When Abiodun feted Edun, Tijani, Salako in Abuja
The occasion was grand; it was a gathering of who is who in Ogun State and the venue was Silverbird Galleria, Abuja. Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, had decided to host a reception in honour of the three ministers from the Gateway State sworn in last Monday by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as members of the federal cabinet. It was the first time three ministerial appointees were picked from the same state in the history of Nigeria and Ogun State, noted for scoring first position in many areas.
The reception was meant to celebrate the appointees, namely Mr. Wale Edun (Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy); Dr. Bosun Tijani (Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy) and Dr. Ishak Salako (Minister of State for the Environment) and the uniqueness of Ogun State in Nigeria with its abundant human resources. Well attended by the crème-de-la-creme of the society, the moment symbolised the unity of the state as evidenced by the presence of eminent personalities from across the three senatorial zones.
The occasion brimmed with honour, glory and chest-beating as speaker after speaker eulogised the appointees for their track records of success, which formed the bedrock of their being considered for the exalted positions in the first instance and the uniqueness of Ogun State in producing such eminent personalities to add to the long list of the state’s indigenes in higher positions.
The host, Governor Abiodun, spoke with profound happiness as he reeled out the names of several other indigenes of the state holding sway at the top of the ladder in the current dispensation. They include the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Folasodun Sonubi and Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Sakirat Medein.
Abiodun eulogised President Tinubu for the honour bestowed on the state with the appointments.
He said: “It is a great delight and honour for me to welcome you all to this lunch in honour of our illustrious sons that our leader and President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR), appointed to the Federal Executive Council (FEC). Let me first thank Mr. President for according our dear state this honour and privilege. This confidence reposed on us will be justified. Thank you, Mr. President.
“Having won the presidential election and in line with the Renewed Hope mandate, Mr. President has graciously appointed not one but three Ogun State citizens namely; Mr. Wale Edun, Dr. Ishola Salako, and Dr. Bosun Tijani as cabinet ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These three men are some of our finest in Ogun State. Ogun is known for always occupying first positions. The acting IGP, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun; acting CBN Governor, Folasodun Sonubi and Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Sakirat Medein are all indigenes of this great state.
“We are the gateway to Nigeria’s prosperity, the nation’s educational capital, the industrial capital and investors’ destination in Nigeria. Number one in the production of cassava in the entire world; number one in the production of poultry and eggs, the religious capital and the emerging breadbasket of Nigeria.
“These appointments by Mr. President are a further testament to our first position in Nigeria and the abundant human capacity that we are known for and possess. You have been selected because of your excellent antecedents in the public and private sectors. Your credentials speak for each of you. Hon. Ministers, we are here to celebrate you today on behalf of all the people and government of your home state. I join others to congratulate you and thank God for these worthy and eminent appointments and elevation.”
Abiodun reminded the ministers that they are the representatives of their people back home and thus must live up to the high standards Nigerians expect of them.
“Today, we have a cross-section of your people here from across the length and breadth of Ogun State; paramount rulers, parliamentarians, our eminent sons and daughters and leaders; our party leaders. They are here to felicitate you and get to know you. You are representing them as our ambassadors in Abuja. We are politicians; we worked very hard campaigning with Mr. President and by God’s grace, we won all our elections. That is why you are here today. It is perfect and in order for us to look forward to enjoying the dividends of this democracy through you,” he said.
While emphasising the imperative of supporting the state, the governor added: “Amongst others, you will use your offices to support and complement the implementation of our ‘Building Our Future Together’ agenda and our vision which is to create a focused and qualitative governance whilst providing an enabling environment for public private partnerships which is very fundamental to the economic growth of the state and the individual prosperity of our people.”
He said his administration had in the last four years fulfilled all the promises made to the people of the state as encapsulated in the ISEYA mantra.
“We promised our people to be fair, just and equitable in the distribution of infrastructure across the state and we’ve done just that. We continue to complete all inherited projects that are of economic importance to our people. We have turned the push factor from other states to what we call the pull factor in Ogun State. We constructed over 400km of roads in the first four years, over 2000 affordable homes, over 100 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) rehabilitated and over 1000 schools. And of course, finally, we built a world-class airport with the longest runway in Nigeria within two years.
“We are leading the pack in the energy transition by being the first state to begin the conversion of our state-owned buses from diesel to 100 per cent CNG and will soon begin the implementation of our e-mobility programme, which will allow us to swap petrol okadas for electric ones, as part of our initiatives to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal,” Abiodun added.
The governor laid the groundwork for collaboration with the ministers by proposing a bi-quarterly meeting with them. This move, according to him, is meant to bring the ministers closer to home and solidify their bonding with the state.
“We will endeavour to have bi-quarterly meetings with you to ensure we sustain this bond that is being established here today. Go forth and do exploits! We do not doubt that you will do us proud. May the Almighty grant you the grace and health so you make the best of the opportunity,” Abiodun prayed.
Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbeland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, described the occasion as unique. According to the traditional ruler, other states are envious of Ogun State as a result of the appointments.
Admonishing the ministers to be good ambassadors, Oba Gbadebo reminded them that their constituency is Nigeria.
The royal father went down memory lane as he traced the origin of Edun and Tijani in Abeokuta.
Edun’s grandfather, he recalled, was the Secretary of Egba United Government “who made administration part and parcel of the family.”
He expressed the confidence that just as he did in Lagos when he was Commissioner for Finance for eight years in the administration of Tinubu as governor of Lagos State, he would do well as a minister at the federal level.
“I do not doubt in my mind that as the Americans will say, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The young man, Dr. Bosun (Tijani) from Itoko, if you don’t know Itoko, then you don’t know Egba’s story because, talk of it, Timi the law, FRA Williams came from Itoko and when he was alive, no lawyer could surpass him in Nigeria. Also from Itoko was Chief Simeon Adebo, the number one civil servant in Nigeria. He served at the United Nations to end his career. Also, from the same Itoko is the number one chartered accountant in Nigeria, the same man, who is the first chartered accountant in Nigeria, Mr. Akintola Williams. Another Itoko man is here today. I do not doubt in my mind that communications and the digital economy will receive the biggest boost you can imagine under him,” the Alake enthused.
Olu of Ilaro and Paramount Ruler of Yewaland, Oba Dr. Kehinde Olugbenle, described the appointments as historic.
His words: “I congratulate His Excellency, the governor of Ogun State, on the fact that this historical moment of having three ministers in the state happened during his tenure. There is no doubt, Your Excellency, that your tenure has brought uncommon feats to the people of Ogun State. Today, we are proud that three of our sons in Ogun State have been blessed and honoured by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“I want to congratulate the three ministers, and I do not doubt that the three of them will make our great state very proud at the federal level. The youth ambassador among them, Bosun, I congratulate you, and I congratulate my son also, Dr. Ishak Adeboye Salako, for being appointed as the honourable Minister of State for the Environment.
“Your Excellency, I want to thank God for your life as this is happening during your tenure as the governor of Ogun State. I do not doubt that these three ministers will make us very proud.”
Akarigbo of Remo Kingdom, Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi, was represented at the occasion by Asiwaju of Remo, Chief Solomon Kayode Onafowokan, who described the Finance Minister as trustworthy and diligent.
“He is a man you can trust with everything that you have. Nigeria is lucky to have him. So, on behalf of my Kabiyesi, the Akarigbo of Remo Kingdom, I bring greetings from him. I want to thank our governor. He is a lucky person. There is going to be an enhanced federal presence (in Ogun). He has done so well in the last four years,” he said.
Senator Shuaib Salisu, who spoke on behalf of the Ogun State caucus in the National Assembly, expressed appreciation to the president for the appointments, which he said reflect the abundant human resources in the state.
“It is also a reflection of the amount of work that we did to deliver votes for the president during the election. All of this is true, but Asiwaju could have chosen to do otherwise. So, we have to thank Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for finding us worthy to choose three ministers of key ministries from Ogun State,” he said.
The senator also congratulated the governor for his leadership qualities, saying: “I must congratulate the governor of Ogun State. Out of the 36 states in the country, you are the only one whose state has three ministers. Not only that, but all the National Assembly members are also products of your leadership. I was your Chief of Staff until last year.
Three members of the National Assembly, Afolabi Afuape, Femi Ogunbanwo and Tunde Akinoso, were commissioners in your cabinet. And today, you have three ministers.
“To the ministers, on behalf of the Ogun State caucus in the National Assembly, we want to assure you of our support. We will be there for you; we will defend you; we will provide you insight and we will also work together with you to make sure that you are superstars in your various ministries.
“I have also been asked to tell you honourable ministers that you need to connect back to your roots. You have made us proud in the Diaspora. Now, you need to come back home. Come back home under the leadership of the party as embodied in the governor. Prince Dapo Abiodun has united the party, and that is why today, every part of Ogun State is here to honour you. All the political tendencies are under one canopy, under one leadership. And that leadership is Prince Dapo Abiodun as the leader of government and the leader of the party.”
Other eminent personalities at the event included Governor of Imo State and Chairman, Progressive Governors’ Forum, Hope Uzodinma; Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Kwara State Governor, AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman; Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Noimot Oyedele-Salako; Olota of Ota, Oba Yemi Obalanlege; Acting IGP, Kayode Egbetokun; Acting CBN Governor, Folashodun Sonubi; Deputy CBN Governor, Aisha Ahmad; members of the Ogun State caucus in the National Assembly; members of the state House of Assembly, led by the Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo and state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yemi Sanusi.
Others included former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji; Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and a former commissioner in Lagos State, Teju Philips.
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