By Dr Wale Morafa
Sixty-three years on Monday, January 25, a former governor of Ogun State and senator representing Ogun Central, Ibikunle Amosun, remains an issue in the annals of his state’s body polity and even more, the nation, where his influence has continued to expand to the awe of his rivals and the opposition alike.
Senator Ibikunle Oyelaja Amosun has always been in a different class – a class distinguished by examples of personal discipline, generosity, compassion, hard work and unbendable principles.
Either in his private or public life, the former governor of Ogun State and senator currently representing the people of Ogun Central, is very much atypical. From his sartorial preferences to leadership style, he stands pretty tall and far away from the archetypal lot.
In his private life, his choices aren’t just desirable; they are equally not the familiar demeanour of the average family man. You can’t but crave his love for family. In the public sphere – one largely typified by thorough and unique political ideology – no one is yet to come close to Amosun in his turf of play.
What more, with an upbringing cemented by sound family values, uncompromised religious doctrines, solid educational background and constant personal developments, it couldn’t have taken much to infer that Amosun would go far in life, so long he wouldn’t step away from those guiding principles.
A tough political juggernaut, albeit reasonable at demanding bends, there’s a reality about Amosun that’s beginning to dawn on his supporters and rivals alike and it is the need to understudy his survival strategy. It is nothing close to what they’ve seen before.
Living with the enemies and surviving their antics without betraying emotions, is not an option for the faint-hearted. But Amosun has become an authority in that strange discipline, mastered the craft and has continued to trump his traducers, even at their game. Call him a political life coach and you just might be spot-on!
Nothing, however, underscores his strengths as much as his capacity to move on from the ‘not-too-pleasant’ situations that life seldom throws at him. He never allows a bad result to weigh him down. Instead, he picks up the pieces, learns from his mistakes, and begins again even more intelligently. Whenever he loses, he never forgets the lessons therein.
Arguably the one politician in Ogun State today with the largest and biggest following, complemented by an unmatched political structure, with enviable grassroots appeal, how Amosun has been able to keep his political family close and shockingly impenetrable, is the puzzle that has continued to confound his rivals and the opposition alike.
It is public knowledge that Amosun could be pervicacious, albeit on principle, this he always balances with his religious doctrines, which recognise the God-factor in all his undertakings. This, perhaps, can also explain away why his crowd of supporters never wanes, much as he is an incurable giver.
Another thing that has kept this man of focus going is his rich network of influence and contacts across all strata of life – political and social circles especially. He finds networking easy and leverages the very essence as a noted politician, who realises the weight of such an advantage.
Of course, this further explains his reach and the capacity to move across the northern and southern divides without flaunting his ‘human net-worth’. It’s an asset; he does not need to impress anyone by opening it up. But when the debate is about national influence and capital, he can only be underrated at the detriment of his opponents.
It was, therefore, not much of a bother to a reasonable few, when at the beginning of the Muhammadu Buhari administration his relationship with the president stirred some uneasy calm – both in some identifiable camps and the lives of a few characters that are still suffering the entitlement mentality.
But, that’s not a badge he loves to adorn to spite anyone. Even then, he would not let the sheer envy of a few vitiate a relationship that has stood the tests of many seasons. Striking that balance, although by choice, says even more about his native intelligence. Amosun is by every definition a loyal individual and always looks out for his friends.
After his initial four years as a senator, four years in the lurch, eight years as governor and the current representation in the ninth senate, it would take another intentional character like “Ajiri omo oye” as close allies choose to call Amosun, to challenge his legacies, many of which are spread across different human interests.
Even more instructive is the fact that his legacies have never been denoted only by politics or public office. With personal foundations and certain humanitarian exercises anchored on compassion and sincere intentions that are wont to outlive him, Amosun has a very good relationship with his people of Ogun State that would take more than a ‘bread and butter politics’ or fleeting inducement to undo.
His closeness to God
Honest, straightforward, blunt and simple, both in principle and disposition, there’s no gainsaying the fact that Amosun’s lifestyle has been guided more by his closeness to God and kindness to fellow humans, which is why he has successfully meandered through some of the many traps of life, characterised by treachery, betrayal and outright envy.
Amosun is an exemplary family man, not just by sheer characterisation, but also by conscious choices that could cause some positive stir in many other homes. The quality of wife (Olufunsho) he is blessed with also attests to how far he has come with his preferences and of course, where life is taking him in the future yet unseen. Talk about his children, they are a pride to behold!
Curiously, at a time every known politician with name recognition has caught the 2023 bug, coupled with increased frenzy, Amosun has maintained a dignified silence and quietly tucked in his rather intimidating corner. Does that not speak to the admirable personality of a man, who has remained largely unpredictable with his many choices?
Certainly, at 63, life still has a lot stored up for this intentional but atypical politician, whose unassuming nature has made him unreadable for his enemies but has continued to affirm his place in the body polity, both on the national and local fronts, where his footnotes are in bold and memorable prints.
Many congratulations, sir!
Morafa wrote in from Abeokuta.