Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (born 1 May 1982) is a Nigerian engineer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and politician who is the current minister of interior of Nigeria. He was a member of the House of Representatives of Nigeria representing Akoko North East/Akoko North West Federal Constituency of Ondo State from 2019 to 2023.[1]

Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo
Minister of Interior
Assumed office
21 August 2023
PresidentBola Tinubu
Preceded byRauf Aregbesola
Member of the
House of Representatives of Nigeria
from Ondo
In office
11 June 2019 – 21 August 2023
ConstituencyAkoko North East/Akoko North West
Personal details
Born (1982-05-01) 1 May 1982 (age 42)
Okeagbe Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria
Political partyAll Progressives Congress
SpouseAbimbola Tunji-Ojo
Alma mater
  • Politician
  • engineer
  • entrepreneur
  • philanthropist

During his first term in the house of representatives, he was the chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).[2] On 26 February 2023, he was re-elected as the federal lawmaker representing Akoko North East and North West Federal Constituency. However, he resigned his membership of the lower chamber of the National Assembly after being appointed by President Bola Tinubu as minister of Interior on 16 August 2023.[3]

Early life and education edit

Bunmi Tunji-Ojo, popularly called BTO was born in Oyin Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria. He attended Ansarudeen Primary School, Oyin Akoko from 1987 to 1990 and Hakda International school in Kaduna from 1990 to 1992 before completing his primary education at Universal Primary School, Akure in 1993. He then proceeded to FUTA staff secondary school, Akure for his secondary education where he was elected the senior prefect in 1998.

In 1999, he gained admission into Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife to study Electrical and Electronics Engineering. In 2002, while in his third year at the Obafemi Awolowo University, he proceeded to the University of North London (now London Metropolitan University) where he studied Electronics and Communication Engineering and graduated in 2005. He obtained a master's degree in Digital Communication and Networking from the same institution in 2006. He holds certifications in eighteen professional qualifications in ICT including the prestigious title of being one of the first set of certified ethical hackers from Royal Britannia IT Training Academy in the United Kingdom before he turned 24 years.[4]

Career edit

Before his advent into politics, Tunji-Ojo was an accomplished business and management executive with a flourishing career in ICT, becoming the CEO of a leading indigenous ICT consultant company in Nigeria, Matrix IT Solutions Limited, at the age of 24. As a professional, he holds a certification in Ethical Hacking and Counter Measures. He is also a certified CompTIA Network Plus Engineer and a Britannia Hardware A+ Management Certificate Holder.[5]

In Nigeria, he consulted for the World Bank and several government agencies, including Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), National Health Insurance Scheme, Abuja (NHIS), Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), various committees of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Nigeria Gas Company, National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education among others.

In collaboration with the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), he pioneered the first Nigerian Content Workshop (NCW) in 2016, a forum for all stakeholders in the Oil and Gas Industry to discuss freely on the Policy Framework to improve indigenous participation and making use of the Nigerian Content Policy to domicile the best global productivity and performances in Nigeria.[6] One of the goals of the workshop was to address the thematic issues, challenges, concerns, and ways forward and this was achieved with thirteen papers delivered and deliberated upon by speakers including Aminu Galadima (Ag. Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund); Bank Anthony Okoroafor (Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria); Waziri Adio (Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative); Geoff Onuoha (Chairman, Pipeline Professionals’ association of Nigeria, PLAN); Tunde Adelana (Director, M&ED, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board); Alhaji Habibu Abdullahi (Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority); Osagie Okunbor (Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria and Managing Director, SPDC); Godwin Emefiele (Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria); Tonye Cole (MD, Sahara Group); Taofeek Adegbite (Chief Executive, Marine Platforms Ltd) among others.

Politics edit

In 2019, he was elected into the House of Representatives of Nigeria to represent Akoko North East/Akoko North West Federal Constituency of Ondo State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Upon his inauguration, he mobilized 246 other lawmakers to support the speakership ambition of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, under the forum of first-timers lawmakers,[7][8] chaired by him. Months later, he was appointed by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as the Chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).[9] He led the House of Representatives Committee to probe alleged malfeasance of over 80 billion Naira in the commission, making it the first time a probe will be launched into the financial activities of the NDDC in its over twenty years of existence.[10] In March 2021, his proposed bill to repeal the NDDC Act which will make abuse of office impossible, a bill that passed the first reading.[10][11]

Tunji-Ojo was also a member of House of Representatives Committees on National Security and Intelligence, Local Content, Gas Resources, North East Development Commission (NEDC), Housing, FCT Area Council and Ancillary Matters, Solid Minerals and Pilgrims Affairs. Also on 26 February, he was re-elected as the federal lawmaker representing Akoko North East and North West Federal Constituency.[12] At the start of the 10th assembly, he was the Director General of the campaign team of Hon. Tajudeen Abass, who later became the speaker of the house of representative.[13] Few weeks into the start of his tenure as a second term lawmaker in the 10th assembly, he was appointed minister of Interior by president Bola Tinubu and was sworn in on 21 August 2023.[14]

On 22 January 2021, he was awarded Honorary Doctorate Degree in Public Administration by Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU) Ikeji Arakeji, Osun State.[15] He is a recipient of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Platinum Leadership Award of Excellence as well as the Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award as a Worthy Ambassador of African Youth.

