Senator Olugbenga Obadara
Senator Olugbenga Obadara

Senator Obadara: Nigeria’s Prepaid Calling Cards Pioneer 

In his determination to help raise the standard of living and empower his constituents with the dividends of democracy, Senator Olugbenga Obadara, born in Odeda  Town, Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State on April 13, 1960 to the famous and illustrious Obadara family, has been initiating and completing various projects in Ogun Central Senatorial District. 

Obadara is widely regarded as an achiever and a leader with extra ordinary accomplishment worth emulating. Before coming into politics, he was a thoroughbred corporate person with the following achievements within and outside the country: He is the first Nigerian to own a Telecom Switch in the United Kingdom, his company pioneered pre-paid call cards in Nigeria and introduced electronic directories, the first Nigerian to operate and deploy pre-paid calling card platform in the United Kingdom, the first Nigerian to deploy electronic directory enquiry in West Africa, and the first operator of the largest multi-media platform in Nigeria and also the first person to deploy IX Solution across 9Nodes on NITEL Network for NITEL prepaid services.

He is the Founder and Chairman of LUCINDA MEDIA LIMITED, the promoter of Sweet FM 107.1, the first entrepreneurial and business radio station in Nigeria. Later, he made an inroad to the telecommunications business becoming Managing Director of Imperial Telecommunications which pioneered pre-paid call cards and electronic directories in Nigeria.

At different times, he was the CEO and Managing Director of the aforementioned telecommunication companies, and was appointed the Vice Chairman of Media 15900 Limited; Chairman, Kall Directories Limited; Director of Afrigate Limited; Director, Redwood Technologies Limited; Director, Copy Centre Limited and, Director, SOS Transmitter Limited.

For his contribution to the development of the telecommunication industry in the country, he received numerous awards. He was on Nigeria’s delegation at the Broadband Investment Summit and several telecoms summits.

In 2011, Obadara ran for the senatorial seat of Ogun Central, and subsequently gained 102,389 votes, defeating incumbent Senator Iyabo Obasanjo Bello of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 56,312.

His father, Joseph Olajide Obadara, was the first Chairman of Odeda Local Government. His mother, Mrs Lucinda Ayoka Obadara, of blessed memory hailed from Atan, Iyesi in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government. By implications, he is half Yewa and half Egba. Jeremiah Olugbenga Onaolapo Obadara, aka IREE, had his early education at Itesi Methodist Primary School, Abeokuta and proceeded to Egba-Odeda High School, Odeda where he completed his secondary education with flying colours. For his tertiary education, he attended Ansar-Ud-Deen Teachers’ Training College, Ota and Ogun State College of Education respectively. He began work as a Grade II Teacher in Ota.

He proceeded to University of Benin (UniBen), Benin City, where he earned a BEd in Education. Not one to rest on his oars, he went to Southbank Polytechnic now Southbank University, London and obtained a degree in Education. He studied Corporate Governance at the Institute of Private Public Partnership, Arlington Virginia, US. He has also completed a Leadership course at the prestigious Harvard Business School Executive Education –Leaders in Development: Managing Change in a Dynamic World.

Personal Attributes

Distinguished Senator Obadara is a dedicated, motivated individual with a high sense of work ethics. He possesses a well-balanced personality, a strong attention to details, a high level of problem solving ability, highly innovative, broad knowledge and experience in both public and private sectors; this has been his strength in achieving his high performance in diverse sectors. A devout Christian, he is the Patron of numerous Church Associations. A recipient of several awards from alumni bodies and merit awards from various churches and organisations. He was honoured with the Ogun outstanding Entrepreneur of the year award in 2004 and acknowledged as Pillar of Salt in Ogun.

He was awarded the ‘Lifetime Commonwealth Award for Social Economic Development and Legislative Policies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’ by the Commonwealth Democratic Initiative in the United Kingdom during the commemoration of the centenarian on Nigeria and the beginning of World War I. He is loved and respected by his Constituents.

He is a very humble, kind hearted, cheerful and amiable personality who has brought fame and likings to his Constituency. He is loved by his colleagues in the Senate where he acts as the Social coordinator. Senator Obadara is interested in peace and unity for stable commercial activity within Nigeria. He is happily married with children. His hobbies include reading biographies, travelling, engaging in developmental discussions, community development philanthropy and motivating others.

