For Ibeju Crown Prince, Hameed Adejoro Ajijola life is not a competition but rather a lone race of destiny. Imbued with humility and hardwork, the Chartered Economist has become an inspiration to many who have found him quite dependable. He spoke with Pentouch Recently . about himself his aspirations and plan and fears about people of Ibeju-Lekki.
Who is Hameed Adejoro Ajijola?
I am a public health practitioner and a seasoned organization strategist. I was born in the 70s into the Baseusa Oniwonlu Royal Family of Ibeju Lekki, Lagos. I am one of the major aspirants to the vacant Stool of Oba Onibejub. I have Bsc in Economics and a Master’s in Business Administration .I am an alumnus of different business schools in Nigeria and abroad. I am a Chartered Economist with more than two decades experience in Administration, Tax Consulting, Public Relations, Brand Strategy, Marketing Communications and Interventions, Public Health Management. I am a Fellow of the Institute for Health Insurance & Managed Care of Nigeria(FIHIMN), Chartered Institute of Administration (FCIA), Chartered Institute of Economists of Nigeria (FCE), Institute of Strategic Management (FSM) and Nigeria Institute of Management (FNIM).
I am currently the MD/CEO of Dependable Health Services Limited, Dependable Royal Estate, Dependable Autos Limited and Desaj Investment Limited.
I had also lectured on part-time basis in different business schools in Nigeria.
I am happily married with children. I have also attended several courses and training within and outside the country on Leadership, Business Administration, Healthcare Financing and Delivery, Project Management etc.
How do you feel turning 46 .
I thank God for the grace to witness this day. There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why. When we were born, we cried and the world rejoiced. We should live our life well so that when we die, the world cries and we rejoice. I didn’t choose this birthday, this birthday chose me. My birthday is an inspiration! My birthday is an achievement! My Birthday is the victory! I celebrate my birthday today! It`s a birthday of achiever!My life is full of meaning! I know it. Happy birthday to me!
If you are asked to write a synopsis of your life so far. What would it be?
As a young kid I have seen a vision of what I will be in future. God has always been in charge of my life. I wanted to study Law in the university, God changed it to Economics. I initially was supposed to go to UK for my tertiary education but God said I should do it in Nigeria. I chose a different school, God changed it to another one.
I was raised as a kid in U.K before my parents relocated to Nigeria. My dad worked with United Nations and it made him travel to different countries almost all the time. I was born in a very comfortable home with access to all the best things of life. We are only two boys and I am the eldest .
I was groomed with the British conservative lifestyle by my parents. I had a very rapid education and was the first to get admission into university from my secondary school set.I have always been taking the leadership role right from childhood despite my cool and quiet nature.
I never knew happiness until I realized that life is a competition. I have always set a very high goals and standards for myself. I loved to be extraordinarily among my peers. I read a lot and very widely too. But as I grew older, I realized life is not a competition, some will go ahead of me, majority of others will come after me. I will overtake some, and some will overtake me. Eventually, when the time is right, I will get to where am supposed to be. After all, only my shadow is created to walk next to me for all days. I may be a slow walker but I will never walk backwards. My happiness has always been a source of inpiration to a whole lot of people and even people older than me. I have and still impact positively and greatly to a whole lot of people around me. That is where I got the nickname ‘Dependable.’ A lot of people depend on me, the most reason I have to work harder.
What is the present situation on the vacant Onibeju throne?
The aspirants have dropped dramatically to like four now. Some have been bought over by money to step down and others have voluntarily stepped down. The remaining aspirants are trying to seek government connections to influence their choice. In a nutshell, we are actually waiting for government pronouncements on the vacant stool. You can see the current issue with the Obaship in Ikeja and Oshodi. The Governor is actually taking his time to get it right because of the various Federal and State Government investments in ibeju Lekki axis.
Do you have an edge over other aspirants to the throne?
My chances are high going by the body languages of the key stakeholders I have met and solicited for their support.
I have met some key kings in my division. I have visited them to introduce myself and share my vision with them as a contestant and not to buy them over. Everything is now in God’s hands because only Him can make someone King with or without the support of anybody. He knows best. I have done my own part to make myself available, the rest belong to Him.
What are your plans for the community if you are installed as the next Onibeju?
I have always been more passionate about adding value to the people of Ibeju even right from the time of the last deceased monarch, Oba Salami. I am changing the narrative from the old ways they have been doing things to get a better development for Ibeju. I have seen my people lack so much in education sector more reason we are not well represented in Federal, State, and all other agencies as staff. My agenda are:1. Protect Community Assets .2. Poverty reductions and eradication. 3.Security 4. Low Income Housing Projects. 5. Stand against modern slavery. 6.No to profit transportation schemes. 7. Youths empowerment. 8. A fully funded Free Community Health Insurance in all the regions of ibeju Lekki.9. Scholarships program and total upgrading of all schools in ibeju Lekki to private schools standards.
