Wednesday, 06 April 2016 22:31

A Visionary Leader and tactful politician Justus Gbenga Daniel - OGD AT 60

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Justus Gbenga Daniel, a successful Businessman, an irresistible Political Strategist, not a real politician per se, a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, universally known as OGD, turning 60, in the country where an average male life-span is 55 years; should be full of commendations to God for sparing his life, twirling in good health, and able to accomplish some feats in his chosen careers in the service to civilization.

The man who in 1990, founded Krestal Laurel, a total Engineering Company with Distinctive Competence and Knowledge in the field of Electro-mechanical Systems such Mobile Shelving Systems Elevators (popularly called Lift in Nigeria), Overhead Travelling Cranes and Hoists, Industrial Un-interruptible Power Systems (UPS), Generators, Power Systems, Welding Machines, Data Centre Enclosures, as well as Building Maintenance Units (Cleaning Cradles). He left Schroeder (W.A.) Limited, Lagos, where he rose to the position of Deputy Managing Director, the first African to hold that position in the history of the company.

We rejoice with him on this day as he turns 60, April 6, 2016.

We positively relate with the visionary impresario leadership of Otunba Gbenga Daniel, as the builder of a new dawn, very shrewd with impudence. Throughout his life he has presented challenges that call forth the best in people and bring them together around a shared sense of purpose. He works with the power of intentionality and alignment with a higher purpose. He envisions the future via meditation, lucid dreams, with an stimulating vision, in helping others to see how they can contribute to his vision for the advancement of humanity; allowing him and his followers to move together towards a shared view of the future. In other words he shares the followers' view of the future, allowing them to understand how they play an important role in that future. By doing so, the followers become committed to making that vision come true.

OGD, in most cases, demonstrated some of the qualities of a visionary leader, openness with a good sense of persistency and conviction, that Ogun State must be improved in all facets of its development. He aligns with some universally acclaimed, and often disregarded super-talented genius, living outside the range of normal human experience such as Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, the Wright Brothers among others.

Interacting with him closely, I sincerely take a neurotic look and measures his intelligent, naturally willing to uplift the life of an average human being, regardless of what 'lord of flies' would use to curve the durable iron of the vision and focus of OGD. He conducts himself in the service of humanity, and refuses deliberate humiliation to dampen his positive response to the needs of the needy, as demonstrated in the last lap of his administration. The modesty displayed in his public services command respect from well tutored individuals; unlike an average Nigerian politician, who cherish the 'caging' style of some political leaders in Nigeria. He exercised a high degree of deference to convention, historical precedent, or authorities within his administration; which flows in his blood, and demonstrates in his public and private life.

OGD political sojourn was part of strong vision in accessing the natural and human resources toward improving the needs of humanities. He handled his entrance into politics in 2003 with the defeat of an incumbent in a more complex Ogun State politics, a challenging task in the past, later duplicated at the 2015 Presidential elections; just like as he skillfully created his private business, Krestal Laurel, which made it a formidable company in Nigeria. Wondering what a successful businessman wanted in politics, if not to help the needy in the society where the winners take all.

An average Nigerian politician never forgive an opponent or concede the defeat, which might have been responsible for his elongated political enemies across board. He changed the political landscape of Ogun State for good. The 2003 political campaign took him to all the 236 wards in Ogun State, met with every stakeholder of every streets and within the State and sold his ideas which won him the Governorship seat in Ogun State; an idea of getting close to the people.

Unfortunately politics in Nigeria is a game that does not objectively rewards honesty, transparency, accountability, but punishes, while all the politicians have been erroneously tagged to be woefully corrupt, caged within the lion den of the established corrupt structure in Nigeria. In a civilized society, the games of politics ought to be very healthy, interesting, lively, exciting, and not the other way round as it is done in Nigeria. Unlike what is happening with the USA Presidential exciting current (2016) primaries, where the citizens are actively involved in the choice of who leads them, would make an average nifty individual to want to be involved in the competition for retrieving the community resources for the advancement of citizens.

