Real reasons of how Yemi Mobolade, Nigerian immigrant and political newbie, earned the victory to become Colorado’s second largest city’s Mayor in the US

Entrepreneur/ pastor, without political experience, garnered votes across political and race divides to become Colorado Springs’ first elected Black mayor  


Ade Ishola

Tuesday, June 6, 2023, will be a major day in the life of Nigerian immigrant, Blessing Yemi Mobolade. He will be gratefully counting his blessings in his life as takes the oath of office as the 42nd Mayor and the first Black one of Colorado Springs in Colorado, United States.

Mobolade, born on the 12th of February, 1979 in Lagos, Nigeria, migrated to the United States with his family in August 1996 and became a United States citizen in 2017.

A political newcomer and an Independent candidate, he had on April 4, 2023, a nonpartisan blanket primary came first out of 12 candidates to face a run-off election on May 16, 2023, against Wayne Williams of the Republican Party to determine Colorado Springs’ 42nd mayor.

At the May 16, 2023, General run-off Elections, trounced Williams, who is a constant face in the last 28 years in the city and Colorado State politics. Mobolade polled 57.5 per cent of the 124,223 votes counted so far.

While some may see this victory as upsetting, some local political analysts in Colorado and beyond believe that Mobolade’s victory was not surprising and point to some key factors responsible for this result. Observers Life looks at some of these key factors that swung victory for Mobolade in a campaign that took place over 18 months, involving over 15o meet and greet events, 23 debates and fora, with over 40,000 doors knocked across the Colorado Springs metropolis involving over 2,000 donors and volunteers:

1. Energising the voters with a new message: Colorado State has been a long-term Republican stronghold with a conservative political outlook for many decades but the colour is gradually changing in the last few decades. Many residents seem ready for a change and Yemi Mobolade, with his experience in community mobilization sensed this and leads the vanguard for this change.His key message is leading a collation ‘of like-minds for change from the norm’ for a new Colorado Springs, especially from the landlord- the Republican Party.He promised a fresh new start and the people believe in him. This message made the Nigerian immigrant gain the confidence and votes of a broad spectrum of the community.At his election watch party, Mobolade after the victory said, “To anyone who doubts that politics can be disrupted… tonight is for you.”

  1. Brief but rich experience: Though Mobolade is a political newcomer the immigrant who migrated to Colorado Springs in 2010 had a rich deep connection within the city, which gave him a wide crossover appeal among the city’s voters. He is a minister of God, an entrepreneur and a Colorado Springs’ former Small Business Development administrator, which gave him close connections to the local business and evangelical communities.Since 2010, when he moved to Colorado Springs, Mobolade has helped in co-founding many businesses including Good Neighbors Meeting House, The Wild Goose Meeting House, restaurants/cafes and, Niche Coaching and Consulting, in the Colorado Springs area, to help business leaders grow and the local businesses to thrive.
White Goose House, one of Mobolade’s business (courtesy The Gazette)

Also, he had been City’s Small Business Development Administrator, in which role he helped and supported small businesses and start-ups and pioneered new technologies to improve the citizen experience with government and promote local economic development. He was also the Vice President of Business Retention and Expansion for the Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation during a period the City recorded big job growth.

Mobolade’s main reason for moving to the City was to pastor the First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs, a role he used to show his love and care for the people as well as spread neighbourly love to the people. He later co-founded the COSILoveYou and CityServe Day, a nonprofit and movement to unite over 100+ churches from various denominations in service to Colorado Springs.

He has been a tireless community leader serving on many causes and local organizations like Thrive Network of Southeast Colorado Springs Board of Directors, Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs Advisory Council, Springs Rescue Mission Board of Directors, Pikes Peak Community College President’s Advisory Council, Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region Board of Directors, Men’s Xchange Board of Directors, Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center Advisory Board, Pikes Peak Workforce Center Workforce Development Board, and COSILoveYou Board of Directors.

This greatly helped to bridge his lack of political experience.

  1.  A charismatic Independent Leader: Many Colorado Springs voters related with Mobolade’s nonpartisan affiliation and this helped him gain the confidence of many voters across the political divides. He is widely seen as a unifier in the City’s politics and tagged # PeoplesMayor.  Many Colorado Springs and Colorado State residents who have come across Mobolade see him as a sincere leader and a charismatic person.

