By Jide Afolabi
Barely 24 hours to the Osun State Polytechnic Alumni Association (OSPAA) convention and election which will hold on the premises of the institution that is known for excellence in character and technology and has produced some of the best hands in administration, economy, media, communication technology, engineering, banking, politics and governance, and FCMG among others.
The campus would receive visits from former old students who are today captains of industries and astute administrators. The gathering is the biggest of all gatherings among many events that have and would be witnessed on the campus.
Although, the school has produced hundreds of thousands of graduates in various fields, however, less than twenty percent of the alumni are expected to turn up for the convention. These graduates are not only excelling in their chosen profession but are making the school proud and lifting the banner of business and technical education in Nigeria high.
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Often, many have seen polytechnic as an alternative to university education, this is compounded by unfavorable policies by the governments toward polytechnic education and graduates. But against all odds, polytechnic graduates have shattered the ceiling to emerge as best hands in different sectors of the economy including graduates of the hilly, tiny town of Iree.
While not hundreds of thousands of the Alumni of the institution may converge on Iree for the Convention, more than a hundred thousand are expected. The convention is not only for the business of the association but to relieve the memories of their years in the former “Poly Oko” that has now emerged as one of the polytechnics in today’s Nigeria.
The Alumni business is a serious business. This is so because of the onerous roles and responsibilities bestowed upon it to the Alumni members, the institution, the community, the state, and the nation at large. Hence, the need to elect leaders that have the capacity, intelligence, exposure, maturity, accountability, and image to paddle the canoe of the association.
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One of such who graciously has indicated interest is the quintessential Ile-Ogbo-born insurer, banker, financial expert, astute administrator, distinctive politician, and philanthropist par excellence, Hon. Abidemi Gbenga Ogunkanmi.
Ogunkanmi is a well-known name in not just OSPAA but the institution and polytechnic community and by extension, Osun state.
From a very humble background, Ogunkanmi has fought his way to the pinnacle of his career. The career started at the earliest years of the then Polytechnic Ibadan, Iree Satellite Campus which later metamorphosed into Osun State Polytechnic Iree after the creation of Osun State in 1991.
Ogunkanmi is a graduate of Financial Studies (1996) and Banking and Finance (1999) from this great and noble polytechnic.
As a student, he was an activist and unionist fighting for the welfare of his colleagues at the expense of his education. Given his sterling performance, he was elected by his colleagues to represent them at the students’ legislative arm called the Student Representative Council (SRC).
Ogunkanmi being one of the best students in his student days appreciates education especially, the efforts to emerge as the best student. As a result, since 2011, he has consistently been providing prizes for the best graduating students both in ND and HND at the department of Banking and Finance of the institution. The list of the students is readily available for verification.
His efforts to academic excellence did not go unnoticed as he bagged the Award of Excellence from the departments of Mass Communication and Banking and Finance of this citadel of learning in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
Ogunkanmi is a professional to the core and a member of many professional bodies among which are the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, and Nigerian Institute of Management (Associate Member), among others.
The OSPAA Presidential candidate has worked with Cornerstone Insurance Plc, Lagos, and an Insurance Broker Company, Femi Johnson and Co Unltd.
Between 2000 and 2005, Hon Ogunkanmi worked at Gateway Bank Plc, Lagos, as a Cashier, Cash Officer, Customer Services Officer, Fund Transfer Officer, and Branch Head of Operation.
He left Gateway Bank Plc for Intercontinental Bank Plc in 2005 where he worked with the Bank’s Retail and Personal Banking Department, which was in charge of Deposit Mobilization, Field Marketing, Invention Booking, Relationship Management, Reactivation of Dormant Accounts, Risk Assets Generation, and Appraisal and Booking of Credit Facilities among others.
Ogunkanmi left the banking industry for politics in February 2011 when he became the Caretaker Chairman of Ayedire Local Government Council, Osun State, an office he served meritoriously for two terms. He was later appointed Senior Special Assistant to the Governor after the expiration of his chairmanship tenure in 2017.
At present, Hon. Ogunkanmi is the lawmaker representing Ayedire State Constituency at the Osun State House of Assembly. Even as a first-term parliamentarian, Ogunkanmi was elected as the Deputy Chief Whip of the Assembly and Chairman of the House Committee on Public Account.
Ogunkanmi served meritoriously as the Treasurer of OSPAA during the tenure of Chief Bola Olagunju. He prudently managed the association’s finances which made it possible for the body to have its Secretariat building and the facilities therein today.
Hon. Gbenga Ogunkanmi has contributed in no small measure by using his influence, experience, and network to support his alma mater, different departments and faculties, OSPAA, and Alumni of the institution. He has facilitated many jobs and unquantifiable opportunities for many OSPAA members.
Ogunkanmi in his manifesto has chronicled his vision for the association, members, and the institution. Among these are membership drive; chapter creation; welfare programs; job opportunities; networks among members; getting a license for OSPOLY Radio; placement for SIWES and IT students; improving facilities at the Secretariat; supporting the institution with equipment; facilitating projects for the institution; and media engagement among others.
Every election is a contest. An election where there are many candidates is bound to throw up issues. Ogunkanmi being a peaceful and fine gentleman has committed himself to a free, fair, credible, and peaceful election. We call on other candidates to emulate this statesman who has been making us proud over the years.
At this period when our dear OSPAA yearns for a true, trustworthy, and capable leader, Ogunkanmi is the answer. OSPAA’s future is assured by this honorable gentleman. Support the people’s choice.