By Femi Salako
One unique thing about the 2019 electioneering is that almost all the political parties are putting up candidates for election. Either qualitative or quantitative candidates, every registered political party seems to be having it going good for them, now that they have a candidate flying the flag of the patty.
But of all candidates put forward for the Senate race of Ogun West Senatorial district, one man undoubtedly stands out, he seems to be the only one among all with a special surgical understanding of what the district needs at this time.
Former Chief of staff to Ogun state governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Tolu Odebiyi, who resigned his appointment last year to run for Ogun West Senate race is no doubt the man. Daring all odds when the present was looking bleak, Odebiyi gave way for the will of the party by jettisoning his governorship ambition in the interest of the district and opted to vie for the Senate seat for the love of the people.
Of course, the importance of Ogun West is not lost on Odebiyi, if not now, when? For a man who had toured the nooks and crannies of the Gateway State during his state wide consultation for governorship, he sure understands what the problems are and how to solve it.
As a true democrat and a scion of one of the foremost political leaders in Ogun West, Odebiyi’s focus and political decisions have always been about the people. He demonstrated this while he worked as the Chief of Staff to Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
Odebiyi’s lifetime of connections with the district, including being born into a political family, are some of the qualities that put him at vantage point ahead of others in the race.
Every waking moment of his life has been focused on Ogun West and how to make it better for all. The district ought to be the most developed and flourishing in the state judging by its proximity to Benin Republic where a lot of bilateral trading go on between Nigeria and its Benin neighbour.
Saying the future of Ogun West rides on Odebiyi’s aspiration, will never be out of place. He is the overwhelming favourite to prevail in what could be a landslide victory in the Senate race. A closer look and analysis of his top contenders shows none among them have the wherewithal of challenging his political clout and popularity.
His electoral strength, popularity and credibility among the people seems to be dissuading his major contenders.
Despite all odds working in his favour, Odebiyi is not taking the race for granted, he is working hard, reaching out to the nooks and crannies of Ogun West to campaign and have a better feel of the People’s pulse.
His relentless, maybe obsessive, work is the common thread that has stood him out over the years in private and public sectors where he has worked and served the state, this explains his continued success.
His constant political work and grassroots mobilisation might seem excessive, but they are so essential to grasping Odebiyi’s popularity and acceptability among the core voters who live him for what he stands for.
He has not stopped enjoying inter-party support, across party lines, members of the opposition too always have good things to say about Odebiyi and his refined style of politics.
In a political moment where Odebiyi’s style of politics, which earnestly places emphasis on decency, civility, getting things done and making the institutions work for the good of all, seems to be out of fashion, the Senator hopeful believes it’s more important to stand for what will add value and build trust in the heart of the constituents.
No doubt this is a time when people feel they can’t trust government, but when they see one who stands out that they could trust, they want to see a check and balance work at the legislative arm. They want to see such representative who is able to get through the politicking in Abuja, still remembers the grassroots, champion their cause and get things done to make live better for them back at home. That is what Odebiyi represents and hopes to bring to Ogun West when elected in February 2019 as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The 2019 election will confirm to the people of Ogun West that Odebiyi is a rare figure in politics in the age of political distraught.