By Amb Opeyemi Ahmed
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions, small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great” Mark Twain
It is normal in our society for an individual to be ascribed a nickname after his birth names, some nicknames are derived from sinister activities within an environment, others especially politician are derived from positive contributions. In most cases nicknames reflect the character of individuals and tendencies they possess, that is an example of the lawmaker representing Ojo Federal Constituency, Tajudeen Adekunle Obasa nicknamed “ENIAFE”
Interestingly, during the electioneering period, where campaign activities was at its fullest. Many non -yorubas attending various rallies across the nooks and crannies of Ojo Local Government found it difficult to understand the meaning of the yoruba word “ENIAFE”. At a particular rally organized at Otta/Awori LCDA the Master of Organization (MC) interpreted the meaning in different languages. In English, it means “someone loved by the people”, in pidgin, it means “person wey we want”, in Igbo it means “A hu mu gi na an ya” while in Hausa, it means “wan de na ki so”
Many still wonder till date how will an ice water seller and individual who struggled with help to buy the nomination form of his party can easily defeat the candidate presented by All Progressive Congress financed by its National Leader, the Jagaban of Borgu “Lion of Bourdillion” in an election conducted in their stronghold in which PDP has not won a major election in the Local Government since establishment in 1998.
The reasons for the victory were not far fetched, as a little boy being trained by his parents to be rewarded with the best in terms of sound education. At a relatively young age, he decided to feel the pain of the less privilege in the society and decided to stop receiving daily stipends from his parents. As a form two student of the famous Awori College, Ojo that also produced notable individuals like Mrs Idiat Oluranti Adebule, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Alhaja Muibat Adeyemi, former honorable member representing Ojo Constituency 1 at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Olojo of Ojo, HRH Oba Adeniyi Rufai and many more.
Blood is thicker than water,as the love of parents to offspring will have it, his parents decided to call for a family meeting to ask him the reason he stopped requesting for his daily stipends to school, his response was shocking ” I want to feel the pain of the poor in the society”. From there, he set the path for a new beginning to face the challenges of life. Instead of him to renege on his mission, when the chips are down. He decided to engage in the selling of ice water in the popular Alaba International market. This surprised many in the community due to the prosperous nature of his father. Obasa never looked back and forged ahead in the business as a source to make a living.
After struggling hard to be independent at a tender age, he felt the only means he can create an impact to make the people smile in his community is for him to engage in nation building in order to alleviate his people from poverty and transform his environment. Many said he can’t cope in the game but as nature will have it, he is a man that can endure any situation. He joined politics immediately after his secondary school education, as the rule of apprenticeship will have it ” you must serve your boss before you become a master” He served a lot of individuals like Alhaji Rafiu Jafojo, former deputy governor of Lagos State. Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu, Afenifere Leader and former governorship candidate in Lagos State under the platform of PAC and many more.
As a young boy, his voice was heard as far back as zero party days, during the military era of President, Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda. I find it amusing when people refer to him as a JJC in politics. Here are a few of Obasa’s prior to his emergence as lawmaker representing the good people of Ojo Federal Constituency.
Member: Social Democratic Party (SDP) (1991 – 1993)
Member: United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) (1997)
Member: Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJ) (1998)
Member: People’s Democratic Party (1999)
Assistant Secretary: Afenifere Alliance for Democracy Ward “E1” Alimosho LGA (2001 – 2003)
Special Assistant to Hon. Oladipo Akinola Olaitan (AD) Leader, House of Reps Abuja
Senatorial Candidate: Progressive Action Congress (PAC), Lagos
LGA Secretary: Progressive Mandate Group (PMG) Ojo, LGA (2003)
LGA Secretary: Afenifere Progressive Action Congress (PAC) Ojo, LGA (2004 – 2005)
Chairman: Conscience Forum (PDP) Ojo, LGA (2004 – 2005)
Personal Assistant: Hon. Alh. Ligali O. Olaleye, House of Rep candidate, Ojo Federal constituency PDP (2010 – 2011)
Council Chairmanship Candidate: People’s Democratic Party, Ojo LGA (2011)
LGA Chairman: (PDP) Union Group Caucus, Ojo LGA (2012 – 2014)
State Secretary: Elders Council Forum (PDP Afenifere Independent Group) (AIG), State Secretariat, 2c, Oritshe street, Ikeja, Lagos (2012 – 2014)
State Secretary: The Great Lagos State PDP Project, Temporary Secretariat, 6A, Hogan Bassey street, Surulere, Lagos (2013 – date)
To mention a few
His style of politics is aimed at building leaders from nothing to something, zero to hero and grass to grace. 90percent of LASUITES residing off campus see him as a role model that will always come to their rescue no matter the time of the crisis. The “ENIAFE” characteristics in him is natural not man-made.
During the March 28 election, credence was given to the name “ENIAFE”, a situation that made an ant (The name given to him by his counterpart in APC) defeated an elephant. He won the election under the platform of PDP with a margin of almost 17,000 votes.
God so good, I accompanied him to the induction training organized by the National Institute of Legislative Studies for newly elected Federal lawmakers in Abuja. Surprisingly, The immediate past senate president, Senator David Mark led a delegation of lawmakers under the platform of PDP to sympathize with the Dr Goodluck Jonathan for his loss at the polls, because of his simplicity and stature, he was questioned by Sen David Mark ” wetin you dey do here, na your oga( house of rep member) we invite, no be you, how come you enter” He smiled and responded to him “I’m also a lawmaker like you”
Also, I had another encounter at the meeting of Lagos Caucus in the House of Representative. Despite the political differences, I was amazed to see him in the midst of his colleagues decided to prostrate for Alhaji Yakub Balogun, the former Head of Service in Lagos State. The man was dumb founded and said ” You won’t lack in life, as you respect me, the Lord will uplift you, the world will celebrate you, you are a true son of Yoruba land”
At forty five, he has passed through a lot of arduous task with his family. With the words of Dorothy .L. Sayers “Wherever you find a great man, you will find a great wife standing by him” Aishat Folukemi Obasa is a woman that can rarely be found on the surface of earth, when there was nothing, she stood with him. As the Bible says ” he who findeth a wife findeth a good thing” their marriage is blessed with four children.