- How he endured multiple rejections
All men thrive by unequal fantasies. Many dream by night and wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the daylight fantasists, it is often said, are the most dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.
Like most mortals, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, thrives by peculiar fantasies, but unlike the proverbial daylight fantasist, he is not by any inch, a dangerous man.
Thus even when he was conspicuously left out of the presidential cabinet by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the inauguration of his first term, Mamora took it in good faith.
Whatever fantasies he nursed of clinching a luscious post in the then-nascent administration, dissipated like idle talk by the fireside on a wintry night.
There is no gainsaying Mamora must have agonised endlessly over his exclusion from the presidential cabinet despite his closeness to Buhari.
It was a no-brainer that he would land a juicy ministerial portfolio given his unquantifiable contribution as the Deputy Director-General of the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation during the 2015 presidential election. The former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly and two-time senator representing Lagos-East senatorial district, was everywhere with Candidate Buhari during electioneering. Mamora served, sometimes, as a quasi-personal assistant to the retired Army General.
The first ominous sign must have been the length of time it took the then-new president to appoint his ministers – all of six months. And, by the time the list came out, Mamora’s name was excluded.
A native of Ogun State, it was in Lagos that he attained prominence and political power. Even so, the president opted for former Lagos governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, and Kemi Adeosun, to occupy Lagos and Ogun’s ministerial slots, respectively.
Yet, there were many other juicy portfolios in the federation. Again, the President took a long time to fill up some of the appointments, leaving many party leaders in the cold for a long time. By the time some of the really juicy appointments were made, Mamora was still left out of the loop.
Despite his political astuteness and patience, Mamora watched his dreams evaporate into thin air too many times. First, he was listed to be the Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority in 2016 but was reportedly edged out by some powerful people in the presidency. In late 2016, his name also came up as an ambassadorial nominee but he was not even contacted before his name was dropped.
In 2018, Mamora rejected his appointment as the Chairman of the Abuja Investment and Infrastructure Centre, arguing that the appointment, which is the equivalent of a state parastatal, was not only belittling, people who never participated in the process that brought Buhari to power were occupying the front seats of government.
Jumoke Ajasin-Anifowose, the daughter of the first governor of the old Ondo State, Adekunle Ajasin, replaced him.
Later, he reluctantly accepted his appointment as the Managing Director, Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority in September 2018.
Call it fatal coincidence or ill luck, Mamora has been through a lot of disappointments in his political career. It would be recalled that he wanted to become governor of Lagos State but he was dropped and replaced with Babatunde Fashola by ex-Lagos governor and APC leader, Bola Tinubu. He also wanted to go back to the senate in 2011 but was replaced by Senator Gbenga Ashafa. His attempt to contest the governorship seat of Ogun State in 2019 was a still-birth.
For a long time, Mamora, who represented Lagos-East senatorial district from 2003 to 2011, suffered the brute end of tough luck, until his emergence as one of the minister-designates in the new administration of President Buhari.
Good enough, as a two-term senator, he would only be told by his former colleagues at the National Assembly to take a bow and go. Patience, indeed, is a virtue.