Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before
kings; he shall not stand before
mean men. The above Biblical admonition must have inspired Prince John Ola Mafo to give himself to hard work and chart a noble cause early in life. The prince of Zion Pepe has made his mark and carved a niche for himself as a lawyer, journalist and educationist. Mafo has indeed proven his mettle as a quintessential sports administrator per excellence and an excellent manager of men and information. He has also proven beyond all traces of doubt that he is a very sound educationist, a prolific and a lawyer with a great advocacy and legal skills.
The University of Ado-Ekiti Law graduate and Obafemi Awolowo University graduate of English had worked as a Staff Writer with VBO International Limited, Yaba Lagos from November,1986 to January,1989 before moving over to Broad Street Journal as a Staff Writer in January,1989. Prince John Ola Mafo worked as a Field Officer of the University Press Plc, Ibadan from June,1988 until January,1992. He took over as the Publishing Manager of Ondo State New Era Commercial Press, Alagbaka Akure from March,1992 to July,1993. Mafo again stepped out as the Editor-in-Chief and Chief Executive Officer of Candid Press, Akure between November,1994 and April 1995.
The burning interest of Ola Mafo in politics got ignited at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University during his undergraduate days when he was elected the Public Relations Officer of UNIFE Students’ Union for 1982/1983 Parliamentary year. He had also served as the Chairman, University Education Committee of the National Association of Nigerian Students from1983 to 1984. The full blooded Ilaje man was the House of Assembly candidate of Social Democratic Party, SDP for Ilaje/Ese-Odo Constituency 1 in 1991. Mafo was a state delegate of SDP in 1991 and Chairmanship candidate of Ilaje/Ese-Odo Local Government during the zero party election arrangement in 1996. Mafo was saddled with the responsibility of campaign Manager/Director Operations of Ondo state Chapter, Obasanjo Campaign Organization from 1998 to 1999.
Mafo held sway as the Executive Chairman of Ilaje Local Government from March,1997 to July,1998. He had his first outing as a National delegate of PDP in December 2001 for the election of Audu Ogbeh led National Executive Committee. He served as a member of the Governing Board of NARCIT, Zaria from April,2001 until April 2004 before being appointed as a Senior Special Assistant on Liaison Office and was attached to Ondo state Liaison office in Abuja between September 2003 and December 2004. Mafo performed brilliantly as the Chairman of Publicity Committee of PDP in Ondo state from 2001 to 2005. The PDP die-hard loyalist was appointed Ondo state Commissioner for Information and Sports in January,2005 until May,2007 by Dr Olusegun Agagu. He was redeployed to take charge of the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports from June,2007 till February,2009 when Dr Olusegun Mimiko took over as the governor of Ondo state.
Mafo was automatic delegate of the PDP for the election of Governor Umaru Yar’Adua as a presidential candidate in 2006 and also an automatic delegate at the 2008 National convention of the PDP. The man with a burning passion for the PDP was again made a member of Electoral Committee for the Special Constitution Amendment National Convention of 2009 and PDP election monitoring Committee for Anambra gubernatorial election in February, 2010. The resourcefulness and good sense of judgement of Prince Mafo were openly acknowledged by the National leadership of the PDP when he was made the Chairman of Katsina state gubernatorial primary panel on January 9, 2011. The Ilaje politician was a National delegate at the PDP National convention that elected Dr Goodluck Jonathan as the presidential candidate of the party in January, 2011. He was again appointed a member of Appeal Committee for Kogi state gubernatorial elections in September, 2011. The sports loving politician had earlier served as a member of the Screening Committee of Adamawa gubernatorial election in October, 2011 before he was yet again made the Chairman of Kwara state Congress Panel in 2012. The highly experienced political tactician was a National delegate at the PDP’s National convention in March, 2012 and the Special National convention of August, 2013.
The football Ambassador of Ilaje land was appointed the Chairman of the Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA) on January 25, 2016.
