Last updated on August 20th, 2023 at 09:52 pm
After some discrepancies in his NYSC certificate, a ministerial nominee from Ondo State Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo was cleared on Monday, July 31, 2023, by Nigeria’s Senate.
The former member of the House of Representatives was among the over 40 nominees for ministerial roles. And on August 16, 2023, Tunji-Ojo was assigned the portfolio of the new ministry, Marine and Blue Economy in the cabinet of President Bola Tinubu.
But on Sunday, he was replaced by the President. A former governor of Osun State Gboyega Oyetola will now take charge of Blue Economy Ministry in a swearing-in scheduled for Monday.
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He will be in charge of a new ministry that is designated to manage and conserve freshwater while at the same time exploring its economic potential to create thousands of jobs and a conducive environment (more on the new ministry in our subsequent article later).
Who is Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo?
Born on May 1, 1982, the ex-federal lawmaker popularly called BTO, hails from Okeagbe Akoko, Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State.
He founded his first indigenous consulting company in Nigeria, Matrix IT Solutions Limited at age 24.
Married to Abimbola Tunji-Ojo and blessed with two kids, BTO was first elected as the lawmaker representing Akoko North East/Akoko North West Federal Constituency of Ondo State at the age of 37.
He was first elected into the House of Representatives during the 2019 general elections on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He quickly played by Nigeria’s politics unwritten ‘rules’ of loyalty and his ‘Omoluabi Yorubaness’ earned him some challenging, yet what some people will call juicy committees in The house.
As a first-timer at the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly in 2019, he quickly aligned himself with a long-time lawmaker and aspirant for the position of Speaker of House Reps, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila. He wasted no time in choosing Gbaja as his political godfather at the House of Reps.
He subsequently, mobilized over 200 lawmakers under a forum chaired by him to support the ambition of the Gbajabiamila, who eventually became the speaker.
That loyalty paid off as the Speaker of the 9th Assembly chose him as Chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). He was also a member of other committees such as:
- Gas Resources
- Local Content
- National Security and Intelligence
- Solid Minerals and Pilgrims Affairs
- FCT Area Council and Ancillary Matters
- North East Development Commission (NEDC)
As the chair of the NDDC committee in the Lower Chamber, he spearheaded the Committee to launch a probe into the alleged misappropriation of funds of over NGN80 billion in NDDC. He also collaborated with other committees of the Upper Chamber.
Reelection as a lawmaker
After completing his first term, Bunmi Tunji-Ojo again, got the nod of his party in Ondo to run and on February 2023, he was re-elected to represent Akoko North East and North West Federal Constituency at the National Assembly.
He replicated his political loyalty to a new candidate for the position of Speaker of the House of Reps, Hon. Tajudeen Abass. BTO was the Director General of the campaign team of Abass, who later became the speaker.
While politics was intense in the National Assembly, Bunmi-Ojo’s political godfather, Gbajabiamila was on the list of the Tinubu as the Chief of Staff to the President.
Nomination as minister-designate
The young, brilliant Bunmi Tunji-Ojo was the ministerial nominee from Ondo State, though he was cleared in controversial circumstances because there were alleged discrepancies in his National Youth Service Corps certificate, according to PremiumTimes, Nigeria’s leading investigative online publication.
Despite that, the Senate says it was noble to ignore ‘blackmail’ against the incoming Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, the first person to head the new ministry.
Meanwhile, the academic career of Tunji-Ojo is as interesting and intriguing as his political journey.
He began his primary school at Ansarudeen Primary School, Oyin Akoko (1987 to 1990) and went to Hakda International School, Kaduna (1990 to 1992), before coming back to Akure to complete his primary education at Universal Primary School in 1993.
He proceeded to the FUTA staff secondary school, Akure, for his secondary education and was elected the senior prefect in 1998.
He was offered admission by Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in 1999 to study Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
BTO would not complete his Degree at OAU, Ile-Ife, as he proceeded to the University of North London (now London Metropolitan University) to complete his first degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering, graduating in 2005.
And in 2006, he bagged a master’s degree in Digital Communication and Networking from the same institution when he was 24 years old.
Bunmi-Ojo is an ethical hacker
The former lawmaker is a certified ethical hacker from Royal Britannia IT Training Academy in the United Kingdom with certification in Ethical Hacking and Counter Measures.
He also holds certifications in eighteen professional qualifications in Information Communication Technology (ICT), including certification in CompTIA Network Plus Engineer and a Britannia Hardware A+ Management Certificate Holder.
In the business world after returning to Nigeria, Ojo has consulted for several companies, including indigenous and multinational companies such as:
- The World Bank
- Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF),
- Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB),
- Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB),
- National Health Insurance Scheme, Abuja (NHIS),
- Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA),
- Nigeria Gas Company and many others, according to his biography in his official campaign website.
Bunmi-Ojo has more than two dozen awards to his cap including an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Public Administration conferred on him by Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU) Ikeji Arakeji, Osun State.
Allegation of NYSC certificate forgery against Bunmi-Ojo
As impressive as his academic and political records were, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo also joins the list of Nigerian politicians with alleged NYSC certificate forgery.
Premium Times report says the authenticity NYSC certificate he submitted before the Senate during the screening was questionable.
During the screening, a Senator representing Kwara North Senatorial District, Sadiq Umar, flagged some discrepancies in Ojo’s NYSC certificate.
Tunji-Ojo’s NYSC record showed that he participated in the NYSC scheme at 37, the same age he was elected as a member of the House of Representatives.
The report also revealed that his NYSC certificate carries February 2023 as the date of issuance while he had earlier claimed to have participated in the scheme between 2019 to 2020.
Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo isn’t the first Nigerian politician to be involved in NYSC certificate scandal. During the administration of Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Finance at the time, Kemi Adeosun admitted using a forged exemption certificate of NYSC.
She resigned from her appointment on September 15, 2018, and left Nigeria back to her base in the United Kingdom where she was raised.