Mrs. Laurentia Laraba Mallam, former Minister of Environment, in this interview, describes Tunji Light Ariyomo, one of the APC governorship aspirants in Ondo State as a tested solution provider who is needed in the state. Excerpts:
By Etop Ekanem
As a former boss, how would you describe Tunji Ariyomo and what specific experiences can you share about him?
A leader must be able to identify authentic talents. Within my first five minutes of ever meeting Tunji Ariyomi, I knew I had a very different aide with me – somebody who could see the bigger picture. He had originally come to the ministry to pitch a technology product but I told my S. A. Political, Jonathan Asake, he should recruit him unto my team.
While working for me, Tunji initiated the ministry’s environmental intervention scheme targeting outright malaria elimination. I assigned him to lead the project. He led the development of a comprehensive guide and a seven-year pre-elimination master plan for the country that the President openly acknowledged as detailed and fantastic. On October 13, 2014 when the ministry made a presentation to Mr. President at the villa, the president was so impressed and did say at the presentation that he didn’t know that there were civil engineers that knowledgeable about public health.
Are there other attributes you found endearing that could inspire others?
Selflessness. Altruism. While working for me, Tunji served the Federal Government pro bono. He never collected a kobo from the ministry throughout and he never complained for one single day. It is not unusual for people to pester ministers for contracts, but not Tunji. Never.
He was focused – always wanting to solve one national problem or the other using very creative means. That was his passion. He was like somebody on a mission
Ariyomo is contesting the governorship of Ondo State; do you have any words for the people of Ondo State?
If I had an idea he would run for the governorship, I would have convinced him to run under PDP. I do not know who PDP is fielding. Anyway, the people will know better.
If not for platform difference, I should rightly be in Ondo State knocking on the doors of the elders there with my eyewitness account that they have an extraordinary son whose service could change their history. Anybody above 60 years old should be concerned primarily about what the future of this country would be or look like for generations yet unborn.
The survival of future generations depends on ensuring that our best hands are saddled with leadership responsibilities today, especially those with excellent leadership qualities.
It is not a common thing to have someone like Tunji who knows what to do and how to get it done and whose personal history reflects having successfully done what others would usually fail at.