As he adds another year to his enchanting life few days ago, the pert, blue flame of joy burns through his frame; brightening his world and burnishing his persona with irrepressible shine. Yes, he is Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat (also known as Femi Hamzat), the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Nigeria.
He is beside himself with joy for being privileged to witness yet another glorious addition to his inspiring days. He was 54 on Thursday , September 19.
Hamzat is a miracle-working politician. Unlike the middling marabou, his miracles aren’t deceptive in nature. Rather, each one is an event that creates faith in his abilities as technocrat and politician. The Deputy Governor is not just your regular politician but a seasoned technocrat in politics.
Administrators are always cheap and easy to find, and even cheaper to keep but leaders are worth their weight in gold.
Leaders are risk takers and they are often in very short supply. Ones with enduring vision however, like Obafemi, are pure gold. This is why he is continually revered and celebrated among his clan and league of extraordinary men in the world.
He understands the rudiments of the governance enough to tame the odds and he has done just that. He also understands that to be a man of honour and substance requires indeterminate exploits at dawn through dusk in honest. Obafemi knows that honour and longevity, like celery, flourish in the dark shade – far from the blaze of disconcerting neon lights.
As a Deputy Governor, particularly one dealing with intense pressures, he relies on many things, perspective and context; and strategic counsel and courage of conviction. However, chief among them is loyalty. And in a word, that strengthens Obafemi ‘s relationship with peers and his underlings.
A strong and dedicated leader, he brings clarity of thought and purpose to his work. He is a good listener who comes to the table not with some preset notion of distrust but rather an open mind; he asks tough questions and tries to find solutions.
In today’s climate, where people avoid blame instead of finding common ground, the qualities Obafemi brings to his job are rare. That only makes leadership like his more valuable.
Despite the tempestuous tides of the political space, Obafemi continues to navigate the storms with a sturdy and solemn resolve to remain atop and afloat.
Hamzat was born on September 19, 1964 in Lagos, Nigeria into the family of the Late Oba Mufutau Olatunji Hamzat and the Late Alhaja Kehinde Hamzat who is from Iga Egbe, Lagos state. His father, the late Oba Mufutau Olatunji Hamzat served as a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and as a Commissioner for Transportation in the state (1979 – 1983) before becoming the vice-chairman SW of then Alliance for Democracy (AD). Olatunji Hamzat became the Lagos West Senatorial District leader of the Action Congress and a crowned king through his maternal royal lineage.
Hamzat had his primary education at Odu-Abore Memorial Primary School, Mushin, Lagos State, Nigeria and his secondary education at Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo state, in the Southwest region of Nigeria. He graduated from the University of Ibadan with a degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1986 and a master’s in Agricultural Engineering in 1988. In 1992, he had his PhD in System Process Engineering at Cranefield University, England.
In August 2005, Dr. Hamzat was appointed Commissioner for Science and Technology during the tenure of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He retained his position when Governor Babatunde Fashola assumed office in 2007.
It was during his tenure as Commissioner for Science and Technology that Dr. Hamzat enforced the application of modern technology in the state’s ministries, thus changing the face of data and record keeping in Lagos and at the same time eliminating the trend of state ghost workers. The office had gone on without a commissioner during Fashola’s first four years (post-Rauf Aregbesola’s appointment), with only a Special Adviser.
In execution of his mandate, Dr. Hamzat’s ministry completed several key projects for Lagos State in the mega-city era. Hamzat was appointed as Special Adviser on Works to the Honourable Minister for Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola in 2015. In September 2018, he resigned that role to contest in the Lagos state gubernatorial elections.
After a long-fought primary, Dr. Hamzat emerged as the running mate to Babajide Sanwo-Olu whom he had stepped down for during the primaries. Sanwoolu eventually became the party’s nominee, and later Governor-Elect. Both men ran together a campaign that went to different parts of the state. On March 10, 2019, after the election, Dr. Hamzat was declared Deputy Governor-Elect of Lagos State by the Independent National Electoral Commission and presented a Certificate of Return. With his experience in public service, many a man is expecting more exploits from the very brilliant Engineer- turned politician.