Six years ago, I met Mustapha Olaide better known as Olipha face to face after two solid years of social media interaction. I just completed my National Diploma at the prestigious Federal Polytechnic Ede. Together with a friend and brother, Rufai Lukman better known as SIWES, we travelled from Ede to his home residence which is not far from moribund Yara and Sara textile in Osogbo. We lost our way to his residence but his neighbors were very helpful. They did not allow us to labour in vain.
As we circumnavigated our new path to his residence, we saw an adult dressed in Jalabia (Muslim dress) riding a bicycle towards us. We nearly missed our host until he paused and said to us; I am your host. We laughed. As we trekked to his residence, my friend was in conflict with his mind. I could feel his struggle. He was busy comparing in his mind what I told him about our host and what he met. He judged book by its cover and in the end, he was not disappointed but surprised and shocked. We spent several hours discussing about being self-dependent, national development, governance and business. Yorubas say first impression lasts longer.
Olaide Mustapha Olipha created impressions of respect, humility, confidence and simplicity. How he relates with his neighbors is a direct proof of efficient communal relationship. The very first two hours we spent with him remain the most enchanting moment of our lives. He took us through his journey and we discovered that it was not a rosy one. Only few men of true conscience can acknowledge rare opportunities they had in their lifetime.
Olipha did not only acknowledge these opportunities and people who made it possible, he also shared his tough moments and how he survived them. Lukman looked at me and we nodded in affirmative that truly, tough moments come with opportunities and grace alone is not enough to survive the sad narratives of this life. Olipha is no doubt a man of strong will and his passion for service and developmental activism is rare.
It is interesting to know that Olaide Mustapha has declared his intention to contest for Irewole/Isokan state constituency seat at the Osun State House of Assembly. You can not take away ‘ambitions’ from him. He is very ambitious. In one of our many discussions, he told us that he will set up a school of distinct value and class. When he explained the kind of school he planned to set up, I looked at my friend and we laughed. We did not bother to share our views because we did not believe in its possibility. He ignored our gestures and continued to walk us into his dreams. Three years ago, I visited him and he took me to his new school. It was an exact copy of our discussion. No difference. I left the school and only thanked him for being a good host. I did not bother to remind him about our discussion. Olipha is a goal getter and desperate achiever.
He is not strange to leadership positions and party politics. He has served in various capacities as a student and youth. I have studied Olaide Mustapha and I noticed that his concept of loyalty is different. Olipha is more loyal to political situation and his principles. He understands what leadership entails and he is never afraid of taking political risks. During the 2018 gubernatorial election in Osun, he took a risky political position. He abandoned major political parties and joined the third force. He supported Otunba Iyiola Omisore at the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He campaigned heavily for SDP and he was everywhere with Yemi Lawal, who was Omisore’s deputy. When I asked him why he declared support for Omisore after the guber election, he said apart from believing in the party’s manifestoes and candidacy, the golden son of Ife Kingdom does not abandon his foot soldiers. Olipha is extremely loyal to course.
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I am interested in his political journey because he is a youth and I strongly believe that he will perform brilliantly in office. I have read several articles from political pensioners who do not want the people of Irewole/Isokan to breathe new air. They come together to stage a political rotation amongst themselves. These pensioners do not want the will of people especially women and youth to prevail. They want to continue exploiting the people. They have started their campaign of calumny, trying their best to divide the young population of Irewole/Isokan state constituency.
It is refreshing to note that they have failed in their attempts to continue exploiting the good people of Irewole/Isokan state constituency. Olaide Mustapha ‘Olipha’ has come to stay. His main purpose is to liberate and the people are ready to give him the mandate. If God wills, he will join the likes of Adewumi Adeyemi better known as Irekandu, Olatunji and few other brilliant minds to make the state assembly a worthy one.
Sodiq Lawal Chocomilo writes from Osogbo, the capital of Osun state.