•Reveals The Real Reasons He Is Running Again For Senate
The race for the Ogun Central Senatorial seat has begun in ernest. That is the senatorial zone of many Egba bigwigs. The current occupier of the seat is Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the former Ogun governor and strongman of Ogun politics. Before him was Prince Lanre Tejuoso, the son of Osile of Oke-Ona, Oba Dr. Adedapo Tejuoso.
The big news is that Senator Gbenga Obadara who used to represent that zone before, Senator Lanre Tejuoso took over, is coming back. And he is leaving no stone unturned. He has joined the race for the senatorial zone.
What made him decide to renew his bid for the Senate. City People gathered that it is because of his Sterling performance. He told City People that to date, with over 122 verifiable projects across the 74 wards, no Senator before or after me have matched this record of achievement” “This informs the reason for the clamour for my return to the Senate in 2023 by the people across all the senatorial district by everybody across the party line,” he explained. “Even after leaving the Senate in 2015, I continued distributing and energising Transformers and Constructing classrooms with furniture and toilets”.
For those who don’t know, Jeremiah Olugbenga Onaolapo Obadara was the Senator representing Ogun Central Constituency in Ogun State, on the platform of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He is currently the Chairman of Ogun State Chapter of SWAGA. He is a big player in Ogun APC.
Obadara is the son of the first Chairman of Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State. He is half Yewa and half Egba. He began work as a Grade II teacher in Ota, but later entered the telecommunications business, becoming Managing Director of Imperial Communications. His company pioneered pre-paid call cards in Nigeria and introduced electronic directories. In 2006, Obadara competed in the Action Congress Party Primaries for the 2007 senatorial elections, but did not win the nomination.
In the April 2011 elections, Obadara ran for election as Senator for Ogun Central and gained 102,389 votes, defeating the incumbent Senator Iyabo Obasanjo Bello of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 56,312.
Not too long ago, he told City People his story, “ I only worked for 18 months before I became an Entrepreneur in the U.K.”, Obadara once explained. “When I returned back to Nigeria in 1998, God has already blessed me with the knowledge of daring the odds and capability of being able to manage men and resources. I established my first company over 30 years ago and it has been fantastic experience. I am the pioneer of pre-paid calling cards in Nigeria and abroad. I established the first and only electronic equal directors in West Africa. In the U.K, I happened to be the first Nigeria to have established a Telecom Company and a Prepaid Calling Card Services. I was the first Nigerian to start stocking African food-stuffs in the United States. I have been so blessed by the lord.
Many people do not know that he is one of those who stepped down for Senator Ibikunle Amosun to become governor.
How? “At that time, the former Governor, Akinrogun Olusegun Osoba prevailed on us to accept Senator Ibikunle Amosun” he once explained. At that time, Senator Ibikunle Amosun was imposed on us. Osoba prevailed on us to work with Amosun. We did because he was considered to be a good person who will veritably carry the flag of the party. “When Senator Ibikunle Amosun was enthroned as a Governor, we supported him with everything. When I say we, I mean those of us he met in the party. I mean we supported him with everything. I personally supported Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Whether he invited me or not I was always with him. He was once a Senator like I am now and he knows that Senators are honourable men. I supported Senator all the way until January 16th 2014 when my life was threatened by Amosuns men”.
“I was faced with what could have possibly terminated my life and I was in many ways brutalised. I have nothing personal against the government of Senator Ibikunle Amosun. And I do tell people, that Senator Ibikunle Amosun remains my friend, my brother, but politically, we are not together because he does not represent what I think is in the best interest of the down trodden and I do not in any way see myself supporting him”.
Not many people also know that he once ran for the governorship of Ogun State. At that time he erected billboards all over the state capital. Why did he drop his ambition then?
“I dropped it through negotiations, in the interest of the party, believing that Senator Ibikunle Amosun will be a team player. Let it be on record that in 2003, I came out to be a Senator, I won the primaries to be a Senator, but to God be the glory.
In December 26, 2006, when we were about to start the race I wanted to run for Senate but I was prevailed upon to stand down and which I did as a party person.
In the case of Gov. Ibikunle Amosun, give it to him, he contested in 2007, having the experience and what it takes. He was allowed to be the flagbearer of our party in 2011.
On the 14th of January, he was given the slot. I came out wanting to be Governor as far back as 2009, running into 2 years. But no one was given the slot. I came out. And it was in 2011 that Amosun was made flagbearer of the party.
The following week, I was made the flagbearer for Ogun Central Secretarial District and as today, to God be the glory, because if you look at the way we won the election, myself with almost 102,000 to my next candidate who was 57,000. You will see how credible the election was.
I said, I remain a committed ACN member then, and I remain a party person. But one thing I will not in any way jeopardise is the interest of my people. That is where I stand”.
