By Femi Salako
Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo can never be said to have aimed low in all his life’s pursuits. He has always shot higher, far above the standard.
Not one born into affluence, he sought to build a name, a lasting legacy and he has committed himself to doing that in more than three decades.
Over the years, his exemplary leadership in business and public service and generous lifestyle have received wide acclaim, accolades and honours. As another great testament to this, the Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU) in Ikeji-Arakeji, Osun State is now recognising an exemplary leader and philanthropist who for over three decades has built a reputation of excellence and credibility that has endeared him to the hearts of many across the country, beyond the Akoko Northeast/Northwest Federal Constituency of Ondo state he represents at the House of Representatives.
On Friday January 22, 2021, JABU will present Tunji-Ojo, Chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta, an honorary doctorate of Public Administration at its 11th Convocation. The honour further bears testament to the incredible entrepreneurial political success Tunji-Ojo has seen, all while demonstrating quality, integrity and social responsibility in public office.
A letter of notification from the University proclaims: “Your sterling record in the pursuit of good leadership, outstanding integrity and your God-fearing nature, are part of the reasons for your choice.”
It further read: “Coupled with these are your impeccable character and administrative expertise which have carved out a niche for you in the annals of the Nation, in particular, and the world in general. No doubt, you are a great role model for this generation, a political colossus and an outstanding philanthropist.”
That same sense of dedication, impeccable character and administrative expertise is quite evident in the progressive and effective business management style he deployed as an employee of HSC Bank, Barclays Bank, T-Mobile across Europe and in managing his different channels of business before public service beckoned.
He honed his leadership skills in the private sector record which prepared him for public service before the opportunity came. For Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, honour, loyalty and willingness to place a high premium on the welfare of the larger society aren’t platitudes: they are traits imbued in him through his very humble background.
He displayed this rare trait just a few months after he was sworn-in as a lawmaker to the amazement of his constituents. As soon as he got into the Green Chamber, Tunji-Ojo hit the ground running, attracting the relevant government agency to commence work on the dilapidated federal roads in Akokoland as promised during his campaign. Since then, he has been moving on the upward swing, making huge and meaningful contributions to the provision of basic life amenities that truly matter to the daily living of the people. Electricity, security of facilities, empowerment of constituents and attraction of developmental projects to his constituency may sound ordinary, but getting a lot of those things done in less than one year as a lawmaker is a great feat for a first time lawmaker. Less than a month ago, BTO took another bold step in strengthening the security of Akokoland by donating four vehicles to the Police Force. Many pundits have said if those who have held the office before him had made the kind of remarkable contributions BTO has made in less than two years in office, the bar of leadership and political representation in Akoko would have been raised to a high level with meaningful and impactful developmental projects.
BTO, as he is fondly called by his admirers, owes many of these special attributes and his forthrightness in leadership to his upbringing and the women in his life – his mother Madam Yinka Olubunmi-Ojo and wife Abimbola Olubunmi-Ojo. It is not surprising that even the Bible gave special preference to the place of parents in the 10 commandments. ‘Honour your father and mother,’ says the 5th commandment.
Stories abound of the sacrifices of the two women that made the man the world now celebrates and reckon with as an exemplary leader and BTO himself never stops giving due reference to this whenever he shares his success story.
That special and responsible upbringing, BTO believes, gave him a responsibility to better the lives of others and guide his constituency towards a brighter future.
Given his extensive level of community involvement and contribution to the development of the nation at large, it is not surprising that BTO has once again been singled out to be conferred with an honorary degree by the prestigious Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU). One thing remains certain as he adds the honorary degree to the growing list of his honours: it will spur him to do more.