By Saheed AKANMU

It is no longer news that the famous West2West movement was a resounding success and one for the history books. The story of West2West is nothing but the story of Senator Olamilekan Adeola, and the people of the western parts of Lagos & Ogun States.

Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola popularly known as YAYI was born on the 10th of August 1969 in Lagos to the family of Mr Ayinde Adeola Ogunleye and Mrs Olasunbo Ogunleye. An Ishaga descendant of the Pahayi quarters in Ilaro.
He grew up in Alimosho where he began his education at State Primary School Alimosho, Lagos. He proceeded to Community Grammar School, Akowonjo, also in Lagos for his secondary education. He then obtained his Higher National Diploma (HND) in Accounting from the Ondo State Polytechnic, Owo now Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo state. He is a chartered accountant and a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

Senator Adeola had an exciting stint in the private sector where he applied his skills as an Accountant with the popular Guardian Newspaper for 12 years. He also worked at the prestigious accounting firm Olatunji Omoyeni & Co, where he rose to become the Senior Auditor. With so much experience and knowledge in accounting world, he went on to later establish his own company, SOOTEM Nigeria Limited, a firm that specialized in tax consultancy.

So it was no surprise when he dived into active politics in Lagos with so much to offer and won his election into the state legislature representing the good people of Alimosho State Constituency-2 in 2003 and went on to serve 2 terms.

Senator Adeola was instrumental to the enactment of the law that strengthened the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, a legislation that catapulted the revenue of the state from N5 billion monthly to over N20 billion. He was also part of the team that passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Public Procurement Act of Lagos State.

With sterling performances at the state legislature and increasing popularity occasioned by his never ending live changing programs designed for his people, it was only befitting that he made the upgrade to the National Assembly in 2011 representing once again the good people of Alimosho at the House of Representatives. After serving one term, he once more moved a step higher by contesting and winning election into the Senate in 2015 and 2019 representing Lagos west Senatorial District where today he is the Chairman Finance Committee of the Senate; a position he has excelled in the 9th Assembly.

As a lawmaker, he has sponsored and co-sponsored many bills but I will mention just 3 of such bills to demonstrate the person and passion of the Distinguished Senator.
The City University of Technology Yaba Bill, 2019. This is a bill to transform the famous Yabatech into a University of Technology to serve the teeming youth population of Lagos and beyond as a foremost institute of learning and research, and to continue and elevate the legacies of the prestigious citadel of learning.

Federal University of Technology, Ilaro Bill, 2019. This bill provides a rare peep into the mind of the thoroughbred politician who while serving the people of Lagos West was also looking out for the interest of his ancestral home in Ogun West. The proposed transformation of the Federal Polytechnic Ilaro into a University and therefore the only Public University in the Senatorial District was iconic and a watershed moment in the region as regards to easy access to public tertiary education for the often neglected people of Ogun West.
The NDDC Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019. This bill sought to recognize and include amingst others the new oil producing communities into the areas of coverage of the very important commission, a move that project the politics of inclusion that Senator Adeola has always been known for.

So when the titled and distinguished son of the soil threw his hat into the ring to make the cross over from Lagos West to Ogun West popularly tagged West-to-West, it was greeted with a cheer like no other in the history of Yewa/Awori politics. Just like the Berlin Conference of 1884 where imaginary lines were drawn to carve out nations on the African continent, the border between the two Western Senatorial Districts of Lagos and Ogun states created an artificial division among brothers of the same sub-ethnic stock. A division that only grew wider as the Yewa/Awori people of Ogun West looked on as their kith and kins across the border in Lagos developed and built a modern city with basic amenities and booming economy. The resultant net migration into Lagos from Ogun West only add to the dire shortage of skilled labour on the Ogun side of the border. A trend the Senator has vowed and has began fighting with his never-seen before empowerment schemes in the history of Ogun West and Ogun State as a whole.

Ogun West has always been offered the shorter end of the stick in Ogun politics; neglected, derided and often forgotten even as the region is the industrial backbone of the state. The homecoming West-to-West movement of Senator Adeola into Ogun politics got tongues wagging and sent chills down the spine of his political opponents early enough. A man whose early life and sojourn in Lagos politics has honed his leadership and interpersonal skills to a level his peers in the National Assembly and beyond can only aspire to. It took no time at all for overwhelming majority of the people and leaders in the region to align with the progressive politician who was in October 2022, awarded the Nigerian national honour of Commander Of The Order Of The Niger (CON) by President Muhammadu Buhari for his outstanding contribution to the Motherland. The chant of ‘Yayi ni jor, Yayi ni jare’ rent the air everywhere you go from Ayetoro to Ipokia, Ota to Imeko, Ilaro to Ibese when the campaign season kicked off. For the people of Ogun West, it was a carnival of victory not an election campaign.

When the results of the February 25 National Assembly election started trickling in, it was only a matter of how much margin Senator Adeola will have over his opponents as the people already sang the song of victory before the polls. It was a no contest – the largest winning votes and margin in the history of Ogun West Senatorial election has been achieved even in the age of BVAS!!! The son of the soil and the liberator has arrived in the most glorious of ways, dislodging the old politics of tokenism, elitism and poor representation to give way to egalitarian, unpretentious and rich representation.

The people of Ogun West feel honored to have you as their elected official and are very grateful for all that you do for the people of the Senatorial district as they look forward to all that is to come in the journey to make Ogun West take its deserved place in the politics and administration of the state with you as the leader.
As the people joyfully look forward to the inauguration of the 10th Assembly, the enthusiasm of the people of Ogun West is unmatched across the nation as 13th June 2023 is their date with destiny. A date that marks the culmination of the West-to-West movement and the beginning of the positive and rapid transformation of Ogun West. God be praised.

This article is contributed by Amb (Architect) Saheed Olatokunbo Akanmu, is the Convener of ‘The Progressive Intellects (TPi)’.