By Mumini Abdulkareem
A former minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, yesterday in Ilorin, formally declared his interest to run for the governorship of Kwara State in 2019 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Abdullahi, popularly called “Omoluabi” made the official declaration at ARCA Santa Event Centre in Ilorin.
The declaration was held in a carnival like atmosphere with fireworks and musical performances by various cultural groups and stand-up comedians.
At the podium, various youth groups filed out to endorse Bolaji Abdullahi with placards displaying his five point manifestos in a colourful atmosphere that attracted shouts of Omoluabi, Omoluabi.
The audience chorused most of the renditions from the musicians with Bolaji Abdullahi being asked to dance to the admiration of the crowd that massed at the venue.
For many of those present at the event, the execution of the formal declaration of the former minister for the governorship race amidst pomp and pageantry further underscored the excitement that pervaded the atmosphere.
He was accompanied to the event by the Secretary to the Kwara State Government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaka Gold, aides of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed led by Dr Muideen Akorede and Femi Adebayo, serving and retired Permanent Secretaries in the state, serving and former local government chairmen and PDP leaders and supporters among others.
Abdullahi’s formal declaration was the first elaborate ceremony to be held by any PDP gubernatorial aspirant amidst endorsement by several political groups in the state.
According to the former commissioner for Education, he was inspired to join the race because of his passion to provide purposeful and impactful leadership for the people.
He explained that the central agenda of his government would be youth-inclusiveness adding that he will not disappoint Kwarans.
He called on the people of the state to hold him to account based on his 5-point agenda manifesto which include youth empowerment, education, health care, infrastructure and governance.
He identified the youth who are 54 per cent of the state’s population as the greatest asset and greatest challenge facing the state adding that the greatest investment the government can make is to make the youth productive.
“That’s why my number one, two and three agenda is on youth development. If we do not solve the problem of the youth, they will solve us and we cannot talk about development.
”The vast majority of our population are young people, to harness their potentials we must provide them with quality education,” he noted.
Abdullahi stated that as a child of poor parents who hawked food on the streets of Ilorin, he knew what it takes to be poor.
“When we were young, my sister and I used to hawk fufu on the streets of Ilorin. We were poor. I went to LSMB Primary School at Oke-Anifowoshe. The same school we went to today cannot give quality education. All I want is for the children of the poor to have the same opportunity as I did and have the chance to become someone of influence.”
Abdullahi argued that the greatest freedom the people of the state desire is improvement in their quality of life and wellbeing.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi Campaign Organisation, Engr Abiodun Asonloko, described Abdullahi as the most prepared aspirant amongst the PDP gubernatorial hopeful.
”Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi is the first gubernatorial aspirant that made his manifesto available even before he becomes the candidate of the party. This is an indication of good things in the offing for Kwara State,” he said.