Ogun 2019: Bimbo Ashiru Joins the Race

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Ogun East Senatorial District has picked Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, as its consensus candidate for the 2019 governorship race in Ogun State. Femi Ogbonnikan takes a look at the resolve and commitment of the APC leaders and elders of Ogun East to pick a consensus candidate and the criteria used

The APC in Ogun East Senatorial district has made known its intention and has laid to rest the much-touted rumour that the zone would produce a candidate to vie for the 2019 Ogun State governorship election. The party has picked Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, the Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, as its consensus candidate for the governorship ticket. The endorsement event, which was well-attended by chieftains of the party, was held at Ijebu Ode GRA, recently. Nine aspirants drawn from the nine local governments making Ogun East district jostled for the seat.

While addressing the mammoth gathering, Chairman, Ijebu-Remo Forum, Dr. Gbolade Oshinowo stated that the Ogun East senatorial district, has a slogan, “Ijebu l’okan, Ijebu l’oma se (it is the turn of the Ijebu, it is the turn of Ijebu to govern).

He said in pursuant of its determination to produce the next governor on May 29, 2019, APC leaders from Ijebu-Remo district empanelled a four-man screening committee to recommend one out of the nine aspirants that signified interest in the 2019 governorship election for adoption as a consensus candidate. The panel, he said, began its work in July and it was mandated to deliver the outcome of its screening to the four members, Chief Olu Okuboyejo (chairman), Aare T Olu Dawodu, Basorun Adebisi Adesanya and Sen Dipo Odujirin on wednesday, November 15, 2017.

Chairman of the panel, Chief Olu Okuboyejo was a pioneer Permanent Secretary in Ogun State and the only survivor from the defunct Western Region to establish the Ogun State Public Service, while Aare Olu Dawodu retired from the Ogun State Public Service as State Chief Pharmacist; a one-time Commissioner for Health and Chairman, Local Government Service Commission. He is currently the chairman, Ogun East APC elders’ forum.

Basorun Adebisi Adesanya is a former CEO/Chairman, Coca-cola International and Baba Oba of Makun, Sagamu; and Dipo Odujirin is a former legislator that represented Remo and Ijebu Ode at the Senate in the second republic.

According to Oshinowo, an erstwhile Special Assistant to ex-President Obasanjo on political matters, the screening panel interviewed prominent politicians, including two former Deputy governors, Adegbenga Kaka and Prince Segun Adesegun, a former senator, Olorunnimbe Mamowora, two serving commissioners, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru and Basorun Muyiwa Oladipo, a Senior Special Advisor, Jimi Lawal, an architect, Owodunni Opayemi, a medical practitioner, Taofeek Kassim and an engineer, Otunba Abayomi Odunowo. “Though Gov. Ibikunle Amosun said his decision to cede power to Ogun West was his own personal opinion but whatever the leadership of the party in the state, at the end of the day say, may overrule his decision”, said Oshinowo.

Oshinowo further said that the decision of Ogun East to pick its consensus candidate was borne out of the need to avoid making the mistakes the people of Yewa/Awori often make such that opportunities often elude them whenever they were given an opportunity to field a governorship candidate in the state. He, therefore, described the four members of the panel as men of absolute trust and confidence that are incorruptible and cannot be intimidated.

It would be recalled that the Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun had, at different fora, stressed his determination and commitment to pick his successor from Ogun West, a district that has never produced a governor since the creation of the state 42 years ago, but the leaders and elders from Ogun East district have frowned at the stance of the governor, as they are laying equal claim to the 2019 Ogun State Governorship ticket on the basis of rotation at provincial level.

According to the report presented to the house by the screening committee, led Okubadejo, which was read by Oshinowo, all the aspirants did well and they were described as men of valour. The report said it was of necessity that only one of them would emerge as the candidate.

Dr. Oshinowo said during the screening process, endorsed by the Paramount ruler of Ijebu Land, Oba Sikiru Adetona, and the new Akarigbo of Remoland, the panel gave out questionnaires to all aspirants which they all answered under sweaty conditions.

The committee therefore recommended, Bimbo Ashiru as preferred aspiration among the other APC aspirants.

In his acceptance speech, Ashiru applauded the screening Committee for the good job done and also for finding him worthy to be the Ogun East Governorship candidate. He said the trust was a collective task for him and other aspirants, declaring that he can’t do it alone without their total support.

Ashiru was born in Ijebu-Ode to the illustrious Ashiru family. His father, late Pa Simeon Adeyemi Ashiru, was a distinguished Ijebu statesman while his mother ‘Omo’ba (Princess) Moradeun Ashiru, is from the Fidipote royal family of Ijebu Ode and the ruling house of Owu-Ijebu.

Ashiru bagged a degree in Marketing, Purchasing & Supply, and a Masters’ Degree in Strategic Management. With this background, he entered the services of the then Chartered Bank in the year 1989. In a successful career that has spanned two decades and taken him to various institutions, he has served in various capacities of Management (Head, Private Banking Unit; Branch Manager; Head, Institution & Professional Banking; Regional Coordinator; Country Director, Personal and Business Banking; Director, Corporate Affairs and Corporate Social Investments; until his last position of Group Head, Public Sector with Stanbic IBTC Bank which he was the pioneer head of the department.

Otunba Ashiru, according to different version of those who know him, is a man with a desire for developing people around him and this translated into his appointment as the representative of the Awujale of Ijebuland on the Ogun State Poverty Alleviation Task Force. He distinguished himself in this field and represented his people favorably to the best of his ability and was well-commended by the Awujale himself. He was also on the Technical and Communications Committees of the 17th Nigerian Economic Summit (2011).

He is a member of The Metropolitan Club, Ikoyi Club 1938 and a member of the Ijebu Heritage Group and Ijebu Renaissance Group.

Otunba Ashiru is a Fellow of the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria; National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Commerce of Nigeria.

In recognition of his selfless service to society and having distinguished himself as a true son of Ijebuland and as an astute banker of repute, Otunba Ashiru was presented with the royal title of Otunba Adeona Fusigboye of Ijebu land in December, 2006 by His Royal Majesty, The Awujale Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona.