I was born in February 1962 into the family of late Prince Tijani Adebowale Isiaka and Alhaja Adijat Isiaka of Remo Quarters, Imeko in Imeko Afon Local government area of Ogun state. My father was a respected transporter, philanthropist, community leader and politician in the then Egbado district and my mother is a trader. Growing up in Imeko was not much of a challenge for me as a little boy as I learnt very early in life that, to become great you must endure whatever situation you find yourself, and coming from a very strict, religious and disciplined home I had no choice but to conform to the best standards possible. This to a large extent moulded me into the person I am today.

SCHOOLING AND EARLY DAYS

My quest for academic excellence began from the Ansar-Ud-Deen Primary School, Imeko between 1968 and 1973 after which I proceeded to Nazareth High School, Imeko between 1973 and 1978.

Prior to my tertiary education, I worked as a Clerical Officer at Yewa (then Egbado) North Local Government; and later Office of the Presidential Liaison Officer, Abeokuta. My first point of call for higher education was the Ogun State Polytechnic (now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic), Abeokuta where I was admitted to study Mass Communication in 1981. While there for a few months, my innate drive made me realize that I was not getting a feeling of full satisfaction with the career path I was towing and consequently, I quit the school to pursue a different career path. I was subsequently offered admission into the University of Ife (now OAU) to study Accounting in 1982. I committed myself vigorously to my academics, and after four rigorous years, I graduated in 1986 with a First Class category in Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting (B.Sc Accounting).

While in “Great Ife”, my penchant to add value to others committed me to other engaging activities as I was the Director of Organisation, Yewa (then Egbado) Students Association in 1983/1984 and became the President in 1984/1985. A major highlight of my activities in the association was giving career talk and organising what was then called the “Brain Trust Competition” among Secondary Schools in Yewa land. After my graduation from the University, I proceeded for the one-year compulsory NYSC programme in Jos, Plateau state. I served with Joseph Akande & Co, a firm of Chartered Accountants.

In furtherance of my academic attainment, I proceeded to pursue my professional certifications and qualified as a Chartered Accountant (ACA) in 1988. I also completed a Masters programme in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Lagos in 1995 and attended the Senior Management Programme (SMP) of the Lagos Business School in 1998. After a decade of post-Associate membership, I was bestowed with the Fellowship of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA) in 2003.

In addition to being a Chartered Accountant, I am an Associate of Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (ACS) having completed the Institute’s three-stage examinations in 2001, and an Associate member (ACIT) of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN). In furtherance of my bid to attain professional and leadership excellence, I have taken and undergone several courses in different parts of the world including Investment Banking & Corporate Finance Course by Euromoney, United Kingdom, Leadership in the 21st Century from the prestigious John F. Kennedy Centre, Harvard University, United States of America and Development, Structuring and Execution of Public-Private Partnership transactions of the Institute of Public Private Partnership, Washington DC to mention but a few.

PRIVATE SECTOR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Upon completion of my NYSC programme, I was retained at the place of my primary assignment from where I left for Lion Bank of Nigeria to commence my fifteen years stint in the finance/banking industry 1989. I exited the banking industry in 2003 as the Assistant General Manager/Head of the Investment Banking Group of Lead Bank Plc. I left the private sector with high sense of fulfilment having led the Lead Bank team to win the best Issuing House in Nigeria for three consecutive years; between 2001 and 2003.

PUBLIC SERVICE TRAJECTORY

In November 2003, I was appointed the Special Assistant on Investments by the Governor of Ogun State, His Excellency Otunba Gbenga Daniel and in April 2004, I was appointed the pioneer Group Managing Director of Gateway Holdings Limited (GHL), the Investment Company of Ogun STate whose major focus was effective and professional management of the State investment towards contributing to the revenue generation and socio-economic development of the State.

Aside pooling together the investment of the State hitherto lost and/or scattered in various government agencies, the Company was involved in several developmental initiatives, transactions and projects that contributed to the economic development of the State during the period. Among these are the establishment of the State Savings and Loans Institution, the development of the Ogun Guangdong Free Trade Zone, development of Public-Private Sector schemes (including concessioning) for some of the State’s moribund and/or underperforming assets, facilitation of a SINO-Nigeria Industrial Park and several economic empowerment programmes.

