It is usual in social and political circles for leaders to be ascribed nicknames that to a large extent represent the attributes and virtues of the individual.
For the courageous, hardworking, intelligent and populist Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, his popular nickname is ‘Yayi’. Yayi is a sobriquet coined from the Yoruba name of ‘Omoyayi’ with the literal translation meaning “Distinguished Son”. Senator Adeola is not only living a distinguished life worthy of emulation and celebration but also a life positively impacting on many individuals and the development of Nigeria.
The articulate, compassionate and result oriented Senator Adeola was born on August 10, 1969 at Lagos Island Maternity Hospital to Mr. Ayinde Adeola Ogunleye and Madam Abeeni Olasunbo Ogunleye (nee Akinola).
His early childhood was at Alimosho where his parents brought him up to surmount many challenges of early life. Indeed right from an early age, the Senator became an overcomer surmounting many physical and physiological challenges that threatened to consign him to relative obscurity.
Yayi began his education at 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 quest for educational advancement in life took him to the prestigious Ondo StatePolytechnic, Owo now Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo state where he bagged the Higher National Diploma (HND) in Accounting. A man with a mission to fulfil in life, Senator Adeola became a Chartered Accountant at a relatively young age. He is a distinguished Chartered Accountant-Associate 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).
Senator Adeola variegated experience in both private and public sector finance started in “The Guardian Newspapers Limited”, the flagship of Nigerian newspapers, where he put in almost 12 years of meritorious accounting service and rose to the position of Accountant. In a profession where experience in a professional firm is a key proof of competence, Yayi resigned from “The Guardian” and proceeded to Olatunji Omoyeni & Co, a chartered accounting firm, where he led the audit team for several years and was later promoted to the position of a Senior Auditor. Having cut his teeth in the accounting profession through education and practice working for others, Senator Adeola later established his own company, SOOTEM Nigeria Limited, where he was the managing director and chief executive officer in the firm that specialized in tax consultancy until his foray to serve the public through participation in partisan politics.
Following his decision to join active politics, Senator Adeola pitched his tent with the progressive arm of Nigerian politics by joining the then Social Democratic Party, SDP.
In spite of daunting challenges relating to military government, Senator Adeola bravely continued with his foray into politics at the dawn of the 4thRepublic. He was nominated and won the primary of the then ruling Alliance for Democracy, AD and was subsequently elected as a member to represent Alimosho State Constituency 2 at the Lagos State House of Assembly from 2003 to 2007 and again from 2007 to 2011. A man of immense financial and political skills he was appointed the Chairman of Finance Committee and Joint Chairman of Appropriation Committee of the Lagos State House of Assembly. In that position, he was reputed to be instrumental to the enactment of the law that strengthened the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service and freed it from the state’s Ministry of Finance. The legislation and reforms laid the foundation that catapulted the revenue of the state from a paltry N5billion monthly to over N20billion presently! He was also part of the legislative team that passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Public Procurement Act of Lagos State, two laws that saw Lagos State qualifying to access developmental funds from international financial bodies like World Bank. Senator Adeola can claim credit as part of the architects of the widely acclaimed recent of development in Lagos State through the provision of legislative enactments and support for the executive arm of the state government in his 8 years stint as a state parliamentarian.
And in all his years as a legislator, Senator Adeola set the standard for effective representation that saw his repeated re-elections. He is noted for his numerous personal and constituency projects in Alimosho. The people of Alimosho 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 areas of life changing 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/NECO forms and tutorial for indigent students as well as ICT training at NIIT for hundreds of youths in his constituency. His philanthropy for humanitarian causes is to say the least legendary with individuals and organisations benefitting to the tune of several millions. Through his intervention scores of young graduates has been gainfully employed at state and Federal government agencies.
Without doubt his sterling performance in public service of Lagos State naturally made him a first choice for promotion for national service. Senator Adeola was nominated and elected to represent Alimosho Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives of the National Assembly in 2011. The tenure culminated in 12 years of unbroken legislative experience at both state and federal legislature. When the committees of the House of Representatives were to be appointed, he was selected as the chairman of the only constitutional recognized committee of the House, the Public Accounts Committee. It was a feat that he got this important post as a first time member of the House.
A parliamentarian par excellence, his performance in that committee in relation to exposing corruption and sharp financial mal-practices of government agencies has attracted national attention. But for his effective oversight as the chairman, not many Nigerians would be aware of the “slush fund” called Service Wide Votes running into billions of Naira yearly that has only the President, Minister of Finance and the DG of Budget Office as approving bodies. His expose on the Service Wide Votes shows it to be a conduit pipe for siphoning of public funds. A serious move is on to abolish this from our budgetary system and curb the observed corruptive tendencies of what is a duplication of contingency fund in budgets of MDAs.
In fulfillment of his core function as a legislator, Senator Adeola sponsored and successfully pushed through to passage a bill that repealed the colonial Audit Act of 1956 and Re-Enact the Audit Act of 2014 on May 22, 2015. The new law when concurred to by the Senate will lead to the establishment of a Federal Audit Service Commission as well as grant autonomy to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
His anti -corruption crusade led the outgone Minister of Petroleum Resource and NNPC to get Court injunctions to prevent his Committee’s investigations into the activities of the minister and the NNPC, a crusade that is now justified by the scandal of the NNPC $20billion Missing Fund as well the bogus Price waterHouse Coopers ‘Forensic’ Audit Report.
With his outstanding performance of his legislative responsibilities and effective representation dating back to 12 years, the last 4 years being in the House of Representatives, it is small wonder that he was seen as the best leg forward for the vacant seat of Senator for the Lagos West Senatorial District, unarguably the largest senatorial district in terms of population in Nigeria. Three candidates voluntarily stepped down for him before the primaries of the party on December 8, 2014. He defeated the remaining three candidates overwhelmingly.
Senator Adeola from his campaign office at Ikeja undertook an agenda driven colourful campaign that saw him being visible and traversing 10 Local Government Areas (37 LCDAs). Being the largest Senatorial District in Nigeria of over 13 million people, the campaign to reach the people through drive through campaign in Lagos traffic and Town Hall meetings to personally connect with the stakeholders and various groups was no mean feat. He won his closest rival with a margin of over 70,000 votes at the March 28, 2015 Presidential and National Assembly Elections. He indeed made history by moving through consecutive electoral victories from the State Assembly to the House of Representatives and to highest legislative body in Nigeria, the Senate of the National Assembly.
Senator Adeola, a dedicated Christian, is a believer in religious freedom for both Christians and adherents of Islamic faith. He is on record to have donated brand new buses to religious organisations of both faiths as well as sponsored several Christians and Muslims to Jerusalem and Mecca on pilgrimage respectively in Alimosho.
The great philanthropist is happily married to his heartthrob, Mrs. Temitope Adeola and the union is blessed with children.
We present to you a man with a mission, a man fulfilling his mission, a man of the people, a man that is Yayi. He is indeed a “Distinguished Son” that is now a “Distinguished Senator” of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.