He has won many awards in the City and across the state. These include the 2020 Class of Colorado Governor’s Fellows, 2020 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award, Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado, 2019 Quality of Life Award, Pike’s Peak Hospice & Palliative Care, 2018 Small Business Champion of the Year, Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center, 2016 Class of the Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, 2016 Rising Star, Colorado Springs Business Journal; 2016 Alumnus of the Year, Bethel University, Indiana; and 2015 Mayor’s Young Leader Award for Economic Impact, Office of the Mayor.

Mobolade has a rich education, with a Bachelor of Science degree in both Computer Information Systems and Business Administration at Bethel College (2001), a Master of Science degree in Management and Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University (2006) and a Master of Arts degree in Intellectual Leadership at A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary (2015).

Yemi Mobolade at one of his graduations (courtesy Yemi Mobolade/Facebook)


  1. Negative Attacks by the Williams Camp: The 42 days between the regular and runoff elections witnessed a massive attack on Mobolade’s camp from his Republican Party’s opponent, who strive to portray him as a socialist with far left-wing views who shy away from ‘taking firm positions on key policy issues.

But many analysts believe that Williams’ desperation did not take into account the positions of things. Many believe that Mobolade had gained the confidence of many members of the City, right from when he kicked off his campaign with his positioning and messages and see him as someone they could relate to. Many voters took the negative ads of his opponents as personal attacks on them.

  1. Use of a combination of media to pass the message along: Mobolade’s Camp utilized a campaign strategy focusing on energizing the voters into action through a blitz of activities, including more than 100 meet-and-greet events involving the candidate and many campaign volunteers knocking on nearly 40,000 doors; television, digital and billboard advertising; and mailing, radio and texting campaigns.This proved more productive than his opponent, Wayne Williams’ traditional campaign of traditional advertising and name recognition.Mobolade ran a big campaign on social media using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as against Williams’ campaign which only ran on Facebook. Mobolade described the experience as ‘my longest job interview ever as I had to prove to the voters why I am the person for the job.’
  1. Key Endorsements: Mobolade’s campaign was able to get key endorsements from the community, including some big Republicans, despite his opponent being a Republican stalwart. These included those of Sallie Clark, a businesswoman and well-known local politician, who was a close third in the Mayor’s April 4, 2023, regular election. Williams ran amidst a bitter crisis in the local Republican Party. Clark was believed to have spent nearly a half-a-million dollars mainly on attack adverts against Williams during the campaigns to the April partisan election and left the Republican candidate battered and trailing behind Mobolade in the run-off.
  2. Local policies and issues: some key policies and issues of the City Council played big roles in how the voters cast their votes. Predominant are the controversial Water Rule, which deals with land annexation and water supplies; property taxes and the growing population that has spread the city to the suburb.

The water Rule, approved in January, polarized bug campaign funds donors into two groups: those involved in utilities and those in real property development. Williams, who was a councilman then, supported the Rule as such earning the wrath of companies that could see their property blocked from coming into the city.

  1. Good spousal and family support: Yemi is married to Abbey Gochenaur, whom he met in 2007 and married in November 2012. The couple has three children: two sons named Dawit Blessing Mobolade and Zion Mobolade, and a daughter named Tumi Mobolade. Their elder son, Dawit was adopted by the couple back on 27 July 2017 from an orphanage, Sele Enat Mahiber in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia while the couple had two biological children with their daughter born in May 2021. Mololade said both of them had always considered adoption even before they met and got married.
The Yemi Mobolades (courtesy

During the campaign, Mobolade never fails to make his family a centre point of the campaign pointing out his role as an active and engaged father, his understanding of the rewards and daunting task of raising children and his determination to unleash a better future for his children and others in the city.

Abbey, who is a full-time nurse educator at Pikes Peak State College, was also an integral part of the campaign. Throughout the campaign, she featured prominently: canvasing for votes, raising funds and giving interviews for the cause.

Yemi and Abbey Mobolade at their wedding (courtesy Yemi Mobolade)

In her interviews, she was always quick to point out that her experience as both an educator and critical care nurse ‘would allow her to bring her brand of advocacy to a city desperately in need of mental health services.’’

Abbey, who had been an English teacher, and an intensive-care unit nurse, talked about her mentoring services to her students empowering them to harness their ability to change the lives of vulnerable citizens they would be serving.

She also talked passionately about her concerns for mental health, safety in public schools, homelessness and public infrastructure saying the City Administration has been reactionary to these issues instead of being proactive.

For now, all eyes are on Yemi Mobolade, who resumes office to enjoy the new salary package of $128,740, which became effective June 6, 2023, as he navigates the political waters of City Hall in Colorado Springs. However, many supporters strongly believe his creative and can-do spirit will make him triumph and berth the city into development areas.


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