“A Great Man Is Always Willing to be Little” Ralph Emerson Waldo.
The concept of Omoluabi, according to Wikipedia, is a philosophical and cultural concept that is native to the Yoruba people. It is used to describe a person of good character. The omoluabi concept signifies courage, hard work, humility and respect. An Omoluabi is a person of honor who believes in hard work, respects the rights of others, and gives to the community in deeds and in action. Above all, an Omoluabi is a person of integrity.
Engr Raufu Olaniyan, the Deputy Governor of Oyo state, epitomizes the core of the Omoluabi concept and more. It will be difficult for me to enumerate the many traits of Omoluabi in Olaniyan, who from humble beginnings, like a little mustard seed, has become a mighty tree.
Born on February 25th, 1960, in Igboho, Oorelope local government area of Oyo state, Olaniyan, despite the challenges thrust on him by his humble start, against all odds, moved up the ladder. Today, his existence and relationship with people reflect deep understanding of life’s philosophical lessons regarding how God can raise a man from the dunghills and set him among Princes.
How do we begin to X-Ray the life of the man who is a mentor to many of us? A benefactor, a father and a friend.
A philanthropist of note, Olaniyan gives not because he has surplus, but because he knows how it feels to lack. He is a generous man to a fault. If you say you are hungry, he understands. If your rent is due and you can not meet the next payment, Olaniyan understands. School fees, cars, buildings, health needs, Olaniyan understands. In all of these, he has touched many lives and is still doing so. He is always cheerful while being a blessing to many. He often would say “giving is a form of worship to Allah.”
Olaniyan retired as a Permanent Secretary from the Oyo state public service after 26 meritorious years of resourcefulness and dedication to work. While in office, he exhibited a high degree of honesty and integrity. These characteristics would go on to see him hold several more sensitive positions, making him work closely with about 11 governors who have held sway in the state. He is a hard-working man who has little tolerance for lazy people.
Few gave him a chance when he decided to join politics. However, the Omoluabi attribute of courage would not let him back down. Despite the challenges, betrayals and disappointments that he encountered, he stood his ground. His commitment and resolve to serve could not be shaken. It is said that you can’t keep a good man down, so too no one can keep a true Omoluabi down. Raufu Aderemi Olaniyan is a true Omoluabi.
Challenges are the tonic that energise Olaniyan to excel. If you must be his friend, never mention before him that a project can not be done or a dream can not be achieved.
Though a practising Muslim, his generosity is not religious-sensitive. Olaniyan is kind and generous to all. He would attend to a Christian as he would attend to a Muslim. Churches and mosques across the state are beneficiaries of his large heartedness.
“Ka so oro ka ba be, ni iyi Omoluabi” ( An Omoluabi keeps his words). An Omoluabi will keep a promise, come what may. He never lets his friends down, he never forgets a promise. He is man who is always loyal to those who are his followers no matter how lowly placed.
Often times, I am truly humbled for his love for the down trodden and how he is quick to call them “my friends”.
Though Raufu Olaniyan, by every standard, is a success story, he is yet very humble.
Truly, Ralph Emerson Waldo was right when he said “a great man is always willing to appear little, though great”. Olaniyan is always ever willing to dine with the plebs.
As he marks his 60th birthday today, I pray that he will live as long as he wants and never want as long as he lives.
Happy Birthday my Boss, Benefactor and Mentor.
Senior Special Assistant Media
To Deputy Governor