By Deji Babington-Ashaye
In the vibrant and ever progressive Ogun State, Southwestern part of Nigeria, a state that produced national giants like Pa Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Segun Obasanjo, Professor Wole Soyinka, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Dr Tai Solarin, a God-given child was born on February 25, 1962. He is today a political leader, a quintessential businessman and a beacon of hope to millions of Nigerians. And as God willed it, he is a member of the Federal House of Representatives and the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture & Rural Development.
Hon Oladipupo Olatunde Kamaldeen Adebutu, a thoroughbred politician, a goal getter, an optimist, an unrepentant believer in ‘I CAN’, an epitome of sincerity, a symbol of compassionate humanity, a grassroot mobilizer, a progressive fellow, a political warrior, a cheerful giver, an orator, a loving family man and philanthropist per excellence, is now 55 years old.
Born to the family of Sir Kesington & Dame Caroline Adebutu, Ladi has over the years become a pride of the family. After his secondary education at Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos in 1978, he proceeded to the Republic of Ireland where he bagged a B.Sc (Hons) degree in Analytical Chemistry in 1984. He, thereafter, ventured into business and he is today a major leader in animal husbandry where his livestock farm, Kesington Agro Allied Limited, covering a large expanse of land, is adjudged to be possibly the largest in Nigeria. He is an Executive Director, Premier Lotto, one of the biggest corporate investments in Nigeria. He is also into multi-billion naira Tourism and Real Estate investment not forgetting his hospitality business where the 300-room hotel and golf resort is still under construction.
However, unknown to him, destiny has another baggage of service for him – politics. His love for the masses and desire to serve humanity propelled him to take up the political baton. In 1992, he was voted in as a representative in the legislative chamber at age 30. He served alongside Chief Orji Kalu, former Governor of Abia State and Alhaji Rabiu Kwakwanso, former Governor of Kano State. Despite the truncation of that political tenure by the military, Ladi did not stop his service to humanity on a personal level. As Baron Montesquieu stated “Nature is just towards men. It recompenses them for their suffering. It renders the laborious because to the greatest toils it attaches the greatest rewards”, his sincerity of mind and character paid off as the people overwhelmingly voted for him in 2015 into the House of Representatives.
Ladi, since assuming office as a member of the green chamber, has continuously proved his mettle. His irrestitible attachment to good governance, devotion to service and insatiable appetite for peace has endeared him towards the people. Napoleon Bonaparte once said “a leader is a dealer of hope and aspirations”, to Ladi, leadership is not rulership. It is simply an opportunity to serve the people and not to service personal interest.
Consequently, his unrivaled love for the development of the people attracted the house leadership led by Rt Hon Speaker Yakubu Dogara. He was appointed the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture & Rural Development. By the special grace of God, Ladi has sponsored several bills and contributed to a good number of motions on the floor of the house. He has also influenced several constituency projects.
Ladi’s patriotic zeal has not gone unnoticed. He is a recipient of many awards from respectable organizations and chieftaincy titles from prominent Alayeluwas. For instance, he is the Otunba Nawoola of Odogbolu, the Otunba Fiwagboye of Owode Yewaland among others.
Ladi is a detribalized Nigerian. He embraces everybody irrespective of race. Even his family members have accepted the fact that Lado belongs to everybody and to nobody. In his employ, all races are represented. On his bill, serious minded students from north to south, from west to east benefit from his yearly scholarship program. Likewise, hundreds of people have been empowered by him. Nobody comes to him in tears and leaves without a smile. He is, truly, the hope of the hopeless.
Ladi remains the darling of his people. He cherishes their advice and he, in return, holds on to their welfare. There is concord and cordiality. Interestingly, everybody calls him simply by his first name ‘Ladi’ or ‘Lado’. His first name has overshadowed his other names and titles. Its only compassionate men who impact the lives of the people get such privilege to be addressed by the generality of the people by their first names.
Ladi is not only respectful, humble and accountable but scrupulous and broadminded. He is a gift to Ogun State and a blessing to Nigeria. He is a distinguished leader and a patriotic Nigerian blessed with toughness, fearlessness, doggedness, consistency and unchangeable in his resolves to embrace greatest good for the greatest number of people. Kent Keith posited, “If you are not giving the world the best that you have, what world are you saving it for”, Ladi is surely giving the best within his natural capacity to make the world a better place and life in abundance for the people.
Truly, Ladi, an Omoluabi that he is, is a jolly good fellow. Happy 55th Birthday Distinguished Honourable Sir.
Adedeji Babington-Ashaye is the Media Assistant to Honourable Ladi Adebutu, MHR.