The sojourn of Senator Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim both in public and private life, but most importantly, the last few years of his stint in politics, adorned with accolades as expected of a true democrat and representative of the people. AHMED 'LATEEF writes on the distinguished senior legislator from Kwara South Senatorial District
That leadership in Nigeria is dogged by myriad of challenges is a truism that has continued to stare everyone in the face. Encapsulated in leadership is integrity, honesty, discipline, transparency, loyalty, leniency and quality character among other attributes.
Except for few that parade these inalienable qualities among the political class, the country would have turned a shadow of itself. On account of multifarious problems Nigeria is confronted with occasioned by leadership ineptitude, mutual suspicion has become order of the day in the political scene.
It has been often posited that leadership failure is a major albatross that has retarded the growth and development of the country, thus causing Nigerians endless and sleepless night.
Despite the obvious shortcomings within the ring of leadership, some Nigerians with "proper upbringing" will never allow the careers they have built over the years, got smeared just because they are privileged to find themselves in highly exposed positions.
With recourse to their backgrounds and antecedents, they believe the quality character inherited from their parents should not be sacrificed on the altar of politics 'of it is our time syndrome', which is now synonymous with the nation's polity. Like the proverbial saying that "A river that scornfully despises its source, dries up". That constantly remains the watchword for them.
Among few Nigerians, who are soaring like eagle but refused to dance to the tune of antics of politics of selfish end, is Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim. His foray in politics is destined. A seasoned banker of repute cannot wish away what the nature has for him even if hitherto, he did not consider politics as a productive venture.
As a financial expert with midas touch, Ibrahim's sojourn in politics can be said to be accidental. Known for his resilience, doggedness and shrewdness in the banking sector, the distinguished senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria inscribed his footprints on the sands of time.
If he wished to remain apolitical, another calling he would have found himself is academia. No doubt, he went through thick and thin to be certified as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the reputable Lead City University, Ibadan. For academics, obtaining PhD in varsity is not a tea party.
His journey into politics began in 2009 when he was elected a member of Kwara State House of Assembly for Oke-Ogun Constituency of Oyun Local Government in a re-run election after the demise of Raufu Lambe.
For members of his constituency, history was made on the day of his election and subsequent swearing-in within the sacred chamber of the state House of Assembly.
As a man of destiny, his coming to the state Assembly was just a precursor to shot him into National politics. Thanks to the political dynasty, Saraki Political School, that discovered the prowess of the young man from Ojoku, a serene and quiet town in Oyun Local Government Area of the state.
In 2011, fate gave him a good smile. He was not only elected into the legislative chamber, but ascended a step further to the seat of House Representatives for Ifelodun/Offa/Oyun Federal Constituency. The catalogue of his achievements in the green chamber is chronicled for posterity. It was indeed a good time for the people of the constituency as Ibrahim brought a paradigm shift to the mode of representation. That he gave back to his constituency in that four years of his representation through physical, mental and material empowerment, is now history. Even those with perpetual disbelief opened their mouths aghast and immediately changed their erroneous perception about him for good.
In 2015, tension pervaded the political scene across the country even Kwara, which presumably is singled out as a no go area for opposition to Saraki political dynasty, was not an exception due to the fear that power of incumbency might come to play especially from the top and down to the bottom. The harbinger of the fear was the decision of the then members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to opt out of the party because of the perceived injustice, impunity and other irreconcilable differences. Joining then opposition, All Progressives Congress (APC) was herculean and likened to suicide mission politically.
It was a tension soaked situation and nobody could predict the outcome. Even unknown to Ibrahim that the peak of legislative assignment in Nigeria was awaiting him, he continued to do his work in the green chamber. Though there were foreboding troubles to be shivered about, he maintained his cool headed nature. While nursing the ambition of possibly returning to the lower arm of the National Assembly in the 2015 polls, the political juggernauts in Kwara led by Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, reached compromise and decided that he throws his hat in the ring for the seat of Kwara South Senatorial District in the Senate under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
As a man of destiny, Ibrahim triumphed and trounced his main PDP contender in the election with a landslide victory. His victory was foretold as a man with sheer humility that is very rare among members of the political class. For him, humility is just by the way, wearing the garb of pain the people are going through is his main concern as a politician. The four years of his representation in the House of Representatives witnessed unprecedented development and even outshone that of his predecessors.
Knowing his versatility and astuteness, the leadership of the eight Senate upon the constitution of the Senate Standing Committees named him chairman, Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions.
Gentle to a fault with subtle profundity, Ibrahim knows how to hold his own without vanity or flamboyance. He is humble without servility, effective without showiness, brilliant without bullying.
Ibrahim has proven his mettle as a brilliant and cosmopolitan team player, as well as a loyal and disciplined party man who is ready to sacrifice personal interest for the larger interest of his Senatorial District, Kwara and the nation as a whole.
Born in 1966, Ibrahim attended Ojoku Grammar School where he obtained his West Africa School Certificate in 1985. He proceeded to the Kwara State Polytechnic where he graduated in 1987. In the year 2000, he attended University of Ado-Ikiti where he got his Masters in Business Administration.
In 2005, he proceeded to Lagos Business School for Executive Education programme called OMP (Owner Manager Programme ). Impressed by his performance in banking sector, he was also conferred with Fellow Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), after which he went to Lead City University, Ibadan where he bagged a doctorate degree in Business Administration in 2009. Before his becoming a Senator of the Federal Republic, he was the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ibrafunds Limited. He was Chairman, Kwara Branch of CIBN between 2009 and 2010. He was conferred with ACIB in 1995 and FCIB in 2009. As a lover of education that he is, Ibrahim was in Harvard Kennedy School for Executive Education Programme: Innovation For Economic Development in April 2016, and currently studying Law in Lead City University, Ibadan.
Much may have been said and written about his public and private life, his courage, integrity, generosity and all-embracing character have stood high above everything else. Ibrahim has proven to be a dependable student of Saraki political School of Philosophy, which rests on the shoulder of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, a political colossus. Without mincing word, Ibrahim has shown that he is someone who can be trusted to be there not just for the people, but for his mentor no matter who ox is gored.