I have been to Eleko and some prominent estates in ibeju Lekki axis, where residents of these eyebrow estates enjoyed all the basics amenities, while the villages around them lack basic amenities because the kings that sold the lands to them didn’t request them to provide certain amenities for them. Nobody will give you what you deserve if you don’t ask for it.The Corporate Social Responsibility of all the estates and organizations are collected in monetary terms instead of providing basic amenities. I normally ask, are my people ready for all the developments coming to the axis? I don’t want Ibeju Lekki to be like Niger Delta region that live in abject poverty despite being surrounded by oil. Therefore the well-being of indigenes and residents of Ibeju Land and what they should benefit from hosting these private firms, industries and development going on there is my primary concern and will definitely be topmost on my plans if I eventually get there.
What are the basic needs of Ibeju communities ?
Like I explained in the previous question, my people live below the universal standard of living which might be worse when the Dangote Refinery starts operations fully because they are predominantly fishermen. One of the key need of Maslow Hierarchy of Need is the psychological needs which comprises of food, clothes, shelter and security. The basic needs approach is one of the major approaches to the measurement of absolute poverty in developing communities. 1)The development of an effective and appropriate infrastructure. 2) The implementation of labor-intensive projects. 3) The enhancement of community members’ skills, knowledge and attitudes appropriate for the local labor market. 4) The improvement of cooperation and coordination with all stakeholders.
Education is perhaps the most important formative factor in the life of a
nation.As the education is, so is the nation bound to be. Yet successive Nigerian governments have allowed our educational
system to come very close to destruction. At one level, the collapse is the
result of poor funding.
Other areas are healthcare, information technology, good road network, enabling environment, electricity, and transportation are crucial to driving every other social infrastructures.
How do you hope to key into Ibeju’s vision as the new economic hub of Lagos ?
By preparing my people on the need to be prepared for the development coming in their domain. Sensitizing them on how to tap into the development. I foresee a repeat of Apapa mayhem in Ibeju-Lekki corridor of Lagos State, that’s if not worse. With all the massive projects there, Dangote Refineries, Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lekki Deep Sea Port, Lekki Airport and many more, nothing is being done to improve infrastructures around there apart from the road expansion from Eleko Junction to Epe.
However, Jakande to Eleko Junction has the highest concentration of residential estates in the state. Yet, no good road networks linking communities. They all have to join the Lekki/Epe Expressway before getting to even the next community. There is need to present some of these observations to the necessary people in government. We plead with our leaders to facilitate the construction of the coastal roads and also community-linked roads because these roads will serve as an alternative when we start experiencing gridlock like that of Apapa.
How close are you to tradition and culture ?
I have been able to acclimatise myself to the culture and tradition of Ibeju Lekki. I have visited all the kings in my division and greatly learned a lot from them on our culture and tradition. If people don’t manage their cultural artifacts well, such heritage would be destroyed in no time. We have the Ibeju Agbe site which is the spot where the founder of ibeju first stepped his foot on and built a shelter there. We also have a building where all the ancient crowns were kept which incidentally is managed by my ruling house (Oniwonlu ruling house ). I also plan to make some of our traditional festivals popular like some monarchs are doing in their domain. All these are necessary to promote tourism.
How do you expect people to key into your vision, considering your elite background ?
Ordinarily, people are afraid of change and this is where communication is key, hence, I have to carry along people in pushing forward initiative that could change their lives through proper sensitization and engagement on their needs. There will always be constant forum to engage people on what to do for them and how we can go about it. Being a king doesn’t mean that you have to be a tyrant, no, you must engage your people to know how best to attend to their needs.
My people in ibeju land needs a king that is well groomed in the art of governance with liberal education and capacity. A king with the acumen to manage scarce resources for the greater good of the greatest number of his people. All of which I possess.
The primary essence of leadership is to serve the people, and this as it were should be done wholeheartedly because a life well lived is a life lived sacrificially for others. In similar vein, service to humanity is best work of life.
What are your hobbies ?
I love reading, listening to music and traveling. I like seeking knowledge, so I read extensively on research works and history.
What does fashion means to you ?
Fashion to me means a lot because it says a lot about who you are. Just like the popular saying ‘You are addressed the way you dress’ I like to dress moderately but always make a statement with my look. You have to dress to meet up with your position.
Do you have a particular fashion style ?
Well, I dress according to my mood and time. If am on casual, it has to be designer. My key designers are Polo by Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Giovani, Giogio Armani, Van Heusen, If am on native wears, it also goes with accessories to complement my looks. But recently I wear mostly Agbada attires to occasions.
How do you unwind ?
When I was a bit younger, I love going to nite clubs because I love dancing and listening to music. But now, I just sit at home and listen to music with red wine or a bottle of champagne. Once in awhile, I do visit my friends at Ikoyi Club, Country Club or Polo Club. As a member of Epe Club, I do hangout with my fellow members every month at the Club House.
Do you have a particular hangout ?
Polo Club Ikoyi, Cubana, Farm City, Epe Club and Ikoyi Club.
How do you spend quality time with your family ?
Most times we travel out of the country for vacation. Sometimes we visit resorts center in Nigeria for the weekend. We regularly visit eyebrow restaurants on the Island and beaches too.
What are your most prized fashion items ?
I have collection of top range
wristwatches 25 pieces. I love shoes too, I have Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford, Gucci Princetown, Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Polo by Ralph Lauren. I also have their perfumes too.