Osaro Onaiwu’s 60 Odysseys
Over the years, Earl Osaro Onaiwu, has like old wine, mature into a rare and fine specie of those endowed with grace and are living gracefully.
Onaiwu, though a man of many parts, lives the conviction of his belief, one reason he has weathered not a few storms to remain a near-permanent feature of Nigeria’s political and social space.
A former governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Edo state was born on December 23, 1958 in Benin City. A scion of educator parents reputed for their disciplinary streak, he attended Ogbe Primary School and Baptist High School, Benin City, Auchi Polytechnic majoring in Mass Communications and have attended several executive courses.
Onaiwu is not only a successful business man but has a rich political resume, which started in the Second Republic.
In 1983, he was appointed Special Assistant on Special Duties to the late Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, the famed former Governor of Old Bendel State, credited for the many legacy projects in Edo and Delta states.
In 2007, having washed his hands clean, the late former Vice-president, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, appointed him as Special Adviser on Political & Public Affairs, a position he held until 2010.
Having ground himself in public organization with those and many other positions, Onaiwu was positioned to offer his patriotic service as coordinator, Nigeria Governor’s Forum, from 2012- 2013; and later coordinator and then director general, PDP Governors’ Forum, in 2013 to 2015.
It was in this position that Dr. Bamaga Tukur, former PDP National Chairman 2013 – 2015, appointed him as Special Adviser on Governors and Government.
In 2018, he rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party and will be appointed by Senate President Bukola Saraki, sometime in August this year, as Special Liaison on State Matters.
For many, the appointment was a crystallization of the long held notion in the political space that the Edo state born experienced politician and public administrator, understands the matrix of engagement with state governors and governments.
Before his active foray in politics, Onaiwu, who many of his followers call the Earl, had cut an enviable niche for himself on the social space with his sartorial taste and love for the arts and entertainment generally.
Owing to this, the Earl remains a toast of Nigerian entertainers as he provided a platform in the bourgeoning days of the country’s film and video industry to the upstarts.
The vehicle which he used to not only print his imprimatur as Nigeria’s primus inter pares in protocol services and events management, but to galvanise the top echelon of society is Red Carpet Protocols.
Over the years, Red Carpet Protocols became the signature for those who are keen on details to attention when planning their occasions.
The point needs to be made that Osaro’s odyssey – political and business-wise- has not come cheap but through dint of hard work, loyalty and commitment to excellence backed by the patience of learning, retooling and knowledgeable about timing.
Over the years, he has demonstrated that he is a man of many parts; entrepreneur, socialite, philanthropist, patron of the arts, and fundamentally, a vehicle for the formation of the Nigeria Governors Forum.
In the early days when the governors were without a coordinating body to present a common front on issues affecting states, Onaiwu proposed a peer review mechanism to the then chairman of the NGF and his current boss, Senate President Saraki, where states can leverage on their economies of scale for accelerated development. Years on, his vision has lived on leading to his being a pivotal presence in the circle of governors over the years.
Speaking on what drives him in an interview recently, he said: “There is no shortcut to doing well in any human endeavour especially in wanting to serve your people. You need to have vision, focus and sincerity of purpose and for you to do that you have to put in your energy, drive, passion, creativity and loyalty or commitment if you like.”
It is something of a cheer that he sees the solution in every challenge. Little wonder he cringes when others find fault rather than seek for answers. According to him, it is common for people to lament, point out faults of a system that is not working but rarely offering clear perspectives on solutions.
And true to his conviction, as a governorship candidate, his motto was ‘Solution!’
As he clocks 60 this Sunday, there is little doubt that this man who towers imposingly as Nigeria’s Number 1, protocol impresario is not your normal run-of-the-mill politician with all sorts of baggage. He has managed to stay the course, eschewing political divisions, shunning religious schisms and the temptation of filthy lucre.
A true and passionate family man, it is only fitting to say, may you continue to sail the winds like Odysseus and always come up with the crown.