It is few days to 2023 general elections and this time, unlike before, Kwarans need to have a pellucid direction devoid of Individual, ethnic and religion’s interest but of Kwara’s and Nigeria’s for the purpose of fixing Nigeria and repositioning Kwara state on a progressive path. Interestingly, the two leading presidential candidates have come to share their visions with Kwarans and Nigerians by extension. Away from the confirmation of a rented crowd in Ilorin and the allegation of SUG-like campaign rally, Kwarans need to revisit what was said at the campaign rally, reflect on whose message resonates with our reality and of whose campaign promises we can truly hold onto going into the 2023 general elections.
When Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the PDP Presidential candidate visited the good people of Kwara state to deliver his plan to recover Nigeria and also, rescue Kwara from the hand of the epileptic administration of APC. The masses were agog not because of the musician’s presence at the rally but were excited because they witnessed what they expected of a presidential-destined, heard and saw what they wanted to hear and see: they heard from horse’s mouth the benefits therein for Kwara if Alhaji Atiku is elected, and they also saw the massive acceptability of the message to Recover Nigeria and Rescue Kwara.
Also, whether rented crowd or not, Metropolitan square was likewise filled with crowd when Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, visited the state, although, what he said Kwara will gain in his victory is still yet to be clearly understood even after weeks of his visitation. On the day Tinubu visited, some minutes after his address at the campaign ground, just like many other well meaning kwarans, I was anticipating APC media team to release some video-clips of Asiwaju addressing Kwarans and rolling out reasons he should be elected above other presidential candidates but to a great surprise, nothing of such is hitherto made available for Kwarans who could not make it to the rally. Perhaps, they were too ashamed to circulate videos of K1 De Ultimate as enough reason for kwarans to vote for Asiwaju.
Barring from the above, it will be extremely tendentious to outrightly write off what APC Presidential candidate (BAT) said at the rally but for evenhandedness, I will highlight what BAT promised Kwarans at the campaign rally and what Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate similarly said at the PDP presidential rally in Kwara State.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar promised while addressing Kwarans that: (1) PDP will return Kwara state to the mainstream of National politics: obviously, no reasonable individual will deny the fact that Kwara state has been lagging behind in national politics since Kwara returned to APC. Not only the executive arm of the state has been unnoticed on national stage but also, the state assembly which is not less of a rubber stamp assembly coupled with their passiveness on important national decisions, such as restructuring and autonomy of the local government, among others. Surely, PDP will end this embarrassment effectuated by APC and returns Kwara glory and pride as one of the biggest actors on national stage.
(2) Atiku noted that Kwara roads have the potential to link the Northern and Southern path of the country together. And if PDP is elected at the national and state level, he promised to make sure these roads are connected to both sides of the country: This will unarguably pave ways for economic prosperity and ease the stress of countless commuters.
(3) He assured the youth of gainful employments that will earn them a decent living: unlike when Nigerian unemployment rate was around 9%, we have about 33% unemployment rate today which has proven that any serious presidential candidate would design a realistic plan to create employments that can earn Nigerian citizens a virtuous living.
(4) Atiku said facing the masses “I know most of you here are under 30 years of age, most of you here have no job, most of you here have no business. If PDP is elected, we’ll make sure in our programmes to set aside 10 billion US dollars to make sure youths and women get employments”.
(5) He further promised that PDP will make sure Small and Medium-size Enterprises have the needed support: it’s nationally evident that every Business, most especially in Ilorin, is in financial crisis because of many lackluster policies by APC both at national and state level. This particular promise from Atiku is a testimony to his awareness of the plight of the majority of Kwarans and Nigerians hence his readiness to solve the problems.
(6) He promised that PDP will restore security all over the country: it’s unequivocal that there’s apparent security threats everywhere, even Kwara has become a used to be state of harmony. Atiku’s commitment to restore security to Nigeria shows that he knows the issues and is ready to hit the ground running from day one.
Customarily, citizens might be skeptical about his words but he concluded by reassuring Kwarans that, “We are not here to deceive you but to show commitment to our words that, if we are elected, we will build you up, we’ll bring you up and we’ll make sure you achieve whatever maybe your aspiration. That’s the reason we are here. “Therefore, I appeal to you to elect all PDP candidates from the president to the state house of assembly. The video-clip is made available to all and Atiku can be held accountable for attempting to default from the promises he made after he has been duly elected.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the other hand, urged Kwrans to vote for him and all other APC candidates to cement their freedom. The freedom which is unknown to him, has forced closed-down of many businesses, rendered many families asunder and put the state loan on an all-time high. He further promised Kwarans that: (1) “You will have agric processing, vote for me: unless it’s further explained, this is embarrassing as his popular speech of ‘recruit 50 million youth into the army and feed them cassava in the morning, corn in the afternoon and agbado ehhnnmmm in the evening”. (2) “You vote for commodity exchange: this is another promise that begs for a further explanation because he failed again to state what exactly he wished to do with commodity exchange. (3) “Vote for prosperity, joy and happiness: this is rather embarrassing and bereft of any form intellectuality.
Having earlier boasted to Kwarans that they don’t have options other than voting for him on election day. He concluded his speech as thus: “Now, I will like to say……. ‘dancing’….. listen to Wasiiuu… God bless you”.
It’s now upon us more than ever to prioritize the progress of our state and country, to show concern for our future and choose leaders who from day one know what they need to do. Optically, only Atiku Abubakar ticked all the necessary boxes and has shown that he has the essential knowledge of the state and has shared how he intends to set things right for Kwarans unlike a candidate who’s totally disconnected from our reality.
On numerous occasions, we’ve seen video-clips showing how BAT easily derailed from what a proper campaign should be, how he effortlessly made incoherent speeches and consistenly goofed when he had the opportunity to prove his critics wrong that he’s sane and sound. The Kwara rally was not any different as what Kwarans witnessed was more of Wasiu Ayinde’s concert and hands wavering to Kwarans as against what a proper campaign should be.
Going to the the polls in the next few days, Kwarans need to be concerned more than ever and be proactive against any action directed at cajoling them into voting one senile old man that has nothing to show but exaggerated sense of entitlement of “Emilokan”