African thought leader and media personality Adetunji Omotola is contesting for the position of Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party South Africa Chapter on November 13th, 2021. Adetunji is the Founder of 12 Disciples Leaders, African Wine Circle and Co-Founder of Afrospace Media and African Solutions Express. He is a former Secretary of PDP South Africa and a member of the Board of Trustees of the party. Adetunji’s political ideology is based on proactive development and leadership. The campaign slogan is transforming apathy to action. Adetunji plans to reduce the gap between those who are led and those who lead them. His focus areas for bringing about change are immigration, economy and integration. Adetunji believes his candidacy will energise Nigerians in South Africa as well as other Africans in diaspora to get involved in mobilising themselves as active citizens in the pursuit of good governance and a better democratic order.
The year was 1992 and Adetunji Omotola put himself forward as a candidate for the presidency of the Mass Communication Society at the University of Leicester during his Masters programme. He had always been fascinated by politics since his secondary school days at St. Finbarr’s College One of his favorite subjects was Government. He was a social-science/Arts student. To gain admission into University he wrote Literature, Government, English Language, Economics, Maths, Biology and Commerce.
At University of Maiduguri where Adetunji Omotola first studied Sociology and Anthropology, he took many courses in political science, psychology and philosophy. He had originally wanted to study to be a journalist but after two attempts he decided.
It was during his Masters programme at University of Leicester, his first ever engagement with foreign students from other parts of Africa namely from Uganda and Kenya. There were Ghanaians and Nigerians also but it was Europeans mostly Greeks who dominated. There were also a few British citizens including himself (dual national). Their full Masters Class complement could not have been more than thirty five and there were at least twenty Greek nationals. When it was time for the elections for President Adetunji Omotola rushed to nominate himself out of naivety. He was confident that I could lead the society but he did not read the room very well to realise that the Africans in his class were so few and that the caucasians may not want to be led by an African. He lost and a modest English lady won the elections aided by the large Greek contingent. This was the first election he participated in.
One year later in early 1994 on one bright Summer afternoon he walked into the Conservative Party offices on Walm Lane, Willesden, London. Out of sheer curiosity he made his entrance into the office which was less than twenty metres from the Willesden Lane London Underground Tube Station. Within minutes of my entrance into the office the gentleman had proposed to him that I should run as a candidate for the party in the upcoming local elections. He was very surprised and humbled by his request and decided to accept the same. They first put me on the list for Brondesbury Park which was rather a safe ward and later moved him to Brent which was a marginal ward. He lost the elections in any case because he had not campaigned nor even understood the task that was placed before me. He actually did not take it very seriously at the time but also learnt a vital lesson that elections are not a picnic and one must be in it to win it.
In the same year 1994 he began his three year Law programme at South Bank University, England. During his studies he dabbled in business between December 1995 and November 1996 with trips to Nigeria, Togo and Ghana during the same period with my business partner. After completing his degree in 1997 with a second class Lower division he continued to travel to Ghana on business from the UK until he secured a job as a Stockbroker on June 1st, 1998. As a Stockbroker he found it a little tough to gain clients due to my limited contacts at the time. I also had his late father who was a Professor of Law insisting that he should return to Nigeria to embark upon a two-year Law School programme. The Nigerian Law School is a one-year programme . It is a two year programme for Nigerians who study abroad in order to familiarize them with subjects such as the Nigerian Legal System, The Land Laws and Constitutional Law. He returned to Nigeria in February 1999 to commence the 2 year Law School programme which he completed and was called to the Nigerian Bar on 4th July, 2001. He was now a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The same year he arrived at the Nigerian Law School in Bwari, Abuja is the same year that Nigeria returned to democratic rule after an uninterrupted period of sixteen years of military rule. In the ten years he had stayed in the United Kingdom from 1989 April to 1999 February Nigeria was under military rule.
Firmly back in Nigeria and given that the country was moving towards democracy he began to deepen my interest in the new democratic order that was ushered in. He attended the inauguration of President Obasanjo on May 29, 1999 under torrential rain. When my friends and he visited the Sheraton and the then NICO-NOGA Hilton hotel we gained a strong sense of the joy that many Nigerians felt about our new democratic order.
He joined Peoples Democratic Party South Africa after settling into the Nigerian Law School in 1999. His membership was secured through the assistance of then former Chairman of Bwari Local Government Isah Dara who became a very close ally and friend. He also sought to expand the membership of the peoples Democratic Party on the school premises with great success. As Foreign students our first year programme was a lot easier than the main Law School programme known as Bar Part Two. Most of the 3000-strong students were sceptical about being card-carrying members of a political party and so many did not even vote in the elections and they were still wondering if the new democratic order would be sustained.
By the time PDP held its convention in 2001was now getting more involved in the party’s affairs was also involved in the campaign of Mr. Audu Ogbeh who became party Chairman in 2001 the same year he moved to South Africa. By moving to South Africa it was clear to me that he would not have the same nexus to PDP as he once had and so my quest to run for office in 2003 was not to be and neither was my quest to run in 2007. In essence my stay in South Africa took me away from politics as he was now working in corporate South Africa. Between 2006 and 2009 he lost my father and moved to Ghana to begin a wine business . In 2009 he returned to South Africa.
It was in 2009 that Nigerian President Umaru Yar’ Adua was diagnosed with a terminal illness named acute pericarditis and was flown to Saudi Arabia for treatment. In 2010 on May 6 Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn-in as President upon the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua based on the doctrine of necessity as per the National Assembly. A few weeks before President Jonathan was sworn-in as Nigerian President he was elected as Secretary of PDP South Africa Chapter. He had sought the position of Secretary in order to make my skills and networks in South Africa and Nigeria available to my party. As Secretary of PDP South Africa he attended President Jonathan’s declaration for President in September 2010 in Abuja. He also attended the National Convention in 2011 which was won by President Jonathan. In 2011, he also supported a PDP candidate for House of Assembly in Lagos who gained 10,000 votes in the Ikeja Constituency. My time as Secretary though short was filled with a lot of activities in Laos, Abuja and South Africa. He resigned as Secretary after one year to fully focus on my media and wine career.
The kidnapping and capture of more than 276 Chibok girls on April 14, 2014 brought me into the limelight of South African media and once again he began to participate actively in politics. The political landscape in Nigeria changed due to the constant attacks by Boko Haram who were now taking territory after territory after territory. In South Africa the media were looking for a seasoned political commentator and it was he who gave deep insights in 2014 and 2015 which was the year of the general election. PDP lost the Presidential elections and the coalition of three political parties which metamorphosed into APC took power on May 29, 2015 when President Buhari was sworn-in.
In 2016, he sought to contest the exalted office of PDP South Africa Chairman however the post was zoned to the South South region. In 2016 he provided an initiative to host an event to honour Nigerian women in South Africa for the first time as a member of PDP. The event was held at a hotel in Sandton and the candidate for Ikeja in the 2011 elections attended the event by flying in from Nigeria and donated $200 to PDP South Africa In 2017 Adetunji was sworn in as a member of the Board of Trustees of the party.
Their party lost the Presidential elections in Nigeria in 2019. The party currently has 43 Senators, 160 members of the House of Representatives and 13 Governors.
Adetunji is keen to contest the PDP South Africa Chairmanship on Saturday, the13th of November, 2021.