Bolaji Abdullahi: What The ‘Distortionists’ Won’t Tell You By: Comrade Tajudeen Habeeb (Tallest)
Ghanaians are naturally very black, so some people, based on mere assumption, assumed Bolaji Abdullahi is a Ghanian because he is dark. Ilorin people have a unique accent, sometime punctuated by a long drawn ‘fa’, so some people assumed that Bolaji Abdullahi who speaks a grandiose fashion of Yoruba, with some Lagos panache, is an Iseyin man. All these are not true. The truth, which those who are adept at distorting facts won’t tell you, is that Bolaji Abdullahi is an Ilorin man who also has the distinguishing characteristic of proven competence.
In Kwara State, a politician knows that his candidature or ambition is viable when his opponents make him an object of their obsession and strive to get something, just anything, to smear him. They will seek to bury his good qualities in a heap of mountainous lies and half truths. Hence, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has consistently been a subject of research and inconclusive conclusion by those who perceive his rumoured gubernatorial ambition as a threat to their political aspirations. Those who seek to reduce the public image of Bolaji Abdullahi and detract from his reputation have not find it easy. Honesty, checked. Incorruptibility, checked. Competence, checked. What is, therefore, left for Abdullahi’s detractors is to cast his origin in doubt and dress him in a garb of a foreigner.
While I will endeavour to tell you some basic facts which the ‘distortionists’ won’t want you to know, pointing you to where and how to find evidence in some cases; I should make haste to add that the debate on the local government of origin of a potential candidate for a position as important as the governorship of a State is puerile and baseless.
It is indeed an irony that young people who are at the vanguard of advocating for good governance are the same set of people pushing for leadership recruitment on the basis of sentimental factors such as local government of origin. If Bolaji Abdullahi was to be the only finest medical doctor capable of treating a particular disease in Kwara State, it is doubtful if anyone would insist on his local government of origin certificate before allowing him to treat them. But here we are, because we believe governance is a less serious endeavor, we have reduced the criteria for selecting those who organize and manage our affairs to simply a matter of place of origin.
It’s troubling to see how Bolaji Abdullahi has continued to give the opposition headache with his matchless maturity and strategic thinking. While he could simply take a newspaper advertorial or grant a press interview to kill the rumour about his local government of origin, he has tactfully allowed the opposition candidates and their social media warriors to continue to make inferences. For those discerning enough, Bolaji’s joker was not in what he said or claimed. It was in what he did not say.
Bolaji Abdullahi did not say anything about seeking to contest the governorship of Kwara State simply on the basis of which local government area he comes from. The value of his proven competence is the basis on which Abdullahi wants to be assessed. As he told some us, he believes that what Kwara needs, going forward, is a man who brings unequalled ability to improve the fortunes of our dear State. If that man is from kutuwenji, Omoluabi thinks that should be a secondary concern. Therefore, Bolaji Abdullahi does not want the support of anyone on the basis of whether he is from Moro or Lafiagi or Ilorin West or East. He wants to be supported based on the assessment of his track record, and whether or not he has a proven capacity to do the job of a governor.
Of course, the ‘distortionists’ won’t tell you that the tradition of sentimental leadership recruitment has denied many States in Nigeria and even the country itself the services of so many finest brains. What represented the best profile of a leader is not the place of birth on his resume, it’s the cumulative experience and measured competence. This is why the national name recognition that Bolaji Abdullahi has attained today is not because he is from Kwara State or because he’s in the political camp of Saraki, No. It is the training, competence, performance, humility and many other germane factors that fused together to create a profile that is today Bolaji Abdullahi.
While am not saying that Abdullahi is the only available competent Kwaran to do the job of a governor, it’s a fact that he is one of the few ones with a track record and proven capacity for productive governance. There are others, yes. But Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi is incontrovertibly one of the best hands Kwara can boast of at the moment, and it would no doubt be a great disservice to our State and even generation unborn to deny people like Abdullahi the chance to serve simply because we think their local governments of origin is more important than their other more fundamental innate qualities of leadership.
Now, the basic facts I promised, which I invite all readers of this piece to verify:
Fact 1: Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi was born to a well travelled father who trades in fabrics and doubled as a tailor. As a struggling young man growing up in Ilorin, Bolaji’s father, Abdullahi Aliyu, undertook several menial jobs, one of them as a worker who joined in the building of Ilorin Central Mosque.
Fact 2: As a well travelled trader who deals in fabric, Bolaji Abdullahi’s father lived at different times in Kontagora, Niger State, Jos and Igbeti in Oyo State. It was while living and working in Igbeti that he met and married the woman that gave birth to Omoluabi. And that is the connection with Igbeti, not Iseyin or Igboho. Bolaji’s mother, not his father, is from Igbeti in Oyo State.
Fact 3: Bolaji Abdullahi’s great grandfathers are traditionally farmers. They live and farm, till this day, in Alagbo village in Moro local Government. Bolaji’s uncle, Alhaji Salman Alagbo, relocated to their Ilorin family house in Alapo compound in Anifowoshe about 2 years ago due to health challenges. Alhaji Salman later died on Tuesday, 19th June, 2018.
Fact 4: Bolaji Abdullahi’s family members in Ilorin can be found in either of their two family houses – Ile Alapo in Oke Anifowoshe and Ile Olowohanmo in Alore. It is Bolaji’s connection to the family house in Alore that made Oloje people to lay claim to him being their son during his tenure as Commissioner. Any member of Bolaji Abdullahi’s extended family, wherever they are found, are identified with either of these two houses. Even their houses in Alagbo village are known either as Ile Alapo or Ile Olowohanmo.
While none of the above facts represent the yardstick by which Bolaji Abdullahi wants to be measured; they however empower those who seek to know the truth with basic information against the ‘distortionists’ in our midst. And for anyone who still have a doubt, I do know that every long rope must have a source somewhere. It is therefore the duty of those who see Bolaji Abdullahi as just another ‘atohunrinwa’ to present counter facts and name the families who sold the land that houses Abdullahi’s family compound to them. Until then, facts are sacred and only those with conscience respect its sanctity.