BY TOMISIN ADEBUKOLA
In a world fraught with uncertainty and skepticism, the discovery of individuals who not only assume significant responsibilities but also ignite the spirit of the world’s youth, compelling them to aspire to greatness, which is truly remarkable.
Among those deserving of recognition is Owolabi Jamiu Falana, an outstanding young man who has carved an impressive path in the socio-political arena, far exceeding the confines of mere celebration. He stands as a beacon of determination, resilience, and the power to inspire youths through his exceptional accomplishments and unwavering commitment to driving positive change.
Owolabi Jamiu Falana, a permanent board member of the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, was born to the esteemed Falana family in Mushin, Lagos state, Nigeria. His journey towards greatness commenced from childhood, with impactful leadership even from that young age and exhibiting qualities that adhered many of his peers to him.
The thoroughbred Mushin indigene who has both his primary and secondary education in his community, graduating top of his class, pursued higher education in Economics at Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics in Ukraine, graduating with first-class honours. He holds an MA in Public Management from Babcock University Ilisan-Remo and is an alumnus of the FATE Foundation Entrepreneurs Program AEP60.
Falana’s unwavering dedication and genuine commitment to greatness are truly astonishing. The leadership landscape acknowledges Owolabi’s presence and the world of youth engagement is incomplete without the mention of his name. His contributions in the areas of youth engagement and nation-building not only elevate him to new heights but also serve as an inspiring example for other youths. His journey to leadership success is marked by challenges stemming from his modest background, which he overcame with unwavering determination and resilience to reach beyond the limitations he grew up with, making a name for himself through hard work.
One of the most exceptional aspects of his journey is his ability to inspire and empower today’s youth. Through engaging speeches, mentorship programs, and active participation in youth-oriented initiatives, he has become a beacon of hope for young people. He further inspires by featuring regularly on various media platforms as a Public affairs analyst, offering his unique insight into national and local issues bedevilling our dear country.
With a good track record in public management, business development, project management, entrepreneurship, and innovation, Falana participates fully in culturing the next generation, having led various youth groups, participated and still is, in numerous policy dialogues across Nigeria and Europe. His leadership skills and passion for social development, youth empowerment, and nation-building prompted the government’s recognition of his potential, which led to his involvement in demanding political and government assignments.
Before his appointment to the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LA-SUBEB), he held key positions in various organisations, such as administrative manager at Kenako Ukraine, European regional representative for STUNTS Group LLC, Marketing Manager at Wealthteam Properties Ltd, and in 2016, founded Ohjay Group, which is fast becoming a foremost construction and project management company in Nigeria.
Owolabi serves as a catalyst for change, encouraging young people to actively participate in politics and make a difference in their communities and shows this by example. His achievements as a political leader have been nothing short of exceptional. He began his political journey as the ACN Party Agent for Ward G1 in Mushin during Fashola’s gubernatorial election in 2007. He continued to rise through the ranks, serving as the director for Finance for the Nigerian Students Association in Kharkiv, Ukraine, from 2011 to 2013. His political involvement expanded however, culminating into his nomination as the youngest national delegate from Lagos state at the APC National Convention in 2022.
He founded Jide Sanwo-Olu Youth Movement (JISYM) in 2018, and served as the deputy director for Youths in the Tinubu/Shettima and Sanwo-Olu Hamzat Independent Campaign Council. Notably, he became the youngest-ever board member of the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board in September 2022.
Leading by example, integrity, and transparency have defined Falana’s success. His performance can be attributed not only to his political connection but also to his unwavering commitment to honesty, accountability, and ethical conduct in public service. He has set a precedence by being the first Permanent Board Member at Lagos SUBEB to tour all 20 Local Government Education Authorities across Lagos State within 100 days. He spearheaded the digitalisation and transition program of EKO EXCEL to BEQA Department, to ensure the sustainability of the Lagos State Government’s continued investment in the basic education sector, which has also led to improved learning outcomes in Lagos public schools. In a bid to further improve the education output of Lagos, he visited over 170 primary schools, a move we can safely attribute to being responsible for the retraining of over 200 Middle and Senior level Officers in critical areas of the education sector.
Therefore, it is safe to call Falana a game changer in Nigeria’s political sphere with his exploits that are surely charting a path of growth for millions of other youths across the country.