By Ismail Afolabi
Riches never fascinate me unless combined with distinction and humanity. When you walk in distinction, even the photocopying machine can’t perfectly replicate your unique quality. When you walk in humanity, you would stand out among equals.
In Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, distinction and humanity form a unified meaningful whole. He personifies so much of what makes humility, humanity and distinction enviable traits.
He is a man who respects human dignity and places premium on distinction and humanity. This, perhaps, is why he was recently conferred with “Achievers Merit Award in Business Frontline” in recognition of his philanthropic gestures and contribution to wealth redistribution by Rotary International.
The award, as well as several others to his well-decorated cap, is no doubt a testament to his outstanding contributions to the riches and development of humanity with respect to insurance and economic growth within Nigeria and a number of other African countries including Niger Republic, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
In his response titled, “The Wheel of Truth Never will Rust”, Dr Ogunbiyi expressed happiness at the recognition of his contribution to the betterment of humanity, declaring that he was further encouraged not to relent in his vision and commitment to the development of Osun State and Nigeria.
His words, “in all honesty, we (Rotary Club and him) share same passion on issues concerning the development of communities and society in general, and it was for this reason that, after much pressure, I heeded the ‘come to Osun State Macedonia CALL’ to help accelerate contributions to society. I am further encouraged and won’t relent.”
I have had the opportunity to observe him at close quarters. The chairman of Mutual Benefits Assurance observes simple principles of business and leadership. He is a visionary and uncommon entrepreneur. None of his enviable traits influences his estimation of his worth and interpersonal relationship with others. Despite his proficiency and acclaim, he affects a humble poise levelling up with people around him, joking with them and networking without discrimination.
He demonstrated rare leadership and high standing sense of service which will never fade away in my cognitive system. During the National Convention of the People’s Democratic Party in Port Harcourt last year, I saw him moving around without an entourage at his back. No! That’s not it. As the Deputy Chairman, Hospitality Committee of the convention, he leveled up and participated in direct distribution of welfare packages to thousands of party delegates in attendance.
Of course, servers were on ground. He just could not fold his arms and watch things get messy or pretend as if he did not hear some complaints. He brings clarity of purpose to whatever he does. He is a team player and humanist who comes to the table with an open mind.
Born on September 12, 1962, the native of Ile Ogbo in Osun State is, at his core, a bundle of positive vibes. He is a determined and principled man whose ingenious approach to businesses and result driven leadership has distinguished him as one of Osun’s formidable and respected icons.
Nothing good comes on a platter of gold, they say. Same as Ogunbiyi’s leadership qualities and iconic personality. It did not come by accident. Over the years, the alumnus of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University had attended management and leadership courses at several prestigious institutions including Yale School of Management, USA, Said Business School, University of Oxford, England, Lagos Business School, Nigeria and International Graduate School of Management, Spain.
Back in his home base, as part of his love for distinction and humanity, Ogunbiyi invested and is still investing in agriculture and education. In spite of the betrayal of trust and blackmail from some quarters, he remains unperturbed and continues to affect a conscious desire to impact lives positively, giving back to the society through his foundation, Idera de Movement.
He must be a good fan of Onyi Anyado, the philosopher, who once said, “Entrepreneur, if your distinction isn’t angering the mediocre, it’s actually mediocre.” Today, Dr Akin Ogunbiyi’s conglomerate encompasses insurance firms, oil and gas industry and real estate to mention but a few. The unassuming and inspiring leader is a year better. Therefore, here is wishing him more feathers to his already awesomely feathered cap and many happy returns.