By Benjamin O.
As a presidential candidate, Senator Ibikunle Amosun cuts a figure of stoic realism when he speaks of the age-long challenges facing the nation and how he intends to create a Nigeria where young people are equipped for the future and Nigeria is equipped for the next generation of young people.
It seems one important advantage that has been thrown up from the emergence of the kaleidoscope of candidates in the current political dispensation is that we are now well and truly entering the realm of intellectualism; a season of ideas and the contestation of world views and perspectives, a scenario that potentially transitions Nigeria into a new and better vista of leadership culture.
That Senator Amosun and President Muhammadu Buhari share a close, some would say, father and son-like personal relationship built on trust and mutual respect over many years, is not a secret. But what is striking, especially for a Nigeria politician, is the fact that the former Governor of Ogun State prefers to remain circumspect in touting this relationship as many Nigerian politicians would be wont to do.
Rather he believes a contest based on the strength of ideas rather than ideas of “who is strong” will augur better for the long term prospects of the All Progressives Congress and the Nigerian state as a whole.
Despite this quiet disposition, many political watchers attest to the fact that Senator Amosun was and continues to be an important intercessor between the Presidency and the current national assembly. It is also believed that he has been instrumental in helping the President pass his agenda through the hallowed chambers in this his second term by shrewdly cultivating bi-partisan support.
Senator Amosun’s ideas as captured in his manifesto, on furthering the cause and development indices of the Nigerian state are worthy of interrogation as they seem to present a case for growing a new kind of economy on the back of the bountiful human capital Nigeria is blessed with.
He said: “Our fossil fuels resource is not our greatest resource, as important as it is, its value varies and fluctuates with the time and vagaries of human behavior. Take for example from the period of Covid to the current Ukraine-Russian war, we can see the extremes in pricing and the effects on the global economy and that of Nigeria.
“Our sole reliance on this kind of resource may not be the best approach even as the world potentially transitions to a post-oil economy. I believe grounding and tethering our economy upon a well-trained manpower resource for which our country is greatly blessed will pay us greater dividends in the long term. It will potentially expand our capacity into becoming the biggest trade market in Africa”.
At his recent May 5th Presidential declaration, Senator Amosun, whilst providing the broad outlines of his manifesto, identified two important pillars upon which he intends to build out his national development architecture, which are national security and integrated economic development.
Important subheads like healthcare, education, agriculture and food security, infrastructural rural and urban development, technology, innovation and an incremental digital economy plan, seem to naturally flow from the overarching national architecture philosophy he outlined in the document.
His national security strategy involves a grassroots community policing and national internal security plan that extends outwardly and into regional security policy that takes the fight to Nigeria’s enemies whether foreign or domestic.
It also suggests a build-out and expansion of Nigeria’s Military-industrial complex, focusing strongly on threat readiness and a proactive response capability to physical and virtual(cyber) threats; all seemingly bold and ambitious plans that testify to the importance of right-sizing leadership to take on the demands of an ever-evolving litigious world order.
Testimonials about Senator Amosun’s large-heartedness and sense of duty abound, notably from a host of distinguished Nigerians who provide warm testimony to the potential of an Ibikunle Amosun presidency.
Little wonder his declaration was attended by many of his colleagues from the two chambers of the national assembly and indeed one who he fondly refers to as a brother governor in Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State who is himself a fellow presidential aspirant for the exalted ticket of the APC.
Senator Amosun, himself a two-time former Governor of Ogun State, elected on the platform of the ruling APC is today the ranking senator representing Ogun Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly. And suffice to say, an encounter with him enshrouds the quiet confidence of a man for whom the stars are seemingly aligning.
Rather, he prefers to advocate and flaunt his competence and wealth of experience in both the public and private sectors as his shield and armor that have propelled him to the top of the pecking order of candidates advantageously placed to take on the mantle of leadership after the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari bows out in 2023.
Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the man who would be President, was born on 25 January 1958 and had his primary education at the African Church Primary school in Abeokuta between 1965 and1970. Thereafter he went to the African Church Grammar school, between 1971–1977 subsequently attending the Ogun State Polytechnic, where he graduated with a Higher National Diploma (HND) in 1983.
He started his professional career as an audit trainee with the Chartered Accounting firm of Lanre Aremu & Co. sometime in 1984 and later joined XtraEdge Consulting as a managing consultant. By 1990, he had ventured into private practice by establishing the firm of Ibikunle Amosun & Co. a firm of Chartered Accountants where he acted as Principal partner.
He attained Associate membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in 1990 and became a fellow of the Institute in 1996. He also became an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria in 1998 as he sought to expand the scope of his knowledge and application of the actuarial sciences in the Nigerian market.
In furthering his quest for learning and professional refinement, Senator Amosun attended the University of Westminster in London, United Kingdom, where he acquired a Masters in International Finance in the year 2000.
Upon his return to Nigeria, specifically around April 2003, Senator Amosun was for the first time, elected to the senate to represent the good people of Ogun Central Senatorial district.
He served meritoriously until the year 2011 when he became the Gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for the April 2011 election which he won and thereafter served as a two-term governor of the “Gateway State”.
Benjamin wrote in from Lagos