In the early hours of Sunday morning on August 30, 2020, I phoned Tayo Ayinde with little faith that he will pick my call, considering his busy schedule. To my pleasant surprise, he answered my call in a cordial tone. I discussed briefly with him and requested for a brief audience in his office, he gave me an appointment for Wednesday September 2, 2020. On the agreed date, I set out of my office for Ikeja and arrived at his Ikeja office on time, I was told he wasn’t on seat and I phoned him. Tayo apologised over the phone and asked me to wait in his office while he leaves House of Assembly, where he had an engagement.
His receptionist, a pretty looking lady was nice and extended all the necessary courtesies while I waited for her boss. Two hours after the agile looking Chief of Staff, Tayo Ayinde walked into his office, he welcomed me and apologised profusely for the inconveniences.
Leading me to the inner chamber, upstairs, he made me sat down and hurriedly went out to attend to some urgent issues. While seated in his spacious office, I was so thrilled by the grandiose interior furnishing and the exquisite taste of Tayo Ayinde. I believe he must have personally supervised the finishing and furnishing of the place as it glow in marble flooring, exotic set of furniture, exquisite décor in a sublime ambience. I noticed the pile of files on his desk and wonder how he cope with the towering load of official documents requiring his urgent attention. Gradually, my impression of him changed and I realised that Tayo Ayinde, is a sophisticated man with high taste incredible strength.
When he returned, bursting with many thoughts about him, I started engaging him in chitchat about his job, social and personal life. I asked how he cope with the loads of files demanding urgent attention from the various ministries, agencies and organisations. He smiled and replied that he always find time to attend to them on daily basis regardless of answering to the governor’s delegations. He said his children are away in school oversees, and his wife understands the exigencies of his job. I took him up on his relationship with the APC national leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, I wanted to know how he manage to build a strong bond with the national leader because people have described their closeness as Siamese twins’ bond.
Tayo confided in me that he is loyal to the leader and the leader knows the extent to which he adored him. Narrating that this loyalty was built when he was working as head of security (State Security Service) for Bola Tinubu, when he was Lagos State Governor.
He asserted that the leader made him what he is today and he is forever in Tinubu’s debt. I was shocked when Tayo commented that he has made a vow to God that on any account he gets close to betraying Tinubu, God should take his own life. I was temporarily out of words to hear such solemn declaration.
I wasn’t expecting such naked allegiance.
Tayo made me realise that he is ready to take any course as directed by Tinubu at any point in time. He said he has a hotline waiting 24 hours a day, waiting for any directive given by the national leader.
“Our leader Tinubu has raised many leaders across the country and many of us who appreciate his kind spirit, are praying and strongly believe Bola Tinubu will eventually emerge Nigeria’s President. Many of us are ever ready for the moment Tinubu will give us the go ahead, we will not hesitate to swing into action.”
That prompted me to ask about his relation with Governor Sanwo-Olu, to which he replied, “Egbon, (meaning ‘big brother’), the governor and I have come a long way. During the time of Bola Ahmed Tinubu when he was the state governor, then I was head of security service to the governor while Governor Sanwo-Olu was then Special aide to the Deputy Governor, Femi Pedro:”” Bufallo, as Tayo Ayinde is popular called, cleared rumor about his intention to run for the office of the governor. He affirmed that he is willing to work with Sanwo-Olu for another term, if God wills and that he has jettisoned plans to contest for governor’s seat.
Narrating that the last time he nursed the ambition was when former Governor Ambode was seeking for second term, then men like former LAHA Speaker, Ikuforiji, Ganiyu Solomon, Kasali, Leke Pitan and many others and himself were making attempt. But immediately Tinubu asked him to step down, he abandoned the idea. He is happy this time Babajide Sanwo-Olu emerged and his performing as expected.
There is another development I have been trying to understand about the previous women wing caucus in the party, before, there was this trend of some group of women tagging themselves as “Sanwo-Olu’s Ladies”, “Tinubu’s Ladies”, “Fashola’s Ladies” and all the likes, I can’t see such groups in the party anymore.
Buffalo explained that the party has created a unified women representative committee while look into their demands and complaints instead of attending to petty groups with different interests.
Again, I was curious about how Governor Sanwo-Olu is raising the funds to finance all the road projects taking place all over in Lagos right now. These are capital intensive projects which require huge budgets. He smiled at me and made comment which confused me initially. He said “Our Governor is a finance man”, to which I replied no, the governor is a trained Quantity Surveyor. Tayo smiled at me and replied, “That is the misconception by many people, though Governor Sanwo-Olu is a trained Quantity Surveyor, the governor worked in the bank at management levels and is well versed in finance.” The governor studied in Harvard Business School, United States, and attended Lagos Business School, he knows a lot about macro-economics and is putting that skill to work to carry out the massive road rehabilitations projects going on across Lagos metropolis.
Adding that Lagosians will see many more capital projects in the state and marvel when the governor is done. “Lagosians are going to see plethora of projects from governor Sanwo-Olu. All the road reconstructions and construction in Ketu, Victoria Island, Ikorodu, …and many other areas are just a tip of the iceberg, Lagos will soon see massive projects by this administration,” he search for every question I asked, Buffalo, has intelligent and reasonable reply. We discussed issues ranging from political, social to family matters. I remember another point on the popular believe that Tayo Ayinde is from Ikorodu. He was honest to confide in me that though, he built a house at Ori-Okuta in Ikorodu and love the place with passion, he is not son of the soil. He is one of the few men who paved tarred roads to his Ori-Okuta environs of Ikorodu and he is looking forward to do more projects in Ikorodu.
“I may not be an indigene of Ikorodu but I have passion for the town and so much respect for the monarch.” Tayo admitted.
Tayo Ayinde’s capacity for hardwork, his intellectual accomplishments, coupled with his total commitment to his boss Sanwo-Olu and the state, has earned him the appellation “Buffalo”.
His story is the classic role of a man who had a very humble beginning but refused to sit on the back bench.
He and printed through life with amazing grace and contributed much to politics in the state.
Above everything else, Tayo is a remarkable human being, very kind and maintain his integrity.
During his recent birthday celebration, Governor Sanwo-Olu described Tayo Ayinde as a man who is full of intelligence, honest, and a model of excellence. The governor was pleased to have him as his Chief of Staff, calling him “a power house that help the government to carry out smooth operations at all levels in the state.” One thing you can’t take away from him, is his act of benevolence. Tayo is always willing to helps people, this he has been doing before coming into government. As one of his close friends told Oriwu Sun, Tayo is a wealthy man who does not depend on the state for survival. Obviously, his passion for the state is beyond description.
On his impression about Oriwu Sun and its publisher, he responded, “Egbon, I have known you for years to be forthright and the undisputable doyen of community journalism in Nigeria,” adding that he would do anything within his capacity to support the newspaper.
On a lighter mood, I teased him if he has kept ladies, he said no and that the busy nature of his job does not permit him to gallivant with women, besides, he is happily married to a woman who is taking good care of him.