A year ago, the Ifako-Ijaye representative at the House of Representives along other 359 representatives were inaugurated. As the National Assembly marks a year in office, Honourable James Adisa Owolabi stands tall among its peers.
Leadership is responsibility. Some were born leaders, naturally endowed with leadership skills while some learn the art and skills of leadership – Owolabi combines the two.
A natural leader is someone who does more than just lead people. They lead and people follow basically because, they are driven by the right motivation and make a positive impact on the people around them.
It was as if the author, Jacob Morgan, had Owolabi in mind when he postulated that “a leader is someone who can see how things can be improved and who rallies people to move toward that better vision. Leaders can work toward making their vision a reality while putting people first. Just being able to motivate people isn’t enough — leaders need to be empathetic and connect with people to be successful.”
Being empathetic and connecting to the people has defined the life of the uncommon representatives of the Ifako-Ijaye Federal Constituency of the Excellence State of Nigeria, Lagos.
Owolabi is an independent boy. Born on the very day the Union Jack flag of our Colonia master was lowered and the green-white-green Nigerian flag adorned the poles on October 1, 1960. Perhaps, this informed his desire of a united Nigeria and good governance.
He is an accomplished businessman and a grassroot politician with a track record in community and humanitarian service.
The young Owolabi knew that education is the future, hence, commenced his primary education at Odu-Abore Memorial Primary School, Iyala Mushin and later proceeded to Mutailatu College Ibadan for his secondary education.
He later went to The Polytechnic, Ibadan where he obtained Advance Diploma in Public Administration and later obtained Post Graduate Diploma in Public Administration from the prestigious Olabisi Onabanjo University. Owolabi is a Fellow at the Institute of Administration and Economy Planners of Nigeria.
The Ifako-Ijaye representative did not just found himself in politics. He rose through the ranks. He was at the forefront in the aborted Third Republic and June 12 struggle. He was a Local Government Delegate under the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1992. Later same year, he contested for SDP Local Government Party Secretary.
He was Honourable Councillor in Agege Local Government under Zero Party between 1996 and 1997. He later contested for Lagos State House of Assembly in 1998.
He was appointed as the Political Adviser to Honourable Morufdeen Adeola Adefolabi, the Executive Chairman of Ifako/Ijaiye LGA between 1998 and 2003. He was later appointed as Political Adviser to the Executive Chairman of Ojokoro Local Council Development Area between 2004 and 2007.
To sharpen his legislative teeth, Owolabi was appointed as Legislative Aide to Honourable Morufdeen Adeola Adefolabi, Member Federal House of Representatives, Ifako/Ijaiye Federal Constituency between 2007 and 2011 and later appointed as Legislative Aide to Honourable Elijah Olu Adewale, Member, Federal House of Representatives, Ifako/Ijaiye Federal Constituency between Aug. 2015 and 2016.
Determined to serve his people and contribute to the welfare of his people, Owolabi contested the 2016 Ifako/Ijaiye Federal House of Representatives bye election primary under the governing All Progressives Party (APC) .
His qualitative representation has led to to a mouthwatering achievements in just a year in the hallow chamber.
Through the petition laid by Hon. James Adisa Owolabi before the House, a Police Inspector from his constituency, who was unjustly retired, Rtd. Inspector Musiliyu Akinpelu was reinstated back into the Nigeria Police Force.
Shortly after the inauguration of the 9th Assembly in 2019, the new entrance Owolabi concerned by the ecological degradation of his constituency moved a motion of urgent public importance concerning the Ecological Affected Areas in Ifako-Ijaiye.
One of the pillars upon which Owolabi was elected to the House of Representives was his empowerment campaign that endeared him to the people. This he never took for granted. Upon resumption, he empowered over 300 petty traders in Ifako-Ijaiye with 20,000 naira each. Also, he empowered 25 members of his constituency with 250,000 naira each to support their businesses.
In December 2019 after a natural disaster that affected his constituents, the passionate representative never shy away from rescuing the situation through the distribution of relief materials worth millions of naira. Among items distributed were: Roofing Sheets and nails, Ceiling boards, Bags of Cement, Mattresses and duvet, and Food stuffs including bags of rice, beans, garri and gallons of palm oil.
In the area of education, Hon Owolabi facilitated the Construction of a Classroom block at Ogundimu Primary School.
A passionate man with youths at heart, Owolabi invited the Honourable Minister of Sport and Youth Development, Mr Sunday Dare to inspect the abandoned building designated for a library for possible facelift into a Modern ICT centre and a new building which will serve as a Resource Centre at Vet-land Primary School Complex. Preliminary work has began on this already.
The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) which has affected the economy of the world has attracted the attention of Hon Owolabi who strongly believe that leadership is responsibility and he never obliterated this responsibility that the pandemic has further bestowed on him.
Since the outbreak, the distinguished member has had ten phases of relieve measures aimed at containing the spread of the disease and reducing the impacts on his constituents.
The phase one began with the sensitization of thousands of women in Ifako-Ijaiye and Ojokoro on COVID-19 pandemic by Mrs Fatima Balogun Owolabi (Faaji), wife of the honourable on March 15, 2020.
The second phase witnessed the distribution of hand sanitizers and detailed fliers to thousands of Ifako-Ijaiye and Ojokoro Constituents by the same wife of the representative in March.
Owolabi donated Cash Grants of 5,000 Naira each to over 500 Constituents in Ifako-Ijaiye and Ojokoro to support them to cushion the effect of the lockdown on families and households.
Also, the honourable donated his salary for two Months to the National Assembly to provide relief measures to affected states. In addition to this, he distributed over one thousand cartons of Noodles to Ifako-Ijaiye and Ojokoro Constituents in April 2020.
Again, passionate that his Constituents had a wonderful celebration, the exceptional lawmaker distributed 250 bags of rice to Ifako-Ijaiye and Ojokoro Constituents to cushion the effect of the lockdown during the Easter celebration.
Phase seven saw the distribution of 1,200 stimulus packages which contains rice, spaghetti, semo, and garri among others to Ifako-Ijaiye and Ojokoro residents by Owolabi’s wife.
Mrs Owolabi again distributed another stimulus package complimented with fresh farm products to boost their immune system to hundreds of Ifako-Ijaiye and Ojokoro Constituents.
Just few weeks ago, in his bid to further help in the containment of COVID-19 spread, Owolabi distributed 10,000 quality nose-masks to his Ifako-Ijaiye Constituents and later distributed 10,000 food packages to further cushion the post lockdown effect and to celebrate Ramadan festival.
There is no gain saying in the fact that Honourable James Adisa Owolabi has proven his mettle; standing tall among his colleagues and making Ifako-Ijaye Federal Constituency proud.