By Bolaji Aladie
Today 12th November marks the 60th year, that he family of Alh. Yahaya Oloriegbe of Oloriegbe compound Alore, Ilorin, welcomed the birth of a bouncing baby boy named after 8th days as Ibrahim. That bundle of joy has so far gone on to conquer the world and many obstacles on his way to become one of the distinguished personalities in Nigeria.
The young Ibrahim underwent tutorship in both Arabic and western education. He was adjudged as the best of his time during his secondary school graduation at Ansarul Islam Secondary School, Ilorin in the year 1979.
He gained admission into the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he bagged an MBBS degree in 1985 and eventually became a certified medical doctor a year after.
From that time onwards, he dedicated a significant part of his life journey to saving human lives as enjoined by his professional calling. He is identified today for his immense contributions to the development of the health sector in Nigeria through active involvement in policy formulation and implementation in the sector.
Ibrahim Oloriegbe’s incursion into the political arena began right from his days at Zaria. He was an active participant in the students’ union struggle which saw him elected as a member of SRC (Students Representative Council) and he was also not a pushover in the then Ilorin Students Union (ISU) which he served as an executive member.
The school politics and experience garnered provided him the strong ground to join partisan politics in 1997 when he contested for a seat in the State House of Assembly. He eventually won the seat in 1999 and served meritoriously as the Majority Leader of the house throughout his term in office. Providence had it that his party, All Nigerian People Party (ANPP) lost a re-election bid and from then, Oloriegbe returned to his professional field as a consultant for a Multinational organization whilst playing partisan politics from behind the scene.
In 2011, he resurfaced to contest the Kwara Central Senatorial seat against the former governor, Bukola Saraki. Though he lost the election, the majority believed that the results were not the true reflection of the peoples’ will at the poll. The rest is history.
The wind of change that was blowing across the nook and crannies of Kwara brought Oloriegbe back to the ballot in 2019 as he emerged as the flag bearer of All Progressives Congress (APC) to square up again with his long time rival, Bukola Saraki who was then the seating Senate President of the Nigeria Upper Chamber. Lo! And Behold, with the support and resilience of Kwarans, the ‘underdog’ Oloriegbe floored the ‘invincible’ Saraki and became the representative of Kwara Central at the current 9th National Assembly.
Though, I had known many members of the Oloriegbe family before my encounter with Dr Ibrahim. One of them, his elder brother, Alh. Yaqub was my principal in secondary school and a friend to my late elder brother, Engr. Suleiman Oba Aladie.
Around late 2018 when the cloud of 2019 elections was gathering, as one of the vocal youths from Ilorin who was active in O’togẹ struggle, it happened that, on one of the prominent Kwara- based media platforms – Kwara Tabloid WhatsApp forum, I commented on a discussion, then after, I received a message from an unsaved number which its owner I found out later to be Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe, then an aspirant.
He appreciated my submission and offered his view, and that was the beginning of a once-in-a-while exchange of personal messages between us. A few weeks after, he emerged as the flag bearer of APC and extended an invitation message to me for attendance at the prayer session he was organising at his family house to celebrate the victory. I graced the event alongside members of the Ilorin Anchor Men and Women Initiative, one of many community-based groups we both belong to. We had a brief chat after the prayer, and he invited me for a discussion at his GRA residence.
It was during my visit to him on that unforgettable evening that I got to know him deeply. He informed me all about his journey and his vision for our constituency if he emerges a Senator, before requesting me to be part of his team. He made me understood that he was making the decision after carefully studied my media influence and presence aside from the recommendations he had gotten from some community elders who had told him I am one of the ideal youths he can work with. I felt honoured, convinced, and there started a relationship we share today.
The journey so far with Sen. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe made me understand verily; one could be wrong and misled by judging a book by its cover or a man from afar.
Sen. Oloriegbe against much mischievous information about his personality is not just cerebral, brilliant but also honest, friendly, humble, compassionate, quiet, youth-loving, and despises sycophancy, flamboyance– even, publicity for his deeds as a political personality.
In the beginning, it was quite complex to understand his modus operandi. Based on my service to him – public relations, I was much enthusiastic to sell him to the public on every click I made, but his easy-does-it approach and simplicity would not allow me to go beyond his line. I have so far seen and realised that he had a point.
Oloriegbe that I know has a good heart, and he always feels concerned about the welfare of his people. He is indeed a goal-getter, highly focused and result-oriented. He is not deterred in any way by what some people might be saying about him and his stewardship, all that matters to him is what posterity would say of him and how God would rate him.
Oloriegbe that I know and working with is an achiever as far as his stewardship is concerned, the record of his achievement is speaking volume. He is one of the best in the 9th National Assembly when it comes to purposeful and impact-making representation.
Oloriegbe that I know would never compromise his standard and would not do things because he wants to please a few people. Oloriegbe that I know would surely come out with flying colours after the end of his tenure(s). One or more, only God can say.
On the occasion of his 60th birthday, I wish him more strength and wisdom to serve God and humanity.
Distinguished Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, cheers to a greater height, sir.
Bolaji Aladie is the media aide to Sen. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe representing Kwara Central at the National Assembly.