By Mumini AbdulKareem
As the 2019 gubernatorial race in Kwara State draws nearer, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sobi FM, Alhaji Lukman Mustapha has revealed that he is under intense pressure from friends and close associates to contest the gubernatorial race.
Lukman who spoke with selected journalists during a media parley at Sobi FM headquarters in Ilorin at the weekend, is the younger brother to the Special Adviser to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki on Special Duties, Hon Moshood Mustapha.
Although the younger Mustapha has not officially declared his ambition or the party to actualise his alleged gubernatorial interest, he is being widely touted as a potential frontline candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The race for the top seat in the state is expected to dominate political activities later in the year as parties strategise for 2019.
According to the Sobi FM boss, the call for him to contest the governorship seat in 2019 is “deafening” and he appreciated the agitators for their conviction in his abilities and qualities.
He said: “I have been inundated with the talk about it (the guber race). People have been saying all sorts, my associates and friends included. But the question I keep asking myself is that why are people saying this.
“For me, it’s like someone that is being touted for an Imam. There must be something they must have been seen in the person before considering him for such position and there are criteria for that too.
“So for me, the noise is deafening, I can hear it and can’t pretend not to, but what I know is that they must have found some values and virtues in me to be saying this and I thank them”.
He added that, the Ilorin society is an intelligent one and people try to project reasons behind every fact.
“It is not unusual for people to be reading meaning to it, but I challenge people to go back to my pedigree and look at what I have done in the past. (Concerning the race) People are talking, you (National Pilot) have written and others are still writing but I am enjoying everything”, he submitted.
He said the whole process of establishing the radio station took four years and was a well thought out decision which started in 2011 when he submitted the first application to NBC but was granted in 2015.
He denied the radio station was opposition medium, adding that it has always balance its reportage, providing everybody avenue to express their views.
“I have not heard anybody saying we are skewed to one side. Commissioners representing the state government frequently feature in our programme and because we want a people’s radio station, most of our programmes are phone-in. We have created a voice for the generality of the people and we are very proud to do that.
“We believe if we continue to be a professional and an unbiased station, we will continue to enjoy the audience and the patronage of all parties. Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed had its last ‘Governor Explains’ here which says a lot about our professionalism.
“It is fallacious for anybody to tag us as an opposition station because we are certainly not. We give voice to the voiceless and avenue for those that have voice to come and speak louder to the people and allow them decide,” he added.
He said people used to believe Ilorin is not a visible place to do business but his experience has disproved that notion adding that Ilorin is an investment hub and the station is doing better than expected.
Mustapha who revealed that he has applied for a television licence added that there are also plans to venture into printing to actualise his vision as complete professional media conglomerate.
While expressing satisfaction that the station is up to date on staff salaries, welfare and training, he noted that the Sobi FM has sustained itself so far from business in Ilorin and its environs only.
“Yes we are scouting for advert from the national stream but we are happy with the patronage, reception and support and loyalty that Kwarans have given us which has made us the number one station in the state and have redefined broadcasting,” he submitted.
The Sobi FM Chairman, however applauded the state government’s effort on agriculture especially the anchor borrowers scheme with its multiplier effect on the national economy and called on the administration to further leverage on the scheme.