• Friday, July 12, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

58 hearty cheers to Amosun

businessday-icon

The least anyone as gifted as Ibikunle Amosun, governor of Ogun State, can do today in the face of so many challenges – ranging from paucity of funds to structural collapse in different sectors of the nation’s economy, amongst others – is to behave like the lizard that fell from the Iroko tree: bathe itself in its own encomiums for the unprecedented feat if nobody else is gracious enough to congratulate it.

And SIA, as he is fondly called by his admirers both within and outside the government, has had cause to congratulate himself. Amosun has triumphed where his predecessors faltered and fumbled. In his own time, Ogun State has continued to ensure payment of staff salaries as and when due, despite increased pressure on resources. The state, under Amosun, has also maintained regular pension payments.

Faced with a bleak future for oil revenue and a rush of social and economic migrants from Lagos and other peripheral states, the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun has had to initiate creative strategies to raise IGR to fund gigantic projects and meet the needs of the state’s burgeoning population.

A top-notch accountant and former distinguished member of the upper chamber of Nigeria’s National Assembly, Amosun was born in Abeokuta on January 25, 1958 (58 years ago today). He attended African Church Primary School, Abeokuta (1965-1970); African Church Grammar School, Abeokuta (1971-1977); Ogun State Polytechnic (now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic), Abeokuta (1979-1983); and University of Westminster, London (MA in International Finance, 2000).

Through industry and obsession for professional excellence, Amosun in 1996 became an associate member, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. In 1998, he became an associate member of the Institute of Taxation, and in 2003 he crowned the glorious career with his induction into the hallowed portals of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria as a Fellow.

Amosun started his accounting career in 1984 as an audit trainee with Lanre Aremu & Co. (chartered accountants), where he rose to become a manager in 1987. He was also with XtraEdge Consulting, where he was a senior consultant. Governor Amosun later became the principal partner of Ibikunle Amosun & Co. (chartered accountants), an accounting firm of repute established in 1990 with head office in Lagos.

He stepped into the political space with the singular aim of giving back to humanity what he has been endowed with by the Almighty. In 2003, Amosun was elected into the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. During his sojourn at the Senate, he served as the chairman, Senate Committee on Commerce. He also served as member in the Senate Committees on Appropriation, Foreign Affairs, Privatisation, as well as Security and Intelligence.

While at the Senate, Amosun lived up to his status as a distinguished senator by amplifying the voice of the silenced. He moved several motions and sponsored many bills on issues that touched on the day-to-day lives of not only members of his constituency but Ogun State as a whole and Nigeria in general. He was particularly instrumental to some of the landmark reforms of the era, especially in telecommunications, customs and other strategic sectors of the Nigerian economy. He is credited with the sponsorship of the Local Content of Solid Minerals Development Bill 2005; the Fire Service Commission (Establishment) Bill 2005 and the Income Tax Relief Bill for sport development 2005, to mention just a few.

In 2004, Ibikunke Amosun was at the vanguard of the crusade against the excessive hike in GSM tariffs. He met with the heads of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria Customs Service and GSM operators. These consultations led to the reduction in GSM tariffs.

In 2007, Amosun contested the governorship election in Ogun State on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). He is believed in the court of public opinion to have won the election but he accepted the judicial verdict which gave victory at the polls to the ruling party.

On May 29, 2011, Ibikunle Amosun became the governor of Ogun State on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), having won a free and fair contest in the April 2011 polls. Again on May 29, 2015, he was sworn in as the fifth elected governor of Ogun State, having won the elections held on April 11, 2015. The re-election was a statement by the people that they had absolute trust in him.

Governor Amosun believes that the provision of amenities and social development cannot be left to government alone. He therefore institutionalized a scholarship foundation – Senator Ibikunle Amosun Scholarship Foundation (SIASF). Its Board of Trustees was inaugurated on July 7, 2005 and charged with the responsibility of drawing up modalities for the award of scholarships to students. He has awarded scholarships to over 1,000 students of Ogun State in various institutions of higher learning since 1986. Governor Amosun identifies with his people at the grassroots. He has assisted many in their various vocations and made donations for the benefit of his community.

Governor Amosun’s work rate and capability for critical thinking remain his core leadership attributes, in addition to his passion for motivating all around him to commit maximally to honesty and hard work as keys to the attainment of a truly stable, qualitative and economically viable Nigerian nation.

Governor Amosun is a social welfarist who believes that the rich are obligated to cater for the poor and the underprivileged in the society. His government’s policy thrust is anchored on a strong partnership between public and private sectors. He believes that while the government has the responsibility to provide the enabling environment to achieve sustainable economic growth and social development, the private sector must play the pivotal role. He is married to Olufunso Amosun and the blissful union has produced five children.

While his actions and achievements pose some concerns to his opponents, Amosun thinks there is nothing to worry about. Only the less informed, only the less intellectually endowed, he reasons, think there is cause for concern. He uses two words for those who choose to misunderstand him: mischief-makers.

Amosun has been rewarded for his uncanny ability to explain away the most complex issues through some thought processes that betrays a high degree of circumlocution. Indeed, Ibikunle Oyelaja Amosun is a good find, the best thing to happen to Ogun State. Those who do not or choose not to understand him are simply mischief-makers!

Amosun offers an example of engaged leadership driven by purpose and design, a leader who does not wait for the future to happen but makes it happen. He has led by personal example, guided by Indira Gandhi’s admonition for all ages: “Be the change you want to be”.

Governor Amosun reminds us of something that many of his contemporaries never learned or have long forgotten: Public service is no tea party, no picnic. It demands the highest degree of discipline, sacrifice, commitment, and determination.

Happy birthday, Your Excellency.

Rotimi Durojaiye