Born On Nigeria’s Democracy Day – Lanre Alfred Pays Tribute To Governor Dapo Abiodun
Lanre Alfred pays tribute to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State whose birthday is tied to Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
Among friends and associates in the exclusive circle of Prince Dapo Abiodun, Governor of Ogun State, the word ‘Osele’ needs no explanation except you don’t fall into either category. Those who know – know that it is a favourite slogan of Prince Abiodun (before he became governor), which means ‘It happened.’ Every accomplishment or acquisition was heralded with a gleeful ‘O Sele’.
So, to God be the glory, May 29th, 2019, happened. For over five decades, however, the date held a different kind of significance for him. It is his birth date. This year’s May 29th is even more symbolic because Prince Dapo Abiodun turns 60 on the same day he would be celebrating his one year anniversary as the Governor of Ogun State.
Indeed, he could not have got a greater and more befitting 59th birthday gift in 2019 than his inauguration as the democratically elected governor of the Gateway State – a fitting denouement to an episodic political journey which began about three decades ago. Governor Abiodun’s life offers interminable lessons on the beauty and benefits of resolve, compassion, unpretentious generousity and family values. I know.
“A man is nothing without his virtues”, he argues. Thus, he endeavours to do good. But his deeds are done not as an apology or extenuation of his fortune and citizenship of the world. While many a rich man propagates virtues as penances for the inactions of the world’s privileged divide, he imbibes and perpetuates the culture of goodness not out of a frantic zeal to apologize or expiate the perceived frailties of his rich, privileged divide; he does his thing because it is an intrinsic part of his humanity.
Since I made his acquaintance about 12 years ago, our relationship has blossomed into a bond emblematic of the best form of filial devotion and affection. I met him first through a senior colleague and later, more intimately through a mutual friend. I would discover that beneath the glitz and glamour of being a successful businessman with all the accoutrements of fame and fortune at his beck and call, he is humane and humble. He is imbued with nonpareil intelligence, a clear-thinking, analytical mind, quick wit and sheer oratorical skills. Governor Abiodun is one of the very few people I know that can never be blindsided or fazed by any eventuality. His calmness and infinite optimism even in the face of life’s greatest odds are inspiring and worthy of the respect and aspiration of coming generations.
As a young businessman, DA, as he is fondly called, was elected a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the platform of the defunct United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) in 1993. He was just 33years old. However, the military incursion of that year led by the despotic General Sani Abacha truncated that democratic process. The Iperu Remo Prince never gave up. While succeeding in business, he never abdicated politics. Circa 1998, he joined other like-minded Nigerians to start the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State. In 2002, he lost the governorship primary of the PDP to his bosom friend, Otunba Gbenga Daniel who went on to govern for two terms. Prince Dapo bade his time.
When he contested to represent Ogun East Senatorial District in 2015, I worked closely with him and came to the conclusion that but for passion and genuine humaneness, he didn’t have any business in the dog-eat-dog game of politics. He lost the election but never lost the passion to make life better for humanity.