Thursday, November 9, 2017 7:13 am
By Rotimi Opeyeoluwa
“A true man does not seek the path where advantage lies, but rather, the path where duty lies, and this is the only practical man, whose dream of today will be the law of tomorrow, because he who has looked back on the upheavals of history and has seen civilizations going up in flames, crying out in bloody struggle, throughout the centuries, knows that the future wellbeing of man, without exception, lies on the side of the duty”-Jose Marti.
Discernibly life is lived in moments and in it is in the cumulative effect of those moments that our life is viewed as success or otherwise. The scriptures says, “seest thou a man diligent in his ways, he shall stand before kings and not before ordinary men”. This much resonates with the essence of Hon. Bimbo Daramola’s life as everyone who knows him, former member of the 7th House of Representatives and current Chief of Staff to the Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Lasu Yusuf, would agree that he is a perfect gentleman imbued with strong character, wisdom, temperance and insight.
In full essence, he is man prepared by a combination of factors such as a robust and analytical mind, unswerving, vigorous, selfless, helpful and fearlessness, he exemplify a new breed without greed in Nigeria’s political space. He is a man routinely saluted for his sense of duty, willingness to help, industry, forthrightness and penetrating presence at all times. On an occasion such as his birthday, a milestone, his 50th, it is only fitting to take a closer look at his essence and continuing relevance in both the politics of Ekiti and administration of the Deputy Speaker’s Secretariat of which he remains the indefatigable engine room.
It is not possible to stray into his presence and not leave with a sense of wonder-partly because of the enduring impact and depth with which he interrogate issues and his readiness to give a helping hand, for he is not just a font of kindness any and everyone that comes face to face with him-he relishes in doing good. Those who know him attest to his sense of duty for which he devotes himself like a religion, coupled with the fact that his soaring reputation for good judgement, truth, fair dealings and moral rectitude is an asset which will continue to stand him as a beckon of hope in this darken and slippery world we inhabit.
Daramola’s deep aversion for injustice, empathy for humanity, magnificent taste for good, a superb dress sense and magnanimity stands him out any day, anytime. Talking about empathy, where a battalion of Nigerian politicians are neck deep in evil machinations, avarice, voodoo practices, and ill-temperance, he like a few others have showed that the love of fellow humans is still possible, by practicing live and let’s live as a mantra. He is self-confident but not arrogant nor reckless. His deep immersion and abiding love for people is sparkling clear.
My first interaction with him was in early 2012 in the National Assembly. It was not pre-planned. A certain lady had approached me to help facilitate an appointment with the Senator representing her with the aim of getting a reference letter to the then Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja. The Senator declined to help and since the Honourable Daramola is from her zone, I readily suggested we approach him even though I had never met or even entered his office hitherto. I reckoned that it was a gamble worth taking.
I took the gamble because the lady in question was stranded and was growing restless about the prospect of a gloomy day. As we crossed over from the Senate wing into the bowels of the House of Representatives wing, she expressed fears and worries and I assuaged her concern that meeting a Parliamentarian for help or lobbying for a job was a growing tradition in Nigeria and the worst is that he would decline and that wouldn’t amount to a dead sentence. I however told her in principle, that I would only lead her there and it would be her task to conclude the purpose of the meeting. Since we were half-way to his office, she agreed as I didn’t budge to jointly meet her with him.
Upon arrival in the office, I noticed the courtesy of the staff; another attraction was the ambience and serenity, the office wall decorated with the pictures of many global and national icons. I was arrested. As I begged to take a look round and with permission granted, it didn’t take long for me to conclude that he ran an open door policy. There was an obvious stream of visitors flowing in and out of his court with relative ease. It didn’t take forever to process visitors and usher them into his presence.
Within the ensuing minutes, the lady was ushered into his office, while I feasted my eyes on the pictures. While completely loss, I didn’t realise that immediately she regaled him with her desire for a letter, rather he offered to take her personally to the (NTA) to meet with the Director-General. I returned to my office and afterwards she came to proclaim the congressman a ‘saint’. She told me of how, he washed his hands off the bowl of food he was feasting on even she suggested he finish eating first. As if that was not enough, he arranged for her return trip to Ekiti. It bears emphasizing that he had never set his eyes on her before then.
I took note but inwardly dismissed his action as a political stunt made to sway the undiscerning but several other events proved me wrong. Tales of his good deeds to people from his native land of Ekiti and even beyond remained topical. Afterwards our paths didn’t meet until the end of the 7th Assembly. However, his impressive contributions on the floor of the House of Representatives and his commitment in ensuring that sons and daughters of Ekiti extraction were adequately catered for in terms of job placements and opportunities never waned. Beyond that, his record as a sterling Parliamentarian who enjoyed the confidence and respect of the leadership and colleagues is etched in gold as his record amongst fellow Ekiti parliamentarians of the 7th assembly remains unsurpassed till date.
