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Makinde Araoye: A leading light in the successor generation

By Rhema Adetunbi
28 October 2021   |   1:00 am
It is most appropriate to begin this piece with the timeless saying of the great English Bard, William Shakespeare, “some people are born great, some have greatness thrust on them while some achieve greatness on their own. Greatness is a recurring theme in the memorable quote, which seeks to explain the origins of the greatness…

It is most appropriate to begin this piece with the timeless saying of the great English Bard, William Shakespeare, “some people are born great, some have greatness thrust on them while some achieve greatness on their own. Greatness is a recurring theme in the memorable quote, which seeks to explain the origins of the greatness of great men and women.

It is within this context we can examine the man Makinde Araoye – his roots, his path, his vision, and his mission, which straddle many years across Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. His is a story of a meteoric rise from humble beginnings to becoming one of the leading lights in the emerging successor generation of Nigerian leaders, through sheer diligence and adherence to pristine value of integrity, excellence, and service.

Araoye is intentionally great because he chose to be, and providence, of course, decided to reward him – for the heavens, they say, helps those who help themselves. There are countless testimonies of his extensive acts of benevolence by multitudes who have benefitted from his magnanimity and sense of commitment to the public good. This is at the very core of his essence, and sense of purpose, because he believes that the greatness thrust on him by the grace of God, is for the purpose of uplifting others.
Young, enterprising, compassionate, and extremely affable – he credits his achievements and personality to the fact that he received very solid grounding in morals and values, which is typical of Ekiti people. Born into the family of Emeritus Professor Akinyemi Araoye and Madam Funmilayo Araoye, his worldview was shaped by his parents who instilled in him that the ultimate purpose of life is serving God and Humanity, diligently and honourably.

This strong moral upbringing was complemented by qualitative education. Being cognizant of the common denominator for every Ekiti man, which is the quest for knowledge, Araoye, the silent operator from Ilawe in Ekiti South,  armed himself with a first degree in Accounting and Computer Information Systems from Georgia State University, Atlanta, U.S.A. Not satisfied yet, he returned to his alma mater to earn an MBA degree in Finance and Public Administration. He has subsequently earned many relevant professional certifications from prestigious institutions across the world, with a focus on Accounting and Finance, Information Technology, Public Administration and Project Management.

With over two decades of work experience spanning across the oil and gas, construction, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries , home and abroad, he has come of age in experience, competence, and character, and earned a reputation, as well as a robust network of relationships on account of the pedigree and profile of the organizations he had worked for and the caliber of projects he has managed.

Amongst many sterling personal attributes such as intelligence, uber smartness, compelling networking ability, alpha Omoluabi ethos, and compassion for the poor, one trait that stands him out is his humility, which allows him to relate freely with the young and old, rich and poor, and all different types of people – helping him to develop a high sense of empathy for the vulnerable, and earning the trust of many influential mentors on account of his loyalty, discretion, and competence.

One of such mentors who has greatly influenced his path in life is His Excellency, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State – one of the greatest icons of values based leadership in Africa, who graciously invited him to work with him in the capacity of Special Adviser, Federal Matters. Under the tutelage of Governor Fayemi and other mentors like Otunba Niyi Adebayo, minister of trade and investment Araoye is cutting his teeth in the Nigerian politico-governance space already, mastering the ropes from his principal as he steadily climbs the leader.

It is to his credit, and the admiration of his boss that in his own way, Araoye has modelled his philanthropy and the social interventions of the Makinde Araoye Foundation after the policies and programmes of Fayemi, with a strong emphasis on working to uplift the vulnerable amongst us.

In his current role, Araoye is essentially the Ambassador of Ekiti State to Abuja, the nation’s seat of power, where he is serving as the anchorman and the go-to-person on all federal matters relating to Ekiti State.

Previously, he had served as a Senior Special Assistant on Revenue, to Dr Fayemi when the latter served as Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals Development from 2015 or thereabouts till 2018.

As the race to succeed Fayemi as Governor begins in earnest, the political firmament in Ekiti is buzzing with many suggestions of potential candidates, with the name Araoye gaining traction and momentum across the state. It is a welcome development, though MKD, as he his fondly called, has not openly declared his intentions to drop his hat into the Ekiti gubernatorial ring.

The days to come will determine what the future holds for Araoye, who has many comparative advantages he would potentially bring to the race including the fact that he is from Ekiti South Senatorial District, which is clamoring to be allowed to produce the next governor of the state.

He is also a young man who is greatly loved by the youth population in the state.
It would be fitting that a worthy successor like Makinde Araoye, who places a high premium on the hand-holding, guidance, and mentorship of his mentors and leaders, should be allowed to consolidate and further the legacy of Governor Kayode Fayemi.

Time would tell!

Adetunbi wrote from Ido-Ekiti, Ekiti State.