By Abdulmalik Suleiman
Every society strives for progress and development. Leadership in such given environment holds the key to the attainment of such aspirations and Kogi State should not be an exception by being a departure from the norm.
For a society to optimize its potentials for greatness, efforts must and should be geared towards not only erecting the right institutions to support such dreams but also to ensure that the right calibre of people are put at the helms of affairs of such aspiring societies.
As the forthcoming governorship election is fast approaching, relevant stakeholders in Kogi State are searching for a qualified person with solid pedigree coupled with outstanding and unblemished private and public service record that would pilot the affairs of the state. This is in taking into cognizance the desire to make the state one of the most envious one amongst its 35 other peers making up the entity called Nigeria.
Numerous sons and daughters of the state have been putting themselves forward as viable candidate to succeed the incumbent, Gov. Yahya Bello. No doubt, Kogi State is blessed with an array of qualified and competent indigenes that can pilot its affairs.
One of such worthy gladiators is Mr. Babatunde Irukera, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), a man of verifiable pedigree and credentials who though from a prominent family has also done well for himself by achieving greatness in all his endeavours.
Currently, the Chief Executive of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC (formerly Consumer Protection Council), Irukera like he has always done in whatever assignment he was given to carry out, he is overseeing the transition and operationalisation of the Commission since January 30, 2019, when the commission change its name and mandate and so far he has been able to discharge his function creditably well for all Nigerians to see.
Irukera has not only brought excellent managerial sagacity and acumen to bear in the affairs of the commission, he has also brought with him the experience he had garnered over time as a successul legal practitioner of several years standing to fore by developing series of blue print that would guide the operational procedure of the fledging commission.
It is instructive to note that his wealth of experience is coming to bear when he joined other egg heads to co-author several chapters in a range of competition/antitrust related international publications.
He was called to the Nigeria Bar in 1990, a feat he replicated before the Washington State Supreme Court in 1996 to cap several years of fruitful efforts at gaining knowledge.
Born on September 4 1968 in Kaduna to the Irukera Royal household of Egbeland, Irukera attended St Joseph Nursery and primary school Ilorin 1974 and later Unilorin Staff School between 1977 and 1980. He was at the Federal Government College, Ilorin, between 1980 and 1985 before proceeding to the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife where he graduated in 1990.
He was the founding Partner at SimmonsCooper and Partners, a firm known for its reputation for excellence and service delivery. That platform has accorded him the right exposure to issues, events as well as institutions both within and outside the country.
Irukera has continued to utilise his talents and experience to solve and resolve issues that affect the well being of Nigerians and foreigners alike.
It is to his credit that he successfully sought and won legal reprieve for the victims of drug testing in Kano by global giants Pfizer for Meningitis vaccines.
Kano Children were used as guinea pigs by Pfizer and many died and were deformed. He sued and won compensation for their families and Kano State government running to hundreds of millions of US Dollars.
Also, he has his inputs in most of the pro-Nigerian policies implemented by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to curtail the excesses of airline operators and other aviation services providers.
He was very much instrumental to the process of conceptualising, formulating and implementing these laws and protocols as a lawyer of international repute.
For example, before 2013, the cost of flying from Lagos to London on the two major airlines, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, was twice the price of their ticket from Accra to London. That meant that Nigerians many of whom were students travelling to or from the United Kingdom for school or to visit family had to pay almost twice what the Ghanaian passenger pays for a comparable route, or face the inconvenience and cost of first flying to Ghana.
That act was also killing smaller Nigerian airlines as it became almost impossible for them to compete with these British giants. All of that changed when NCAA, upon Babatunde’s counsel and guidance, launched an investigation and stopped the unfair pricing strategy of these airlines. He has done a lot in fighting for the rights of the downtrodden.
He has done the same in various sectors of our National life, from Telecom industry, Media Information Technology to Banking and Finance, Healthcare system and Commerce and Trading. He has helped in restoring ethnic in the system by strictly applying the law which were hitherto ignore or due to consumers ignorance.
He contested in 2015 and 2019 for Kogi State governorship and 2023 presents yet another opportunity for him to present himself to lead the people of the state to glory and honour.
Having done much for humanity outside of his Kogi enclave, the people of the CONFLUENCE STATE would be doing themselves the world of good by bringing this patriot on board to lead them to the proverbial promised land of development and progress.
This piece was written by Mal. Abdulmalik Suleiman from Abuja
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