Celebrating The True-Blue Tokunbo At 60 - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Celebrating The True-Blue Tokunbo At 60


The Daily Crucible | Thursday, June 16, 2022

The starting place for greatness is desire. The desire to succeed, to serve others, to keep going no matter what..." Assegid Habtewold, the author of the above quote, must have gauged the story of Tokunbo Talabi in his reflective mindset when he authored his 270-pages book: "Redefining Leadership - Navigating the Path from Birthright to Fulfillment in Life" in faraway Pennsylvania.

Without any doubt, he fits perfectly into the above postulation.

June 16th is expected to be a day to call a feast with more of pomp and ceremony, rolling out of the drums to felicitate the Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Tokunbo Talabi, who ascends the sixth floor today, and he has been a shrewd bureaucratic coordinator of the Building Our Future Together Agenda of governor Dapo Abiodun - led administration in the Gateway State - and which has many strides to its credit courtesy of team players like the celebrant.

Talabi who assumed the exalted position of Secretary to the State Government on June 15th, 2019 became the cynosure of all eyes at a time the Gateway State was in dire need of focused, goal-driven and selfless lieutenants to assist governor Dapo Abiodun in repositioning all sectors of the State economy through people-driven policies and viable programmes. 

The State Scribe clocks 60 today. He  has come a long way on the path of life. Born to the family of Pa. Olanrewaju and Madam Comfort Adebimpe Talabi from Oru Town in Ago-Iwoye, Ijebu; and raised on a diet of purposefulness and discipline, little Joseph had his early education at Lagos City Council Schools Fadeyi, Lagos, before proceeding to C.M.S Grammar School, Lagos, for his secondary education between 1975 and 1980. 
He later secured admission to the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife where he bagged his first degree in 1984. 

He took a further step to the prestigious University of Lagos, Akoka in quest for knowledge to pursue a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (Finance Option) which he successfully clinched in 1987.
Thus began his trajectory of career growth when he started as an Administrative and Marketing Manager for Office Equipment Merchant, John Bedola Enterprises in 1988 where he was saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the finance, administration and sales departments during his three years stint in the firm.

Subsequently, he found his path to the banking sector, when he joined Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. as a pioneer staff in 1990, his consistency saw him through the ranks to have served as Deputy Manager, Corporate Support Services, Senior Manager, Corporate Banking and later as Group Head, Retail Delivery where he was responsible for the nationwide management, operations and management of all branches before he ceremoniously left the bank's service in 1998 for his independent business practice. 

Having garnered much experience in the banking enterprise, Tokunbo set up Superflux International Limited, with the aim of being the foremost security printing firm in Nigeria, providing specialist security and other allied-print solutions to Sub-Saharan Africa, Yes! global business ranking has since placed the company on that high pedestal. He also diversified his investment into the end-to-end Logistics and Supply Chain Management Services with ownership of Courierplus Services Limited – one of the leading courier and logistics Company, and Flux Logistix Limited - a warehousing and distribution services company. 

He later became a major shareholder and co-promoter of BitFlux Communications Limited, a Wholesale Broadband Wireless Access Service Provider licensed by the Nigerian Communications Commission, with considerable interest in VDT Communications Limited, an industry leader in Enterprise broad band connectivity service.
Like the Biblical Joseph, who always prospered wherever he found himself, including the prison- the indefatigable Tokunbo, a firm believer that there are no alternative to hardwork, rather than the need to always sustain doggedness, competence, determination and energy in the pursuit of excellence, attracted additional enviable responsibilities to his alluring domain from other international ranked firms as a perspicacious and sharp- witted administrator of human and financial resources.  

At different times, the shining light served as the Chairperson to Papyrus Investment Limited, ATCO Enterprises Limited, Courierplus Services Limited, Flux Logistix Limited, Risk Control Services Nig. Limited and Great Nigeria Insurance between 2013- 2015. He had stint serving as a Director at Reddington Multi-Specialist Hospital, Mamacass Restaurants Limited, Redcare Services Limited, Touchdown Travels Limited, Proximity Communications Nig. Limited, Fate Foundation, BitFlux Communications Limited, City of Knowledge Academy (CKA) and VDT Communications Limited amongst others.  

Toks who perhaps had firm belief in the words of Lailah Gifty Akita, a Ghanaian and founder of Smart Youth Volunteers Foundation that " there are more glorious days ahead, this should be your joy for today", kept pushing in the career front to have found himself affiliated to several professional associations, among which are National Association of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (NASME), Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) and the Entrepreneurship Development Centre of the Lagos Business School.
The Citibank School of Banking, New York trained is a one in a million man that truly embodies gentleness, wisdom, kindness. humility, loyalty and honesty with confetti of honour including: Prof. C.O.O. Taiwo Award Best graduating Student in Mathematics, Legatum Pioneers of Prosperity Africa Awards Grand Prize Winner -2008, FATE Foundation Entrepreneur of the Year – 2009, with the book ‘The Mind’s Game’ - An Inspiring Guide for Entrepreneurial Success in 2012 to his credit as an author.
On Saturday, 15th June, 2019, a higher responsibility of State service beckoned on Tokunbo to serve as the Secretary to the State Government under the Dapo Abiodun led- administration. In this position, he functions as an high-ranking appointed executive official whose main responsibility is to assist the government achieve its vision and objectives through the provision of advice and guidance; in addition to handling policy-making and overseeing the implementation of decisions, policies and programmes as well as the operations of government ministries, agencies and parastatals. 

Herein, his experience and discipline is foreseen to have been needed being the very embodiment of the finest virtues of excellence and dignity in public service, a consumate administrator and a passionate achiever.
No doubt, the numerous landslide achievements that has been recorded in education, housing, agriculture, health, revenue administration and social well-being by the present administration, attests that the State scribe clearly understands Governor Abiodun's philosophy on all-inclusive service delivery especially in the public service and has always ensured that those philosophies find practical application in his daily activities on his job. Little wonder, he is being revered as a huge asset to the BOFT administration and the entire state.
It is not out of place to state that, Tokunbo has been leveraging on his wealth of experience as an accomplished ex-banker with vast knowledge of international best practices viz-a-viz global exposure to herald a new order in the control of administration at the nucleus of government in the effective discharge of the responsibilities entrusted to him.

Also, integrity, truth and honesty have been his guiding principles and driving force. To me and many others whose paths have crossed Talabi's, he typifies what Yorubas refer to as Omoluabi- this signifies truth, courage, hard work, honesty, humility, transparency and respect for all. All of these and many outstanding virtues stand out the celebrant in the service of the State. 

Without sounding immodest, Talabi, a perfect-picture of civility and geniality, sired in the true tenets of African virtues and values and is neither swayed by parochial chants nor extraneous emotionalism. An aggregate of views even from the officers at the lower cadre has it that, the table tennis lover possesses enhanced human capacity in tackling 21st century challenges, not even at a time that the State public service requires competent administrators that are vast and well equipped in responding to contemporary challenges and high yearning of the populace. 

Suffice to say thst the story of Toks is not all about entrepreneurship, administrative prowess, leadership and business feat. He is also a man of uncommon brilliance and rare intelligence. From a quiet start on assumption of office, but with clear cut strategy, tenacity, dedication to duty and his infectious mien; he is no doubt gifted with wisdom, clearest of visions and incomprehensible quantum of the gut.

As we celebrate grit and resilience in Tokunbo Talabi at 60 today, he certainly has more to offer humanity in the coming decade(s) as a transformative leader and an astute administrator who knows the progressive way, shows the exemplary way and goes the way.

Adegoke Oyebade writes via gokeoye9@gmail.com

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