Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Nigerian political space should be populated with the right set of people -‘Tunde Olatunji

The Chief Whip, State of Osun House of Assembly, Hon. Babatunde Lekan Olatunji representing Ife North State constituency has stated that since governance is essentially about problem solving, capacity is key to performance.

He equally restated that he is irrevocably committed to supporting the government of Mr. Gboyega Oyetola to actualize his developmental programs.

In an interview with a correspondent of, The trained professional banker urged youths to be known for something good “Build your career before venturing into politics”

Read the full interview below;

Interviewer: Can we meet you sir?

Hon Babatunde: My name is Babatunde Lekan Olatunji. The chief whip, State of Osun House of Assembly and a member representing the good of Ife North State constituency.

Interviewer: Can you please avail us your background?

Hon. Babatunde: By profession, am a professional banker and development economist. To the glory of God, I served creditably well in about five commercial banks in the country and I rose to the rank and file. It was a fulfilling and successful career for me with the help of God. I major in areas of business development and business turnaround, that is to say, the later part of my banking career saw me been assigned to takeover ailing business units for proper repositioning and to stabilize them so that they can become viable business units and profitable ones. That largely was instrumental to my having stint in various banks. Each of the success story i have had in one bank has actually made other banks to made offer for me to come around to replicate same methodology in reviving theirs. I got offer from seven banks and decided to work with five of them. God has been so faithful and was very faithful in that journey. I never set out originally in life to be someone that will play politics but there is something at the centre of it all, the interest and general well-being of people and service to humanity have been my core areas of my interest which have been doing since my days in the university. I was lucky to enjoyed federal government scholarship by virtue of my academic performance and that does not stop my parents for paying my tuition fees. what I did most is to help my fellow students who are indigent but couldn’t pay their school fees, I helped them pay 25%, 40% or 50% of their school fees depending on their capability. Also, I used part of my fund to cater for the downtroddens around us, largely women, the disabled ones, school of blind and a host of motherless baby homes, (Kessy’s motherless baby home in Ogbomosho was like my second home as an undergraduate).
Everywhere had worked, as I engaged in my career work as a professional banker, side by side, I caters for the less privileged in the society. Am so blessed of God that all organizations have worked with pays me reasonably well this gives me a lot of opportunity to give back to my society. It got to a point that I thought that there is need for the professionals to engage fully in governance and politics. We cannot disown or disassociate ourselves from the process entirely and wants to benefit from the outcome or product of such process, it doesn’t work that way. We must be fully engaged in it. This was what informed my decision to got fully involved in politics and governance. In 2015, I submitted myself to the democratic process and at the end of the day, I contested and won as honorable representing Ife North State constituency. I recontested in 2019 and through the help of God and the overwhelming support of the good people my constituency, I was re-elected for a second term and I currently serve as the Chief Whip of the parliament. I’m privileged of God’s grace and mercy.

Interviewer: Thank you sir. Now, there is this belief that politics is a dirty game, and this and many other reasons informed the decision of many professionals like you to join the process. What is your take on this?

Hon. Babatunde: When people say politics is a dirty game, then the only solution to it is to bring-in clean players, the game will be neat! Until we populate the political space with the right set of people, people will continue to say, it is a dirty game. Even in the business world, do you think it is entirely neat? Of course, not, then why is it not getting the same attention like that of politics? Because Perhaps there are more cleaner players there. The same football, the same rule, the same game, that you see millions of people staying glue to their television wanting to watch the final of premiership or champion’s league is the same football somebody is playing at your backyard, the same local league. Why is one attractive and one is not attractive? You can play a ninety (90) minutes match and then the number of offences both players commits may not be more than five, the referee would hardly get anything to do with his whistle other than when the ball is out of the pitch. Meanwhile, you can play the same game and if care is not taken, you end up given red card to all the players. What makes a difference? Is not because football rules is different from one country to another, the only difference is the quality of players involved. If you make a tea and you think is not sweet enough, what do you need to do? You Increase the concentration of the sweetener or the sugar as the case may be. If you think politics is a dirty game, all you need to do is to bring in clean players, people with vision, capacity, focus and integrity. So, until  we work in this line of thought, we’d continue to sing the same song.

