By: Abdulfatai Dare Magobon (Ph.D)
The long awaited months of elections are eventually here. In just one day this February (25th) and in another one day in March (11th) that follows, Nigerians are polls-bound. Within a space of just 12 hours, (8am-6pm) one man, considered to possess the magic wand for rising afoot, the already ran aground economy, will be elected. It is an election that will vest in that same man, the rights (in consultation though) to select and head a team that will be the Executive arm of the Federal Government.
Simultaneously, within that same 12 hours duration of that same one day, nine (9) more individuals per state,who would form the lower and upper levels of the Federal legislative arms would also be determined.
And in two weeks thereafter, similar Heads of Executives of States and 24 legislators will also be determined, again within 12 hours.
By implication, it is within an aggregate of just 24 hours (12 hours in Feb. and 12 in March) that those expected to turn the destiny of over 200 million Nigerians are selected. Just one day, to decide how four years will be, and every citizen is an eligible participant. Quite interesting!!!
However, in taking these all-important decisions, Nigerians and indeed Kwarans, need to searchlight on the level of preparations by the parties and the pedigrees of candidates in whose hands each party beckons to us to entrust our destinies.
Of course, the LP presidential candidate, Peter Obi, continually kicks to prove himself a serious contender, serious minded people know that the fight for Aso Villa is a straight one between Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the APC.
This is the same scenario in Kwara state between Bukola’s PDP and Rahman’s APC.
Meanwhile, as the clock ticks and election days draw nearer, Nigerians and indeed Kwarans need to searchlight on the level of preparations by the parties in terms of the substance of the personalities they are fielding. The parties
candidates, at both the national and state levels need to be painstakingly examined, so we dont get it wrong again. And why am i taking kwara along with Nigeria?
Looking at Nigeria and Kwara in particular, especially as political events daily unfold, countdown to these February and March elections, Who will not pity or indeed, literally cry for the country and the state. Of course, Kwara is not synonymous to Nigeria. But in the equilibrum of political events, a la shenanigans of the APC, both are like two sides of a coin, what with the widespread hypocrisy, charlatanism and sycophancy, by figures who ought to set society aright, but who instead are ready to mortgage the future of several millions, because of thrown selfish material gains. Isnt this reality more than sickening? About two or three decades ago, a well informed “uncle” once declared: “look, if you think too much about the Nigeria situation, you will develop hypertension”. How right he was!!!
For Nigeria, ahead of February, 25, a disaster is winding down and a calamity is warming up to replace it, from the same family of the APC. Something akin to the wise yoruba saying of: “asewo sonu, jaguda nwa”.(a prostitute got missing and a rogue goes on her search). And similarly in Kwara, a mediocrity is packing off, and the same is being garbed for self replacement, also of APC descent.
In fairness, however, what blame has Tinubu, who, in the exercise of his constitutional right, and on receipt of his party’s nod, is contesting for the most plum Job in the land? To him, and like many of us too, life pursuits doesn’t terminate in the amass of wealth and other life fortunes, but extends to obtaining power and authority
And that is what Asiwaju inordinately purses, even at the risk of his own personal health failings.
But if the Jagaban decides to run on the precipice, it is his own personal decision and choice. But what about the retinue of individuals urging him to carry-on? I mean those who ought to be patrotic at rescuing the land from the looming political desecration that an Asiwaju presidency poses. They, instead of doing the needful, still drum and dance to Tinubu’s songs of “Emilokan”? Many who know too well that Asiwaju is already like a gully erosion ready to collapse the structure of Nigeria, aren’t demonstrating patriotism to say and act decisively to prevent him from effecting the iminent collapse of our collective patrimony, in deviance of the Yoruba wise counsel of: “agbara ojo ko l’ohun o nile wo, onile ni ko ni gba fun”. How sickening this is!!
Which of Tinubu’s goofs should we even speak about? Is it the several instances of mis-speak or the many occasions of missteps, or the plenty misplacement of facts, all of which indicate that the hitherto brilliant chap Tinubu is already spent. Yet, charlatans still toil daily to foist him on us.
In like manner, what blame can be apportioned to Mallam AbdulRahman for wanting to take kwarans for another ride, when he is visaed by the law to so do. The Nigerian constitution draughtsmen sure made the re- ‘seeking’ of mandate and the ‘granting’ of same, discretionary, for both the incumbent and the electorates respectively. This they did, based on their understanding of the psyche of an average Nigerian to never back down, even in the face of apparent non-performance, as typified in the first timer Kwara’s Rahman Rasaq on one hand, and the likelihood of the electorates’ readiness to re-hire a man of stupendous performance, as can be exemplified in the first timer Borno state Zulum.
Because, ‘ije ana dun mo ehoro’, (for the sweetness of yesterday’s delicacies the rabbit craves for more), any incumbent would seek to be re-elected. And similarly, because “ina eshishi kii joni leekeji”(once bitten twice shy), the electorate is empowered to vote him out.
Take a look at Rahman’s APC’s fixing of the personalities of Kwara central origin being fielded, vis-a-vis their earmarked positions, and you will be amused: Mukthar Shagaya holds a Masters degree, and he is to run for the LOWER chamber of the National Assembly. Mallam Salihu
Mustapha brandishes an ordinary diploma, he is headed for the UPPER chamber of the same Assembly. And Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq possesses a secondary school certificate, and he will be on the ballot for Governorship.The least read for the biggest job one can say!! Little wonder that right at the early stage of the administration, the party had purged itself of the ‘too much knowledgeables’– the likes of Prof Abdulraheem, Lai Mohammed, Iyiola Akogun, Gbemi Saraki, Yahya Oloriegbe etc.
