Senator Adeola “YAYI”:  Still Serving The People@50

Two months to his 50thbirthday, precisely on June 11, 2019, Senator  Solomon  Olamilekan Adeola aka Yayi, a shortened Yoruba sobriquet for Distinguished Son, was called on by Mr.Sanni Omolori, the Clerk of the National Assembly, to second the nomination of Senator Ahmad Lawan for the post of President of the Senate and chairman of the National Assembly as moved by Senator Yahaya Abdulahi. The historic nature of that assignment was not lost on knowledgeable observers of the parliament and indeed the event was broadcast live.
Except there is an impeachment or demise, the election of the President of the Senate is done once in every four years and the nominator and seconder of the nomination performs this function strictly on some criteria that has to do with cognate legislative experience, member of the ruling party and active member of a group of senators rooting for the candidacy of the nominee. The mover of the motion, Senator Abdullahi now Senate Leader was theChairman of Senator Lawan for President of the Senate.

 Mandatorily at the end of the election, these two ‘sponsors’ of the nomination leads the newly elected President to his seat and took what is usually a historic picture with the New President of the Senate and the Clerk of the National Assembly and Clerk of the Senate. And so it was that Senator Adeola was thrust into national parliamentary history from his beginning as a state legislator over 16 year ago. He has an unbrokenexperience as a legislator at state and federal levels for 16 years and counting.

In the highest legislative body in Nigeria populated by many former state governors, retired military generals, professors, and other influential Nigerians whose average age hovers around 65, it takes more than knowing how to wash your hand to dine with elders, indeed statesmen of Nigeria. It takes loyalty, hard work and cognate legislative experience to be singled out to perform a national duty. Adeola apparently knows his onions in legislativebusiness to be chosen to perform what is now part of parliamentary history of the109 member Red Chamber.

In the 8th Senate, Adeola sponsored 15 bills making him one of the first 10 in terms of bills sponsorship. Twelve of these bills were constitutional amendment bills with two of them passed by the National Assembly in the Constitutional Amendment of the 8th Senate.

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 Similarly in the area of oversight activities of the 8th Senate and beyond the regular senate committees’ oversight that he was fully involved in, Adeola moved three motions that were passed into Senate Resolutions leading to full blown investigations that have so far revealed massive shortchanging of the Federal Government as well as Nigerians. He sponsored the motion to Investigate Non Remittances and Misuse of Revenue Generated by MDAs; the motion to investigate the Local Content and Cost Variation Elements of the $16 Billion Total Egina Offshore Oil Project and the motion to Investigate the near Bankruptcy of Etisalat leading to renege on Multi-Billion dollar loans. These three motions were passed into resolutions with two Senate Ad Hoc Committees headed by Adeola that investigated revenue generating agencies and the Egina project with many startling discoveries while the Senate Committee on Banking and Financeinvestigated the Etisalat near bankruptcy. In the three months of the 9th Senate, Adeola has sponsored the Motion on Ijegun Pipeline Explosion that led to Senate Investigation as well as co-sponsors 11 other motions that were passed by the Senate.

It is however, in the area of empowerment that Adeola has touched the lives of many constituents in mostly provision of income generating equipment for them in the largest senatorial district in Nigeria in the 8th. Details of such are not for this write-up but suffice to say they include such equipment as sewing, block molding, welding, vulcanizing and grinding machines, vehicles, tricycles, motorcycles among others. Other areas he touched the lives of constituents include provision of 10, 500KVA transformers to 10 LGAs, Educational Empowerment like scholarships for tertiary education, payment of JAMB fees and skill and entrepreneurship training among others. After his election to the 9th Senate, Adeola in conjunction with SMEDAN has trained over 4,000 women and youths in various skills and entrepreneur development.

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For the young man born some 50 years ago without a silver spoon or indeed any spoon, not many would have imagine the man Adeola making it this far in the affairs of our nation as a Legislator par excellence having transverse all levels of legislative hierarchy in Nigeria. But he did and is poised to still render service to the people and nation. His meteoric rise as a technocrat politician winning five elections at state and federal levels consecutively apparently marked him out as a peoples’ politician.

Born on August 10, 1969 at Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, Lagos State to family of Mr. Ayinde Adeola Ogunleye and Madam Abeeni Olasunbo Ogunleye (nee Akinola),  Yayi began his education at the State Primary School, Alimosho in Lagos State. On the successful completion of his primary education, he proceeded to Community Grammar School, Akowonjo, Lagos for his secondary education. His quest for educational advancement in life took him to the prestigious Ondo State Polytechnic, Owo now Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo state where he bagged the Higher National Diploma (HND) in Accounting. Adeola becamea Chartered Accountant at a relatively young age. He is a distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, (ICAN), a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation as well as a Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

 Adeola working experience in both private and public sector finance started in “The Guardian Newspapers Limited”, where he put in almost 12 years of meritorious accountingservice and rose to the position of Accountant.   Heresigned from “The Guardian” and proceeded to Olatunji Omoyeni &Co where he led the audit team for several years and was later promoted to the position of a Senior Auditor. Adeola later established his own company, Sootem Nigeria Limited, where he was the managing director and chief executive officer until his foray to serve the public through partisan politics.

At the Lagos Assembly where he was from 2003-2011, he was appointed the Chairman of Finance Committee and Joint Chairman of Appropriation Committee, where he was instrumental to the enactment of the law that strengthened the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service. The legislative reforms laid the foundation that catapulted the revenue of the state from a paltry N5billion monthly to about N30billion presently! He was also part of the legislative team that passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Public Procurement Act of Lagos State, two laws that saw Lagos State qualifying to access developmental funds from international financial bodies like World Bank.

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And in all his years as a legislator, Adeola set the standard for effective representation that saw his repeated re-elections. He is noted for his numerous personal and constituencyprojects. The people of Alimosho and indeed now Lagos West can never forget his developmental initiatives in the area of provision of water through boreholes, provision of electric transformers, regular free medical programmes and rehabilitation of roads. Other areas of  life changing programmes that are the hallmark of Yayi’s representation include educational empowerment and support in the form of building classrooms with ancillary facilities,  annual purchase of GCE forms and tutorials for indigent students as well as ICT training at NIIT for hundreds of youths in his constituency.

 As a member of the House of Representatives, he was selected as the chairman of the only constitutional committee of the House, the Public Accounts Committee. It was a feat that he got this important post usually reserved for ranking members as a first time member of the House. In fulfillment of his core function as a legislator, Adeola sponsored and successfully pushed through to passage a bill that repealed the colonial Audit Act of 1956 and Re-Enact the Audit Act of 2014 on May 22, 2015.

Adeola, a Christian, is a believer in religious freedom for all faiths. The great philanthropist is happily married to Mrs. Temitope Adeola and the union is blessed with children.

At the golden age of 50 years, 16 served as a legislator at state and Federal level and still counting, Adeola is setting a worthy record of an experienced legislator par excellence and look set for more service to the people and nation.