OPINION: Resourceful Legislature: The Adeogun Example
By Israel Fagbemigun
Since Nigeria’s return to democratic government, Adejoro Adeogun, elected during the 2019 general election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is the fifth Honourable Member elected to represent the people of Akoko Southeast/Southwest Federal Constituency of Ondo state at the House of Representatives. Two and half years into his term, with firm belief in the Almighty and a single minded commitment to the good of his constituents, he has posted remarkable results in stewardship and performance to make his second term a reality subject only to the votes of the people and not the munificence of any overbearing Godfather.
In his primary duty of truly representing his constituency in lawmaking, robust debates and contribution to national and local developments and studious discharge of the oversight roles of the legislature as mandated by the laws of the land, Adeogun has towered shoulder high above his contemporaries and has posted new records that will be difficult to beat. But this piece is more of an assessment of his contributions to the fortunes of his Federal Constituency outside the remarkable records within the green chamber of the National Assembly.
Arising from ones objective appraisal of his person and activities is the observation that he is unrepentantly concerned about engaging qualified constituents in gainful employment. In line with this, he has been able to facilitate employment for many constituents into various Federal Government agencies and parastatals, apart from assisting hundreds in growing their businesses.
Owing to his efforts, Akoko south indigenes are now better represented in the Nigeria Ports Authority, the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Foreign Affairs, Department of State Services, DSS, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Immigration Service, Federal Medical Centre Lokoja, Nigerian Army, Federal Fire Service, the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, including the Ondo State Universal Basic Education Board and Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Agency. For those who were unable to make it into the above federal parastatals and ministries, Adeogun was able to facilitate the enlistment of 110 of them for the Npower program of the federal government in September 2021.
As if this is not enough, Adeogun nominated and enlisted Sixty (60) members of his Federal Constituency for a Youth Volunteer Programme under the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in October 2021. Again, when another opportunity presented itself, he nominated and got another set of one hundred (100) youths from Akoko south enlisted for an empowerment programme under the Federal Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity.
While some naysayers might want to downplay these achievements, it is pertinent to remind ourselves that rumors abound of law makers from federal constituencies far and near to his who sell slots for federal employment opportunities to their colleagues from far flung locations, thereby preventing their tax paying constituents from enjoying the benefits of federal government empowerment programs and similar opportunities.
A major source of my fascination with the man called Adeogun is the strategic nature of his interventions. He is unashamedly an advocate of youth empowerment and his interventions confirm this noble bias. Adeogun’s devotion to youths is beyond mere sloganeering. Between 2020 and 2021 he provided 3-year Scholarship opportunities to Four Hundred (400) students at Upland College of Education, Ipesi Akoko. Beneficiaries were mostly indigent youths who do not have the economic strength to afford tertiary education, including educationally disadvantaged teenage mothers, who desire to further their studies.
Another area that stands Adeogun out is his penchant to identify the true needs of the people, instead of succumbing to the lure of quick political gains derivable from populist projects with little or no real impact on the standard of living of members of his constituency. For Adeogun, interventions must be strategic, pragmatic, and utilitarian. His facilitation of Targeted Credit Facility (Covid-19 Loans) ranging between N100,000 to N500,000 to 200 local farmers and small business owners across the Federal Constituency in June 2020 lends credence to this assertion.
Before then, he had in January of the same year (2020) distributed support equipment (in partnership with the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA), to 150 constituents among who were Fashion Designers, Barbers, Hairdressers and other such often neglected artisans and professionals.
It is worthy of note, that unlike the past where some vocations were overlooked and seen as a reserve for unserious persons, Adeogun has demonstrated an unusual understanding of the changing trend in the society, by including members of the creative industry in his interventions.
The lawmaker distributed start-up and support equipment (in partnership with the Nigerian Film Corporation, NFC) to 150 constituents in the creative Industry. Fashion Designers, Hairdressers, Photo & Videographers, Barbers, Music Artistes, Sandcrete Block Makers and Disk Jockeys among others featured in this round of intervention.
Adeogun’s indelible prints also loom large in the area of educational infrastructure. The honorable provided classroom furniture for Six Hundred (600) students, including office furniture for Fifty (50) teachers in selected secondary schools across Akoko South Federal Constituency. Beneficiary schools include Isua High School, Ogoso High School, Korowa Oka, Eseodo High School, Iwaro Oka, Etioro Community High School, Ipe High School, Obahoho Comprehensive College, Epinmi, Oyinle High School Oba-Akoko, Omuroko High School, Ipesi Akoko, Oroke High School, Akungba, Agbogbo Grammar School, Supare, and Ojomirin High School, Oka-Akoko. This is after he had constructed a 6-Classroom block at Christ High School, Egure, Supare Akoko.
The honorable member also presented Bursary Awards to Two Hundred (200) students from the Federal Constituency, who are schooling in various tertiary institutions across the country.
The level of diplomacy and maturity required from one who is a representative of a place like Akoko – which is home to people of diverse languages, religion and economic needs – is often taken for granted. To be able to balance conflicting interests from different sections of this unique federal constituency is definitely a yeoman’s job. However, Adeogun has been able to distinguish himself. His strong grass roots network makes it easy for him to identify what the people of different sections of his constituency want and need at every particular time. For example, in 2019 and before his inauguration as a legislator, Adeogun undertook the massive renovation of Oka Town Hall at Ibaka, along Palace Road. Less than two years later in October 2021, he also undertook massive renovation of the central mosque at Ose Oba. He didn’t go about imposing same project across the constituency as some political neophyte might have done for the sake of striking a balance, rather, from his grass roots network, he was able to identify what was needed by each community.
While Ade Adeogun’s achievements cannot be exhaustively discussed in a single write up, the love and sense of justice he has infused in the discharge of his duties is yet another aspect of his stewardship as a representative of his people that must be highlighted. He has in this direction been able to spread his projects and interventions across all the wards of his constituency. There is no part of Akoko South that has not felt the impact of his representation. Currently, road construction projects are ongoing in Akungba, Oka Akoko, Ilegbe, Ipe Akoko, apart from the Awolowo road project he already completed in Oba Akoko.
While a lot of unbiased spectators may rightfully appreciate the good work Adejoro Adeogun is doing, there are skeptics who will always downplay the obvious, even though it states them in the face. Adeogun’s performance to them might look ordinary, but we will continue to remind them that “just because someone carries it effortlessly does not mean it is not heavy.”
Israel Fagbemigun is an Abuja-based multimedia journalist, He can be reached via email@example.com, 08138662963