In the count down to the 2019 general elections, Chief Kolawole Lawal (aka KLM), the current Ogun State Commissioner for Forestry, is one of the governorship aspirants of Ogun West extraction that have thrown his hat into the ring. Femi Ogbonnikan takes a look at his strength in the race

Basking in the euphoria of the commitment and resolve of Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, to support an Ogun West Senatorial District person for governor in 2019 and the attendant horde of aspirants that have signified interest, permutations on who takes what have heightened in the state. Key actors from the zone are strategising and visiting the entire three senatorial districts in the state, engaging in horse-trading and consultations with political leaders and elders, leaders of thought, traditional rulers, market women and women, religious leaders and other key stakeholders, in order to seek their blessings.

The foray of Kolawole Wasiu Lawal into the race for the coveted number one seat has changed the narrative, on account of his endorsements that have been flowing like torrents from key stakeholders, traversing the three senatorial districts in the state. KLM’s track record speaks volumes about his preparedness for the task ahead.

Born on September 24, 1962 at Eyo Quarters, Oke-Odan, in Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State, KLM’s rise to stardom has always been by sheer providence. With a six-year break after his primary education at St’ James Anglican School, Oke-Odan, in 1972, by dint of hardwork and resilience, KLM has succeeded in his endeavours.

A tested governorship aspirant on the PDP platform in 2011 and a deft politician that is honed in the art of diplomacy, KLM’s entry into the race is unsettling as his bid is already sending jitters down the spines of his rivals. While others have started granting press interviews and flaunting their egos, even before Amosun’s pronouncement, KLM was tactical, and went ahead of his rivals with his grassroots consultations across all spheres.

Among the array of governorship aspirants, it is Lawal that Mr Governor has singled out and saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the speedy takeoff and completion of the newly established Ogun State Polytechnic situated in Ipokia Local Government Area.

The pendulum is swinging to his direction. Among aspirants that have thrown their hats into the governorship ring, the 55-year-old politician wields perceptible influence, acceptability, appeal and credibility, and his pedigree is beyond reproach.

Thus, no wonder, notable Yewa political leaders and elders, young and old, are throwing their weight behind the Oke-Odan-born politician.

Unlike children born with silver spoon that enjoy smooth academic voyage, KLM had a chequered educational career. After his primary education in 1972, his dream to further his secondary education was shattered as no succour came his way and the break was enough to drift him away from pursuing his formal education at such an early age.

 In between the idle time, he moved over to join his uncle in Owode-Yewa where he became an apprentice in different trades, including bicycle repairing, house and vehicle spray paintings, public letter writing and documentary services. However, providence was kind to him, in line with his burning zeal for western education as he resumed school in 1978, this time, at Area Community High School, Owode-Yewa where he was a pioneer student.

Cut out for greatness by destiny, the huge endowment in him began to manifest in diverse ways, beginning from his first year in the newly established school. He was exceptionally brilliant, trustworthy, cool-headed and reliable. All these rare attributes earned him the position of the Senior Prefect of the school. Despite combining academics with the leadership responsibilities, his exceptional brilliant performance never waned. He was not only taking the overall leas first position throughout his five-year sojourn in the school, his West African School Certificate Examination  (WASCE) was the best, both in the school and immediate environs in 1983 when he passed out.

But like the Biblical farmer who having set his hand on the plough, refused to look back, KLM maintained his focus and he was determined to acquire quality higher education, no matter the cost. His resilience paid off at the end, by obtaining HND in Accountancy from the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State, a BSc in Banking and Finance and MBA from the University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt.

KLM working careers began at the Associated Breweries and Company Limited, Agbara, Ogun State where he had five years stint before he moved to ExxonMobil Nigeria Unlimited where he spent 20 years.

 He disengaged from active service in 2010 due to the passion for the people of Ogun State and his will to serve them. In his determination to touch as many lives as possible, he took a giant leap into the philanthropic world by floating the ‘Aseele Labowaba’ Foundation to enable him spread the tentacles across the three senatorial districts in Ogun State. Thus, the foundation has been in the vanguard of various lifesaving and transforming projects.

On account of his grassroots connection and relevance at his home town, he was conferred with the prestigious title of the Adele Oba of Oke-Odan land. He is also the Tayese of Ketuland, a title conferred on him by the Alaketu of Ketu Kingdom, in the Republic of Benin. Not left out, recognition has also come for him from Ile-Ife, the source of the Yoruba nation where he is the Asiwaju Osara of Ile-Ife.