Besides, even as the youngest of them manages to criss-cross the metropolis to engage the people, the older and the oldest semi- educated ones, rarely speak intelligibly to the positions for which they wish to be hired. Yet, their numerous hangers-on trumpet that they are the messiahs ever to happen to Kwara. So, when all of these are equated, relative to the enviable pedestal we are supposed to be headed in Kwara, wouldn’t one literally cry for the beloved country and state?
However, let us, in juxtaposition, examine Bukola’s PDP arrangements of candidates for the contests:
The party is fielding Alhaji Abdullah Shuaib Yahman, from the North of the State, as gubernatorial candidate, based on the internal agreement reached about four years ago, notwithstanding that the terms and conditions of it were not realised in 2019. In demonstration of ingenuity in statecraft, the PDP leadership considered keeping to the democratic principles of equity, justice and fairness as an overriding interest. And as the party went north to shop its gubernatorial ccandidate for the aforesaid reasons, the lot fell on Yaman for his sterling qualities of being well-read, and being agro-allied expert with private and public service experience, and a lots more.
That aside, take a look at Bukola’s PDP array of would-be Federal and state legislators from the 3 zones of the state and you see personalities of substance in terms of education, experience, exposure, country-wide connections and natural gifts of drive, zeal and commitment to course of duties.
For instance, purposefully fielding a mix-grill of beings-to and new hands for the Red and the Green Chambers of the National Assembly, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, a Doctor of Philosophy, and a ranking member of the Nigerian Senate, will be leading to the Senate, the duo of a former minister for Youth and Sports, erstwhile national spokesman for his party and ex-commissioner for four years, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, and another former commissioner, Alhaji Issa Bawa, both of whom hold double masters degrees from international institutions of repute.
Bound for the green chamber to represent the central, is another ranking member of the House of Representatives, Alh. Hon. Wahab Issa, who apart from being a holder of masters degree, is equally an acountant, a banker, and one time local Government council chairman, alongside Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim Ajia, holder of Masters degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution, a security expert, one time Aide- camp to Gombe state Governor and to a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Ayim Pius Ayim. This is apart from being CEO to civil engineering companies.
For the state House of Assembly. the party’s candidates for the six constituencies within the Kwara Central axis include: Alhaji Hon. Isiaka Labaika, who, aside being an experienced state legislator and former Local Government Council Chairman, was an ex-commissioner at the state Civil Service Commission, and who will be leading five others with varying cognate experiences:
Hon. Yinusa Abdullahi Mogaji, representing Owode/Onire constituency, studied Sharia and Common law.
His political experience include, TIC Vice Chairman of Asa Local Government, Secretary, PDP, Asa Local Government and numerous other youth leadership positions.
For the Ilorin North Central, the young and vibrant Isiaka Saka Saadu, is in the race. An alumnus of American University of Nigeria, Saadu holds two bachelor degrees: B.A in International and Cooperative Politics and B.Sc in Business Administration (economics). His work experience extend from real estate development to being member of numerous blue chip firms which are involved in agro-allied, finance,
education and confectioneries.This is apart from being a successful employer of labour through whose huge private education sector investment, the Swot/Charter school, is located within the state capital, thus contributing immensely to the economy of the state for decades. Saadu is paired with Abdullahi Abubakar Sodiq Wankasi for Ilorin Central Constituency. Wankasi bagged his first and second degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Ilorin. Politically, as a grassroot politician, Abubakar has occupied different positions through which he had proved his mettle.
The Ilorin East constituency has Alhaji Haruna Maigidansanma, holder of Masters degree. A Sports Administrator, who was at different times, secretary YSFON, Chairman, YSFON, and General Manager, for Kwara United Football Club. A politician who has ganered vast experience, having served in different establishments and in different capacities as far as the management of human and material resources is concerned.
Again, meet Hon. Hassan Taiye Alaya, the personality the PDP is fielding for the Ilorin south constituency. A possessor of Higher National Diploma (HND) from Kwara Polytechnic and a postgraduate diploma in Public Administration from LAUTECH, Ogbomosho. His political experience include: Deputy Speaker, Ilorin south local government legislative chamber, supervisory councillor for Education, Youth, Sports and Budget planning.
From the foregoing paraphrased resumès of the candidates that the Bukola’s PDP parades for election, the state is no doubt bound for a rebirth.
What the well-meaning PDP had done is to masterfully pair ‘beings-to’ legislators with those possessing varying allied cognate experiences.
The clear difference in the approach to selection of candidates for elective positions by Rahman’s APC and Bukola’s PDP is informed by the education footings and wealth of political experience of the leadership of each party.
The fact that one platform is led by a political neophyte, and the other, by a generalismo in the art, can only reflect in the kind of squad each would assemble. So, if the Kwara APC had done its fixings as has been reflected here, the misnomals is excusable because political calculation skills are like education standards which ca not rise above the quality of its teacher.
The choice is therefore for the electorates to either go for the gold squad lined up in Bukola’s PDP, and by so doing, raise the state to an enviable pedestal, or, God forbid, opt for the Rahman’s APC brass, and draw the state further down.
Every patrotic and well meaning Kwaran’s wish and prayer would be that the totality of kwara electorates will do the former.