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Exemplary Leader…Senator Gbenga Ashafa Clocks 63 Today.

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Exemplary Leader…Senator Gbenga Ashafa Clocks 63 Today.

Exemplary Leader…Senator Gbenga Ashafa Clocks 63 Today.
July 22
09:44 2018

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*Why Nigerians Are Celebrating The Handsome “Man of the People” All Over The World.

By Lanre Alfred

Yes, Senator  Gbenga Bareehu Ashafa sees a relative in everyone. He believes humanity is simply one large family divided along race, religious and other bigoted lines and his response to this defies the depths of human failings and pretensions to altruism.

Interestingly, Nigeria is replete with a superfluity of dogmatic leaders, those who have devoted their lives to the advancement of their states and their people; those bending history, rewriting existential narratives, cracking glass ceilings and breaking barriers while leading others by the hand and taking the road less travelled to the Promised Land. Whether during peacetime or catastrophe, the leaders remain steadfast and stoic. No doubt, Senator Gbenga Bareehu Ashafa is one of the leaders.

For a man who has learned and mastered intricate politics as the genius conductor assimilates Mozart’s aria, you can never ornament the words enough to describe his unparalleled verve and genius. If Ashafa were a lab scientist, he would have reordered groups in organic chemistry and calculated the anti-derivatives of functions that he will effectively deploy in real life—all with a modest amount of energy.

For him, navigating the storming plains of administrative politics is not a big deal. With each passing day, his competencies improve and he becomes even more adept at governance. Through trying periods, he deploys unrivalled skill and resilience to ride the storms like a man who understands that to hold on and be brave regardless of what ordeal life throws at him.

Yes, Ashafa is no doubt a rare phenomenon and gift to this generation. While most of his friends, family, and business associates are already in the know and appreciate this fact, like the infinite crowd of folk that constitutes mere acquaintances to him, they are continually stunned, captivated and humbled by the man, his infectious humility, and generosity of spirit.

Those who are yet to encounter the benevolence of Ashafa or profit from it nonetheless share a bubbly enthusiasm for it. At the very least, everybody seems to love Ashafa. Magnificence, order, complexity, mystery, and possibilities – the same things that draw folk to their most treasured daydreams lure them to Ashafa.

The primary difference is that subtle and blatant idolatry takes a front seat in the flurry of emotion and perpetual elocution of the rare civility and bounteousness of spirit accorded them by Ashafa. It is hard to be more specific about the true worth of Ashafa’s humanity because unlike most of civilization’s great, contemporary statesmen and philanthropists, he has something quite different to offer to his several dependants and beneficiaries of his generosity.

At 63, Ashafa is several things at the same time to everyone and anyone: he is a humanitarian who depicts raw compassion expressed with the greatest refinement and discipline; he is an aesthete with stormy sublimity, unimaginable genius and that famed vision of ingenuity that separates the practiced from the mediocre; Ashafa to most and all of his acquaintances radiates an entirely different reality amid the world’s brutal capacity for ill and insensitivity; his humility and graciousness in his dealing with friends and established foes (particularly on the political turf) alike manifest as a sharp, shrill yet, pleasant contradiction to the ugly and vulgar reality that daily becomes the plague of the mortal world.

Forgive the seeming inclination to fawn and project the good graces of Ashafa but he is simply all that and much more. Beneficiaries of his rare humanness frequently have wonderful stories to share from their encounters with him. However brief or protracted the encounter is, Ashafa snatches grief from acquaintances and replaces it with joy.

Born in the Luther/Bamgbose/Campos area of Lagos Island on July 22, 1955, Ashafa is the second child of a commodity merchant, Lawal Kakanfo Ashafa, and a textile and gold merchant, Tesmot Ojuolape Elemoro. With his foundation education firmly rooted at Christ Church Cathedral Primary School, Broad Street, Lagos in 1961, he grew to run the full course of resounding education, both at home and abroad, before venturing into the Lagos civil service, where life began for him in full circle.  He represents Lagos East in the current 8th National Assembly and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport. Senator Ashafa is  a member of Senate Committees on Foreign Affairs, Establishment and Public Service, Water Resources, National Security and Senate  Ad-Hoc Committee on Import, Concession and Export Waivers.

