By Aliyah Khalid
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality”- Marren Bennis, Notable America Business Leader.
It is an unarguable fact that the quantity and quality of any nation’s professionals determine its economic development because they are the people with the skills and intellect necessary to shape the course of growth of any nation. It is also a statement of fact that advanced countries of the world have their professionals and leaders to thank for the heights they have attained.
Ever since democracy took root in Nigeria, there has been sustained effort on the part of government to bring the country out of the backwaters of underdevelopment. This was the reason why the vision 2020 was drawn. Specifically, the vision aims at transforming the Country into one of the 20 industrial powers in the world by Year 2020.
For this goal to be realized, the nations’ professional’s class and leaders must be involved to drive the process. Nigeria boasts of thorough bred professionals and leaders who can hold their own anywhere in the world. The feat of its crop of professionals, leaders and their knack for excellence are legendary.
Name any country of the world and you will find Nigerian professionals in strategic places, helping to advance the cause of development. Mention any profession and you would find a Nigerian rubbing shoulders with the best in the world, Nigerians are endowed with one talent or the other, no matter how the extent of deformity.
Indeed, a professional and leader is a person who has achieved an acclaimed level of proficiency in a calling or trade. The term can also apply to a person who engaged in a certain occupation for gain or as a means of livelihood. The fact definitely cannot be gainsaid that the professionals and leaders in any country are its greatest asset because they shape the course of economic growth of that country which in turn leads her to sustainable development.
Even though Nigeria is abundantly blessed with human and natural resources, it is sad that this has not translated to economic development as the country still wallows in the morass and mess of underdevelopment. Even nations with whom we had the same economic indices 58 years ago have all left us behind and are now rated amongst the advanced countries of the world.
In fact, some foreigners have often argued that our continued underdevelopment is due to the underperformance of our professionals and leaders of this country saying that it is because they are not competent enough to move it forward that Nigeria is still where it is today but we Nigerians know that this is not true as they are very much capable of making the desired transmutation of Nigeria possible.
More so, leadership is a practical thing. It is not a theory. Leadership is epitomized in the continuity of societal progression. Leaders move the society from a state of stagnation. The leader takes a painstaking, far-reaching and bunker drilling decision for the generality of the society.
Otunba Bimbo Ashiru is an epitome of the above-mentioned qualities of leadership. In the long history of Ogun State government, in which Ashiru served as a two terms Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, there has not been such of his record ever in that Ministry terrain as has been under the Bimbo Ashiru leadership as Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in the State.
Ashiru is calm, immensely knowledgeable, organized and focused. There is no gain saying that the main Ashiru, led the most organized, painstaking and deeply managed Ogun State commercial activities through the emergency of over 120 companies in the state, even promised to woos some interested industries willing to situate and establish their businesses in Ogun state like a comet, serenading throughout the period of establishing their industries!
Under his stewardship Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, the business of the state developed beyond imagination with over 1. 279.84% increase in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state. More than 120 new companies established their presence in Ogun state with a cumulated investment profile of about N691.77 billion in 2014, compared to N377 billion in 2013. This even placed Ogun state in first position in Nigeria, according to the Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (MAN). During his time, approximately 75% of Foreign Direct Investment into the country between 2011-2016 came into Ogun state.
Also, during his tenure the World Bank Group, in its Doing Business in Nigeria 2014 Report ranked Ogun state as one of the best five state in term of ease of doing business against the 36th position in its 2010 report. He also facilitated the creation of a One-Stop Shop investment Centre (OSSIC) which sits within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to assist potential investors with procedures for investment and documentation processing, his management trains till now dwells deeply on motivation, generation of fund for the state, due process, rural and urban transformation, localization/domestication of contract award, in term of mines and other land resources, the re-engineering and re-organization of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Ogun State.
