Tokunbo Abiru, the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Lagos-East Senatorial by-election, slated for October 31, 2020, has assured the people of the district of qualitative representation at the National Assembly, if voted into the senate by the electorate.
Abiru stated this over the weekend in an interview with the Television Continental (TVC), Lagos, monitored by our correspondent. He also said that his experience in the private sector would position him to discharge his duty effectively as a legislator, adding that the welfare of his people would be of utmost importance.
He dismissed the notion in some quarters that he was a novice in politics, saying that his late father, Chief Mudashiru Akanbi Abiru, was a senator, representing Lagos, and a disciple of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Abiru insisted that his coming into politics was not by accident, having been a commissioner in the state between 2011 and 2013, before returning into the private sector.
“Coming into politics to me was not accidental as I also come from a family that is renowned in politics. My late father was a senator in Lagos under Alhaji Lateef Jakande and was a disciple of Chief Awolowo. I am a grassroots person, growing up in Surulere, before we moved to Gbagada area of Lagos and I attended Baptist Academy in Obanikoro. It is just that I feel, going by my father’s footsteps, that now is time for me to give back to the society,” he said.
Abiru promised that with his background in the private sector and being a successful banker with over 30 years’ experience, he would bring his private sector skill to bear on his office as a senator representing the Lagos-East Senatorial district at the National Assembly.
According to him, “In the National Assembly, I will offer quality representation that reflects the pedigree that I parade. I read economics. I’m a qualified accountant and functioned as a banker. I was also a commissioner in Lagos for two years under Governor Babatunde Fashola. The current Deputy Governor of Lagos was my colleague as a commissioner, and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was my colleague in the banking sector.”
Tokunbo Abiru, whose banking experience began in the 1990s with Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) and later moved to First Bank of Nigeria where he rose to become an Executive Director of the bank, said his relationship with assembly members, Lagos State Government and others in the private sector would go a long way in galvanising development in the state.
He recalled how he was called upon by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reposition Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank), which then was in murky waters, in order to save depositors’ funds and return it to profitability.
“I led the turnaround of Skye Bank. Before I came onboard, Skye Bank had a declining ratio. All the indices of the bank were almost going negative – the capital was negative, staff morale was dampened, and the bank was making losses. I am happy to have made the major turnaround of the systemically-troubled bank. As at December 2019, we had saved the jobs of over 8,000 staff; saved N1 trillion belonging to more than four million depositors of the bank; and raised its profile to number 12 in the country. You can imagine the impact of that on the economy,” Abiru concluded.