Orogun, is one of the sprawling neighborhoods of the University of Ibadan, this community is a mixed of the academia, civil servants, corporate world, business tycoons from all the popular markets in Ibadan and some political bigwigs. Around 1993, some American vehicles such as Ford, Chevrolet were seen plying the streets. These unique vehicles attracted all the aspiring boys in the community but none had the courage to approach the owner of these cars. The moment of revelation, for me, was when I went on a walk with my Dad and he identified the man who I do see behind the steering wheels as his brother from the same country home, Okeho, Oyo State. Those were my early contact with Uncle Sola Ogunbode.

This valiant Okeho man is really an unsung democratic hero having been a part of the political struggle for the liberation of the country from the hands of the military junta. From his activity in the formation of NADECO, to the Egbe Omo Yoruba in the United States, he has been a force to reckon with as a young man who is leading a social cause for the advancement of his country. He is humility personified because he does not put on the toga of his sophistication as an influential person on both the African and American continents.

In the early days of the return of democratic governance to Oyo State, Uncle Sola played a prominent role in the early days of democracy rule in Oyo State. He was on the board of the Oyo State Water Corporation during the tenure of late Alh. Lam Adesina. However, his desire for impactful leadership was short-lived as a result of the crisis in the state chapter of the Alliance for Democracy. As believed, all those who were expelled from the party led to the undoing of AD in Oyo State. He moved on to become the Deputy Gubernatorial candidate for Labour Party in 2007, the election that led to the emergence of Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala as the State Governor.

A wholehearted Oyo man who sees himself as a man from Oyo State and not from a section of the state. I have a dream that very soon a man from Oke-Ogun in Oyo North will govern Oyo State and bring the state to her rightful position as it happened in the days when Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo led the Western Region and Chief James Ajibola Ige led the Old Oyo State comprising of the present Oyo and Osun States.

Uncle Sola’s story is an encouragement to timid generation of today that cannot stand for anything; he believed that it was pointless giving in to injustice because we assume it has already become endemic in our national life. We need to have the candor to stand the desired change that we desire to see in our time.

As we are halfway into 2019 elections, I see a bright future if the people of Oyo North typically called Oke-Ogun, the food basket of Oyo State, will come together to fight a noble cause of leading Oyo State to greater heights. We cannot continue to be contented with being the Deputy Governor or Secretary to the State Government. Our unity will take us closer to our emancipation.

Happy Diamond Anniversary to a big Uncle, a role model, another quality product from Okeho, a frontline leader in Oyo State and Nigeria. 

(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria
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