Professional Qualifications

Along with his assignment as a federal legislator, Senator Obadara is affiliated with the following professional organisations: Telecommunications of Nigeria, Fellow, Institute of Public Administration of Nigeria, Member, Institute of Directors of Nigeria (IOD), and Senior Fellow, Institute of Professional Managers and Administrators of Nigeria.

Legislative activities

In 2006, Obadara contested as a senatorial candidate at the primaries of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), one of the coalition parties of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and in 2007 he was prevailed upon by the party to step down for another candidate. He contested the general elections of 2011 and was elected senator on April 9, 2011 on the platform of ACN. He, along with 108 others was sworn as a member of the 7th Senate (2011 to 2015) on June 6, 2011. Since then, it has been a challenging, interesting and revealing experience for him.

With like-minds, he collaborated to table and co-sponsored many important Bills and Motions that has positively affected the citizens of Nigeria in general and Ogun in particular. These include but not limited to the following: A Bill for an Act to make provisions for the retirement age of officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces and for other incidental thereto, 2011 sponsored by Senator Adegbenga Sefiu Kaka co-sponsored by Obadara, a Bill for an Act to provide for the operation and Development of postal services, establish the Nigerian Postal Service Commission and for Related Matters, sponsored by Senator Gilbert Emeka Nnaji and co-sponsored by Obadara, and a Bill for an Act to prohibit Marriage between persons of same Gender, solemnization of same and for other Matters Related Therewith (SB.5) co-sponsored by Obadara.

Other bills co-sponsored by him include those for an Act to Regulate the Electronic Transfer of Funds Crime Bill, 2012 (SB.69) sponsored by Senator Adegbenga Sefiu Kaka, for An Act To Provide For The Prevention, Control And Management of Sickle Cell Disease And For Other Purposes Connected Therewith sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa/Senator Usman Nenadi, Emergency Preparedness for 2013 Flood and Rainfall Prediction: Urgent Need for Dredging of the River Niger, the Cross River, River Benue and Other Inland Waterways in Nigeria sponsored by Senator Ita Enang, Urgent Action to Save the Lake Chad sponsored by Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, Immediate Action on the Second Niger Bridge Project sponsored by Senator Hope Uzodinma, Development of Solid Minerals Sector as a Panacea to the Bankruptcy of States of the Federation and Creation of Jobs in Nigeria by Senator Abu Ibrahim, a Motion on Refusal of Chief Justice of Nigeria to Administer Judicial Oath on Justice Ifeoma Jombo-Ofo: Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a Motion on Urgent Need to Improve Internally Generated Revenue of the Federal Government through the Implementation of Back Duty Investigation: Senator Bassey Out, a Motion on Deteriorating Services by Global System for Mobile Telecommunications (GSM) Providers sponsored by Senator Gbenga Ashafa.

The long list of his legislative involvement include the State of Nigerian Expressway sponsored by Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, Terrorist Attack on Kaduna on April 8, 2012 sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Saleh, OON, a Motion on Expansion, Provision of Facilities and Standardization of the Four International Airports of Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt Sponsored by Senator Dr. Ibrahim Gobir, Urgent Need to Investigate the Imminent Collapse of Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos sponsored by Senator Gbenga B. Ashafa, a Motion on Appeal to Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off the strike Action and Return to Work. Sponsored by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (Senate Leader), a Motion on Proclamation of State of Emergency in Certain LGAs of the Country sponsored by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, OFR (Senate Leader), Investigation into the Current Fuel Subsidy Management by Senator Abubakar B. Saraki, a Motion on Nigeria’s 52nd Independence Anniversary – sponsored by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, he has also actively participated in the screening of Ambassadorial, Ministerial and Chief Executives of MDAs nominees both on the floor of the Upper Chamber as well as at the Committee levels.

Committees/Oversight Function

After his inauguration, Senator Olugbenga Obadara was tapped to serve as Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation. Under his leadership of this panel, many achievements have been recorded, notable among which is the unbundling of the Nigerian Power Sector. The unbundling and subsequent privatisation of the power sector has been acclaimed as the best achievement mid-wifed by the present administration after several failed attempts for over one and a half decades. He has contributed greatly as a member of the Senate Committees on Defence and Army; Industries and Investment; Local and Foreign Debts. He is also a member of the Committee on Health and Gender of the ECOWAS Parliament and serves as the Secretary of Globe International.