Olujimi Kolawole Agbaje, is a Nigerian pharmacist and politician. fathered and mothered by Julius Kosebinu and Margret Olabisi Agbaje.
Jimi studided at St. Greggory college and went on to win a scholarship to study pharmacy at University of Ife.
Growing up in the sixties where children grew together, where there was no social discrimination and everyone lived in harmony and togetherness, Jimi admitted he grew up free, lively and enjoyed his life. event though he also had admitted that he was a rebel while growing up citing that there was no problem as far as he was concerned then.
Speaking on his background he said;
“I was born and bred in Lagos, I came form a middle classed family. My father worked in the bank and my mother was a teacher”, he narrated that there was a big difference between those times and the present day where there was no social inequality.
In 1982, Jimi Agbaje founded his own company, JAYKAY Pharmaceutical and Chemical Company Limited and was managing director until 2005, before he decided to venture into politics. , he was a member of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (1999–2006); National Secretary of the Nigerian Association of General Practice Pharmacists (NAGPP) from 1987 to 1990; National Chairman NAGPP (1990–1993) and Chairman Pharmaceutical society of Nigeria Lagos State (1994–1997). He was a member, Lagos State Task force on Fake and Adulterated Drugs (1989–1993), National Drug Formulary and Essential Drugs List (1986–1993) and Lagos Hospitals Management Board (1994–1997). Jimi Agbaje also sits on the board of other organizations including Oakwood Park Ltd, Atlantic Hall Secondary School Epe, Lagos, Jimi Agbaje Outreach (a project dedicated to helping the less fortunate) and has served as business mentor at Fate Foundation.
Having attained almost all the recognizable sits in his professional career as a pharmacist. Jimi recounted the reason he ventured into politics in a statement retrieved by Freelanews.
” I was offended like everyone else when the Moshood Abiola/Bashir Tofa presidential election was annulled, which led to my dabbling into political activism a consummate professional.’ he had said. He worked tirelessly in the activists group as he was among those whose voices were heard against the then military government. He later joined a social political association, Afenifere, where he served as a national treasurer and secretary of the political committee. highlighting the fact that it was after Abacha died.
Jimi Agbaje joined the Action Congress (AC) his first political party as a result of his membership with Afenifere.
Agbaje, who had hoped to run for governor of Lagos State on the Action Congress (AC) platform, quit the party in 2007 to join the Democratic People’s Alliance (DPA). When it was believed that Governor Bola Tinubu had already anointed someone else to succeed him before the party primaries, he was among the 11 contenders who turned their backs on the Action Congress (AC). He was widely believed to have run the greatest campaign in 2007.
Agbaje contested in gubernatorial election on the Democratic People’s Alliance (DPA) platform, but eventually, alongside other major contenders – Musiliu Obanikoro of PDP, Femi Pedro of Labour Party (Nigeria) – lost to Babatunde Raji Fashola of the Action Congress (AC).
He left DPA in 2011 and went on to join the ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP following the de-registration of DPA by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). On 29 October 2014, he officially indicated his interest in giving the Lagos State gubernatorial elections another shot by picking up the PDP nomination form. On 8 December 2014, it was reported that he emerged as the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP for the 2015 Lagos State gubernatorial election, having defeated Musiliu Obanikoro in the primary. Musiliu Obanikoro is the former Minister of State for Defence who is also a member of the opposition party, People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
In October 2018, Jimi Agbaje secured the PDP’s ticket to run for the office of the governor of Lagos state. He defeated Adedeji Doherty to secure the ticket. Jimi Agbaje lost to Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressives Congress, in the Lagos state gubernatorial election on 9 March 2019.
The politics guru contested for governorship three times in Lagos and has lost as many times he has tried losing at first to Babatunde Raji fashola in 2007.
For someone who had tried something more than once, there must be a vision, a goal, some agenda or plan to be executed. Or it could be just a determination to attain the position of the state governorship of Lagos state. To Jimi Agbaje, there is more, there is more to be done, more to be achieved, visions and agendas yet to be touched that urgently requires attention in Lagos state and Nigeria as a whole. looking at things from the bright side the 64 year-old man believed there was a lot he could bring into the system, citing that the state need incremental development.
When asked what he’d love to bring back from the past into the present Lagos. Jimi Agbaje mentioned the importance of a functional transport system, he further said the transport system must be available in all transportation means, rail, boat and road. “Mega cities do not operate on individual vehicles we are talking about an efficient mass transit system, that will influence people’s decision in dropping their cars at home, examples of mega city is London”, he said when he was asked on what can be done to help prohibit traffic in Lagos.
