Politics leading to 2023 has already taken an interesting form for many reasons. From the ceaseless marathon of intrigues and permutations, to the media wars, the congress dramas and to the whipping of delegates’ votes for party control; the reasons are replete.
However, another top reason why 2023 politics is bound to thrill is the caliber and quality of some of the persons who have made their aspirations known so far. A crop of lettered, impressively educated, young yet accomplished Nigerians
have thrown their hats into the ring not just to test the waters, but to actually
walk the talk.
One of them in Oyo state is Kolapo Kola-Daisi, a banking and finance executive who has declared interest to run for the Oyo South senatorial seat under the All Progressives Congress (APC). After understudying his moves so far, this piece presents a keen assessment of what sets him apart.
If you know Ibadan and Oyo state politics very well, you will agree that politics there is big on pedigree. This isn’t unconnected to their staunch belief in the ethos of omoluabi (good character) and ilé-ire (good home). “Tani awon obi e?”
(Who are his parents?), “so lokun ndi?” (Can we track his roots?), so ti Ile ire wa? (Does he come from a good home?), and such likes, are the common phrases you’ll find on the lips of Ibadan people and stakeholders when anyone signals an intent to run for public office.
A stainless and authentic pedigree; this seems to be Kolapo Kola-Daisi’s strongest advantage and asset, as he is so rich in it. The family, led by the patriarch, Bashorun Kola-Daisi and late matriarch, Chief Mrs. Sherifat Kola-Daisi, has managed to stay atop the pedigree tree both in and outside Oyo state through years and years of amassing goodwill.
The Kola-Daisis’ collective exploits in philanthropy, commerce, healthcare, investment in people, religious roles, community development, and education, though done with little or no publicity, are well documented and always referenced in high esteem by the beneficiaries and also within circles that matter.
This has made the Kola-Daisi name and pedigree the type anyone or any politician readily reckons with. How well this will propel and give wings to Kolapo’s aspiration remains to be seen.
Some of the other candidates vying for the same ticket as Kolapo Kola-Daisi have pretty presentable and credible résumés.
But then, when the news of Kolapo Kola-Daisi’s intention broke, one of the first things that went viral about him wasn’t his face or images, rather, it was his curriculum vitae (CV), and the reasons were not far-fetched.
From graduating and becoming a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Banker at a very young age in three (3) different countries including Nigeria, to rising through the ranks to become a top executive, a Treasurer at that, in one of Nigeria’s leading banks, Kolapo effectively tells us three things about himself with his resume: his brilliance, his knack for excellence, and most importantly, his competence.
It was clear people listened and got the message, as this can be the only explanation for how it was shared everywhere.
When you look at his résumé, you find a technocrat with a ton of experience that is applicable to governance. Though other aspirants’ résumés aren’t pushovers, the ‘wow’ factor in his own is too clear to ignore or dismiss.
HIS AGE AND THE TIMING OF HIS ASPIRATION
Kolapo Kola-Daisi is 43. The closest person amongst aspirants who have so far declared an interest in the Oyo South senatorial race is about 10 years older. This is an advantage that rolls perfectly with his résumé; the fact that people see a political aspirant with solid experience but still young enough to comfortably vie for public office. This brings us to the advantage of timing.
The timing of Kolapo Kola-Daisi’s aspiration is a perfect and ideal one. This is considering the fact that he is an accomplished young man in today’s Nigeria, which is clamoring for youthful representation in the corridors of power and in places that matter. It explains why the youth demographic are embracing his aspiration as theirs, and also why his party, the APC, is reportedly tilted towards the practical and political wisdom of backing his candidacy for this very obvious reason – YOUTHFUL and COMPETENT involvement.
It seems Kolapo Kola-Daisi and team did a smart thing here by choosing JÉKÁ DÁSI, a phrase currently coursing through both political and social spaces in Oyo state like a soothing breeze. Any follower of politics will know how important messaging is in political processes. From Obama’s “yes we can” or “Change we can believe in” to Kwara’s “Ó tó gé”, slogans matter, especially when they are aptly chosen to achieve two (2) things;
(i) to inspire a social movement, and
(ii) to reflect the vision or intention of the bearer.
In Kola-Daisi’s case, his slogan does both as it effectively communicates that his aspiration is ‘our’ aspiration.
When asked why he chose this slogan, he said and we quote, “I strongly believe in converting some of the frustrations we feel as citizens into actions that matter enough to better the lot of the people. As things stand, we cannot afford to further opt out of the process of bettering our society, hence, the slogan JÉKÁ DÁSI. It is NOT just a political slogan, it is our truth, one we need to embrace as a common and timely clarion call to get involved together.”
This seems to clear any doubt about the nature of his intention and how he has chosen to communicate it.
Three (3) things to note here.
First, to many, Kolapo Kola-Daisi is a new entrant into active politics and that’s a fact that can play against him. Unknown to many however, are the roles he has been playing behind the scenes as a staunch progressive supporter. This is a fact known to stakeholders up and across the party’s hierarchy both at the state and national level.
Another fact of note is the embrace he has received from the political structure of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi within the APC; an expected outcome considering his ties with the Ajimobi family. To many, this works in his favor; to some other keen analysts, this can also be a disadvantage as he will naturally inherit the former Governor’s enemies too.
Thirdly, is his politicking style of inclusiveness that runs on an open-door drive. If anyone asks, this style is the secret to his quick rise in a short time within party ranks in Oyo South, from the units to the wards and to each of the nine (9) local governments in the senatorial district. He seems to have mastered how to carry everyone along without making unnecessary enemies while at it.
Considering these facts, it will amount to deliberate ignorance for anyone to mistake his new entrance as naivety or weakness.
As heavily monetized as political processes in Nigeria have become, it will be almost impossible to rule out the essence of an arsenal of cash towards the success of any political movement. Looking at most of the aspirants in the Oyo South senatorial race, it’s clear they are all rich, but sadly, what they mostly have is money.
In Kolapo Kola-Daisi’s case however, he seems to be richer in people than in money, and this counts for his true, actual wealth.
In a speech delivered at an event recently, a former Governor of Lagos State and current Federal Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), had this to say about the late Maye Iyalode of Ibadanland and Iyasuna of Oyo State, Chief Mrs. Sherifat Kola-Daisi, Kolapo’s mom;
“Beyond her generosity, kindness and sheer brilliance, she was a woman of unshaken faith. In the eight years that I served as a governor, there was never a night that she would not call just to pray for me; such dedication was rare. On the night that we didn’t pray together, it was because I didn’t pick the call,” Fashola said. [source: Tribune Newspaper]
This is just one of the many examples of goodwill Kolapo Kola-Daisi rests on.
Tethered to the pedigree, the network of people connected to the Kola-Daisi tree of goodwill is too huge to overlook. From captains of industry in the private sector to players in the corridors of power, and to everyday people across Ibadan and Nigeria, the family has a long history of investing in people.
In addition to money, this currency of people is what Kolapo will readily have at his disposal to achieve the noble aspiration of actively participating towards the achievement of a better society, starting from Oyo South.
It is refreshing to see young people of Kolapo’s caliber engaging in active politics. It shatters a traditional glass ceiling and offers encouragement to fellow young persons to take up the charge with all they have. It inserts walk to all the talk about getting involved to do things better.
From where we see it and from how it actually looks, despite these cards Kolapo Kola-Daisi brings to the table, he still has his work cut out to clinch the party’s senatorial ticket considering other aspirants in the race. However, he’s definitely got a great chance, such that any discerning observer can call it a good decision to bet on JÉKÁ DÁSI.