By: Kayode Odunaro
Among current legislators in Nigeria at state and federal levels it will be difficult to find one with a record of unbroken service at state and federal legislature like Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola aka Yayi.
Starting off his legislative career in Lagos State House of Assembly in 2003 as a representative of Alimosho 2 State Constituency, the then rookie law maker on account of his accountancy calling was made the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance. No doubt that he performed his law making, representative and oversight functions admirably as he was re-elected for a second term in 2007 where he retained his chairmanship of the House Finance Committee and joint chairman of the Committee on Appropriation.
At the end of the second tenure at the Lagos State House of Assembly, with much people oriented projects for his constituents in the areas of education, health, provision of water and electricity and skills acquisitions as well as partaking in law making for revenue generation that had seen Lagos State as the highest generator of internal revenues in Nigeria, the people of Alimosho made the choice of promoting Adeola to the Federal Legislature through his overwhelming election to represent Alimosho Federal Constituency, the largest federal constituency in Nigeria in terms of population, in the House of Representatives in Abuja in 2011.
Again in the House of Representatives as a first time member, Adeola achieved yet another feat based on his qualifications and legislative experience.
Uncharacteristically, he was appointed as the Chairman of the only constitutional committee of the House, the Public Account Committee. On a good day and by tradition, this Committee is the preserve of ranking member from the opposition political party in the House. That the Rt. Hon Aminu Tambuwal leadership of the 7th House of Representatives saw him fit to hold such important position in the largest democratic body in Africa says much about the acumen and trust that Adeola has garnered in his then over 8years as a state legislator. The trust was not at all misplaced as Adeola made sure that MDAs and their various heads were made to account for funds expended under their purview. Such was his tenacity at a point pursuant of a resolution of the House in the investigation of Deiziani Alison-Madueke as the boss of NNPC that the lady has to run a court to obtain an injunction preventing her investigation until the end of the 7th House of Representatives.
In fulfilment of his core function as a legislator in the 7th, Adeola sponsored and pushed through the passage of a bill that repealed the Colonial Audit Act of 1956 and Re-Enact the Audit Act of 2014. This bill makes provisions for stiffer penalties for infractions of audit laws that hitherto were pegged at ridiculous sums of money as fines dating back to colonial times. Adeola also continues his empowerment of constituents with numerous empowerment schemes as well as facilitation of federal employment for some graduate constituents.
It was therefore not surprising that even at a relatively young age of 45 in 2014, he was nominated to run for the seat of Senate for Lagos West, unarguably the largest senatorial district of Nigeria in terms of population of some 12 million people. It was a huge task for Adeola who nevertheless went on to win the coveted seat, a victory that was subsequently validated by an Election Tribunal and the Appeal Court.
In the highest legislative body in Nigeria usually 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 in the midst of prominent Nigerians and make your mark as a representative of your people in the 109 -member Red Chamber of National Assembly.
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 8thSenate. In the area of oversight activities of the 8th Senate beyond the regular senate committees’ oversight that he was involved in, Adeola moved three motions that were passed into Senate Resolutions leading to full blown investigations that have so far exposed massive shortchanging of 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, all that became Senate Resolutions.
In the 9th Senate where Adeola was appointed as the Chairman of the critical Senate Finance Committee, he has sponsored the Motion on Ijegun Pipeline Explosion that led to Senate Investigation, the motion for the Senate to investigate the huge disparities between lending and deposit rates as charged by banks, a motion on the Abule Ado, Amuwo Odofin Explosion as well as co-sponsors over 20 motions passed by the Senate. So far Adeola has sponsored 5 bills with some of them already past second reading while 5 others are awaiting first reading. As Chairman of the Senate Committee of Finance, he has facilitated the passage of the Mediun Term Expenditure Framework(MTEF), a necessary prelude to the passage of 2020 Appropriation Act and its subsequent amendment, no thanks to COVID-19 Pandemiun.
It is however, in the area of empowerment that Adeola has touched the lives of many constituents in provision of income generating equipment for them in the largest senatorial district in Nigeria. 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 and ICT Centres for 4 Schools.
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. He has also facilitated a number capital projects under the 2020 Appropriation Act that are under implementation with most of them already completed. These includes solar street lights, solar powered boreholes as well as installation of 500 KVA Transformers spread across the 10 LGAs of Lagos West.
A huge cache of empowerment equipment are already warehoused for disbursement awaiting a time that COVID-19 measures will permit gathering of people in numbers.
For the man born 51 years ago without a silver spoon, not many would have imagined the man Adeola making it this far in the affairs of our nation as a legislator par excellence from his humble beginning. 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 educational advancement took him to the prestigious Ondo State Polytechnic, Owo, now Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Ondo state where he bagged the Higher National Diploma (HND) in Accounting. Adeola became a Chartered Accountant at a relatively young age. He is a 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 before becoming a legislator with a finance bent started in “The Guardian Newspapers Limited”, where he put in almost 12 years of accounting service and rose to the position of Accountant. He resigned 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. He thereafter established his own firm, SOOTEM Nigeria Limited.
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 personal and constituency projects. 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 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.
Adeola, a Christian and a believer in religious freedom for all faith is happily married to Mrs. Temitope Adeola and the union is blessed with children. At the golden age of 50 years, Adeola is setting a worthy record of an experienced legislator par excellence and look set for higher positions still in service of the people and