HONOURS AND AWARDS

In the course of my private and public life, several awards and honours have come my way. They include:

  • The prestigious “Good Leadership Award” by the Network for good leadership in Nigeria;
  • “Award of Excellence” by the National Association of Ogun State Students;
  • “Techno-Entrepreneurship Award” by NANS Ogun state;
  • “Icon and Epitome of Success” by West African Student Union (WASU);
  • “Excellence Award” by Yewa Awori Youth Agenda Forum (YAYAF) Ogun state;
  • “Distinguished Director of the Year 2006” by NAYS;
  • “Meritorious Award for Community Service” by Imeko Afon Local Government,
  • “Exemplary Professional” by Federation of Imeko Afon Local Government Union;
  • “Award of Excellence” by Nazareth High School Old Students Association;
  • “Leadership and Excellence Recognition Award” by the Ogun West Women Ambassadors;
  • “Distinguished Alumnus”, Obafemi Awolowo University;
  • “Patron, National Association of Small Scale Industries” (NASSI) Ogun state branch;
  • “Akogun Adini of Yewaland” by Yewa Muslim Community.
  • “Merit Award” by the Jamhiyat Nuru Samodani Foundation (JANSAF)
  • “Award of Excellence” by Pentecostal Methodist Church.

These are but a few of such numerous recognitions that have become a permanent feature of me.

POLITICS & POLITICAL CONTESTS

I contested for the Governorship of Ogun in 2011 and in 2015 general elections, coming as first runner-up in 2015 with 35% of total votes against the 53% of the winner, the incumbent governor and winning in eight (8) out of the State’s twenty (20) local governments. During the course of the campaigns and several socio-cultural activities, I have traversed the nooks and crannies of the State. Arguably, I am one of the most popular political players in Ogun State at this time.

CURRENT ENGAGEMENT

I currently run the Edgefield Group which is involved in the provision of professional and non-banking financial services, through Edgefield Development & Investment Partners Ltd (an Infrastructure Development Advisory Firm) which I run as the Chief Executive Officer; Edgefield Capital Management Ltd (a Stockbroking/Corporate Advisory Company) where I serve as

the Chairman; and GNI 7 Associates (a Professional Services firm) which I provide with supports on consultancy basis.

SOCIABLE FAMILY MAN

I am happily married to Mrs. Oluwatoyin Isiaka and blessed with lovely children. Despite my conservative mien, I am measurably outgoing.

PUBLICATIONS & PAPER PRESENTATIONS

Some of my paper presentations and publications are as follow:

  • Insecurity: A threat to National Unity. Lecture delivered at the Faculty of Law, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State; May 2017.
  • The Entrepreneur in me. lecture delivered at the 2nd Edition of Life After School Program, held at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye in April, 2017.
  • Fast-Tracking Development in Ogun State using inherent Human and Natural Endowments of each zone. Lecture delivered at the 4th-anniversary lecture of Ijebu News Extra Magazine, held at Equity Resort Hotel, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State in January, 2016.
  • Celebrity Journalism and its effect on the Nigerian economy. Delivered at the Exclusive Impact Awards organised by the Publishers of Exclusive Weekly, October, 2012 in Lagos.
  • Developing Ogun State: Lesson from Anambra. Article written and published by National Newspapers in October, 2012.
  • Fiscal Federalism and the Challenges of National Development. Delivered at the Nigeria Union of Journalists’ Guest Forum, held at the Iwe-Iroyin House, Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta, September, 2010.
  • From Third Worlld Nation to a World Power: Economic Imperatives for Nigeria in the 21st century” – Paper Presentation at the 13th Convention Anniversary of the Alumni Association of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), held in January, 2010.
  • Development Financing: The Debt Options. A Paper Presentation at the Investiture Ceremony of the Rotary Club Sagamu Central, in August, 2009.
  • Beyond White Collar Jobs: Options for Graduates and Roles of Stakeholders. A presentation at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye on the celebration of Annual Gateway Student’ Conference held in December 2009.
  • Funding of Capital Projects through the use of Bonds. An Article published in December, 2008.
  • Building Sustainable Wealth in an Emerging Economy. A presentation at Celtel Nigeria (Now Airtel) Mens’ Day in June, 2008 in Lagos.
  • Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges. A presentation at a Business Forum held at Gateway Hotel, Abeokuta in February, 2008.

WRAPPING UP

My life is an open book that can be read. In all I do, I always strive to exemplify hardwork, capacity, competence, honour, dignity, integrity, vision, contentment and unblemished antecedents. Indeed, I have taken a conscious endeavour to add value to my generation and as the saying goes, “Each person must strive to leave his generation better than he met it”. This, I am striving to do.