BY SAMUEL ODAMO
IKEJA Bus Stop is devoid of its usual rowdiness early this Sunday morning. Unusual serenity pervades the typically busy commercial nerve. The shops and their owners are off duty in obeisance to the Christian faith calling out its adherents for special attendance and worship in the temples. Even the commercial vehicles which on week days normally form long queues here with their owners and conductors chanting Ogba, Jones!! Ogba, Jones!! are non-existent at that hour.
Here there is no building of architectural prominence to celebrate. No ostensible penchant for horticulture either. Majority of the houses in this area are tenements with a few blocks of flats. Yet, amidst this crowd of people resides Chief Funso Ologunde, Lagos State presidential flag bearer for the National Republican Convention (NRC). Here is a politician at his base. A man of the people. He lives among them, sharing their aspirations, fears, and agonies.
With no address to direct his bearing, yet the reporter is able to locate the building. A true family man, Chief Ologunde’s home burns with a lot of appendages – relations and children of friends who feed daily from his pot. Hospitality of the house-hold is palpable right from the door step. With utmost courtesy the reporter is told that the subject had left home at 6 a.m. for an important meeting that same morning.
Surprisingly, Chief Ologunde is not a person to forget appointments even though this was fixed four days previously and verbally at a chanced encounter at a public place. The reliable and trustworthy man has left a message appealing to the reporter to exercise some patience
As he intended to return from the outing on time to honour, the appointment.
His sitting-room is moderately furnished There are six seats for guests while a Spartan divider provides home for the electronics. There is a convivial atmosphere here. And a smell of victory is thick in the air. The optimism of the occupants is infectious. Like Chief Ologunde, every member of the family seems to be in the race too.
Some moment later, youthful Chief Ologunde emerges with some casual wear, deep green short sleeved shirt over trousers of the same colour. Tall and handsome, Chief Ologunde is not given to hiding his real intention under the avalanche of giggles, grins or grimace. He smiles cautiously. He is humble and he believes in giving respect to whom respect is due.
The 41-year-old Chief Ologunde has a gift of the garb but he uses it wisely. He never promises what he cannot fulfil. Instead, he proffers appropriate solutions and demolishes problems that are within his capability with the nimbness of a cat. His harmless countenance is corroborated by the sincerity of his opinions and expressions on topical issues.
The personnel manager of CMB Toyo Glass PLC has imbibed the ideologues and philosophies of some of the greatest African and Nigerian politicians. He has always admired Sir Kwame Nkrumah for his Pan Africanist concept; Sir Aharnadu Bello for his selfless and exemplary leadership; Chief Obafemi Awolowo for his commitment to education; Dr. Nnaindi Azi-kiwe for introducing humour into politics; J. F. Kennedy for giving his country strong-footing in international arena; and Chief Ladoke Akintola for propagating politics of cooperation which cut across ethnic and tribal barriers.
Though a new breed, Chief Ologunde is not a stranger to Nigerian politics. He has been politically conscious since his secondary school days. The man with passion for excellence is convinced that Nigerians are not giving their best for the country.
He believes in Nigeria, in its people and potential for greatness. He is not an opportunist after the reins of power just for the fun. Rather, he is an altruist as well as a pragmatist. He is sincere and just.
He views situations from different angles before making any comment. His patriotic passion has been demonstrated when politics was in the cooler, between 1984 – 87, in many newspapers and magazines articles he authored.
Normally, he wakes up between 5:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. and immediately he bows his head in prayer to God. He takes a light breakfast before leaving home for his office at the CMB Toyo Glass Plc. During office hours, he attends official meetings and carries out other assignments.
Chief Ologunde leaves the office between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. and from office he heads straight for political meetings which most times last till 2:30 a.m. In the past six months however, he hardly he hardly goes to goes to bed before mid night.
First published Saturday, 27 March, 1993.