Tunji-Ojo: From NDDC oversight to interior minister

Abdullahi A BalogunJuly 8, 20243 min

The incumbent minister of interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, is one of those who made the transition from the legislature to the executive under the Tinubu administration. Here’s what to know about him in this Ex-NASS members’ series

Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo

Earlier this year, allegations surfaced that New Planet Project Limited, received ₦438.1 million for consultancy services from the ministry of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation supervised by suspended minister, Betta Edu. The company was linked to Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo who quickly clarified that he resigned as director in February 2019 upon his election into the House of Representatives. That would be the second time in his public service career that he would be in controversial spotlight.

Early life…

Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, born on May 1, 1982, is the current minister of interior who previously served as a member of the House of Representatives for Akoko North-east/Akoko North-west federal constituency from 2019 to 2023. An entrepreneur, Tunji-Ojo has a background in electrical and electronics engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University and London Metropolitan University, where he also earned a master’s degree in digital communication and networking. He holds several ICT certifications, including in ethical hacking. He reportedly consulted for the World Bank and various government agencies, contributing to initiatives like the Nigerian content workshop to boost local participation in the oil and gas sector.

His politics and controversies…

Tunji-Ojo was elected to the House of Representatives in 2019 on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), representing Akoko North-east/Akoko North-west federal constituency of Ondo State. He introduced a bill to reform the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), aimed at preventing abuse of office. Unfortunately, he was caught for alleged abuse of office in a national assembly probe of the interventionist commission.

In 2020, the Senate and House of Representatives opened an investigation into alleged financial mismanagement of the NDDC. While the Senate examined the Interim Management Committee for allegedly squandering N40 billion in three months, the House probed the misuse of N81.5 billion between January and July 2020. These investigations uncovered significant corruption, with NDDC officials accusing lawmakers of budget manipulation. Acting Managing Director Daniel Pondei admitted to spending N1.5 billion on staff from COVID-19 relief funds and also accused Tunji-Ojo of corruption, having been awarded a road contract by the NDDC. The embattled Tunji-Ojo, who then chaired the House committee on NDDC, denied theaccusation as baseless, challenging anyone with evidence to come forward. He firmly stated, “I do not have any contract whatsoever at the commission,” and recused himself from the investigation.

The transition from legislature to executive…

In 2023, he was appointed minister of interior by President Bola Tinubu in 2023 reflecting a shift from legislative duties to executive leadership and qualifying him as a FLEX (From the Legislature to the Executive) in the current dispensation.

Abdullahi A Balogun

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