Gratitude and Admiration: Hon. Adepoju’s Enduring Legacy in Our Constituency


Today, I write as a constituent, not as an appointee under your progressive representation.

From a young age, just 17, I started agitating for purposeful leadership in my region, Ibarapa, Oyo State. Despite being a teenager, I knew the severe hardships that bad leadership had inflicted on my community and the region at large. The vapid leadership resulted in infrastructure decay, a high number of out-of-school children, lack of basic amenities, inadequately equipped hospitals, abject poverty and a growing number of educated unemployed youths. This informed my decision to launch the first-ever online investigative news website that challenges the status quo in 2015. Not only that, but I also realised early on that education is the foundation of any nation, and when our people are educated and highly exposed, the aforementioned challenges of leadership can easily be addressed.

In 2019, I leveraged the online investigative news website to launch the Ibarapa Debate/Quiz Competition, the biggest educational initiative in Ibarapa Land, comprising secondary school students from across the seven principal towns that make up the region: Lanlate, Eruwa, Igboora, Idere, Ayete, Tapa and Igangan. The effort was put together to have a platform where pupils in secondary schools are enlightened and to raise future leaders to address the many problems confronting Ibarapa Land.

With that said, it was a difficult situation for the publisher of the online news website, whose platform had for many years criticised political officeholders and their likes in the region, to be considered for the position of Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to an honourable lawmaker who had also been scrutinised by the news website.

Even after a two-week conversation about the appointment, I sincerely thank my mentors from home and abroad for their guidance and encouragement to see beyond criticism and make a positive impact when the call to serve reverberates.

Serving in the public sector, particularly in a developing country like ours, is challenging. In fact, the very attempt to get involved is a significant sacrifice, as many people in the past delved in and ended up disillusioned. The risk of becoming what you once criticised is high, but with strong convictions, success is assured.

In March, I discussed the journey so far with Hon. (Dr.) Anthony Adebayo Adepoju and a friend. I said confidently that I would have felt guilty if I had rejected the offer to work with him, considering the number of people I have been able to help through this opportunity. If I had seen the number of people I could have helped in my dream and that they didn’t get those opportunities by virtue of my rejection of the appointment, my life would never remain the same, and the so-called reputation and career I was trying to protect by rejecting the offer would not have any meaning to me anymore today. That would not have been possible without a transformational leader like Ibarapakan.

His approach to governance is remarkable. He never makes decisions without consulting every member of his staff. He demonstrated this just two hours into my appointment on July 26, 2023, which took immediate effect. At that time, the 10th National Assembly was to inaugurate the leadership of the standing committees of the House.

To emerge as a Chairman or Deputy Chairman requires intense lobbying, a skill Hon. Adepoju possesses. Lobbying is essential for success in any parliamentary job worldwide; nothing is achieved without effort. That is why the ability to lobby is a crucial quality to look for in any aspiring lawmaker. Hon. Adepoju’s exceptional lobbying skill is unparalleled, and this quality is undeniable in him.

So, his lobbying efforts secured three standing committee leadership positions for him, but he had to choose one within 24 hours. He returned to the office to share the news with us. To succeed in the National Assembly, lawmakers need to work with experienced individuals who have served for at least 4–8 years. While many Nigerian lawmakers collaborate with experienced professionals from other tribes in the National Assembly, it takes a smart lawmaker like Hon. Adepoju to involve their constituents in the service, providing them with practical knowledge of the Assembly. I am grateful for this opportunity.

Hon. Adepoju led a discussion on the standing committees he had secured, their prospects, and their potential benefits to his constituency and Nigeria as a whole. He read out the committees and asked us to conduct research while he did his own.

Our Senior Legislative Aide is a barrister with nine years of National Assembly experience. He said, “Dr. Adepoju, consider yourself a lucky man to have been given this list of committees to head, but Nigeria needs your expertise and international experience in Federal Character to advance its principle, which is to ensure fairness and equity in the distribution of public posts and socio-economic infrastructure among the various federating units of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” The rest of us also did our individual research and found out that being Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Federal Character will bring opportunities to not only constituents in Ibarapa Central and Ibarapa North but also to the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the rest is history. Ibarapakan’s achievements in his first year in office are a result of his ability to listen to his constituents and work effectively with his team.

Hon. Adepoju, apart from his oratory prowess, is also a voracious reader, and it’s an understatement to say he got his doctorate degree by dint of hard work. He is meticulous and detail-oriented, and in him I have also found a teacher. He has a taste for writing, and he has repeated it on many occasions that, aside from my passion for the development of the region, he got fascinated by my writing style. No matter how lengthy a text is, as long as it is error-free, he will read it. How he manages to combine that with the ever-gruelling legislative work baffles me. His commendation is all the inspiration anyone working with him needs.

Apart from being the first person to be appointed by the lawmaker in the constituency a few weeks after his inauguration, he has consistently stated that the reason for this appointment was to have someone who would keep him accountable and on his toes. The statement alone demonstrates commitment to serving the constituency without window-dressing.

His effort towards upholding the principle of Federal Character is top-notch. In one of the committee meetings on Federal Character I attended in March, he pressed the managing directors of different agencies and ministries to explain the criteria used to allocate nominal roles, which had left some states underrepresented. He insisted that the MDs revisit their offices and correct the disparities before presenting again. This move by him was not unconnected with his rawest passion to bring numerous opportunities to his people and the citizens of Nigeria. “I can’t see my people here; why should this state have 360 and Oyo State have just 3? You have to go back to your office and correct the errors, MD,” he said.

I celebrate you for the number of job opportunities you have facilitated to address the staggering unemployment in our region. The scholarship offers to outstanding students in our constituency who are in various tertiary institutions of learning are a testament to your global insight. Your pragmatic approach to pressing issues is a proof of your preparedness for the job, and your transparency is a demonstration of your parental upbringing rooted in morals and values.

It is evident that Hon. Adepoju has proven to everyone that you can hold an elective position and leverage that to bring prosperity, growth and development to your people, to those who work with you, and to everyone around them.

I am immensely grateful for your efforts in building a constituency of our dreams. Your leadership style is devoid of bickering, and your approach to governance is endearing.

Thank you for your sheer democratic principle that has allowed all of us to advise, suggest, conceptualise ideas and contribute to the decision-making process without forcing anything on us. The world needs more leaders like you. I will forever treasure the trust, belief and confidence you have in me.

As we mark your first anniversary in office, I want to assure you that your initiatives and approachable representation are without doubt capable of birthing a new order and leading to a rapid paradigm shift in the growth and development of our beloved constituency. The synergy you have enhanced and fostered among constituents of Ibarapa Central and Ibarapa North will serve as a model for aspiring leaders and future generations.

Hassan Adesodi Olaoniye
Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to Hon. (Dr.) Anthony Adebayo Adepoju

Enduring Legacy in Our ConstituencyGratitude and AdmirationHassan Adesodi Olaoniye Special AdviserHon Anthony Adebayo AdepojuMedia and Publicity
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