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Tunji-Ojo: Declaring a public holiday in honour of an exceptional Minister on his birthday

By Ewatomilola Emiola-Owoeye

Traditionally, May 1st, also known as May Day, is always observed as Workers Day, where all workers gather to celebrate with friends and family, commemorating the workers and labourers whose vital work keeps countries and businesses worldwide running smoothly.

Much as the Day is for celebrating workers all over the world, it would not be a bad idea to double-name it as Bunmi Tunji-Ojo Day in Nigeria, given that his birthday falls on May 1st. Against the preceding, therefore, it should be a double public holiday for Nigerians henceforth every May 1st! Can I hear the ‘Yes’ have it?!

I strongly hold the view, and I believe a large swathe of Nigerians do, that there should be a paradigm shift in the deeply rooted culture of May 1st celebration in Nigeria, as the holiday should be declared as double because of the birthday of a life achiever who is currently turning the entire country into an El Dorado. The Interior Minister, born on May 1st, has abolished the perennial stress Nigerians used to go through in the acquisition of the national passport within a year; hence, a memorable public holiday should be declared to celebrate him.

Delving into his inimitable feats, the Minister has not only been recognised for his good deeds to humanity but also hailed overwhelmingly by President Bola Tinubu for the massive transformation in the Interior Ministry.

Tunji-Ojo’s foray into politics birthed unrivalled development in his neck of the woods. His ingress as a member who represented Akoko North East/North West Federal Constituency marked a significant development that was conspicuously instrumental to his nomination as a Minister.

During his stint as the Chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), he spearheaded an investigation that exposed a long-standing corruption within the NDDC, which had hindered development in the Niger Delta region for approximately two decades.

At his constituency, Rep. Tunji-Ojo made significant strides, including providing grants and financial assistance to market traders in the Akoko North East/North West Federal Constituency. Moreover, he addressed the dire state of major roads in Akokoland, crucial for economic activities, by facilitating the construction of several key roads, enhancing transportation, and reducing the wastage of agricultural produce.

Tunji-Ojo’s commitment to education is evident through his provision of learning materials to public secondary schools, the construction of modern classrooms, and scholarships for many indigent but brilliant undergraduates, including orphans.

Also, he facilitated access to higher education by distributing JAMB forms and enrolling students in computer training programmes.

In efforts to empower youth, as a Rep member, Tunji-Ojo trained over 6000 individuals in various skills and secured approval for a new skills acquisition centre. He also contributed to information and communication infrastructure by donating a transformer to NTA Ilepa Ikare-Akoko and providing food during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Recognising the importance of healthcare, the-then lawmaker donated ambulances to health centres, equipped public hospitals with modern equipment, and supported security operations by donating patrol vehicles to sundry security agencies.

He also acknowledged the significance of traditional institutions and donated buses to the council of traditional rulers in each local government area within his constituency.

Beyond his constituency, Tunji-Ojo’s legislative influence facilitated the rehabilitation of roads in Akungba, benefiting the Adekunle Ajasin University community. His achievements reflect a dedication to addressing diverse needs within his constituency and even beyond by contributing to their overall development.

After easefully breaking the jinx of being re-elected again, the Starboy was made Minister by President Bola Tinubu to man the Interior Ministry, often considered a Dry Ministry.

To the chagrin of many, the dry Ministry became wet when the effulgent minister leveraged his proficiency to change the ugly narratives and make life easy and comfortable for Nigerians.

Barely a year after he was sworn in as Minister, reprieve and relief came for Nigerians as where he orchestrated the clearance of an overwhelming backlog of 204,332 passports within a record-breaking three-week period, rescuing the nation from the grip of a dire national crisis. He, after that, removed the unnecessary bureaucracy and elongated the time for the collection of passports, making it easier to obtain within three weeks as against the known three months.

Tunji-Ojo decongested the correctional facilities by clearing fines and compensations worth N585 million for 4,068 inmates. He also approved the promotion of 32,361 personnel across services in the Ministry of Interior.

Recently, through his office, he donated Hilux Vans to the Nigeria Immigration Service to man the borders against external aggression.

The e-gate at the Nigerian airports nearing completion is a tremendous achievement of Tunji-Ojo and the Tinubu administration.

Aside from the aforementioned exceptional feats, Tunji-Ojo has carved a niche through quality leadership and mentorship.

The Minister of Interior is an exemplary leader, showcasing exceptional skills in guiding and mentoring others. His influence extends far beyond the confines of his office, as he leads by example, inspiring countless individuals to follow in his footsteps. Through his guidance, many have found the right path, driven by his unwavering commitment to excellence and integrity.

His leadership style is characterised by compassion and empathy, always taking the time to understand the needs of those in his care. By promoting an environment of trust and mutual respect, he empowers others to reach their full potential, instilling a sense of confidence and self-belief in their abilities.

One of his greatest strengths lies in his ability to lead by example. Through his actions, he sets a high standard for professionalism and dedication, serving as a role model for his peers and subordinates. His integrity and work ethic are widely recognised and admired, earning him the respect and admiration of all who have the privilege of working alongside him.

The Minister’s impact goes beyond his immediate sphere of influence, as he tirelessly works to make a positive difference in the lives of those he serves. Whether through policy initiatives or community outreach programmes, he remains steadfast in serving the public good, earning him widespread acclaim and recognition.

The Minister of Interior, who has endeared himself to the public, is loved by Nigerians generally and Ondo State people in particular. Tunji-Ojo is a beacon of leadership whose influence extends far beyond the walls of his office. Through his exemplary leadership skills and compassionate mentorship, he has earned the admiration and respect of all who have worked with him.

The numerous achievements of Tunji-Ojo should intrinsically occasion a public holiday to celebrate the birthday of the most performing Minister in Nigeria. It may not have happened in the past, but it won’t be a bad idea to start with someone who has met expectations and even surpassed them in less than a year of being appointed by the most visionary President Nigeria has had in the last two decades.

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