Ability to combine youthfulness with proven intelligence is sure to go a long way in effecting desired transformation and delivery of good governance in any human society. Ingenuous leadership style and goal getting zeal that are often associated with the youth are the visible selling qualities of Hon. Banji Ben Okunomo in his bid to become the next governor of Ondo state.
It is without doubt that the Sunshine State needs a paradigm shift as far as governance is concerned to ensure that her natural and human resources are maximally harnessed. The delivery of a long term vision of transforming Ondo state into an industrial hub and make it an envy of other states is the driving force behind the ambition of Banji Okunomo.
It is a settled axiom amongst Yoruba speaking people that any idol that is piously served for more than a decade and still cannot bless any of its childless worshippers with a child deserves being replaced with another god with proven powers of blessing its devotees with children. While fairly old, old and analog minded governors had presided over affairs of the Sunshine state in the past without being able to make the desired transformational impacts. Banji Okunomo indeed encapsulates a breath of fresh air. He is very determined to do things differently and firmly focussed to transform Ondo state into an industrial hub.
For Ondo state to fulfill her abundant potentials, younger generation of leader that is digitally compliant like Banji Okunomo is needed. He has proven himself over the years to be a technocrat that is already tested and can be trusted with higher position. He is also a grassroots mobilizer of note that exemplifies distinction.
Banji is also a quintessential administrator whose record as a public servant is enviably impressive. He is politically savvy and highly proficient in the art of politicking.
It is without doubt that Okunomo has been able to effectively combine brilliance with native intelligence for the delivery of quality service delivery in positions of responsibilities. He is a graduate of Pure and Applied Bio-Chemistry with upper class division from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Ondo State in year 2001. He is also a first class student of law.
Okunomo is the immediate past Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State. He delivered his responsibilities in this office with professional precision and unwavering commitment. He is expertly deft in conceptualising, propagating and accomplishment of political visions during electoral contests. He displayed these qualities during the second term electioneering campaigns of former governor Olusegun Mimiko, National Assembly members and very recently, in the election of the senator-elect for Ondo South Senatorial District, Otunba Nicholas Tofowomo. He did justice to the trust reposed in him as the Director-General of Tofowomo’s Campaign in the run up to the primary elections of PDP as well as in the general elections. This very achievement has further lend credence to his high rating as a grassroot politician and political force in Ondo State.
Hon. Okunomo has in the last 18 years of his post graduate life carved a niche for himself in Nigerian political space, business and public service. He sits atop the management of couple of some thriving companies. He also served as the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) workforce in the entire 9 oil producing states in Nigeria from 2007 to 2010. Banji equally served as a Technical Adviser to the then Commissioner that represented Ondo State on the Board of NDDC.
Uncommon brilliance as well as some sterling qualities manifested by Banji Okunomo paved way for his appointment as the Chairman of Ilaje Local Government in Ondo state from 2011 to 2013. He did very well in office as a Council boss by recording some achievements that were clearly unprecedented in the history of Ilaje Local Government. It was to his credit that the hitherto abandoned Igbokoda Secretariat road was constructed with interlocking paving stone. Construction of a motor park at the Zero junction in Igbokoda represents another landmark achievement of Banji Okunomo. He also delivered on the construction of a Civic Center at Ode-Etikan in Ilaje Local government. It is instructive that all of these amongst other people oriented projects were achieved by Okunomo in his less than two years in office as Chairman of Ilaje Local Government.
It is also on record that Okunomo did give career lifelines to over 350 unemployed youths in the services of the local government. He also rolled out couple of empowerment programme and gave priority attention to the payment of bursary to students of Ilaje extraction through the National Association of Ilaje Students (NAIS). He equally donated a car to serve as moral booster for the leaders of NAIS.
Several novel achievements of Banji Okunomo as Council boss in addition to his consistent financial support given to every local chapter of the National Association of Ilaje Students for the celebration of Ilaje Students Cultural Day combined to greatly endear him to the heart of his people.
It was indeed not any surprising that he bagged the award of the Local Government Chairman of the Year in Ondo State in 2012. He has over the years earned enviable reputations and gotten almost cult like followers that combined to make him a phenomenon in the politics of Ilaje and Ondo State at large.
Okunomo is man that is zealously committed to philanthropic gestures. He freely and cheerfully contributes his time, intellect and resources to the cause of those that are genuinely in need.
The Ilaje born political tactician who is in his 40s has paid the required political dues and he is therefore considered eminently qualified to vie for governorship of Ondo state. Okunomo possesses the political experience and national wide reach to become the next governor of the Sunshine State.
While the 2020 election is expected to be interesting, it must be stated Okunomo is at advantage position in view of his political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has become a beautiful bride of electorates in the state. He is also at advantage to deploy his skills as an accomplished public relations expert to serve as a link between the older and younger generations of politicians in Ondo state.
It is a basic fact of life that no group of people can continue to do things same way and expect a different results. Electorates in Ondo state should endeavor to look out for undeniable qualities of honesty, humility, accessibility, forthrightness, fearlessness, articulation, visionary amongst others possessed by Banji Okunomo. The good people of Ondo state now has a chance to inhale breath of fresh air.