The member representing Irepo/Oorelope/Olorunsogo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Honourable Olumide Abiodun Ojerinde, has expressed his readiness to hit the ground running as a legislator and representative of his people.
According to the 35-year-old chief executive of several media and entertainment businesses, the opportunity offered him to serve the people of the constituency is one too big to be toyed with, as he is aware of a heavy burden of expectations hanging on his neck as a young lawmaker and a son of the Asiwaju of Oke Ogun, Emeritus Professor Dibu Ojerinde, a man who has in the last four decades or more dedicated his life to lifting people out of poverty, serving communities and championing positive causes.
The making of history
The young Ojerinde had made history in his own little ways before and after the elections, becoming the youngest elected member of the House of Representatives from his constituency at a young age of 35, which is the ceiling of the newly signed Not Too Young To Run Act for House of Representatives hopeful.
Apart from that enviable achievement of being one of the first beneficiaries of the paradigm shift canvassed by the Not Too Young To Run advocacy, his election as a member of the House of Representatives on February 23, 2019 had also set several records and upped the political ante in his domain. The All Progressives Congress (APC) won in all wards of Oorelope Local Government, proving wrong the saying that a prophet is without honour in his home town.
In the imagination of the advocates and campaigners of the Not Too Young To Run Bill, which was signed into law on 31 May, 2018, the success of the advocacy could not have been expected to be immediate. But the gains of that advocacy became visible in the polity quite early, with individuals like Ojerinde, who is making his first venture into politics after many years of running a chain of successful entertainment businesses including the first private radio station in Oke Ogun area of the state, getting the nod of the electorate.
However, following the conclusion of the electioneering process and the emergence of a sizeable number of youths as elected officials, the discourse has shifted from not being too young to run to whether the youths would be able to handle the challenges of their new offices. Such worries, Ojerinde, however, noted, should not be expressed by his constituents, as he had been prepared mentally and in all other ramifications to provide quality representation to the people.
According to him, right from the very moment he decided to pick up the gauntlet of joining politics, he had taken a stand that service, above all things, would be the hallmark of his time in politics. He had, during his declaration for the post he now occupies, said: “I will take a stand for my people. I have a vision for our land and I am prepared to prove by my words, actions and service delivery that we, the youths, are capable in mind and will power to take our future in our hands.
In the lawmaker’s view, the opportunity to serve his people as a young man is not one that would be toyed with, as according to him, “the advocacy for younger elements in public offices was timely and important but the beneficiaries have a huge responsibility to prove that they are indeed fit to rule and I will say that it begins with me.”
Service delivery starts now
Ojerinde, fondly referred to as Omo Oloore, in an interview after the inauguration of the National Assembly, maintained that the confidence reposed in him by the people of Irepo/Oorelope/Olorunsogo Federal Constituency would begin to yield dividends immediately.
He said that he had chosen to follow the popular title of a book authored by the renowned Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, “You must set forth at dawn,” saying that service delivery would start immediately.
He said: “While in the field seeking the votes of our people, we interacted with all and sundry and my team has carried out a lot of survey, which has made it abundantly clear what the challenges of the constituency are. I want to let you know that while the House of Representatives is rolling out its legislative agenda, I have also come up with mine. In these four years, our people can look forward to a robust representation in terms of lawmaking. But beyond lawmaking, oversight and other statutory functions of a legislator, we have, in conjunction with the constituents, identified the challenges facing the constituents in the areas of education, health and pervading poverty.
“We have already devised the strategy to combat these challenges and very soon, you will see interventions in all these sectors. I am also happy to inform my constituents that there is going to be a home-grown approach to building all these sectors and improving them, as we have decided to not only look inwards for expertise on projects .
Constituents express confidence in Ojerinde
Many constituents who spoke to Nigerian Tribune following Ojerinde’s inauguration, expressed confidence that the young lawmaker would be able to provide quality representation as he has promised, describing him as a chip off the old block in terms of keeping promises and helping others. They made reference to how the lawmaker’s father and former registrar/CEO of National Examination Council and Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Emeritus Professor Ojerinde, has been doing a great job uplifting communities and people in the constituency despite never holding a political office.