-Mr Ojo Bidemi Jerry (OBJ) hails from Egbeda –Egga in Ijumu Local Government Area,Kogi State. He is the National Secretary of Ebgeda –Egga Development Association, the apex cultural-social organization in the community. Mr. James is currently the Sales Manager of Flour Mills Nigeria plc.In an Interview with SAMUEL ENIMOLA, he bared his mind on his foray into politics and his aspiration to represent Ijumu constituency at the Kogi State House Assembly.
My name is Ojo Bidemi Jerry. I was born a little above three decades ago. I attended St. John Nursery and Primary School, Oke-oyi, Ilorin, Kwara State. From there, I proceeded to Community Secondary School, Egeda Egga in Ijumu Local Government Area. After that, I attended Kogi State University, Ayingba. I studied Political Science.
I Graduated in 2008. I have worked in Lagos, Akure and Lokoja. I had my first stint with the Cadury Nigeria Plc from 2010 to 2011.
I left for Guinness Nigeria Plc and from there I came back to Cadbury Plc, Lokoja. In 2012, I went back to Lagos to work in Labisco Nigeria Plc. It was from there I left for Flour Mills Nigeria Plc.
As the Sales Manager covering Lokoja Territory. This is where I have been since 2013.
MY FORAY INTO POLITICS
I have been a student of Politics. Remember I studied Political Science and so, activism and community development service has been part of me. When I was in Kogi State University, I was the Vice-President of Egbeda Egga Students Union. After that in 2006, I was elected as the National President of the same Union.
And also I served my two years in that same Union as the National President. In 2016 my community found me worthy to serve as the National Secretary of Egbeda-Egga Development Union which I am still there today. In partisan politics, this is my first shot at contesting for an elective post. However, in grassroots politics, I have also been fully and actively involved.
MY MISSION IN POLITICS
When you look at the whole political scenario in Nigeria, you will know that there is a lot of gap. We are probably at where we should not be.
Every four years, people come to make promises and go back without impacting positively on the lives of the people. And if men of goodwill refuse to join politics, then governance will be run by inferior people who do not mean well for the people. Some of them are in politics for personal enrichment.
Politics is about service to the people. So by the time you are in politics for selfish reasons, the essence of politics have been defeated. See my political aspiration as service to the people.
One thing I have noticed in my career as a person is that when you build human development and institutions, these institutions will outlive you and when you are in politics to enrich yourself, these wealth will fade away and then you have no legacy after you. In other words, I am coming with this mindset that whatever we have to do, we have to carry the people along. Service is what I owe Ijumu people.
WHY I AM THE MOST PREFEERED CANDIDATE
By my background, I have been a political actor for a very long time now and more recently, I have decided to render my service to my people. It is not that I just woke up and said to myself that I want to contest.
A lot of people came up to me and said that it is high time I take a shot at the state House of Assembly based on their secret assessment of my activities in the community.
And I said to myself that it is a worthy cause. I am bringing on board a commitment to serve the people, I am bringing on board a legislative framework that will work for the betterment of Ijumu people.
It is not about being young, if you are young and you have the capacity to deliver on your promises, then you have made your impact felt positively. It is high time that we need to look at qualities like capacity, the zeal and ability to serve the people. I am sure I possess these qualities.
I will make sure that I consult with Ijumu Elders and leaders in my day to day activities in my bid to take Ijumu and Okunland to the promised land.
MY PERSONAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO YOUTH EMPOWERMENT
Well, if I want to be modest, I have directly helped in giving gainful employment in the last five years to nothing less than ten indigenes of Ijumu Kingdom.
And when you talk of those that I have indirectly helped through my friend in other blue chip companies, they are quite many. What I do is simply talk to my friend in other companies for any vacant posts; through this I have facilitated full employment to Ijumu sons and daughters in Nigeria Nestle Plc, Cadbury Plc, Stachem Plc and so many.
To the grace of God they are doing well.
MY TAKE ON GOD FATHERISM IN POLITICS
The word god-fathers in politics is just being polluted. I think what people call god-fatherism is mentorship. My confidence is on God first. However, God will not come down to help you but He places people in your life to help you and fast track your ambition.
So I thank God for placing great sons and daughters of Ijumu Kingdom and even beyond the kingdom in my life who have positively affected my life .People like Senator Smart Adeyemi, Hon. Abiodun Faleke, Chief Abiodun Ojo, Chief Fatoba, Chief Malomo Omonuwa and so on.
They have positively impacted on my political life. I am looking unto them as people I should emulate their explemlanry leadership qualities. I have learnt a lot from Hon. James Faleke in terms of principles, comportment ad philanthropy.
ZONING ARRAGEMENT IN IJUMU KINGDOM
The Zoning arrangement in Ijumu Kingdom is age-long and our people have been following that for a long time. With this, I am from Ijumu –Arin,Egbeda Egga precisely. This town has not produced any representation to the State House of Assembly. This is one of the advantages I have.
Equally, I am very young and know that I have the capacity to deliver. When I was in my company, I have been helping people. So why wouldn’t I do better with political power. I am close to the people.
For the past five years, there is no weekend that I do not go home except I travel out of the state. So I feel the pulse of my people, I know what they do and how they are managing to survive in this hard time. Many of our politicians just come home during election, make noise and promises and go back till another election. I am fully on ground.
POLITICAL PLATFORM TO ACTUALISE HIS ASPIRATION
People have been asking me this question. I am a member of All Progressive Congress (APC) .Although, the Party have many challenges, I believe that reconciliation is what we need now.
We are better united than divided. In APC, if it is the present situation we found ourselves during the last election, we would not have won both at the state and federal levels. But God in His wisdom, the whole thing changed and Alhaji Yahaya Bello became the state governor. I urge him to play the role of Father to all.
I am a member of All Progressive Congress. People are just speculating as regards my being a member of All Progressive Grand Alliance. My membership of APDA is mere speculation.
SECRET OF MY SUCCESS
I am not too religious but I believe in the supremacy of God and the efficacy of prayers. Whatever I want I say it and it happens without being a church person. I do not struggle much.
I am not a desperado. I believe in God. When I was in the school, a lot of my colleagues said they wanted graduate with second class upper. I just said to myself that I would try and do my best and leave God to do the rest. And most of my colleagues who said they would graduate with second class upper did not make it.
To the glory of God, I graduated with second class upper. You have to be hardworking in life and be committed to whatever you have chosen to do. For instance, in a lot of places I have worked, they keep scouting for me.
When you are hardworking and trustworthy, you will make it in life. You need to be careful about the people that relate with you. They have influence on you. You have to choose your friends very well .These are some of the driving forces behind whatever modest success God has been enable me to achieve in life.
MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE
My message is that in 2019, we should ensure that we get it right. The past representatives have tried their best, but probably their best is not where we should be.
I urge my people to vote a young, competent, and intelligent person to represent Ijumu Kingdom at the State House of Assembly. And one of the advantages of having a youth, is that they are mindful of the life after office.
As a young man, I will be leaving my job to contest, so what happens after four years, these are some of things that should be guiding you not to abdicate your responsibility.
I do not have any option and alternative to serve the people of Ijumu. I have said it time without number that if my election will not be a benefit to the people of Ijumu kingdom, God will not allow me to be there, but If it will be an added value and impact lives of the people of the kingdom, God will make my aspiration to come to pass.