Oloriegbe @62: Celebrating The Face of Quality Representation In Kwara


Today marks the sixty-second year that the ancient town of Ilorin Emirate and Kwara State was blessed with the birth of a bouncing baby boy through the prominent Oloriegbe Family of Ilorin.
The young boy of that time had verily grown up to become a man who is making impacts beyond the shore of his place of birth and as such, he deserves to be celebrated.

Before the year 2019 elections when the people of Kwara Central Senatorial district overwhelmingly gave Dr Oloriegbe their mandate to be the representative of the district at the Red Chamber of the National Assembly, what they were accustomed to as senatorial representation was ‘cosmetic items’ distributions that can only benefit very few numbers of people and leave no impacts beyond momentary succours. Since there were no alternatives, the poor representation remains their best. Thus, they keep applauding their assumed benefactors.

With the birth of an ideology tagged ‘Otoge Mantra’ that aimed to put an end to the status quo; redefine governance within the State and; lay a foundation of a new order whilst building a system that will add meaning and value to the lives of the people, Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe, a son-of-the-soil and a medical practitioner of an international repute was lucky to be among the beneficiaries of the struggle, that being the second time of his attempt. And the quest to justify the confidence reposed in him begun not long after his inauguration as a member of the current Senate, he must deliver, he has no excuse to give, he replaced a man with a big shoe, the former President of the Senate and political lord of Kwara State. Ibrahim must demonstrate the capacity and sagacity of his predecessor, Bukola Saraki. There and then came castle-like expectations from the constituents of Kwara Central and beyond.

Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe

Looking back to his journey over the last three and half years, every discerning mind and lover of the truth will agree that the birthday boy, Dr Oloriegbe has not only come but also seen and conquered with his mettle. He demonstrated capacity in all ramifications and ensured he ticked all the right boxes which can be used to measure a performing member of the legislative arm of government. From Legislation to Oversight and Representation, the medical doctor turned politician proved himself worthy in leadership and representation.

In the beginning, it was hard for people to believe that he was making progress because his style was somewhat strange to what they had been exposed to by those who were before Oloriegbe. But with resilience, day by day, everyone later got to appreciate the man for his unprecedented feats and giant strides. And the rejected stone began to be the cornerpiece as the Oloriegbe who seems unlikeable becomes the toast of all. From Kwara South to Kwara North and off to everywhere in Nigeria, he became a model to measure other legislators.

Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe

What is so special about Dr Oloriegbe’s representation? Not the periodic empowerment programs. Not the water projects. Not the electricity projects. Not the renovated blocks of classrooms and health centres. Not any other petty community interventions we may think of. These are things which anyone with money and influence can do as much as such a person is patriotic. The speciality of Oloriegbe’s representation is the bills he sponsored which had become laws and whose impacts are beyond his constituency. The newly enacted National Health Insurance Authority Act aims to make ‘Health Insurance’ mandatory for all Nigerians and makes provision for free funds for vulnerable groups; The Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Establishment Act, which founded the first institution of that nature in the whole of North Central Geopolitical Zone at Budo-Egba in Asa LGA for the treatment of mental health and other related ailments and, the other one that established Federal College of Traditional, Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Nigeria are some of the unique feats which distinguished Oloriegbe from others who had represented the constituency at the Hallow Chambers. Aside from these three acts, he has at least seven more bills which had been passed by the Senate awaiting President’s assent, and he has as well at least five other bills in other legislative stages. These feats are very very uncommon in the history of Kwara Central if not in Kwara State as a whole.

Through Oloriegbe’s chairmanship as the head of the Senate Health Committee, NAFDAC and NHIA are having expansive offices in Kwara. Unilorin Teaching Hospital has an Outstation in Okolowo. The duo of Federal College of Education and Federal College of Agriculture which were formerly in Kwara had been ceded to Kogi State in 1992, no one amongst the previous representatives had ever made a significant effort in bringing them back until we have Oloriegbe who made frantic efforts through legislation and otherwise to ensure we have these institutions yet again, one of them is close to actuality. While others are giving fish to their constituents, Oloriegbe is teaching them how to fish and building them ponds where they can be hunting their fish independently of any fish giver.

Quite unfortunate that the man lost his reelection bid to bad politics amongst our political warlords, but he is leaving the stage with high ovations as people across the Nation continue to salute his astuteness and vibrancy in the Senate. The common assurance that unifies them is that Oloriegbe will come back stronger and have roles to play in the formation of future government in the country.

As that enigmatic man is becoming a year older today, I celebrate him not just as his aide but as a member of his constituency who can bare witness to his greatness. May Oloriegbe continue to succeed.

Bolaji Aladie writes from Ile-Ife

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