By Tunji Olajide
This is the season of politics. It can be felt in the air as political parties and aspirants mount campaigns across the length and breadth of the country seeking the support of the electorate for various elective positions. In the next couple of weeks, all the political parties will be conducting their primaries with a view to nominating candidates to fly their flags in the various positions that are up for grabs in the coming elections which have been scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for next year.
The positions include the President, Governorship, Senate, House of Representatives, and State Houses of Assembly. Many incumbents at various levels are seeking to be returned while others are fresh candidates who are mounting a challenge to upstage the incumbents. The elections, however, are going to be a hard nut to crack especially for the new entrants in the race who have to contend with some incumbents that have put up stellar performance in office.
One of such persons is Senator Tolu Odebiyi who is representing Ogun West in the National Assembly. He is currently the Acting Chairman and substantive Vice Chairman of the prestigious Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He also serves in other important and strategic Senate Committees like Marine Transport and Agriculture. As a first timer in the Senate, having been elected in 2019, he has done commendably well in his representation of the good people of Ogun West in Ogun State.
Given his political pedigree, people are hardly surprised at the quality representation he has put up since he arrived the Senate in 2019. Senator Tolu Odebiyi comes from a family with strong political traditions and deep intellectual foundation. His late father, Chief Jonathan Odebiyi was a household name in the country during the Second Republic. He was not only a major force in the leading opposition party, Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), led by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He was the UPN leader in the Senate. He made a lot of impact in the politics of that era.
Senator Tolu Odebiyi`s mother, Madam Kemi Odebiyi, on the other hand, served as a member of the election management body in Nigeria, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). With such solid political pedigree, it is hardly surprising where Tolu is coming from.
The istinguished Senator from Ogun West has effectively prepared himself for the political challenges of the moment and the future. Odebiyi attended the famous Government College, Ibadan, where he obtained his West African School Certificate (WASC). In search of the golden proverbial Golden Fleece, he went to Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston and University of Massachusetts, all in the United States of America, where he graduated with a Bachelor`s Degree in Building Construction and Engineering Technology.
He has made strong impact within the short period he has served in politics. Senator Tolu Odebiyi served as the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. He resigned in 2019 to contest for the Ogun West Senatorial seat which he won with a very wide margin.
Within the Senate, Tolu Odebiyi has shown energy and drive. He has done quite a lot to improve the fortunes of his constituents back home in Ogun West and the whole of Yewa land. He has been able to impact profoundly on his constituency through major initiatives in education, health, infrastructure, skills acquisition, human capital development, youth and women empowerment and other social services.
In the area of education, he has instituted a scholarship scheme through which he has uplifted many indigent students at various levels, including those in tertiary institutions. He has also provided the students with hundreds of laptops, in addition to the construction and equipping of many classroom blocks and ICT Centres in different parts of Ogun West.
In the field of health, Senator Odebiyi has taken it upon himself to give free medical test and treatment to his people. This is in addition to the annual medical outreaches and awareness programmes he organizes in Ogun State on common health ailments such as diabetes and hypertension.
Senator Odebiyi has made profound impact in the area of youth and women empowerment. Hundreds of his constituents, including the youths and women have been empowered with skills that make them wealth creators. Not long ago, he distributed 92 nos 2.5 KVA Generators to his constituents in Ado/Ota, Imeko Afon, Ipokia, Yewa North and Yewa South. This is in addition to several sewing and grinding machines he shared out to beneficiaries in Ogun West to enable them earn a living.
Odebiyi has also done very well in the area of water supply to the people. For instance, he has provided functional boreholes in places like Madoga, Idosa, Igbogila, Idofoi, Iwoye, Pahayi, Araromi, Agoro, Ileji, Oke Padre, Alari, Ohunbe, Moro, Ado-Odo/Ota, Imeko Afon, Ipokia, Yewa North and Yewa South.
Given his strong belief in human capital development, Senator Odebiyi has influenced, through recommendations, the employment of youths into various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) such as the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Abuja; Agricultural Research and Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Ilorin; The National Assembly, NIRSAL; and Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), just to mention but a few.
Within this period in the Senate, Odebiyi has sponsored several Bills and Motions which have far-reaching impact not only in his Ogun West constituency but also in the entire polity. One of such Bills which has been passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives and awaiting presidential assent is: “A Bill for an Act to establish the National Institute for Border Studies, Imeko, Ogun State, to provide for teaching, research, instruction and training of students in Border Management and other related matters.
Another Bill which he proposed and has been passed by both Chambers of the National Assembly and which is very dear to the heart of his people is: “A Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, Cap C23 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to make provisions for the Change of Name of the Area Referred to as Egbado in Ogun State to Yewa as contained in Part 1, Sec 3(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended).
Odebiyi is currently adjudged by his people as the best Senator Ogun West has ever had in the National Assembly, given his outstanding achievements just within a four year tenure. It is no wonder they fondly refer to him as “Koseleri”, meaning never been done before for his various impactful projects.
There is no doubt that given his glowing accomplishments so far in the National Assembly, Senator Tolu Odebiyi is favoured by his people to return to the Senate in 2023 to continue with his excellent representation.
Olajide, a Public Affairs Analyst wrote from Ilaro, Ogun State.