Jimi Agbaje when asked how the present governor of the state was faring had said ” You can’t score Lagos, it’s a mega city, you can’t score it like you’d do for other states in the country, for Lagos it’s not about bringing in one amenity, you think of amenities”.
Having gathered so many experience in politics Jimi was fond of answering thrown-at questions in a nice and guileless manner. When asked about his relationship with Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He revealed he only has respect for the man even though they are politically “not on the same page”. He was fond of calling him (Tinubu) MVP going on to say that anyone who wants the governorship sit in the state has to contend with him.
Speaking on secession calls Agbaje believes Yoruba still has the tendency to thrive like in the first republic, but he doesn’t think a yoruba nation standing on it’s own was possible, he cited that it is important the yorubas learn from Biafra. “Are we ready, are we ready to militarily separate ourselves from the federal government. I don’t think we are prepared yet”, he opined. He had also mentioned that work was still needed excessively over the yoruba tribe in the nation and that secession would be difficult in the way the southwest is governed. “I am not sure we have maximized governance for the benefit of the people so what will change if we decide to leave?”.
He went on to mention yoruba’s key mechanism which was education stating that it was its human capital and to move forward it is necessary that education in the yoruba nation does not stop.
On education Jimi who himself had benefited from scholarships in education sector of Lagos state cited the need for a serious reliable scholarship access to applicants. He mentioned education was no more fit for its purpose that during his time scholarship accessibility was easy, open, free and fair and it wasn’t just meant for the poor as the society would deem fit but anyone could apply for scholarships for various reasons. “Scholarship then was reliable, when I applied for the scholarship it was written in my name. Cheques were paid to the students during the holiday and it was consistently dispatched at the stipulated time as promised”.
He spoke on the fact that though he wasn’t from a poor background he got the scholarship from Lagos state coming after his father had paid for his first year’s fees at school.
Emphasizing on the fact that education is important and scholarships would endeavor youths and many more people as far as the citizens of the country is concerned to be educated. Speaking on why it was that important he explained that it will impede the spread and growth of touts and put a stop to nuisance across the state.
“Insecurity has been a major problem since inception but moving forward the federal government needs the political will to prosecute them (terrorists) and they seriously need to acquire for each state a well equipped police force, zero tolerance as to when it started in the southwest, the noises and adequate actions helped in stopping it to advance”, He said when asked for the possible solutions to insecurity.
Reminded about the October 21, 2020 incident the father figure had explicitly expressed his despondency concerning what had happened that day. “Very sad, I’m still disappointed that the younger generation was intimidated by the state’s action. Nigeria can never be the same after such event.”
He went on to acknowledge improvement from the youth concerning making their voice heard and that it was a positive change. “They cannot surrender now, they just need to be smarter”.
Godfathersm is politicians way of accessing political power, a way of creating spaces in higher places where now one could just saunter into. On Godfatherism Jimi noted that it was necessary to have a godfather in politics to win what is important is getting your message across to your people in the most easiest of ways, in language they understand, citing the EndSars protest as example he went ahead to say that during the protest no one had a godfather, infact the message went across the nation which ofcourse must has started from somewhere. The whole nation got it because it was in a language they could understand- what they want. When asked if gidfatherism was the result of his inability to win election “Rigging of election, violence, intimidation of voters, you simply don’t need a godfather to win”.
Asked if it was true that he would like it if Lekki toll gate be demolished and if he could shed more light on it. “Yes Lekki’s concession was dubious and no alternative was provided. When toll is taken there must be a viable alternative”. He went on to say it is not illegal to set up a toll gate but there must be an alternative. “The problem is that it is not transparent”.
On Lagos for Lagos Jimi said that those in charge of Lagos did not let it maximize its potential, it could have been much more, things that would make things easy for the people. Speaking further he said it was necessary that the call for change starts from everyone.
Jimi touched the health sector, he emphatically entreated that the government should work more on health insurance though he cited that health’s first problem in the state was funding. “First problem of the health sector is funding, thats why it is why health insurance is necessary. We could set up a health system an health insurance scheme effectively funded by the state with many benefits. Where citizens would have to pay a particular fee to be registered for their medical services then the rest would be up to the government. With this citizens interests would be pricked and many would get registered which will benefit the government in various ways itself. like in identification of citizens and their data. In cases like during the pandemic period where palliatives were to be shared through the insurance system it would be a walk in the park because of easy access to the people’s data”.
Speaking on ways to curb fake pharmaceutical companies he said all it took was purposeful monitoring by NAFDAC.
Every change begins from an individual, whether to influence the governments decisions or get a message across. It is important that the message passed across fits the market i.e in the language the people understands “For change it is important one start from somewhere and if anyone could try in creating developmental activism for the state have my full support”.