As Ogun Cabinet Gets down to Work

Dapo Abiodun

By Victor Fagbulu

Perhaps there can, at this moment, be no better illustration of the Yoruba adage that he who eats late does not eat worthless food than the cabinet that the Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, unfolded to wild applause recently in the state. Truth be told, the team came a bit late, apparently in the governor’s bid to choose the best among distinguished individuals. Happily, however, it’s been, for the Ogun people, a waiting worth every moment.

Nigerians are well aware of the fact that one of the banes of governance in this clime is poor cabinet formation. Because of political expediency, most of the people that occupy positions of authority as ministers, commissioners, board directors and so on have, over the years, tended to obtain the positions via considerations of political patronage rather than merit, competence and proven track records. We have seen situations where people without technical know-how in particular ministries and parastatal agencies were made heads of those organisations and as a result of that, there had been poor delivery and policy summersaults.

Naturally, as greenhorns, such individuals usually faced a lot of manipulations from the bureacrats and insiders in those organisations simply because of inexperience and lack of expertise. In addition, such individuals have often made decisions with dire consequences not only for the organisations they headed but also the entire administration in which they served.

At various times, Nigerians have been confronted with such incongruous situations as lawyers heading power ministries, engineers heading information ministries and agric economists heading health ministries or ministries such as Urban and Regional Planning. Policy summersaults and failure have therefore come naturally. Now, Governor Abiodun having this at the back of his mind, and taking cognizance of the agenda he has set for the state not only in running an inclusive government but also giving opportunities for people to come and invest in Ogun State, had to opt for the best brains—and Ogun definitely has these in abundance. There is no sphere of human endeavour where you will not find Ogun indigenes doing exceptionally well. To make the task easier, he consulted with political leaders and technocrats in the state, intimating them with his preferences: people with vast experience in their respective fields. And so when he finally unfolded his cabinet, various local government areas in the state had brought forward their best materials. The new cabinet in Ogun exudes youthfulness and experience, energy, vibe, creativity and finesse and, above all, sound intellect.

For instance, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Oluwadare Kehinde ( B.Sc, MD, MBBS, MPH), 37, is one of the brightest young minds in the medical profession in the country. The Ijebu-Ife born physician attended the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State where, in 2009, he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Physiology with Second Class Upper Division. He was at the Windsor University School of Medicine, Saint Kitts and Nevis, West Indies in the Caribbean Islands where he got his second degree in Medicine and Surgery. He later proceeded to the University of Ibadan for his Masters’ Education and has since completed his Masters’ Degree in Public Health (Health Policy And Management).

His counterpart in the Ministry of Budget and Planning, Olaolu Olabimtan (B.Sc. Accounting, MBA, FCTI, FCA, ACCA, CPA, CFE, CFAN, AICPA) is simply phenomenal. The Ilaro prince is a certified IFRS Expert, CMD Certified Management Consultant & Trainer) Managing Partner/CEO; Olaolu Olabimtan & Co (Chartered Accountants)/Financial & Business Advisory Associates. Leading the practice on a full-time basis since 2009, Olaolu has led the team in serving Federal Inland Revenue Service, Osun State Internal Revenue Service and Lagos State Internal Revenue Service. The team has also provided tax advisory services to several companies. He was a short term middle level expert for European Union – Support to the Reforming Institutions Programme; Public Expenditure Assessment in Yobe State using PEFA Performance Measurement Framework.

Olabimtan was also a consultant for Department For International Development – State Partnership for Accountability, Responsiveness and Capability Programme on Analysis of MDG-Expenditure in Nigeria’s federal, state and local government budgets. The associate of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) of the United Kingdom, certified fraud examiner, certified forensic accountant and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants laureate is simply in a class of his own: he trained with KPMG (Former PMAO and later KPMG) and AWD before moving on to Price Waterhouse Coopers, thereby acquiring world-class experiences at both trainee and senior levels in three out of the big four in the industry.

Femi Ogunbanwo, the Special Duties Commissioner, was called to the Nigerian Bar on the 16th December, 1992, with a Second Class (Upper Division) Degree from the Nigerian Law School. He holds the LL.B and LL.M degrees of the University of Lagos. On 23rd September 1999, he appeared for and with His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, then Executive Governor of Lagos State before the Lagos State House of Assembly Investigative Panel (Omoworare Panel). He was Special Assistant / Chief Legislative Assistant to Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi between 1999 and 2007.

Femi is a prolific writer and public commentator.

Enter the Commissioner for Finance, Oladapo Rahaman Okubadejo, fondly called Dapo. The Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife graduate served previously as Chief Economic Adviser to the governor of Ogun State and led the Economic Management team in the formulation and implementation of key economic policies of the administration. Formerly a Partner & Africa Head of Deal Advisory & Private Equity at KPMG, Dapo is an expert on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), project finance, investments, private equity and business transformation. With about 28 years of professional experience, he has acted as Corporate Financial Adviser to many foreign and local investors in Nigeria and across Africa. Starting his professional career in Arthur Andersen in 1992, he spent over a decade where he rose to the position of Senior Manager and consulted for more than 40 companies in oil and gas, consumer goods and financial services on many projects in assurance, business strategy and planning, financial restructuring and business transformation.

Dapo won the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Scholarship in 2002, for a fully-funded MSc degree program in the UK. He resumed at KPMG in 2003 to lead the newly established Financial Advisory service group, which has metamorphosed into Deal Advisor. A recognized expert on Africa business and investments landscape who has been invited as a resource person, faculty, panelist and moderator at many international conferences, seminars and fora such as the World Economic Forum, Harvard Business School Africa forum, London Business School Africa, among others, Dapi has, with his team, won many international awards and recognitions, the latest of which is the 2018 Global Financial Advisor award by the Private Equity Africa organization for the second consecutive year.

The Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hon Olufunmilayo Akinyebo-Efuwape, a high profile philanthropist and gender activist who has brought her administration excellence to bear in the governance at the grassroots, was educated at the Ogun State Polytechnic of Ilaro, where she holds an HND in Accountancy. An ex career officer in the Lagos State Local Government Service, she served as chairman of Sagamu Local Government from 2012 to 2015, being the first elected female executive chairman of the local government.She has so far been conferred with the numerous awards, including: Award of Excellence in the Local Government Administration by Tai Solarin College of Education National Alumni Award, Distinguished Local Government Chairman in Ogun State by Rootswatch Magazine, Ogun NLC Best Local Government Administrator Remo Zone and Yeye Ewe by NULGE, Sagamu Local Government chapter.

Given the foregoing, it is clear that the Ogun State governor was not bluffing when, during an orientation organised for the new commissioners and special advisers in the state, he described his newly-composed State Executive Council as the most star-studded council in Nigeria. His words: “This administration is arguably the most star-studded cabinet in the country. Various expertise, different backgrounds and even varying but complementary flavours have been brought together.”

Having put round pegs in round holes, Governor Abiodun is apparently now set to unleash his development agenda on all the nooks and crannies of Ogun State in earnest. That is simply how it should be.

*Fagbulu, a political analyst, contributes this piece from 42 Gateway Stadium Road GRA, Ijebu -Ode