What you don’t know about Sola Iji

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Background, Career and Politics
By Olaseeni Oyesusi
Ambassador Joseph Olusola Iji, a Politician, Trade Unionist and The Ambassador, Embassy of The Federal Republic of Nigeria to The Republic of Togo, who hails from Barate Quarters of Igbobini in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, was born on 7th November, 1956. The loving husband of Mary Taiwo Iji (nee Aro) is the Principal Partner at the Law Firm of Sola Iji & Co, a Law Firm he founded.
The astute politician had his early life spent in Igbobini in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State where He had his secondary education at Stella Maris College in Okitipupa between 1969 and 1973 where he obtained his West African School Certificate (WASC O Levels), then proceeded to C.M.S Grammar School, Lagos for his Higher School Certificate (A Levels) between 1974 and 1976. In his quest for more knowlwdge, the young Sola Iji proceeded to the University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba between 1976 and 1979 where he obtained his 1st degree in English in 1979 though he got an IPR Course Certification in Public Relations, Institute of Public Relations, London in November 1975, between 1981 and 1982, he also obtained a Master of Business and Public Administration (MBPA), from the Southeastern University in Washington, D.C, proceeding back to Nigeria where between 1986 and 1987 obtained a Master of Science (M.SC.) in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management at the University of Lagos, Akoka -Yaba, Lagos and subsequently between 1994 and 1998, he bagged Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from University of Lagos, Akoka – Yaba, Lagos.
Meanwhile, between 1999 and 2000, he was at Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Also, between 2004and 2005, he was certified as an Associate Member (ACIARB) by obtaining Certification in Arbitration Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom and between 2014 and 2015, he enrolled for Master of Laws (LL.M) in Legislative Drafting at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Lagos.
Olusola is a member of numerous institutes and bodies which includes, Nigerian Industrial Relations Association (Member), Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (Member), Nigerian Bar Association (Member), Nigerian Institute of Management (Associate Member) and Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, U.K and Nigeria (Associate Member).
The Ondo State born renowned politician and diplomat has served in so many capacities ranging from the private to the public sector. Olusola Iji Served in both the Public Relations and Personnel Departments of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Headquarters and Ikeja Brewery, respectively, under the one year compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Programme later between August 1980 and June 1981.
Sola worked as an Assistant Lecturer – Lagos State Polytechnic Isolo, Lagos, where he taught English as a Second Language and Business Communication to College Students; Developed Instructional Materials; Revised and Evaluated Course of Study; Identified Special Needs of Students and Tailored Methods and Materials for Motivation and Development; and Initiated Tutoring Sessions to enrich Academic and Technical Skills, from January 1981 to June 1981.
He was also an Editor – at Delta Weekly, Lagos. (Part Time) where he wrote and Edited Articles for Weekly Local Newspaper and between June 1983 to August 1984, he served as the National Organizing Secretary, Shop and Distributive Trade Senior Staff Association (SHOPDIS), National Secretariat, Lagos. He subsequently served between May 1985 to April 1992 as the Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) formerly Senior Staff Consultative Association of Nigeria (SESCAN), Lagos where he mediated in Trade Disputes between Employers and Trade Unions; and Developed Training Programmes for implementation by Affiliates, Co-coordinating the political program of activities of the center in liaison with the Labor Political Commission of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
Olusola later served from August 1984 to April 2003 as the Executive Secretary of the Food, Beverage & Tobacco Senior Staff Association (An Affiliate of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC)) at 32, Isaac John Street, Off Ikorodu Road, Igbobi, Fadeyi, Lagos, before venturing into full-time into politics.
As a qualified and an high flying legal practitioner, Olusola in 2003 to June 2017 served as the Principal Partner at Sola Iji & Co. (Solidarity Chambers), (Legal Practitioners and Arbitrators) which specializes in employment, industrial and labor relations concurrently from 2003 to Date as the Managing Consultant/CEO of Resource Development Forum Limited (Labor, Employment and Industrial Relations Consultants and Trainers) located at Suites 9-11, Wing A, 3rd Floor, Western House 8-10 Broad Street, Lagos providing consultancy and training services for broad clientele including corporations, government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and trade unions.
Having organized and coordinated training programs relevant to the needs of employees and management of corporations which involved Identification of suitable facilitators and coordinated their readiness for and delivery at training programs.
Comrade Sola Iji has also prepared and personally delivered myriads of seminar papers as a facilitator for the company and designed models for Collective Bargaining Agreements for guidance of trade unions, employees and employers to promote industrial peace and harmony among employment stakeholders, including the banks and financial institutions, food and allied as well as the oil and gas industry.
As a versatile statesman and a nationally celebrated comrade, Olusola has had quite a long dint in the Nigerian political space starting from 1989 where he served as Secretary of the National Steering Committee Nigeria Labour Party (Defunct), from 1989 to 1991 as the Assistant Secretary Labour Political Commission NLC/TUC, between May 1991 and Nov. 1992: Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Social Democratic Party (SDP) National Secretariat, Lagos/Abuja, in 1993 as a National Delegate and Candidate for the office of Assistant National Secretary at the National Convention of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Jos/Abuja.
In 1993 he was a Member of SDP 5 Man Team that accompanied late Chief M.K.O. Abiola to the first ever widely televised NTA Presidential Debate, in 1993: Director (Mass Organizations) HOPE ’93 M. K. O. ABIOLA FOR PRESIDENT Campaign Secretariat, Lagos, in 2003.
Comrade sola was the Candidate of Alliance for Democracy (AD) for the House of Representatives for Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency, Ondo State, and was elected Member between 2003 and 2006. He was Elected State Chairman, Alliance for Democracy (AD) Ondo State, in 2006, State Chairman, Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) Ondo State In 2006 to December 2010. Sola Iji was Elected State Chairman, Action Congress (AC)/Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Ondo State, in December 2010 to April 2012. National Ex-Officio (Southwest) Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) National Headquarters Abuja, in April 2012 to July 2012: Governorship Aspirant and later Chairman, Governorship Aspirants’ Forum of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Ondo State, from May 2012 to June 2012.
He was also the Chairman, Membership Registration/State Congresses Committee, and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Enugu State, from May to October. 2013, Chairman, Kwara State Caretaker Committee Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Ilorin, Kwara State, from 28th November, to 6th December. 2014.
The renowned politician was also Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Legislative Appeals Committee, All Progressives Congress (APC) Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, between 30th and 31st Jan 2015. He also served as the National HQ’s Observer to the Conduct of the Inconclusive Osun East Senatorial Primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osun State, which eventually produced Hon. Omoworare as the Party’s candidate.
However, in May 2015, he was appointed Member, Swearing-in Sub-Committee 2015 Presidential Inauguration Committee Federal Republic of Nigeria Abuja and became the Ambassador – Embassy of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, 109, Rue des Hydrocarbures, BP: 1189, Lome , Togo in (2017 – Date) and on 31st October 2017, Presented his Letters of Credence as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Republic of Togo to H.E Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, President, Republic of Togo, at the Presidential Palace, Togo.
Having said this, it is apparent that Ambassador Olusola Iji is a tested and trusted politician. He is capable of delivering the required and expected dividend of democracy in any capacity.
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