Gbenga Ashafa: An Astutue Representative At 61
Senator Bareehu Olugbenga Ashafa is a Lagosian with functional and strategic experience in both public and private sectors is a second term senator of the ruling All Progressives Forum. He is a suave man that has continued to attract a growing consensus of followership between the young and old, literate and literati, affluent and upwardly mobile, urbane and rural.
He has found himself in various leadership roles such as the Executive Secretary and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands of Lagos State-Nigeria for almost a decade where he created five and resuscitated nine moribund Government Schemes. He pioneered the Electronic Document Management System in the Land Registry and initiated the electronic Certificate of Occupancy recently launched by the Lagos State Government. He raised the revenue base of the Lands Ministry from N1 billion in 2001 to N13.23 billion in 2010 before he was elected a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria representing Lagos East Senatorial District in April 2011. The senatorial district he represents cuts across five (5) Local Governments; Somolu, Kosofe, Ikorodu, Epe and Ibeju-Lekki, and eleven (11) local council development Areas (Bariga, Ikosi-Isheri, Agboyi-Ketu, Ikorodu West, Ikorodu North, Ijede, Imota, Igbogbo Baiyeku, Ikosi-Ejinrin, Eredo and Lekki)
In a senate that consists of 108 members a large majority can be said to be inactive and do not offer proper representation to their constituents, Senator Ashafa stands out. Between 2011 till date, he has sponsored 12 bills in the Senate. Some of these bills include the Income tax holiday bill (2011), National Agency for the preservation and promotion of Local Language in Nigeria Bill (2011), Treaties (making, procedures) Act (Amendment) Bill (2012), Criminal Code Act (Amendment) Bill (2012), National Directorate of Employment Act (amendment) Bill (2013) and Harmful Waste (Special Criminal Provisions) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2013. Others are, Value Added Tax (amendment) Bill (2013), Mineral and Mining Act (Amendment) bill, 2013, Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act (Amendment) Bill, 2014, Banks and other Financial Institutions Act (Amendment) Bill (2014), Advertising Practitioners (Registration, etc) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2014 and of course, the Bank Employees etc. Declaration of Assets Act (Amendment) Bill (2014). He was instrumental to the execution of 76 Federal Constituency Projects worth over N584 million in his Senatorial District between June 2011 and January 2014.
In addition to this, as at January 2014, over N385 million has been channelled through the vehicle of his Constituency Empowerment: ‘’Gbenga Ashafa Trust Fund Endowment’’, which has succeeded in touching the lives of members of his constituency in the following specific areas: Education, Youth Empowerment, Agriculture, Health and Community Development. These programmes and projects revolved around his Four-Cardinal Points.
It is also noteworthy to state that Senator Ashafa is currently in his capacity as chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, working on cross ventilating ideas on developing a rich, practical and well-crafted legal framework for the Nigerian Railway Corporation and the entire rail value chain. It is expected that on the completion of this task, the Railway Corporation Act that will stand the test of time and open up the rail sector to private investments in the areas of concessioning, determination of public service obligations, effective passenger services and the establishment of a regulatory framework for private participation.
Senator Ashafa, a product of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s school of thought is another proof that good governance is defined in terms of adherence to accountability and transparency, laced with love, social justice, equity and fairness. His role in the 2016 budget controversy is proof of a man who walks the talk. His clarification on the inclusion of the N60billion Lagos- Calabar rail project in the 2016 budget which was removed by the appropirations committee saved what would have been a major faceoff between the executive and paliementary arm of government. It also saved the project which had summarily politicized, removed and money reappopirated to bogus projects.
Since his foray into the murkiness of politics, and despite the dirty politics of the 8th assembly, he has undoubtedly proven that he is not the average Nigerian politician who is rakish, crooked, greedy and raffish. He has continually stayed away from controversies and held his head high.
To a man who sees something in everything that the rest of us don’t,
To a man whose genius is not just his ability to see what others cannot but how he applies it.
To An Astutue Representative
I wish you more years on earth as you continue to dissipate into family management, community development and nation building.
Happy 61st birthday Sir!
Article written by Olusegun Dada
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