Interviewer: Sir, in your own capacity as honorable representing Ife North State constituency and chief whip of the assembly. What are you doing to bring in more clean players into the game, most especially youth?

Hon. Babatunde: You see…it’s evident with empirical fact how much of my energy in my own little way have committed to give them (youths) the right orientation. In 2012, I have to institutionalize my social responsibility which I combined with what I do as a banker, set aside part of my earnings for this assignment. I set up a Non Profitable Organization, named, ‘BDI, Be D Inspiration’ which major in youth reorientation and to inspire them through periodic seminars and conferences. To the glory of God, in the last four years, I have over eighty (80) engagements interaction and seminars on leadership and governance. This is just seven months into the year, have had about twenty speaking engagements. Our youths need a total reorientation. Economic emancipation is the foundation of every true political emancipation. Is not enough for you graduating from school and the next thing is to contest for governorship or house of assembly seat. As a person, you must be able to do something with your life that is evident, then we can begin to see how you can now replicate that in the lives of other people. It amazed me when I see people hurriedly making references to Chief Olufemi Awolowo and Chief Enaboro just to suit their arguments. They forgot that before he (Awolowo) ventured into politics, he was a successful lawyer, successful author, earning royalty from his books he had written, having a befitting chamber, and so, we can se that Awolowo was economically empowered before furing into politics. So, its not enough to be politically active, you must be economically empowered as well. You must be known for something. Public office is too important for anybody to think he can use it as a laboratory to test or use it as a place for Industrial Training (IT) because every of your actions and inactions will have impact on thousands and millions of destinies. The same way we get passion about politics, people must also get passion about their career. Somebody who had not successfully plant a plot of land, if  you think because he is a youth, you make him a commissioner for Agric, he can’t be successful, he hasn’t even seen how it works before ‘you cannot build something on nothing’ background and experience is key if you must go far in life. There are some things you will know ab intio that you don’t need anybody to either to guide or direct you.

Interviewer: Honourable sir, let’s digress a little bit to the Supreme Court judgement that validated the victory of Mr Gboyega Oyetola as governor, State of Osun. What is your take on this sir?

Hon. Babatunde: That victory, is victory for democracy, is victory for good governance and victory for the future of Osun, and what the highest court in the land has simply done is to validate and to proof to the whole world that indeed God had spoken through the votes of His people since September last year. The beauty of democracy is the fact that people can seek redress and express their grievances, that on the path of the opposition is also commendable and so, all has been done, the process has been followed, the victory has been reaffirmed, It also come with huge responsibility on the part of government to justify the confidence repose on them and that which this administration has set out from day one which has been doing. The vision, commitment, industry and integrity of Mr governor is not in doubt, is a man that is committed to the betterment of the State of Osun. One thing i tell people about me. In every issue in life, there’s option of silence and I don’t do praise-singing, i won’t say this because he’s my governor and the governor is from my party. Nobody get suddenly competent because of his political affiliation. An incompetent man in the right party would still remain an incompetent party member. What I say about Mr governor is what I know and for a time like this, he’s the best man for the job, people needs to also situate some of these things rightly. There is a best man for the job at every particular point in time. Wiston Churchill is one of the most celebrated prime minister United Kingdom ever had. At a time of war, he was the best man for the job because their was war in the land, when war seized, the whole country also said this man cannot lead a country that is going to rebuild and reposition for prosperity. Different men for different assignment.

Interviewer: Lastly sir, do you have any message for your constituents and the people of the State of Osun at large?

Hon. Babatunde: My message is message of hope, message of confidence in our government. The government of the day is not the government of APC, PDP, APGA or KOWA party, it’s the government of Osun people. Luckily, we have a governor that is receptive to constructive criticism, solutions and ideas. Is your government, is our government hence we should join hands with governor Oyetola to position our state to the path of prosperity. And for everyone privileged to be in one position of leadership or the other, we must also demand accountability from them. So, with accountable leadership and responsible citizens, we can take our state to the next level.

Thank you.

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