Controversies edit

High number of aides edit

As a member of the House of Representatives, Ojo appointed 220 personal aides in January 2020. According to a statement released by his Special Adviser on New Media, Alao Babatunde, the aides appointed included one Chief of Staff, six special advisers, 156 special assistants, and 67 personal assistants. According to Babatunde, the number of the appointments is intented to represent all the 23 wards and 300 units of Ojo's Akoko North East/North West Federal Constituency.[16][17][18]

NDDC probe edit

In 2020, the National Assembly probed the NDDC regarding an alleged financial malfeasance.[19] On 16 July 2020, during an investigative hearing on the allegations conducted by the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta, the acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Kemebradikumo Pondei, and his team walked out on the committee. Pondei accused Ojo, the committee's chairman, of corruption and claimed he was "an interested party" and refused to attend the hearing as long as Ojo was present as "he cannot seat on his own case".[20][21] Shortly after Pondei's walkout, Benjamin Kalu, representing Bende constituency, presented a motion pushing for the arrest of the Managing Director. An arrest warrant was issued on Pondei after Kalu's motion was unanimously supported.[20][22]

Another investigative hearing was conducted a week later on 21 July. At this hearing, Ojo agreed to step down as head of the panel "to allow all party have a sense of free and fair hearing".[23][24] A month later, Cairo Ojougboh, executive director of projects at the NDDC, alleged that Ojo, and several other national assembly members, was "culpable" in "sleaze contracts".[25][26][27]

Contract scandal edit

In January 2024, Betta Edu was suspended as Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) launched an investigation against her. Shortly after Edu's suspension, reports emerged that the New Planet Project Limited, a company owned by Ojo, received 438.1 million from Edu's Ministry for "consultancy services". Ojo claimed he resigned from directorship of the company on 4 February 2019, after he was first elected into the House of Representatives.[28] However, he said he was still a shareholder of the company and that "to the best of my knowledge" it was not illegal for public officers to be, at the same time, shareholders of private companies.[29][30] On 15 January, the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) invited Ojo over the allegations.[31]

Alleged Social Washing edit

On 6 February 2024, the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), an independent, not-for-profit organization established by Fisayo Soyombo, made an allegation that a social media campaign is being conducted by social media influencers, primarily on X (formerly Twitter), to promote Ojo. The organisation presented a list of 50 X accounts which they claim were sponsored to promote the Minister. However, according to Rosemary Ajayi, a researcher with experience in examining the weaponisation of social media in Nigeria, the presence of a social media campaign supporting a politician may not serve as sufficient evidence to conclusively prove the politician's involvement. Ajayi remarked that such campaigns are sometimes funded by associates or aides aiming to gain favor, and that the beneficiary might be entirely unaware of these activities.[32]

Personal life edit

He is married to Abimbola Tunji-Ojo who also hails from Ondo State and they have two children.[33]

Awards and recognition edit

• Honorary Doctorate Degree in Public Administration by Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Ikeji Arakeji, Osun State (2021).

• Award of Recommendation as a distinguished Lecturer at the 1st African and 2nd Nigeria Conference on Adolescent and Youth Health and Development Abuja, Nigeria (2021).

• Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Ondo State Council As most outstanding constituents-friendly Federal Lawmaker of the year (2021).

• Award Of Excellence by House of Representatives Press Corps in recognition of excellent performance as Dean of oversight (2021).

• Transparency and anti-corruption award in recognition of pragmatic disposition to issues of transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption by National Assembly New Media Forum (2021)

• Southwest First Alert Magazine Merit Award as the best Federal incumbent Honourable Member for remarkable contributions towards the growth and development of South-West region (2020)

• Fellow’s award, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (2021)

• Gold award of excellence on Community Development by Southwest Nigeria Excellence Awards (2019)

• Outstanding leadership award as one of the key actors of the new Niger Delta by the Niger Delta Student Union Government (2021)

• Leadership award of excellence by Not Too Young To Rule Initiative (2019)

• Africa Value Awards (AVA) as the Legislator of the Year for effective Representation/Community Development (2021)

• 30 most Influential young Nigerians award by National Youth Council of Nigeria (2019)

• Award as Pacesetter in Political Representation by Akoko North West Local Government Council, Okeagbe Akoko, Ondo State (2019)

• Award of commendation by BEMORE EMPOWERED INITITATIVE of Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, wife of the Governor of Ondo State (2021)

