By Oluwasegun Abifarin
In period where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skilful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better —Harry S. Truman
The victory of Akogun Adetokunbo Modupe, popularly known as Toks by friends and associates, in the Ondo North Senatorial primary election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is a good tide in the political waves of the country
Happily, and for the good of the country, the tide is changing as courageous individuals who have made their marks in the corporate world are beginning to show interest in partisan politics. These professionals, who are passionate about the future of Nigeria and Nigerians, are drawing on their networks, experiences and education to challenge an old logic and the present rot in the system in order to chart a new path.
Modupe, Chairman/Lead Consultant of TPT International, is one of the new apostles of change in Nigeria’s political space.
Born 53 years ago in Ose in present-day Ondo State, Toks lived his formative years in the old Owo Local Government Area.
After graduating from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, he moved to Lagos to adventure into the world of Public Relations, where he would become one of the success stories of that profession in Nigeria.
Apart from being a Great Ife, Toks is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School where he studied General Management with special focus on Leadership, Innovation, Financial Management and Negotiation. He also has a Master’s in Leadership, Innovation and Change from York St. John University, United Kingdom, and also studied at the prestigious Lagos Business School.
He is a fellow of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, and member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria and the Board of Trustees of the Customer Services Practitioners Association of Nigeria.
He was Secretary General of Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN) from 2005 to 2007, a period the association regained its voice as a professional body.
Arguably, Nigeria’s most celebrated public relations consultant, his skills and expertise have brought him fame and leadership opportunities in various areas.
Consequently, he has remained a constant leader of thought with many professional articles to his credit, which he presented and still presents at seminars and lectures in various institutions, professional bodies and organisations in the country.
His rich collection of accolades and awards are also an attestation. At the 2017 Presidential Dinner Award of NIPR in Lagos, his agency, Toks was conferred with the “Corporate Practitioner of Excellence 2017” award, while TPT International was announced the “Best Agency to Work”.
According to the then NIPR President, Dr Rotimi Oladele, TPT International beat other competitors to win the highly-coveted honour because of its “innovative, excellent, professional and creative” approach to campaigns and contribution to the growth of PR practice in the past two decades.
Having achieved his dream of building successful business enterprise, which he admitted during an earlier interview was not a mean job, he is now the verge of taking up a new challenge. He is set to play in the murky water of Nigerian politics not only as mobiliser but also as a candidate to be mobilised for.
Modupe joined partisan politics in 2007 on the invitation of his friend, the immediate past governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko. He was one of the shinning lights of the Labour Party in Ondo State, a trait he maintained till the Labour Party was fused into the PDP under Mimiko’s leadership.
He is not a rookie in Nigeria political space. Apart from being a consultant to the Cross River State government during the highly successful tenure of Governor Donald Duke, he served as Director-General of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign committee for Ondo State during the 2015 general elections.
Despite the Muhammadu Buhari tsunami that swept the southwest in 2015, Toks delivered his Ose Local Government Area to the PDP.
His contributions to the political life of the people of his Senatorial district in the past 15 years of his veering into politics is admirable. According to a political commentator from the state: “How lucky are the people of Ondo North Senatorial District if they have someone in the calibre of Toks – a young, vibrant professional brimming with progressive ideas – to represent them at the Senate”?
Like his professional life, the people are the focus of Toks’ involvement in politics. Since joining politics, he has successfully supported several young men and women to political offices at all levels of government – ward councillors, local government chairmen/chairpersons, State house of assembly members, federal House of Representatives members etc.
His leadership of his party provided a voice for party members in the district. Though he was not a political appointee or elected office holder, he was responsible for attracting several political appointments to several people in the entire Senatorial District during the eight-year reign of Mimiko, his friend.
Now that the 2023 elections beckon, political stakeholders from Ondo North Senatorial District largely believe Toks possess all the attributes of the ideal candidate that they desire to represent them at the National Assembly, especially its upper chamber
Toks is unarguably about the most qualified person, when compared to others jostling to vie in the race to represent the district at the Senate in the next dispensation. Asides having paid his dues in the state’s political arena, he is one of the few political figures in the district who has contributed immensely to the socio-political and economic development of the area.
More importantly, among those currently jostling for the district’s exalted seat at the Senate, Toks is the only candidate who has his roots in two of the six local government areas of the District.
He is son and a chief (Akogun) of the ancient town of Owo, in Owo Local Government Area, his paternal homestead; as well as of Ute, his maternal ancestral home in Ose Local Government Area of the Senatorial district.
As a liberalist, his network of friends cuts across political divides. That liberal approach to politics and politicking is largely responsible for the large followership he enjoys across political divides in Ondo State. What is more, Toks has nurtured and maintained a large network of friends across the entire the state, especially in the six Local Government Areas(LGAs) in Ondo North Senatorial District, which he treats as his primary constituency.
From Akoko South-East to Akoko South-West, Akoko North-East to Akoko North-West, and from Owo to Ose LGAs, Toks has friends, colleagues, acolytes, political associates and admirers, cutting across age, sex, social and religious association. These are people he has, in one way or the other, touched their lives.
According to a political analyst in the state: “If the race is about the people, if the agenda is to seek a true servant of the people to go to the red chamber in Abuja to represent the people of Ondo North Senatorial District, no one is more qualified than the one whose life and ambition has been to uplift his people – Toks”.