By Eric Elezuo
As the race for Ogun State seat of power gathers momentum, top contender and current Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, has begun sensitization tour to drum up support for his ambition.
Ashiru was on November 17, 2017 presented as the preferred candidate from the Ogun West Senatorial district, and endorsed by not a few stake holders.
During his consultation visits during the week, seasoned economist and great achiever visited palaces of prominent obas, who gave their blessings and pledged to stand by him before during and after the electioneering season, when the battle would have been won.
The visits began with homage to the Palaces of three eminent Obas in Ijebu Land, and the moments turned out to be that of praises, blessings and support for his aspiration to succeed his hard working boss Senator Ibikunle Amosun CON, FCA.
The high point of the occasion the decision of Oba (Engr.) Mufutau Kasali, the Moyegeso of Itele-Ijebu to make a turnaround at his palatial residence at Itele-Ijebu and declared his support for the aspiration of the governorship hopeful and prayed for him.
Oba Kasali had openly opposed the emergence of Ashiru when the Ijebu-Remo Agenda presented him to the Ijebu Obas at the palace of the Awujale of Ijebu land on the 17th of November, 2017. He declared that he had seen the reason Ashiru should continue in the strides of Senator Amosun.
The train moved to the palace of Oba Adesesan Oguntayo FCA, JP, and the story was not different as the monarch eulogised Ashiru’s contributions to the economic developments in the state as Commissioner for Commerce and Industry. He expressed confidence in his abilities, stressing that he believe the performing Commissioner will perform excellently when he succeeds Amosun, especially as it concerns continuity in the ongoing mission to rebuild the state.
At the palace of the Gbegande, Ashiru received a rousing welcome which stated the acceptability of the governorship hopeful. In his words, the Gbegande expressed confidence in Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, having followed him closely in his activities in addition to the long standing relationship he has with the Ashiru Family. He also expressed confidence in the ability of the banker-turned-politician to deliver on his words.
Oba Gbengande also pledged his support and prayed for Otunba Ashiru who was accompanied on the visit by Dr. Gbolade Osinowo former Chief of Staff to late President Musa Yaradua and Alhaji (Dr.) Olusaga Adenusi a Real Estate guru and Accountant.
There was very clear boost of Ashiru’s aspirations when the train visited the palace of the Alakija of Ikija-Ijebu, His Royal Highness, Oba Kayode Alakija,. The presence of high chiefs and prominent personalities to receive the aspirant was highly commendable.
In his words, Oba Alakija stated that Otunba Ashiru has performed exceptionally well as a Commissioner in the cabinet of Gov. Ibikunle and therefore, is a credible personality who can take Ogun State to greater heights.
“You are credible, you have performed creditably well; you have made us proud as an Ijebu man. Otunba, you are the best man to continue the good job come 2019.”
“We can see your meaningful contributions in the present administration as the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry. Without mincing words, you are the most qualified person to succeed Governor Ibikunle Amosun CON, FCA come 2019,” the Alakija stated.
The visit also gave Otunba Ashiru the opportunity to highlight some of his programmes which included employment generation, youth empowerment and skill acquisition programmes as priority projects if elected governor in 2019.
The campaign team moved to Odogbolu where the Alaye of Odogbolu, Oba Adedeji Onagoruwa also gave his blessing to the aspiration of the gubernatorial hopeful. Otunba Ashiru also took time to inspect one of the state Investors’ site – the Solis Agro Group, located in Odogbolu Local Government Area.
The Akarigbo of Remoland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi, was also on hand to receive Otunba Ashiru and his team in his palace at Sagamu. He said that the emergence of Otunba Ashiru as the consensus candidate of the Ijebu-Remo Agenda is a ‘choice that cannot be faulted’.
In his response, Dr. Gbolade Oshinowo, Special Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and a chieftain of the party in the State thanked the monarch for the reception, stating that Ashiru has been presented to distinguished leaders in the state including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who all testified to his sterling character as someone who is eminently qualified to govern the state and exploit the economic potentials of Ijebu-Remo.
Otunba Bimbo Ashiru congratulated the Akarigbo on his coronation and led others in observing a minute silence in honour of the late wife of Oba Akarigbo, Olori (Dr.) Linga Ajayi.
In his speech, he stressed that professionals are needed in politics so that they can deploy their wealth of experience in governance, adding that the same promoted him as a two-term Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in a state reputed to be the industrial hub of Nigeria to present himself for the plum job.
He stated further that he wants to continue with the good works of Gov. Ibikunke Amosun who he referred to as his boss, friend, brother and mentor, promising to leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.
Oba Ajayi, who expressed his shock on the huge turnout of followers at the occasion advised the team to further reach out to well-meaning people in other divisions of the state in order to gain their support.
“This is a cause I agree with. The candidate you are putting forward cannot be faulted. He is a man of peace who would not hold anything against you and I will only advise that the team intensify more efforts by working hard to ensure victory. “If you have a good candidate, you still need to work hard to reach your goal”, he said.
In continuation of the consultation, Ashiru moved to Ijebu North Local Government with visits to the palaces of the Ebumawe of Ago Iwoye, Oba Adewale Adenugba and the Limeri of Awa, Oba Amos Awobajo.
At Ago Iwoye, where Ashiru was received by the monarch, palace chiefs and eminent personalities, he reiterated his motive to contest the governorship election which is a genuine desire to consolidate on the achievements of the present administration through the employment of the experience he has garnered over the years in both private and public sectors.
This, he stated could only be achieved with the support of all, especially community leaders whose positions are very significant in the running of the society.
He said further that in achieving his set goals for the State, a blueprint tailored to guide his government has been formulated indicating his readiness to hit the ground running once elected.
OBA, as he is known based on his initials, also assured that no area will be left out of the development process as he is aware of the peculiar potentials of each community in the state and Ago Iwoye is not an exception.
In response, the Ebumawe of Ago Iwoye, Oba Adewale Adenugba welcomed Otunba Ashiru to his domain and urged him to continue to consult widely with the people as democracy is people’s government.
Acknowledging Otunba Bimbo Ashiru as ‘the only best” and “the most qualified” person to succeed incumbent Gov. Amosun, the Ebumare also advised elders on his entourage to guide him on the right path to ensure his emergence.
Oba Amos Awobajo, the Limeri of Awa, in his own response stated that the aspiration of Otunba Bimbo Ashiru could be likened to that of the biblical Moses who took his people out of the wilderness.
According to the traditional, ruler, Otunba Ashiru’s audacity and resoluteness to lead the Ijebu cause and vie for the position of governor is laudable and deserves every support being a beacon of hope for the Ijebu people both home and in the Diaspora. He also charged Otunba Bimbo Ashiru to mobilise notable sons and daughters of Ijebu to strengthen his chances and ensure victory at the general election in 2019.
Among prominent citizens present at the consultations were Pa O. Okuboyejo, Aare Are T.O. Dawodu, Bashorun Adebisi Adesanya, Senator Dipo Odujinrin, Chief Bisi Rodipe, Prof. Toyin Ashiru, Asiwaju Tobi Lawal, Alh.O. Adenusi, Prince Segun Aderibigbe, Hon. Tokunbo Oshin, Chief Jare Dada, and other distinguished personalities.