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Of Osun 2018 and Wale Rasheed's Aspiration By Deji Adelola







The race for Abere, Osogbo is witnessing entrance into the game of so many faces, new and old. A figure known yet to be fully explained and articulated is Mallam Olawale Rasheed, one of the gubernatorial contenders for Osun state in 2018 elections. His aspiration is still unfolding even though his surprising reaches within so short a period surprises his fellow contenders.

One basic element of the aspirant’s personality is his legs and feet in almost all political camps within the party. Leaders of the various groups can conveniently call him their man even as he appears to have picked elements of the various groups and leaders he had served to form a new political personality. Gentle and tough; local and national; professional and partisan; poor and rich; turbulent and calm, the aspirant is an uncommon political figure qualified to lay claim to political maturity after graduating from most schools of political thought in the state.

Mallam is a consummate writer, journalist, media entrepreneur, administrator, public policy analyst with local, state, national and international experience. He has a rare combination of attributes through his sojourn in life. Fate seems to have prepared him for the huge task of governance and challenges of public service.

With English language studies from the University of Ilorin where he graduated with Second Class Upper Division, he opted for a Master’s programme in public administration immediately after his national service as an education officer at the Federal Capital Development Authority [FCDA], Abuja. He was the brain behind the formation of the Post-Graduate Students’ Association of the University of Ilorin and the Association of Masters of Public Administration Students of the same institution. A prolific campus press editor, Mallam was a distinguished ex-Vice President of English Students’ Association of the University.

From 1991 onward, Mallam’s life took a multiple dimension manifesting in his hands entering various sectors of life. At 29, he witnessed the 1994/95 National Constitutional Conference in Abuja as a political assistant. That sojourn afforded him rare opportunities to understudy many strong national political leaders as well underwent other political studies of important and landmark political submissions on the political structure of the nation.

From the confab, he entered journalism as a proof reader then a senior reporter, Assistant editor, deputy editor, Abuja Bureau Chief, Group Politics editor and Regional Editor North, covering beats from National Assembly to political parties and public bureaucracy. Reputed to be a prolific resourceful analyst, he worked for almost 20 years as a staff of the African Newspapers of Nigeria, publishers of Tribune newspapers before he commenced media entrepreneurship and political consultancy in the nation’s capital.

On political front, Mallam was born into a political family as his late father was a foundation member of the Action Group, Unity Party of Nigeria, Social Democratic Party and Alliance for Democracy. From his teenage years, he was exposed to politicking and he grew within the political system.

He was active within the youth wing of the Peoples Solidarity Party, which later fused with the Peoples Front to form the Social Democratic Party. From Imeri Unity Group, New Era Movement to the formation of the United Nigeria Congress Party and the People’s Democratic Party, Mallam was involved. He was at the first meeting of PDP held at the Ladi Kwali Hall of Sheraton Hotel Abuja and the first South West meeting of the PDP held at the Ibadan residence of Prof Tunde Adeniran.

In 1999, he was the Director of Publicity for Dr Olu Alabi Governorship Campaign Organization. At the federal level, he was a party strategist connected to many leaders and power brokers from all over the country.

A-Rasheed has diligently served many leaders in his political life. As he used used to tell his admirers, ‘I have many leaders’. From his local political leaders at Iwo to Chief Abiola Ogundokun, Chief Sola Oladeinde, Late Chief Sunday Afolabi, Senator Olu Alabi, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi among many others within the state.

His political experience is therefore multi-dimensional. It is intellectual in nature as a politics reporter and editor for close to 20 years. It is practical in partisan field as an actor in local, state and national politics. It is also paternalistic from his father who was a very close associate of late federal lawmaker, Chief Ekerin Ogunwale and late Barrister Oluremi Atanda, the best governor Osun did not have in 1979.

From his unusual decision to secure a master’s degree in public administration to his extensive political participation, Mallam is privileged to have served government in critical capacities. His experience in government avails him the needed training, skills and understanding of the working of public bureaucracy, the relationship between political functionaries and bureaucrats, the workings of executive and legislative organs of government and closer grasp of an ideal citizens-government relation.

He was briefly a Chief Information Officer at the Federal Capital Development Authority serving the Board of Directors under Senator Olu Alabi. Mallam later served as the unofficial media aide to late Chief Afolabi during his days as Minister of Internal Affairs.

For close to four years he was the special assistant to the youth Affairs minister, Senator Olasunkanmi.That period was the golden age of youth development in Nigeria when innovative youth policies were created and implemented.

 Few years after, Mallam moved to the infrastructure sector when he was appointed special assistant to the minister of power. It was at the very critical stage of the privatization of the sector and an era of extensive reform.

That service within social and infrastructure sectors of government enhanced Mallam’s grasp of public administration. Widely travelled for conferences and policy meetings, Mallam has deep experience in the policy formation and implementation processes. A politics analyst was transformed into a public policy analyst with innovative thinking on how best the bureaucracy can serve the people.



One area Mallam excelled without much noise is humanitarian service. Even while he is not super rich, he devoted the little he has to philanthropy. His passion is being a charity worker, sharing and helping outside the glare of camera. He popularized the concept of charity in the dark in the activities of his foundation, Olawale Rasheed Foundation which he established in 2010.

But what does he want in politics? He once narrated his poor background, his fetching wood to get educated; his hawking at day/night market and his tortuous journey to outsmart poverty .Leaders he said can be truly pro-people in their doings and actions.

His thinking is not conventional and his style is pro-poor and pro-people. He looks beyond mere slogan of good governance in finding governance solutions.

The crux of his manifesto is transforming Osun state into a giant economic machine that propels societal transformation, that creatively fight poverty, that determinedly exit the debt trap and that boost collective prosperity.

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