Otunba Bimbo Ashiru is a man with a desire for developing people around him, and this translated into his appointment as the representative of the Awujale of Ijebuland on the Ijebu Development Initiative on Poverty Reduction (IDIPR). He has distinguished himself in this field and represented his people favourably to the best of his ability, he was also on the Technical and Communication Committee of the 17th Nigerian Economic Summit (2011). The amiable Governor Of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun solely rely on him if its comes of siting, establishing and wooing of foreign investors into the country, especially to the state because he believes that he is the man that up to that task of inviting investors into the state to establish in their business of their choice without rancour and anguish.
He is well read, graduating with a degree in Marketing, Purchasing and Supply, and a Masters’ Degree in Strategic Management. With this background, he entered the services of the then Chartered Bank in the year 1989. In a successful career that has spanned two decades and taken him to various institutions, he has served in various capacities of Management (Head, Private Banking Unit; Branch Manager; Head, Institution and Professional Banking; Regional Coordinator; Country Director, Personal and Business Banking; Director, Corporate Affairs and Corporate Social Investment; until his last position of Group Head, Public Sector with Stanbic IBTC Bank). He was the pioneer head of the department.
But of a remarkable achievement was how he bagged so many awards here in Nigeria and diasporas for keeping the state running during the period of low Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N800 million that jacked it up to enviable N5 to N6 billion now. A more critical look at his antecedent with the position been held before he was appointed as Commissioner in 2011 and after being re-appointed to the same Ministry in 2015 may shed more light on the strategies used to keep the State afloat in those dark days. The effort simplifies government that the man in helms affairs of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in the State really capable of governing the state come 2019 without any doubting of mind or winking in the dark. He is highly intelligent, forthright, steadfast, focused and the man cap fits in governing the state in next general election. He is the man of the people to the core.
Furthermore, Nigerian youths would have to learn from Ashiru what it takes to fuel one’s passion for quality education. If they do, they would agree with Malcolm X’s assertion that “education is our children passport to the future.” From the award of the various organisations both locally and internationally. Ashiru has traversed the Marketing and Banking Industry, for Advanced Management Programme and playing to the gallery that it is very imperative in life to be focused in whatsoever one might be doing, no aspect of life Otunba Bimbo Ashiru could not even be excel as far he has been thrust with that capacity at a giving time an ample opportunity, he will assuredly record success.
Otunba Bimbo Ashiru was born in Ijebu-Ode to the illustrious Ashiru family. His father, late Pa Simeon Adeyemi Ashiru, was a distinguished Ijebu statesman while his mother ‘Omo’ba (Princess) Moradeun Ashiru, is from the Fidipote royal family of Ijebu-Ode and the ruling house of Owu-Ijebu. In his insatiable quest for quality leadership and knowledge he has also had stints at reputable member of the Metropolitan Club, Ikoyi Club 1938 and a member of the Ijebu Heritage Group and Ijebu Renaissance Group. He is a fellow of the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria, National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (FNIMN) and Chartered Institute of Commerce of Nigeria.
In recognition of his selfless service to society and humanity as whole and having distinguished himself as a true son of Ijebu land and an astute banker of repute. Otunba Bimbo Ashiru was presented with the royal title of Otunba Adeona Fusigboye of Ijebu land in December, 2006 by His Royal Majesty. The Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebu Land, Oba (Dr. ) Sikiru Kayode Adetona CFR. Little wonder that he gained recognition for outstanding excellence and performance by the Ijebu people on the successful achievement and contribution of good people of Ijebu land and its environs. All these no doubt have fully equipped him with leadership capabilities that the good people of Ogun State, being a microcosm and commercial hub of Nigeria could gain from.
Perhaps, this explains why the people of Ogun State and the some responsible leaders of the Ogun State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) could not hide their tacit support for Ashiru, urging him to throw his hat into the ring of the gubernatorial contest in preparation for 2019. Declared the respected Obas in Ogun State, “APC stalwart, youths in the State, Women Leaders and followers in the State, other traditional rulers and some notable elders have met and decided that Ashiru should be the next governor of Ogun State.”
What else remains for the other contenders and pretenders in the State, which till date does not clear the air on their intentions and ambitions whether they are on the race or not, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru in a matter of time would flag off his campaign team and declare his intention to contest for governorship race in the State.