However, because I have extremely good friends who enjoy his company, it was not unlikely that we began to relate, albeit loosely from the tail end of 2015. I had cause to either drop off friends with him or to pick them up and there were few instances where I was present in his political engagement with youth groups. I recall his post-mortem intellectual discourse on the outcome of the governorship election in Ekiti in 2014 and the last general election in 2015. His academic background in Geology and Business Administration is not easily discerned as he can hold his own in any debate like a lawyer or one that studied Political Science or one of the allied courses. On such occasions, I never mistaken his depth and in the process he unconsciously fired both my imagination and deepening understanding of theoretical issues like a political juggernaut that he is.
It was during those heady days, that I caught a rare but unique glimpse of his frame of mind and his passion for good governance. He maintains a rock-bottom features-indeed, principle of democracy as universally proclaimed. There may be more to democracy-social welfare, for example-but there cannot ever be less. The irreducible condition of democracy is the people’s right to select or reject their rulers regularly within a time frame as stipulated by the constitution and political liberties, which means, without fear of police or security forces or political thugs. That was his explanations of the charade that characterised the elections in Ekiti in 2014. His assertion can hardly be faulted given that he was marked by security forces for arrest like other of his party stalwarts. A moderate but as an insider player knowledge of what happened both pre and during the election without an ounce of bitterness reveals his frame of mind as a man at peace with himself and others.
Some people hold him solely responsible for the electoral loss of the APC/Ekiti in 2014 as the Director-General of the Fayemi campaign but I beg to disagree. While this obviously is an extreme view, as interplay of diverse factors leading to the elections especially the militarization and harassment of both the leadership of his party leading to several arrest shortly before the commencement of the election in a well coordinated and planned operation by security forces at the behest of the PDP is now public knowledge and I need not flog the issue. At any rate, his disciples would dismiss that notion as lacking substance. My take is that it is regrettable that the APC as a political party never commissioned a frank review of the election-perhaps it could come in handy in 2018.
At 50 years of age and coupled with the fact that his party, APC, is in the opposition in Ekiti, his unblemished record of service, contribution to the political party formation and role in the past and its development must spur him into playing a redemptive role. In this wise, he has to carefully ensure that the party bounces back to reckoning in the nearest future. This shouldn’t be a tall order for him as deconstructing his curriculum vitae, one can safely surmise that it shouldn’t be a burden for a man with razor sharp intellect, brotherly love, readiness to serve and commitment to the party to play such a pivotal role. His trajectory thus far is indicative that he has what it takes for such an assignment.
Even at that, I am yet to situate him properly whether he is Marxist, progressive, conservative, leftist, centrist, liberalist or technocrat. He is all rolled into one and much more-a humanist. He has a heavy inclination and burden for humanity. That is on the behavioural level, a way of feeling about humanity and society. It is a way of acting towards a fellow citizen. Mr. Daramola often maintains that democracy without humanity dignity is fraud. He is a man of immense nobility of spirit and caring disposition to fellow-man.
His commitment to advancing the cause of human dignity is a religion to him and as well to good governance, democracy and the welfare of all, (wo)men regardless of religious or political creed is self-evident in all his dealings. He is passionate and compassionate to a fault and as well quite emotional. Perhaps, it is right to say he is a man of immense empathy toward fellow creatures.
Born on November 9, 1967 at Ado-Ekiti, Bimbo Daramola, a political strategist and gadfly of immense perception has lived a practical life sustained on hard work and the benevolence of God, his knack for helping people is a clear understanding of life as a temporal place of abode and no amount of primitive accumulation can suffice. Because of this simple yet factual understanding of life, his continued successes in life and especially in politics has continued to unsettle many given the build up to the APC primaries in Ekiti as he has indicated his readiness to throw in his hat. Truth is I wish him all the best in this enterprise.
Congressman Bimbo Daramola is an example in excellent inter-personal skills and has not allowed the achievements he has made in both the private and public sectors so far to becloud his humanity. In and out of politics, he oils the wheels of collaboration constantly. He is ever ready to give a listening ear and ready to help a distressed person find comfort which accounts for the steady stream of visitors to his office and home.
In reading his recent interviews, I have come to better understand his essence-it is a willingness to serve, for him it is a duty which cannot be abandoned. For him, it is not about self but the people, it has always been his cardinal principle since he joined partisan politics and even before. He views politics as a means to a higher end, the pursuit of happiness for mankind (economic), liberty (especially religious freedom), education (of the mind) and security. He is a populist and particularly many youths avouched that Bimbo Daramola as their inspiration. I wish a worthy leader, friend, mentor and big brother continued successes in his voyage in life-happy birthday, sir.