|Otunba Rotimi Paseda|
By Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji
According to the popular socialist and former Nigeria’s Health Minister, Alh. Aminu Kano in one of his chronicles, postulated that “Nigeria will know no peace, until the son of nobody becomes somebody, without knowing anybody”.
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The above submission by the elderstateman epitomizes the belief and political ideology of Otunba Rotimi Paseda (ORP). Prince Rotimi Paseda, a businessman cum politician broke the age long barrier in the political system of Ogun State, Nigeria by venturing into politics without attaching himself to the apron string of some godfathers whose without their endorsement no one can dare contest an elective position in Nigeria.
Born on 22nd June, 1966, Prince Olatunde Rotimi Paseda hails from Omu-Ijebu in the Eastern part of Ogun State. He is a UK/Mexico based business man. He came from a family of five, his mother was a retired teacher in public service and his dad was a store keeper at PZ, Paterzon Zochonic Nigeria Limited in the 60s. He started his career in PZ and ended his career in PZ. He was the longest serving staff at that point. Today, Otunba Rotimi Paseda is well-known as Omo Iya Teacher (Teacher’s son).
Paseda attended Baptist Academy for his O'level at Ikorodu, Lagos state. He thereafter travelled abroad for his University education. He attended the University of London, Berbeck College, UK where he studied Transport Management and later got his Post Graduate Diploma in Tourism and Recreation Management from University of Cardiff, Wales, UK.
He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Transport, United Kingdom, and worked briefly as European Air Tour Operator with Euro Skyhop International before establishing Skylink Travels and Tours over twenty-five years ago. This was his commencement of his self-employment venture in the United Kingdom and Worldwide.
Otunba Paseda, not minding the herculean task and daunting challenges before him, entered into the governorship race with only three months to prepare for the Governorship election in the state alongside the incumbent, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, PDP flagbearer, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka. Though, he was not declared winner of the keenly contested election that almost plug the state into chaos, as he is from nowhere came (3rd). Paseda believes in the popular Yoruba adage…”Ti esin ba dani, a ma ntun gun ni”. Little wonder, he is once again seeking the support of the good people of Ogun State come 2019.
Paseda, worried about the economy effects on the people, he established "Paseda Legacy Foundation", a non-governmental organization to better the lives of the downtrodden in the society. ORP has fondly called, through his foundation, PLF has empowered hundreds of youths, the aged, market women, students and health challenged victims at the hospitals.
A testimony to many of his kind gestures include; donation of Millions of Naira to young entrepreneurs who graduated from his Achievers Youths Initiatives Skills Acquisition training for many people in Obafemi/Owode local government of the state, flying out a Nine year-old Oluwatosin Solanke who has a kidney disease to India for surgery, complete payment of leg surgery of Animasahun Ismail who was to be amputated by local surgeon, but Otunba Rotimi Paseda saved the victim at Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta with his prompt intervention, purchase of laptop computers for Gateway Polytechnic ICT Students, who ran to his foundation for help, provision of affordable and conducive accommodation for victims whose houses were demolished by the Ogun State Government for road construction and could not get compensation, free scholarship for Itoku Market collapsed building victim children for their secondary education among many others.
Otunba Paseda through his initiative trained both old and young women on beads making, cake baking, paint making, Ankara bag and shoe making, interior decoration, phone repairing, Make-up, Barbing, etc.
WHAT IS PASEDA’S POLITICAL AMBITION?
Otunba Olatunde Rotimi Paseda’s political ambition is summed up in his willingness to help the poor and the needy in order to bring happiness to the greatest numbers of Ogun people. Paseda’s ambition was inspired by the political stewardship of former Nigeria Western region Premier, late Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Awolowo. Awo’s political stewardship is enveloped in one word “FREE” and every other thing follows: free education, free health services. Of all promises kept by Awolowo, the “free education” policy was best achieved.
Awolowo’s unsurpassing ideology on education has made the South-West Nigeria, the educational knowledge centre of the nation. But going beyond this, gainful employment and rural integration and development have formed the central pattern of Awolowo’s unprecedented stewardship. There is a justifiable evidence all over today.
Most young graduates then were gainfully employed. This made it possible for them to impart their skills and contribute more to the growth of the society. These are the memories of the legendary time of Awolowo. To Paseda, the tape can be played over again. However, Prince Paseda considers the current political game in Nigeria as too elitist and considers Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) a solution, hence, the need to change the face of Nigeria politics to the advantage of the oppressed Nigerians who have been marginalized from government and governance too long.
As Ogun state gubernatorial candidate under the banner of UPN, Prince Paseda considers his contest as a response to the clarion call by well meaning Ogun state indigenes and party stakeholders who thought of him as the best man for the job in 2015.
This clarion call, to his surprise was endorsed by all the local government chieftains of the state. There is no honour that could be greater than this. Prince Rotimi Paseda’s cardinal programmes include; free education at all levels, free and qualitative healthcare for all, gainful employment and rural integration and development.
This is the covenant with the people of Ogun state. Guided by his philosophy of life that one should use whatever God has given him or her, be it wealth, position or skills to help people in need without necessarily waiting for them to ask for such assistance. Paseda’s candid advice for the people of Ogun state is that they should be able to ask the public office holders questions about service delivery and also to use their votes to create a better future for their children.
PASEDA AND YOUTH INVOLVEMENT
Often times than none, the youths in Ogun State have been neglected for the development of the state and the country generally which serves as the bane of underdevelopment in the country. The non-involvement of the youths in the affairs of the state contributed in no small measure to the dwindling economy growth of the Gateway state. Otunba Rotimi Paseda, perturbed by the devilish usage of the youths in the hands of politicians for political thuggery, has vowed to engage the youths to form his integral part of his administration God’s willing in 2019 if elected as Ogun state Governor. He had promised at different fora, that the youths would domicile his cabinet, advising them to be good ambassadors of the country, and steer clear from any vices that may jeopardize their future, urging them to resist any attempts to be used as political thugs.
Otunba Rotimi Paseda song by Don Moen: "God will make a way, where there seems to be no way. He works in ways, we cannot see, He will make a way for me".
OGUNSIJI, is the Director of Media and Strategies, Paseda Legacy Foundation.