• Sir Ahmadu Bello Platinum Leadership Award of Excellence (2019)

• National Assembly Best Legislator of the year (2020, 2021)

• The Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Nigeria Award of Excellence (2021)

• Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award as “Worthy Ambassador of African 2010 Youth” by All African Students Union (AASU)

• Excellence Award in Students Empowerment by The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) 2010

References edit

  1. ^ "Celebrating the Shining Star From Okeagbe". 24 October 2019.
  2. ^ "We will make NDDC deliver on its mandates -Tunji-Ojo". 26 December 2020.
  3. ^ Oluwole, Josiah (21 August 2023). "Minister resigns from House of Representatives". Premium Times. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  4. ^ "Bunmi Tunji-Ojo: Square peg in square hole". Daily Trust. 2 August 2019.
  5. ^ Epia, Oke (12 April 2019). "NEWBIES: Tunji-Ojo to join team Ondo in House of Reps".
  6. ^ https://www.blueprint.ng/expect-heated-debate-fireworks-high-emotions-ahead-pia-nies-2022/
  7. ^ "Tunji-Ojo leads executives to back Akeredolu | The Nation". 11 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Why We Support Gbajabiamila". Retrieved 14 September 2023 – via PressReader.
  9. ^ "We'll make NDDC deliver on its mandate — Tunji-Ojo | The Nation". Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics. 14 February 2021.
  10. ^ a b "NDDC: Why NASS is repealing Act —Tunji-Ojo". 4 March 2021.
  11. ^ "House of Reps to NDDC IMC: Blackmail won't stop us from probing you -". 27 May 2020.
  12. ^ https://businessday.ng/nigeriadecidesliveupdates/article/ondo-federal-lawmaker-bto-wins-re-election/
  13. ^ https://guardian.ng/news/nigeria/metro/olubunmi-tunji-ojo-meets-party-stakeholders-strategizes-for-2023/
  14. ^ Akinola, Ifeoluwa (21 August 2023). "LIVE: Swearing-in ceremony for Tinubu's ministers holds at Presidential Villa". Nigerian Tribune. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  15. ^ "Honour for Tunji-Ojo". Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics. 22 January 2021.
  16. ^ Aborisade, Sunday (2 January 2020). "Lawmaker appoints 220 aides to empower constituents". The Punch. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  17. ^ "Ondo Lawmaker Appoints 220 Aides | Sahara Reporters". Sahara Reporters. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  18. ^ Yakubu, Temitope (2 January 2020). "Ondo reps appoints 230 personal aides". TheCable.
  19. ^ "After two months' recess: 10 controversial issues await N/Assembly". Daily Trust. 27 September 2020. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  20. ^ a b Olisah, Chike (16 July 2020). "N40 billion Probe: Drama as Reps order arrest of Ag MD NDDC after walking out on them". Nairametrics. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  21. ^ "NDDC Management Walk Out On House Of Representative Members | Sahara Reporters". saharareporters.com. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  22. ^ Shibayan, Dyepkazah (20 July 2020). "Reps panel chairman withdraws from NDDC probe over corruption allegations". TheCable.
  23. ^ Olisah, Chike (20 July 2020). "Chairman of NDDC probe committee on N40 billion corruption allegation steps aside". Nairametrics. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  24. ^ Salem, Tordue (21 July 2020). "NDDC Probe: Reps' Panel Chairman resigns, says he's ready for probe". Vanguard (Nigeria).
  25. ^ Shibayan, Dyepkazah (31 August 2020). "There'll be crisis if we release the list of those who got NDDC contracts". TheCable.
  26. ^ Etim, Etim (30 January 2024). "Who really is Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo?". Businessday NG. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  27. ^ Akintola, Kehinde (3 July 2023). "NDDC Committee Chairmanship: Ilaje group moves against the appointment of Tunji-Ojo". Tribune Online. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  28. ^ Ariemu, Ogaga (9 January 2024). "Betta Edu scandal: What Interior Minister, Tunji-Ojo said over alleged N483 consultancy fee indictment". Daily Post Nigeria. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  29. ^ Adegboyega, Ayodeji (9 January 2024). "Nigerian minister speaks on N428m contract scandal". Premium Times Nigeria. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  30. ^ Zakariyau, Abdulrahman (8 January 2024). "Betta Edu: I'm not involved in N438m million contract - Interior minister". Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  31. ^ Ejekwonyilo, Ameh (15 January 2024). "Contract Scandal: CCB invites interior minister Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo". Premium Times Nigeria. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  32. ^ Atanda, Sodeeq (6 February 2024). "CONFIRMED: Over 50 'Influencers' Laundering Interior Minister Tunji-Ojo's Image on X". Foundation For Investigative Journalism. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  33. ^ "Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, The Man the cap fits to represent Akoko North West & East Federal constituency . An Icon of excellence and a philanthropist per excellence". 28 November 2018.