OGD seemed to 'see' the future in exposing the State to various projects like the Olokola Port and Iperu Cargo Airport. What he intended to do was to build an accurate conceptual model of the future based on his keen understanding of the present; while bringing the model into reality, which we hope the succeeding administrations ought to bring into realization. His key ability, is not his prophetic sight, but rather the gift to predict accurately from the present into the future. Looking back in history, visionaries have dreams that are larger and more difficult than average persons, and thus requires an extraordinary degree of doggedness. When accurate, prediction is combined with executive ability to carry out the vision, visionaries literally create the future.

Other programs in resolving identified Social issues confronting the State are Housing, Works, Infrastructure and Ogun State Road Management Agency (OGROMA) for Ogun State Road Networks rehabilitation, the Secretariat Complex, NYSC Orientation Camp, OPIC Plaza, Water Resources and Rural Development projects, Mini Power Plant, Health, Education, and Stadia of International Standard in the three senatorial districts of the state, (Shagamu, Ilaro, Ijebu-Ode, and Abeokuta). The Gateway International Stadium, Ijebu Ode, host the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup which was held in Nigeria.

In fact OGD realistically spend his life following his dreams and seeking to bring them into reality, as this Youngman at 60 years, has been demonstrated in his business and public life. In contrast, and unfortunately, the some people turn off their imaginations as they mature, feeling that imagination is akin to child's play as often reside in the two worlds; the external world, and a rich internal world of ideas, pictures, and thoughts. OGD is very sensitive to the citizens' accolades and complains as mark of a true visionary, as they can often see what others cannot.

No single politician would survive in Nigeria without being criticized; OGD attracted heavy criticisms and accolades. However, he is well commended by majority of the people of Ogun State who believe his government was people friendly. As a matter of fact, Yar'Adua and Jonathan, during their administrations, commissioned the completed Ogun State Government Secretariat constructed by his administration at Oke Mosan, in phases, which brought all the State Ministries together in one administrative complex. His administration interjected the Public Private Partnership program, as practiced in other progressive countries in getting private individuals objectively involved in the public services. Such attracted several businesses into the State during his public service as Ogun State Governor.

OGD demonstrated an unusually large degree of openness to the new information, especially importing human resources from across the globe to the advantage of Ogun State. He constantly searched for additional information with the assurance that each new piece of information yielded an insight that helped solve a problem or create a breakthrough. He fruitfully faced the challenges by the inflexible people that once they made up their mind cannot be persuaded, nor do they continue to search for or take in new information.

My brushing with him conceptually, he proves to me that he is conceptually concerns about the plight of citizens. I intervened with some Medical Teams from the United States to Ogun State between 2005 and 2010; for free medical services, which included surgeries, free prescribed eye glasses, among other medical services. It was positively viewed by the Local Team of Ijaye Hospital as an opportunity to work side by side with the USA based Medical practitioners. Courteously the Medical Team was able to understand the need for continuous cooperation with the Developing countries in the area of medical services, especially on infrastructure, hand-on medical equipment, and continuing education for the home based medical personnel.

That was the period he 'charmed' me to assist in the fulfilling one his visions in Health services, to establish a Trauma and Diagnostic Center in Ogun State, which local politics, unfortunately, deflated. One of the Medical Personnel was interested in working with the State Government, in the project, and developed some courses along this vision with Olabisi Onabanjo University, Obafemi Awolowo College of Health Sciences, Ikenne. Providentially, Shagamu is rightly located at the cross section of the major roads, connecting Lagos with the South, North and East, according to some reports, the area has the highest number of accidents in that passageway. The Medical Mission informed the policy makers, headed by OGD, that nothing is too little for Ogun State and Nigeria, if only geared toward humanities.

The promotion of his administration of entrepreneurship through various youth development programs, massively empowered the youth across the State. After his term lapsed as the Governor, he continues the elite enlightenment program in addition to entrepreneurship with the establishment of The Political Academy; which he uses to train and empower thousands of youth, teaching them about the history of the country and political process. He focusses on getting the Youth out from poverty, unemployment, especially the unwaged educated elite. As a result, many youth in Ogun State are becoming highly aware politically and interested in politics.

