Ishola Olateju: Man Of The Masses

By Isaac Adetunji

About two years ago, one of my friends, who is also a Comrade called me to persuade Ishola Olateju to run for the House of Representatives, in his Federal Constituency. I took it upon myself to reach out to him and his reply left me with no option than to tell my friend that, “It depends on the people.”

When I raised the issue with Olateju, he told me that he is ready to run only if the people of his Federal Constituency ask him to do so.

He said his political philosophy which he learnt from his father and mentor, Rauf Aregbesola is about the people and what they want at a particular time in his life.

So, it is not surprising when the people of his Federal Constituency organised a welcome party for him where they insisted that Olateju must run in 2023. The young and the old, most especially women in the constituency, threatened to protest naked if Olateju turned them down. At this point, Ishola had no option than to yield to the yearnings of his people in order to represent them at the green chamber of National Assembly.
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But there is an obstacle, the politics of Igbominaland is totally different. They have a political culture which they guard jealously. They move as a movement and they have insisted that Teju must run under a platform which they will provide.

While he was still thinking on how to go about it, the people of his constituency contributed money and purchased nomination form for him, something described as unprecedented in the history of Kwara Politics.

For the first time, the people are running a campaign for one of their sons, without waiting for him to bring money. They are mobilising their people even outside the state, to come home in what they describe as their own time.

I have asked myself several times on why there is a tsunami in Ifelodun, Offa and Oyun Federal Constituency over Ishola Olateju’s ambition and my answer is, He has dedicated his life to their service, no one apart from the state government has helped his people like Olateju has done in the last ten years.

Apart from his annual Ishola Olateju Foundation Empowerment, Olateju employed hundreds of Igbomina sons and daughters into federal and state government parastatals and agencies, using his connection and resources.

Asides that, no one in the history of Igbominaland most especially among our political class has popularised the culture, norms and interest of the Igbominas like Teju. He has been doing all within his power to better the lot of his people.

While the next election keeps drawing closer, political watchers are putting their eyes on his Federal Constituency as the first political revolution being led by the masses is about to happen.

Ishola Olateju will run, not against his party, but in obedience to his people.

Isaac Adetunji writes from Abuja.
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