He also doubles as Sunshine Stars and Sunshine Queens President by virtue of the appointment. Prince Ola Mafo has since assumption of office been consolidating on the achievements of his predecessor Mr. Akin Akinbobola. Mafo has continue with the programmes of Akinbobola, although effecting changes where necessary; an approach that has markedly improved the fortunes of both Sunshine Stars and Sunshine Queens. According to Mafo in his acceptance speech as ODSFA Chairman, “It is my prayer that we will have reasons to celebrate at the end. It is the same government, we will continue with the same policy, changes will only be made to where it is necessary.”
The football loving administrator has consistently plead with all stakeholders to key into his vision so as to realize the ambition of Governor Olusegun Mimiko and the soccer loving people of the state, which is to make the sunshine state the hub of football development. In the words of Mafo,”It is very important for all stakeholders to come together and achieved the desired results of making the state number one in the country as far as football development is concerned. We shall carry everyone along and listen to suggestions and pick the useful ones that will guide us in achieving maximum success.” The seamless connection between the ODSFA boss and other board members of the Agency has manifested in quality performances of under the Agency.
Meanwhile, Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State had showered praises on the two time Commissioner in the State and former Chairman of the NFF Electoral Appeals Committee at the launching of two books written by Ola Mafo. Drawing inspiration from famous author, Francis Bacon’s assertion that “reading maketh a full man; conferences maketh a ready man and; writing maketh an exact man,”. Dr Mimiko informed that Mafo’s accomplishment of two, not one, books at the same time, had fully established his place in the pantheon of exact men. In the words of Olusegun Mimiko, “I want to say here without any fear or favour that the Mafo family has long been one renowned for its integrity and capacity in Ondo State. Prince Ola Mafo is an institution, and everyone within the political landscape of Ondo knows that it is always better to have him on your side. With these books, he has further established his undoubted cerebral capacity and love for social equality and development of man.”
Aside being a politician and an administrator, Mafo has made statements as a prolific writer. His first book, Echoes of The Waves, mirrors the challenges that confront an average Nigerian child from the rural area, especially an aquatic terrain, and how the odds and challenges stacked against such a child can be surmounted. The second book titled, Wazobian Revolution, is set against a society where amidst great potential, the under-privileged is in a great dilemma, occasioned by the double standards on display in his country, limiting his options and by extension his progress.
John Ola Mafo left an indelible print as the pioneer President, Law Society at the then Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti in 1992. He also opened a new vista of information management as the pioneer Public Relations Officer of Ilaje Patriotic Front. The cerebral sports enthusiast made meaningful contributions as a member of the Joint Implementation Committee on Olokola Free Trade Zone between January, 2005 and February, 2009.
Mafo is a winner of many awards and laurels both in political circles and in academic field. He won the Western Media Group’s Outstanding Achiever Award in June,1998. He was awarded the Ondo State Labour friendly Local Government Chairman in 1997. The Leadership Trust Foundation of Nigeria decorated Mafo with the award of Local Government Chairman of the year in 1997. Mafo was the state award winner of NYSC of Gongola state in 1986. Prince Ola Mafo placed 4th in a National Essay writing competition organized by NIPOST in 1978 on the topic: The Postman, My Best Friend. The hardworking scholar was the winner of Babatunde Rhodes Cup at the 1995 edition of the National Law students debate. He was the best graduating student in Jurisprudence at the University of Ado-Ekiti for 2000/2001 academic session. Mafo was also the overall best graduating student in UNAD for the same 2000/2001 academic session. Ola Mafo was again awarded the Outstanding Young Politician by Tell Magazine and the Worthy Ambassador of Niger Delta by Supreme Niger Delta Youth Council Worldwide in February, 2006.
Essential attributes that have so far distinguished Ola Mafo in public and private assignments were his sense of patriotism and hard work, unalloyed loyalty, integrity and genuine fear of God. Mafo is a responsible family man who cherishes high family values. The ODSFA boss who loves to unwind by engaging in writing, reading, intellectual debates, sports and tourism is blessed with responsible children of great career prospects.