Babajimi Benson At 52: Paving the Way Towards a Progressive Lagos State By Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni

Babajimi Benson At 52: Paving the Way Towards a Progressive Lagos State By Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni



“We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. Not in love with publicity but with humanity “ – Martin Luther King Jr


Since the inception of Fourth Republic in 1999, the good people of Ikorodu Federal Constituency have had only three individuals represent them in the Green Chamber. Under the democratic system, citizens entrust their governance to elected representatives, expecting them to legislate and rule on their behalf. Between 1999 and 2003, Ikorodu – the 12th largest city in Nigeria was represented by Bon. Dorcas O. Idowu Odujinri, she was relieved by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the current Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM). She spent 12 years from 2003 to 2015 before Rep. Babajimi Benson took over. Despite the fleeting tenures of past representatives, Babajimi Benson, fondly called JB, has brought about significant change in the last nine years. Unlike his predecessors, JB has forged a new path of representation, bridging the gap between the people and their elected officials.


Inspired by the words of Martin Luther King Jr., JB’s leadership is rooted in a genuine love for justice and humanity, rather than personal gain or publicity. His journey into politics has been marked by a commitment to serve and solve problems, earning him the nickname “Imole of Ikorodu” (Light of Ikorodu). Before now, elected officials have always been distanced only to be seen during the election circle.


JB’s success in public service can be attributed to his strategic approach and dedicated team – iCare Foundation, who have revolutionized political organization in Ikorodu and neighboring communities such that the electorate now see the Jimi Benson template as a standard of measurement for any politician. JB understands the importance of measured speech, believing in giving people second chances and making decisions based on rationality rather than emotions.


JB’s impact extends far beyond rhetoric; he has delivered tangible results for his constituents. From facilitating the construction of numerous classrooms in places like African Bethel Pry School, Maya, Community Pry School, Ori Okuta, Methodist Primary School, Oke-Eletu, United Native Africa Pry School, Igbalu, United Native Africa Pry School, Oke-Agbo, Zumuratul Islamiyah Pry School, Odogunyan, Owode Pry School, Ibelefun, Ibeshe, United High School amongst others to spearheading rural electrification projects with provision of Transformers and Solar-powered streets in over 20 communities and over 5000 Home Solar through his #LightUpIkorodu, an effort to contribute to the security of lives and property. His hands of representation seem to be everywhere, illuminating the lives of those he serves.


Despite having the political burden of having to serve  30 Political Wards, 6 Local Government/Local Council Development Areas, JB’s commitment to infrastructure development remains unwavering. His advocacy for road construction, exemplified by his first motion on the deplorable state of the Ikorodu-Sagamu road, has resulted in the facilitation of over 45 internal roads within the Ikorodu Division, reflecting a commitment to infrastructure development in Ikorodu.


Sometime in 2017 at the heat of the debate on the need to alter Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which seeks to protect presiding officers of the National and States Assemblies from legal prosecution. JB constructively said, “I do not believe that the legislature should enjoy immunity. The Nigerian people should enjoy immunity from hunger and unemployment. They’ve suffered enough. This is not the time we should be talking about immunity.” Those are the words of a lawmaker driven by service and the need to minimize the impact of hunger. Being a man who puts his money where his mouth is, he feeds over 500 residents monthly through the  “Apo Aanu ” initiative through his iCare Foodbank that has been running for 8 years.


At 52, JB’s achievements speak volumes; his efforts in youth development, education, electrification, and road construction have transformed Ikorodu and earned him the moniker “Julius Berger of Ikorodu.” With a General Hospital in Imota and countless primary healthcare centres to his name, his relentless pursuit of progress has positioned him as a frontrunner in legislative matters and impactful constituency projects.


Just as a skilled swimmer effortlessly glides through water, JB adeptly navigates the complexities of public service with grace and precision, always prioritizing the best interests of those he represents. Like any seasoned swimmer, JB recognizes the significance of maintaining composure under pressure, identifying the path of least resistance, and moving forward with unwavering determination. However, rather than diving headfirst into challenges, he takes a strategic approach, carefully studying each situation and anticipating potential consequences beforehand.


While putting this writeup together, I realized the collective length of roads facilitated by Babajimi Benson spans an impressive 41.1 kilometers. This extensive network, if envisioned as a single thoroughfare, would nearly encircle Lagos from Ikorodu, touching its various regions. Even though he has not stopped facilitating road, measuring the road facilitated as a link to reach other regions in the Lagos IBILE structure shows how close Ikorodu could have been literally. For instance, the distance from Ikorodu to the Alausa Secretariat in Ikeja Division is approximately 22.5 kilometers, while the journey to Lagos Island via the Third Mainland Bridge covers 36 kilometers. Venturing further, the path to the Epe Division spans 62.7 kilometers, and to Badagry Division, a substantial 72 kilometers.


This realization underscores the potential of Ikorodu Division to produce leaders capable of governing Lagos State comprehensively. Babajimi Benson emerges as a prime example, hailing from a politically astute lineage that includes Chief T.O.S Benson, Nigeria’s First Republic Information Minister. Before entering politics, Benson traversed the humanitarian and corporate sectors, honing his expertise at institutions like the United Nations Legal Department and the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation as Secretary/ Legal Adviser. His tenure as Chairman of the House Committee on Defence further attests to his commitment to national security and governance. JB’s multifaceted background, coupled with his track record of impactful governance, positions him as a figure capable of steering Lagos towards a prosperous future, even beyond his current legislative role.


As JB celebrates his birthday, let us acknowledge his exemplary leadership and dedication to service. His journey from the legal department of the United Nations to the hallowed halls of the House of Representatives reflects a deep-seated commitment to humanitarianism and public welfare.


Happy Birthday, Rep. Babajimi Benson! Your unwavering dedication to improving the lives of the people of Ikorodu is truly commendable, and your legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.


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