Inspite of the fact that he is not a member of any of the major political parties pulling the crowds in Ogun Stateâ€Ž, Rotimi Paseda believes his United Party of Nigeria is capable of recording an upset in the state’s gubernatorial election in 2019, writes Femi Ogbonnikan
When he meets you for the first time, he will leave you with a lasting impression. This is because he is blessed with innate qualities that make you comfortable. You will instantly connect with him as if you met him long time ago.
Blessed with these rare attributes is Otunba Olatunde Rotimi Paseda, the 2015 Ogun State Governorship candidate of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).
Born in Lagos on June 22, 1965 to Mr Olaitan and Mrs Victoria Paseda, he hails from the Ramuja ruling house (Adeneye crown), in Omu-Ijebu, Odogbolu Local Government, Ogun State.
His decision to join the politics of Ogun State, two months away to the twilight of the 2015 governorship contest, sprang surprises, as he shook the entire state to its foundation, on account of his populist and welfarist programmes which he copied from the manifestos of the late sage, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo, the first premier of the defunct Western Region. At the end of the governorship poll, Paseda (fondly refers to as Omo Iya teacher), came third after the PDP governorship candidate, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka.
Paseda attended Baptist Academy, Obanikoro, Lagos State, for his West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) Ordinary Level and thereafter, travelled abroad, like his other siblings, for his university education. He attended the Berberck College, University of London, UK where he obtained a Bachelor of Science (Bsc) degree in Transport Management in 1988 and subsequently had a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Tourism and Recreation Management from University of Cardiff, Wales, UK.
He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Transport, United Kingdom, and worked briefly as a European Air Tour Operator with Euro Skyhop International before establishing his own firm, Skylink Travels and Tours, which has been operating for over 25 years. This feat marked the commencement of his self-employment venture in the United Kingdom and Worldwide.
Along the line, he stumbled on a company in Mexico that manufactures heavy duty equipment and he cashed in on the opportunity, bought into it and it became one of his main businesses. It is a big firm in Mexico and he is one of the three co-partners in the venture. Besides, as an astute business mogul, he is also into fire engines construction, which sells mostly in Eastern Europe, and Asia and Latin America. Also, he has successfully established two engineering firms that are into fabrication and building of heavy machinery; manufacturing water tankers, fire engines, garbage /compacting trucks and the likes and they are doing thriving in the international market.
Paseda owns four major companies across the world, particularly in UK, the United States, and Latin America. In Nigeria, he owns a couple of hotels, spread across different parts of the country, and little wonder, he was recently counted alongside former-president Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Olusegun Osoba, as one of the 100 Most Influential Ogun Indigenes Still Living.
Paseda is the founder of Paseda Legacy Foundation, a non governmental organization he established as a way of helping the needy /give back to the society.
The determination to succeed against so many odds encouraged him to forge ahead. He believes that if he can succeed out there in the UK, he should be responsible to his people at home by contributing his quota to the development of his home state, Ogun state and Nigeria at large.
He is the major financier of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in Nigeria and he personally believes in Awolowo’s ideology of free education, free health care, cheap housing scheme and rural integration, among others.
Undaunted and optimistic of winning the 2019 Ogun State governorship contest, the UPN gubernatorial hopeful has expressed his desire to continue with the good projects embarked upon by the administration of the incumbent governor Sen Ibikunle Amosun of the All Progressives Congress (APC), if voted into office.
In a chat with THISDAY at the weekend in Lagos, Paseda, stated that he strongly believed in continuity, regardless of political party affinity.
According to him, development is for the people.
Therefore any projects embarked upon by a sitting governor and could not be completed before the expiration of his tenure, should be picked up, continued, developed and improved upon, where necessary by his successor, in a bid to prevent wastages.
“I am a very strong advocate of continuity. I mean, continuity must be total. It can’t be partly. It has to be total which means regardless of the party the governor belong to or the party he is affiliated with, should not matter. What matters is the service he has been delivering. You can’t say, that bridge was built by the governor and that bridge remains or perhaps, it was named after somebody and you now come in as the next governor and you now change the name because it was this governor that did this bridge. No! But rather, we are only undoing ourselves. There must be some good things that a governor is doing. In fact, everything can’t be negative in majority. The projects are not meant for the benefit of the governor himself but for the state as a whole, whether we like it or we don’t. It is not what the governor is doing or he has done but it is definitely for the benefit of the people of the state, directly or indirectly. As a God – fearing person and as a servant of the people, you must carry on with the projects from that governor, from where he started and also stopped.
“There is a blue print and you will have to continue with the blue print because it is bigger than you. It is about our people. It is about our state. You would have to follow the blue print, so that at the end of it all, when you step out either after four or eight years somebody else would come and pick up that blue print and continue. At the end of it all, you will discover we are developing and improving. I believe what he is doing or he has done so far is service delivery continuity.”
He noted that too much money is lost on account of a change in government, particularly if it involves a change of baton from a political party to another.
“If the government changes and you belong to another political party and you abandon what the governor has done, we change the system and we lose money. It should not be like that. It does not matter, be it APC, PDP or UPN. What I mean when I said continuity must be total is that, it also involves the commissioners and the people that serve within that cabinet. Why would you go and look for somebody when you already have a functional, suitable and respected commissioner for health? There must be continuity. If the current APC commissioner is good and he is delivering, why must you change him? Why must you change her? Why shouldn’t you keep her there because she or he would carry on and develop what he or she has been doing before? So, I am of the opinion that it doesn’t matter.
It is not where you are coming from but whom you are. It is your pedigree. And it is your capacity to deliver. I would definitely retain some commissioners that the current governor has. Because I know that about three or four of them are very good, and unless they refuse to serve under my watch. I will approach them and ask them to continue with the good work, that what you have been doing for the outgoing governor come and do it for me. That’s my idea of continuity and I strongly believe in that. I am a very strong advocate of it”, said Paseda.
Therefore any projects embarked upon by a governor and could not be completed before the expiration of his tenure, should be continued and completed where necessary by his successor, in a bid to prevent wastages.