He was the Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development in the 7th National Assembly. He was also a member of the following Senate committees in the 7th National Assembly: Environment and Ecology Committee, Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Relations, Gas Committee, and Senate Services Committee.

Ashafa is a member of the All Progressives Congress. He is currently the treasurer of the APC Senate Caucus. He was the Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Senate Caucus until the fusion of the ACN into the All Progressives Congress (APC). Lagos East Senatorial District covers five local government areas (Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu, Kosofe and Somolu) and eleven local council development areas (Agboyi-Ketu, Bariga, Eredo, Igbogbo- Baiyeku, Ijede, Imota, Ikorodu North, Ikorodu West, Ikosi-Isheri, Ikosi- Ejinrin, and Lekki). This is why apart from being a senator with cognate experience; he is also a member of the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), combined with his role as the Vice Chairman (South-west) of the Southern Senators Forum.

He has seized the opportunity of his time in the Senate to leverage opportunities for his people, in addition to developing the capacities of his people in a sense that agrees with the notion that the future belongs to the knowledge economy.

This, of course, explains why he has paid attention to critical infrastructure as prerequisite to the capacity development of his people. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Ashafa has been of great help in terms of lending legislative support to the executive to achieve a complete turnaround of the Railway Sector.

This is evidenced by the overhauling of some of the legislations surrounding the Nigerian Railway Sector by repealing the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act 1955 and replacing it with the Nigerian Railway bill 2016, which was passed by the senate on July 21, 2016. This new law represents a radical departure from the norm as it has effectively broken down the railway sector into the regulatory and operations components in line with international best practices, thereby creating a level playing field for private and state sector participation.

In identifying the issues of regulation as a major challenge facing the Nigerian Transport system, his committee is currently working on the passage of the National Transport Commission Bill, which seeks to create a multi-modal transport sector economy and safety regulator.

He is also pursuing a Bill for an Act to provide for the Transportation, Protection and Facilities of Employees and other matters connected therewith (2016). The purpose of the Bill is to protect and enforce the safety and dignity of Nigerian workers by ensuring that employers make provision for safe and convenient means of transportation for their workers. These have not however inhibited other legislative engagements. For example, Ashafa has so far sponsored six bills, including The Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Amendment Bill 2016; The Chartered institute of Logistics and Transport Bill 2016; The City University of Technology Bill 2016; Sporting Tax Holiday Bill 2016; The Nigerian Postal Bill 2017 and The Nigerian French Language Village Establishment Bill 2017.

Further to these, he has also sponsored nine motions as well as co-sponsored and contributed many more. Some of them are the recent fuel tanker tragedies on Nigeria’s highways; Nigerians involvement in Illicit global drugs trade and increase in domestic drug abuse by Nigerian youth; motion on the rising incidence of jungle justice among Nigerians; motion on urgent need for the Nigerian police force and other security agencies to intervene in the increased rate of kidnapping in the Lagos east senatorial district and securing the waterways.

However, in one’s life, some days and events will always remain epochal and ineffaceable. Though Ashafa has had many of such in his noteworthy odyssey through life, it will be a different ball game entirely today, July 22nd as he turns 63. Not because of any extravagant celebration or outlandish display of affluence, but more because the day will be marked with exaltation of this man of many parts.

Many people have benefitted in no small measure from the benevolence of his heart and sipped from the fountain of his experience, it is only expedient to extol the virtues of this great man without any recourse to sophistry or gratuitous ornamentation.

In politics, Ashafa has been a roaring success. In the Senate, you can not question his place in the comity of Nigeria’s greatest leaders. And his domestic felicity will continue to make younger people run to him for tips on how to run a successful  marriage. Married to Afolasade and blessed with wonderful children.

As Senator Gbenga Ashafa clocks 63 today, let us all stand up and raise our glasses to The Champion!

 

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1 Comment

  1. Ola Kukoyi
    Ola Kukoyi July 22, 10:59

    I have had several interactive sessions
    He seems to me,the man with the full package, a good listener, religious, careful talker , very carering towards problems of the less privileged , unambitious and a distinguished gentleman.

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