BTO’s THANKSGIVING: THE AKOKO FACTOR By Alao Babatunde

Akoko was in the news these past days not because there was another news about its bad roads. It became a spotlight and an area of concentration the past weekend.

The entire traditional rulers in Akoko North East and North West Federal Constituency had organized a reception for their son, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo and it was on the 26th of October. This was later followed by a Thanksgiving service on the 27th of October.

The Background

Apart from obtaining 18 professional qualifications in ICT before the age of 22, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo became the Chief Executive Officer of an indigenous Company in Nigeria, at a young age of 24.

As a professional, he holds certification in Ethical Hacking and Counter Measures. He is also a certified Comptia Network Plus (Network +) Engineer and a Britannia Hardware A+ Management Certificate Holder. All these were obtained between 2002 and 2006 from London Metropolitan University and Britannia IT Training Academy, both in the UK.

Better known as BTO, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo is a shrewd lawmaker representing the people of Akoko North East and North West Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.

Upon his election into the green Chamber on February 23, 2019, he mobilized 246 other lawmakers to support the ambition of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, under the forum of first time lawmakers chaired by him.

Today, BTO is the Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and also a member of House Committees on National Security and Intelligence, Local Content, Gas Resources, North East Development Commission (NEDC), Housing, FCT Area Council and Ancillary Matters, Solid Minerals and Pilgrims Affairs

Indeed, last weekend was a good time out to thank God for Grace before, during and after the election.

The Plot

It has also been in the news that the number four citizen of Nigeria and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, was not only in Ondo State on Saturday but that his three points of call were all in Akoko. First, he was in Oka for a town hall meeting with the town at the instance of Hon. Ade Adeogun who represents Akoko South East and South West Federal Constituency.

Next point of call was the sleeping town of Arigidi Akoko which came alive when noise from the Speaker’s chopper would not let it rest while maneuvering its way to find space on the playing ground of Greater Tomorrow International College (GTIC)

The Speaker was to commission the newly constructed facilities within the school and he (the Speaker) was not shy to express astonishment at what he saw. Thanks to uncle Lawal who brought to the limelight what Akoko represents – excellence and class.

Lest I forget to add that the Speaker was received at GTIC by about 100 members of the House of Representatives who had spent the night in Owo. The Speaker was deliberate this time around, as he travelled by road from Arigidi Akoko to Okeagbe Akoko, venue of the Civic Reception.

One may not be wrong to conclude that the Speaker’s decision was to catch a glimpse of the roads under construction by NDDC, thanks to the intervention of BTO. On the other hand, he possibly must have longed to behold the mountains and vegetation that beautify Akoko — A sight he can never see in Surulere! But he knows better than I.

The Politics

I recall when the Olukare, Oba Akadiri Momoh led Kabiyesis in the Federal Constituency to visit the

Speaker in his office in Abuja, he (the Speaker) was thankful to them for giving Nigeria gifts in the persons of BTO and Adeogun. This remark he reiterated while speaking at the reception that had political bigshots.

Results have shown that Ondo North Senatorial District is the stronghold of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State and BTO holds a chunk of that.

Though it is not conventional but money does not win election or better still plenty money does not win election. Relationship does!

Let the least of men in the society be assured you know him, you know his challenges, you share his dreams and that is what it means to be a grassroots politician. You do not switch off after election.

While BTO was meeting with his constituents in their different groups in Abuja, eyebrows were raised in some quarters but here is a politician who understands that connecting with people is also a way of further enlightening and exposing them which helps you to represent them well — it is called EFFECTIVE representation and not everyone can do that!

Of the about 15 points mentioned by the Speaker, one stood out. He said, “You have a worthy son who is representing not just this Constituency but the State at a level that even I, am extremely proud of.
His passion, his commitment, his love for the people of Ondo State is exhibited in and outside the chamber of the house on a daily basis.

“Each time he comes to my office, it is about either Ondo State or Akoko North East and North West Federal Constituency. I believe in the next four years as we proceed you will have no regret that you voted him and others to the House of Representatives.”

Without any iota of ambiguity, I can emphatically say BTO has grip of Ondo North!

BTO’s First Shot

Undoubtedly, the event over the weekend was one of the biggest events – culturally, socially and politically – on the soil of Akoko if not Ondo State and excerpts and memories from the gathering will outlive us all.

While the event has gone into history and scripted in chronicles, it is also a first major outing for BTO and, of course, the biggest. Yet the celebrant sees it as ‘testing the microphone’ despite the loudness.

On this, the speaker, this time around, was clinical when he noted that, “The worth of Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo is obvious. I have been to several functions since we came in by members of the House of Representatives.
“I don’t think I have seen members from the House of Representatives that I am seeing today. We have members from the North, members from the South East, South South, South West, North East, North West and North Central. They are all here present. It shows you that the man Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo is somebody who has reached across all nooks and crannies of the House.”

The Future

There is no other future asides the one BTO has always described as NOW. Now is the time to make

Akoko great again. Now is the time for the development of Akoko by Akoko and for Akoko. There is no greater honour done to a man than coming from Akoko.

The event has come and gone but could this mean a shift in the politics of Ondo State?

This, as I have always said, is not a good time not to have Akoko Heritage.

Alao Babatunde Isaac
Special Adviser (New Media) to Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo
Tweets @aeonalloy

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