiru will perform excellently if he succeeds Amosun and will pave way for continuity in the on going mission to rebuild the state.
The consultation visits moved to the palace of the Gbegande of Ososa. He expressed confidence in Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, jugding by his rich pedigree and the long standing relationship with the Ashiru family. He also expressed confidence in the ability of the banker-turned-politician to deliver on his words. Oba Gbegande also pledged his support and prayed for Otunba Ashiru who was accompanied on the visit by Dr. Gbolade Osinowo, a former Chief of Staff to the late President Musa Yaradua and Alhaji (Dr.) Olusaga Adenusi, a Real Estate guru and Accountant.
Frontline Yewa politician, Senator Iyabo Anisulowo has also described Ashiru as a worthy gubernatorial material capable of moving the State forward.
Senator Anisulowo stated this as the Ashiru Consultation Team of Ogun East Senatorial Zone landed in Ogun West to propagate his political aspiration. According to Anisulowo, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru is, undoubtedly, the best hand in Gov. Amosun’s cabinet going by his exemplary track record and proficiency.
The meeting, held at the Otegbeye Pavillion in Ilaro, had in attendance big APC leaders from Ogun East, as well as their counterparts in Ogun West Senatorial District, including Dr. Gbolade Osinowo, a former Special Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Pa Elias Folorunso, Hon. Yemi Adefulu, Chief Bisi Rodipe, Mr. Lawal Idris, Chief Jare Dada, Elder Olatunji, and Alhaji Rafiu Sonuga. In the words of Dr. Osinowo, the motive behind the visit was to seek the support of Ogun West leaders in supporting the Consensus Candidate of Ijebu/Remo, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, for the governorship race in 2019.
According to Osinowo, the people of Ogun East Senatorial District have always been a natural ally of Ogun West to produce governor but sheer providence has determined otherwise. The political scenarios in 2011 and 2015, he said, were ready testimonies of the Ijebu and Remo’s belief in equity, but aborted by the intransigence of the Yewa people to arrive at a consensus candidate.
In response, Senator Kola Bajomo, thanking the team for the visit stressed that Ogun West would always accord each aspirant warm reception as demonstrated by the people of Ogun East when Ogun West sought their support. Also, Alhaji (Dr), Olusesi said the voting strength of the people of Ogun East can not be jettisoned as it stands as a veritable weapon that can come to play in an election.
Rounding off, the Ogun West Senatorial District Chairman of the APC, Alhaji Fadairo, in his speech canvassed peace and harmony between the two Senatorial districts. Others present at the meeting were; Hon Dada Fagbemi, Hon. Adejobi, Hon Elegbede, Pastor Ade Babayemi, Hon (Mrs) Akale, Alhaji Ajibabi, Alhaji Dele Rufai, Chief Edunjobi, Alhaji Odebiyi, Mrs Victoria Ogunpolu, Alhaji Ajibola Fatai, Hon Michael Adeleke, Mr Sofolahan Enitan, Aare T. Olu Dawodu, Pa Okuboyejo and Prince Segun Aderibigbe, Chief Kola Suara, Chief (Mrs) Anthonia Balogun among others.
Ashiru’s ambition also received a boost when the Alake of Egbaland, HRM Oba Michael Aremu Gbadebo, singled him out as exceptionally competent and fit to drive the economy of Ogun State to higher pedestals.
The Alake stated this at Ake Palace in Abeokuta as Otunba Ashiru’s consultation team, led by Dr. Gbolade Oshinowo, paid a courtesy visit to the highly revered monarch in continuation of the consultation towards 2019 gubernatorial election.
Other distinguished members of the team included: Are T. Dawodu, Chief O.B Okuboyejo, Chief Bisi Rodipe, Prince Segun Aderibigbe, Prof. Toyin Ashiru, Chief Jare Dada and Otunba (Mrs) Anthonia Balogun, Elder Olatunji among others. Speaking glowingly of the unprecedented achievements of the consensus candidate of Ijebu/Remo Agenda, the Alake commended Otunba Ashiru’s giant strides in the present administration, which had earned the State a place of pride in the federation.
In an unalloyed support for the emergence of governor from the Ogun East Senatorial District, Otunba Ashiru’s choice as the arrowhead of the Ijebu/Remo Agenda, Oba Gbadebo said, was a welcome development and a move in the right direction in which he was well pleased. Stressing further, the Alake stated that Otunba Ashiru had all it takes to continue with the good works of the incumbent governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, if given the mandate to rule.
Going down the memory lane, the highly revered monarch traced the long-standing relationship between the Egba and Ijebu people, which dates bact to many decades as he endorsed the agitation of the Ijebu/Remo people for the 2019 gubernatorial slot and consequently the choice of Otunba Ashiru as the consensus candidate of the Ijebu/Remo Agenda.
Thanking the Alake for the grand reception and encouraging words, Dr. Oshinowo intimated the palace about the agitation of the Ijebu/Remo to have a shot at Ogun governorship as rational, politically and morally justified in the present political dispensation. Otunba Ashiru reiterated his commitment to consolidate on the solid foundation laid by Gov. Ibikunle Amosun with the resolve to move the State forward by bringing to bear the experience he had garnered in the course of his public service. On hand to receive the team were Chief Niyi Adegbenro, Chief Lai Labode, Engr. Femi Somolu and other notable high chiefs from Egbaland.
More consultations will continue in a few days time.