“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
The above quote by Jackie Robinson best encapsulates the life and personality of the Immediate past lawmaker who represented the interest of the people of Kwara Central Senatorial District in the 9th Senate of the Nigerian National Assembly — Dr Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, who clocks sixty-three years on the 12th of November this year.
Born in the year 1960 when Nigerian got her independence from the colonial masters, Ibrahim ironically grew up to become one of the very few people whom almighty Allah used in the year 2019 to liberate the people of Kwara State from the grip of non-colonial colonialists who politically enslaved and held the State economic jugular for many years. Like many failed attempts of the liberationists such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Anthony Enahoro, and other eminent Nigerians who patriotically waged war against the colonialists before they eventually succeeded over 63yrs ago, many progressive and conscientious Kwarans have been on the struggle for a liberated Kwara State before 2019, and Oloriegbe happened to be one of them and was even the torchbearer of the struggle in 2011 before becoming victor eighter year later, the rest as they do say; is history.
The attempt of this piece is not to highlight Oloriegbe’s biography or recount his achievements as a Medical Practitioner and later a politician of note, several scholarly publications have been written in this regard by different authors who were fascinated by his outstanding personality and strides. However, it is a tribute to celebrate the new addition to his age, the first one after his remarkable performance as the representative of his people in the Nigerian highest lawmaking body in Abuja.
While open tributes and public validations characterizing a day like this for any serving public office holder may likely be reduced drastically in number for Oloriegbe because he is out of public office, for people like us who wined, dined, and witnessed how he diligently served and delivered sterlingly in the task given to him, it will be another day to bring him to the public glare, for he is a hero worthy of celebration beyond his birthday and the office where he served.
For us, we ain’t celebrating Oloriegbe for being a politician who has enormous cash to throw around when he needs people to hail him and shout his name around; we are, and shall be celebrating him only for the indelible impact he left behind as a first and one time Senator that performed beyond the expectation of friends and enemies.
As if he had the premonition that he wouldn’t have the privilege of the second time, within four years, he worked and overworked himself in the Senate by thicking the tripod used for assessing legislative representation in any democratic setting. From bills to motions sponsorship; to contributing brilliantly to issues of National importance; to fearless outings at any oversight events; to projects and benefits facilitation to the people whose mandate he had, he exhibited a class with no equal neither amongst his contemporaries nor his predecessors.
His performance was so huge and visible to an extent that his sworn critics could not hide their admiration and sympathies for him when he couldn’t obtain the return ticket in the primary elections. Albeit his inability to return, he refused to rock the boat against his party, and neither did he falter in his obligations to the people of his constituency. Rather than sulking and disenchanted about the outcome, he ensured that all the projects he facilitated were delivered to specification without suffering any deserved vigour. As he marks his birthday this year, he through his wife yesterday commissioned some other projects facilitated through the year 2023 appropriation act, as several constituents would receive empowerment tools from him today as well, as part of the Capital Projects he input into the ongoing year’s budget, supplemented with additional funds from his private pocket. A non-serving Senator still doing wonders outside office!
To Oloriegbe, it is about service to the people, it is about transparency and accountability, it is about being alive to one’s responsibility; it is about keeping to trust and being trustworthy before man and God. What a special breed of politician we have in him.
Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe might have lost his seat in the Red Chamber, but he has not lost his respect and position amongst critical stakeholders and elder statesmen that the new administration on board in the Nation is consulted and will continue to consult regarding the state of the country, especially in the health sector which is his forte. The reason is not far-fetched, he has paid his due as a professional medical expert and outstanding public servant who was one of the three best Senators of 2019-2023 set as rated by the OrderPaper.
As Oloriegbe becomes a year older today, I celebrate the Game Changer who redefined the legislative representation in Kwara Central and Kwara State as a whole as his standard becomes the yardstick to measure the present and future legislators. May almighty Allah continue to work and walk with him in all his endeavours.
Bolaji Aladie writes from Ilorin. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org