Until 2019, when Gov. Amosun announced his decision to join the Ogun Central senatorial race, Obadara was the candidate to beat in the race, simply because of his intimidating profile and effective political network. He was one of the leading senatorial aspirants in Ogun ACN years back. He is from Odeda in the Odeda Local Government of Ogun State And he is from the Balogun Itesi Ward. His father, late Chief J.A.O. Obadara was the first Chairman of Odeda Local Government and mother is Chief (Mrs.) L.A. Obadara from Atan, Iyesi, in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government. In 2006, he participated in the party primaries for the senatorial elections on the platform of the then Action Congress (AC) but was hurt by intra-party politics.
Many people were surprised then after Gov. Amosun declared to run for Senate from his district and he told all his supporters in his Ogun Central senatorial districts that he has stepped down his ambition. Why did he do that?
“I had to do that based on the promise I made months back. When I came out to run for the Senate in 2018. I was soul-searching. The reason why I accepted to run came after calls from my people. When calls were coming in torrents and delegations were coming to my house I gave it a thought after prayer. But even at that I still said to myself if the then governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun decides to run for Senate, it behoves on me to allow him to run. I said at that time that if he decides to run I will drop my own ambition”. Why? In the Senate, we have what we call ranking Senators. Senator Ibikunle Amosun has been a Senator before me. He is ranked. He is a ranking Senator. By being a ranking Senator you gain acknowledgement. You gain recognition. All of these will help you bring development to your senatorial district and to your wards. This is because you are in a position to relate with the principal officers. It is written in the RedBook what ranking Senators can do”.
So, Yes I came out to run and I started meeting the stakeholders. I met with Gov. Amosun first. He said he has not made up his mind, that it is going to take him 2 weeks. That was on August 3rd. I assured the Governor that I will be meeting with the stakeholders and our people. And anytime he decides or makes up his mind to go he can be sure I will step down for him”.
The politics we are playing now are not about I will do, it is about what have you done? That is what people want to hear. It is about what you have contributed. That is why the Senate seat is not for rookies who are going for the 1st time. If you become a Senator today it will take you a minimum of two and a half years as a pupil to learn and understand what is going on there. So you need several years of tutelage. There is not much you can do in your 1st year. I was fortunate to be a Chairman of a Senate Committee in the first time. I am the only APC Senator out of the 18 APC Senators then, that was a Chairman. With the benevolence of God, I was able to go to ECOWAS parliament for 4 years. I also went to represent the ECOWAS Parliament at the UN. I thank God for all these. I was also able to attract fantastic projects to my senatorial district. We need experienced hands at the Senate. By that, I mean Senators with 2nd, 3rd, or 4th term.
So, it is incumbent on me to step down for Senator Amosun because he is a ranking Senator over me. So I must give him support. That informed my decision to step down. I am a man of my words.
Senator Obadara has always been known to be a party man. He has stepped down before for other candidates to run when the party asked him. He is doing it yet again. How does the idea work with him?
“I stepped down in 2007 when I won the primaries to the Senate. I stepped down in 2011 when I contested as the Governor after 2 and half years of going around the 236 wards. And this is about another one. I had to step down again in 2015. I stepped down for Senator Odunsi I was to be the candidate of the SDP for the governorship. I stepped down for Gov. Amosun also in 2011 after two and half years of transversing the state, wanting to be Governor. I stepped down in 2015 under SDP where I came out to contest. I stepped down for Senator Akin Odunsin. Again, I stepped down for Amosun in 2018. I don’t see stepping down as a big deal. I am a party man. Only God crowns. Only God gives power to whoever he likes. It is not a do or die affair. It’s called service. I decided to come out and serve.
I am a complete man of peace. I don’t see anything wrong in stepping down. God has reasons for everything that happens. I worked for Gov. Amosun to win the senatorial seat. Believe me, I do not see anything that will injure my personality or my person in stepping down for Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Over the last few years, he has continued to mobilise the people of your Ogun Central senatorial zone despite the fact that he is not a sitting Senator. Why is this so?
It’s about service. If I am no longer in public office that’s not the end of life. I premise my life on God. God crowns. God uses human beings to do his job. I will continue to serve. Because it does not happen today does not mean it cannot happen tomorrow. God has blessed me enough to continue to serve. I am connected to my people. God used them to make me a Senator. I always give thanks to them.
A politician is truly someone who is attached and identified with his people, who is really ready to serve his people. That is why I am always with them and they are always with me. My house is their house. Do you know that since I left the Senate I have been giving out transformers to communities, building schools, paying school fees, buying furniture, doing a lot of things? I set up a Radio Station Sweet FM. I put it in Abeokuta. It could have been in Lagos where it would have made more money with over 20 million people. But I put it in Abeokuta to give back. In Abeokuta what is income generation? But I still went on to establish it there to create employment, giving my people a rare opportunity to have a voice. My television station is coming up soon, to complement the radio. I promise to serve Egbaland and my people till my last breath. It’s an honour to do that.