An intelligent personality who at the age of 15 years, (1971), collected eleven prizes, first position, out of the thirteen courses he took, in class three at Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta. He realized that human beings have relapsed memory which requires continuous re-education, re-informing and re-orientation, taking them out from the Roman Mob, acting before they think like a moving train, not thinking before acting. OGD encourages the youth to believe in their potentials, disbelieving in the negative thoughts, instead, learn to persevere with good positive determination.

OGD, as a leader, would take full responsibilities of whatever happened during his public service. However, he is not perfect, never claimed to be the best, and not a Saint either, because he is human. He might have offended some people or a group of people which is normal; he might have stepped on toes of big elephant, but that does not taint his sense of unpretentiousness.

With the little time working very close to him in his public life, he is very hard working with diligence and tenacity of purpose, which he brought from his private business to the public service and assisted him to execute some of his foresight projects for the state, going to any length to recruit individuals, regardless their State of origin, in as much as they have what it takes to make some positive impacts on the community, even in the face of the rugged rocky topography of the State, made 'lemonade out of lemon' and ended the isolation of the State Capital, Abeokuta.

An Engineer, astute tactical politician, made the rocky environment of Abeokuta, endorsed professional Trade Mark on Olumo Rock to be an attractive Tourist Center. Through deft social engineering, judicious use of resources and an uncommon desire to effect a positive change in the social economic landscape, Justus Olugbenga Daniel won hearts of most people of Ogun State.

Happy 60th Birthday to the Visionary Leader of the People, Justus Olugbenga Daniel, a.k.a. OGD. God bless you Yafu! Yafu!

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Femi  Ajayi Ph.D

Femi Ajayi was born in Obboland, Ekiti Local Government, Kwara State, Nigeria. After his Elementary Education he moved to Ilorin where he attended Bishop Smith Memorial Teacher's College, and College of Education. He spent his adult life, attending Schools and Teaching in Ilorin before moving to the United States of America.

He is an Executive Director, Office of Secretary of State, Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to that he worked with the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, Atlanta, Georgia as a Legislative Consultant. During his tenure with the GLBC, he successfully co-developed three major projects for the GLBC: Peach State Black Tourism Association; Institute of Technology Transfer; and Minority Economic Development. These three projects created opportunities for minorities, especially African Americans, to economically empower themselves in the State of Georgia. Dr. Ajayi is also a consultant, on leadership, for the National Conference of Black Mayors, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. The program, Leadership Institute for Mayors (LIM), is an annual one-week program designed to train newly elected Black Mayors on governance. The program entices officials from both private and public sectors, providing information on available sources of Grants and other information that could help them accomplish their goals as public officials.

He has to his background teaching experience at Clark Atlanta University; Served as Chairman, Social Science Department, Ebon International Preparatory Academy, Forsyth, Georgia. He taught at Government Secondary School Bama, old Borno State, during his National Youth Service Corps, Government secondary School, Afon, Kwara State, and at Ijan Otun Anglican Elementary School, Ijan-Otun, Kwara State.

He is the Chairman Advisory Board, African Quest Newspaper, Atlanta, Georgia; Advisory Board Chair, Nigerian Youth Alliance, Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Femi Ajayi was elected to the Southside Healthcare Board of Directors, Atlanta, Georgia, from 1992 - 2000: Board Secretary in 1994 and Board Chair from 1995 -1999. It has an annual budget of over $14 million. Dr. Ajayi also served in the Student Senate (1981-1984) and Vice President, Nigerian Students Union, 1983 -1984, at the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma. Under his leadership, Southside witnessed tremendous improvement in quality community health services.

Dr. Femi Ajayi has received many honors, including an Outstanding Georgia Citizen, Secretary of State, Atlanta, Georgia, a Community Service Award, from the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, Atlanta, Georgia; All American Scholar Award, United States Achievement Academy.

His public appearance includes Radio and Television interviews on Nigerian issues. Dr. Ajayi belongs to numerous non-profit Associations, Board member of other four Health Care Associations in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Femi Ajayi received his Ph.D. degree in Political Science from Clark Atlanta University, Georgia, with concentration in American Government, International Relations, African Politics, and Public Administration. His M. A. is in International Relations with concentration in Global Conflict Resolution and B.A. in Public Service from the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma. He obtained his National Certificate in Education with concentration in West African History, Geography, Philosophy and Psychology, he is happily married with four children.