On the surface, Saliu Mustapha is a reputable politician with over two decades of experience in party administration and developmental politics. But beyond that facade is a philanthropist and an accomplished international businessman with interest in real estate and construction.
Born on September 25, 1972, into the reputable family of Issa and Maryam Mustapha of Gambari Ward in Ilorin East Local Government Area, Kwara State, Saliu was groomed at an early age to imbibe the core traditional and religious values of discipline, courage, honesty, piety and hardwork upon which the ancient city of Ilorin was built. He has continued to hold on to these values till date in a way that reflects in his daily living.
The young Saliu attended St. Bartholomew Primary School, Wusasa, Zaria. He proceeded to Command Secondary School, Kaduna for his post-primary education. For his higher education, Saliu studied Mineral Resources Engineering at the Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna and graduated in flying colours at every score. He is presently running other professional courses in some of Nigeria’s top grade higher institutions of learning.
As an undergraduate, Saliu Mustapha developed keen interest in governance and that formed the basis of his evolution into politics. His belief in purposeful and progressive leadership vis-a-vis dedication to public service, brought him on the same ideological paths with the likes of Chief Alexis Aniello, Chief Olu Falae, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Specifically, between 2001 – 2002, Saliu was the National Publicity Secretary of the Progressive Liberation Party (PLP) under the leadership of Dr. Ezekiel Ezeogwu. A little further in 2003, Saliu and other likeminds came together to register and form the Progressive Action Congress (PAC), whereat he was returned again as a National Publicity Secretary, an impressive feat for his age and clout as at that time.
At about the time President Muhammadu Buhari conceived the idea of coming back into public service as a civilian President, Saliu Mustapha keyed into the vision. Thus, he became a pivotal member of The Buhari Organisation (TBO) and the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) respectively for several years.
He was a major member of the Buhari Presidential Campaigns in 2003 when the latter ran under the platform of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). In 2007, instead of sitting in far away Abuja, he decided to go into the political trenches to hold forth for the ANPP in his home state, Kwara State, where he contested as a member of the Federal House of Representatives for Ilorin East and South Federal Constituency.
In 2011, Saliu became a foundation NEC member of the Buhari’s newly formed Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) first, as an Ex-Officio, and subsequently as its National Deputy Chairman under the leadership of Prince Tony Momoh (of blessed memory).
The CPC would later merge with other legacy parties to forming the All Progressives Congress (APC). Saliu, dogged, dutiful and conscientious, was among the very few that made the historic merger come to reality. In fact, he is reputed to be the signatory to the merger agreement on behalf of the CPC tendency in the coalition.
Since then till now, he has remained true to the progressive ideology as a stakeholder of the APC both at his home state and at the national level. He has contributed in no small measure to the sustenance of the party.
Amid the accolades and achievements at the national arena, Saliu Mustapha never allowed his giant strides to becloud his sense of duty to the grassroots. This is evident in his much talked about philanthropic activities and interventions in Kwara State, particularly in the areas of educational, health and human capital development programmes.
Through his foundation – the Saliu Mustapha Foundation – Saliu has engaged in a wide range of charitable projects in his hometown and beyond, advancing humanitarian causes. On the average, he spends over N100,000,000 (One Hundred Million) Naira in private, hard-earned funds annually to execute various plans and projects of the Foundation, including an annual financial empowerment programme, annual scholarship and educational support services, among others.
Politically, he is a force to reckon with in the political firmament of Kwara State. For years, he has nurtured and maintained his SMS political group, a one of its kind political movement that cuts across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state.
In 2019, this group would later prove its mettle as it joined forces with other progressives in Kwara state, under the Otoge Rainbow Coalition that heralded a rare political revolution never witnessed before in the history of the state.
Ironically, all these happened in spite of his ill-treatment by some forces in the party in the 2019 gubernatorial primaries of the party. That clear case of injustice necessitated the then Adam Oshiomole-led NEC to write a formal Letter of Apology admitting the iniquity against him and apologising for same. Analysts believed that the decision of Mustapha not to litigate his ill-motivated treatment then is the singular reason APC is still standing today in Kwara as a political platform.
It was the height of loyalty that he not only refused the temptations to rock the APC boat, he also pulled humongous personal resources in support of all the candidates of the party, and participated very actively in the campaigns during the 2019 General Elections which led to a 100% victory for the party in the state.
Saliu Mustapha is very widely respected as a mentor and a pillar of support to thousands of youths in Kwara State and beyond, being a young person himself. He mingles freely with them, supports them and their aspirations from time to time.
Mustapha is very widely traveled. He has been to virtually all the continents of the world, either for business or family vacations. He is happily married with kids. He speaks a variety of Nigerian languages; namely Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Okun.