Among the very many qualified contestants for the stool of Alara of Ilara Kingdom, in the Epe Division of Lagos State following the demise of it previous occupier, Oba Hakeem Okunola Adesanya, over a year ago, one man stands extraordinarily out and fit for the throne. He is the Oba-elect, Prince Olukayode Olufolarin Ogunsanwo.
It took the unanimous decision of the community’s committee of five king makers, who upon going through the processes assented to the choice of the revered Prince from the Telade (Alara) ruling house of Ibonwon, as the man who will lead Ilara Kingdom as the next Alara.
Prince Ogunsanwo is by every standard reputed as a thoroughbred professional in tax administration. This feat is a consequence of years of hard work, commitment to duty and utmost desire to reach the zenith of professionalism. In fact, he took time to tend his now towering image.
He attended the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife between 1984 and 1988 where he bagged Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Economics, before heading to the Lagos State University for a Masters in Public Administration (MPA). He also has a Masters of Science (M.Sc) from the University of Lagos.
Ogunsanwo kicked off his career with a brief stint in the banking sector before moving to government establishment where he plied his trade as a tax administrator for twenty five years and rose through the ranks to the top.
With a personality easily described as great, humane and humble, Ogunsanwo’s essence is anchored on service to the people and patriotism to the country. He is ruled by a philosophy that speaks directly to life, beliefs and professionalism.
Though ’eminently eligible’ to occupy the throne as a prince, Olufolarin has never, remotely or otherwise set his gaze on becoming a king. He was brought to the limelight by his outstanding success in the field of tax administration, his passion for the development of Ilara, as well as his people which he had demonstrated over the years. As a result, irresistible pressure from all quarters began to mount on him to contest for the throne of Alara. It was not therefore a surprise when he beat other contestants to emerge victorious.
A guru in tax administration, Ogunsanwo rose to become the Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) where he served between September 2015 and August 2016. He served with utmost discipline with enviable legacies trail his stewardship. Even the plot to rubbish his image as he stepped down from the LIRS job was duly cleared by the Lagos State House of Assembly which found him innocent of every accusation.
Among his landmark achievements and mind blowing innovations at the agency are:
• Achieved the highest internally generated revenue of 24.5 billion (Jan – Feb 2016) of the targeted 25billion for the period.
• Introduced Electronic filing of tax returns to ease filling of returns by employers of labour.
• Redesigned the assessment form from a 6 page form to 2 pages to encourage voluntary compliance in tax payment.
*Establishment of additional three tax offices at Ibeju, Amuwo-Odofin and Tejuosho to bring revenue centres closer to the people
*Establishment of LIRS tax academy for training and retraining of staff to improve their customer relations and service delivery to the populace.
*Introduction of tax audit operational manual to improve revenue generation.
• Served as a member of The Joint Tax Board which is the apex tax body in the country (September 2015 -August 2016)
Ogunsanwo’s social corporate responsibility status is as large as his personality. He has genuinely supported many people in his community by regularly handing out scholarships to indigent students and helping in providing social amenities to the community. It is on record the Oba-elect has assisted in easing power challenges by facilitating the distribution of a couple of transformers to some areas and donating generating sets to churches, among many other developmental interventions to ensure his people live well.
He has in addition single-handedly created job opportunities in the civil service for a considerable number of individuals from his community and beyond.
It is not by chance therefore that his people of Ilara and environs are elated at having him as their Oba, knowing that with his impressive public service record, passionate disposition, great influence in the right quarters, and most importantly, the attention of the development oriented administration in the state, it is only a matter of time before Ilara becomes a place to be in Lagos state and as such will be able to favourably compete with other well developed towns in the state.
Endowed with the traits of a credible Omoluabi and Atobatele, Ogunsanwo has the backing of some notable traditional rulers and a good number of members of the political class who trust his pedigree. Some of them are royal fathers from Epe, Ikorodu, Ibeju and others.
As a professionally certified tax expert with over 27 years of cognitive experience, there is no doubt the new Alara’s confidence, target driven personality and proven leadership skills that involve managing, developing and motivating teams to achieving set objectives will see him walking his talk to turn Ilara around for good.
Also, he is a certified Fellow, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (FCTI), Member, Nigerian Institute of Management (MNIM) and Member, Institute of Directors (M I0D).
Ogunsanwo is not new to awards and honours following meritorious services that trail his professional and societal stewardship.
In recognition and appreciation of his outstanding service to Joint Tax Board, ogunsanwo was December 2018 honored with award of excellence. The award was presented to him by the Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Tunde Fowler. In the same month, he was decorated with a Prestigious Leadership Award by Fight Against Corruption Organization (FACO).
There is no doubt that the status and exposure of the Oba-Elect will afford him opportunity to join the community of prominent Obas to move Southwest and the whole of the country forward.
The Alara stool is highly revered in Yoruba land, and is traceable to the cradle of Yoruba civilization, Ile-Ife. it is therefore, expected that the emergence of Ogunsanwo will usher in a new dawn and that once again, hope of development beckons.
Prince Ogunsanwo is happily married and blessed with children.