By Abdulwahab Oba
Politics is a game of intricacies. Those were the words I have kept close to my heart since Barr. Razaq Atunwa uttered them few hours to his emergence as the preferred candidate to fly the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, gubernatorial flag in the state for the 2019 general elections.
Intricate. Complicate. Complex. Elaborate. Those are synonyms for candidate Atunwa’s words to explain his eventual emergence in a race that involved an array of arguably the brightest and best in the party: Dr. Ahmad Ali, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Professor Sulyman Abubakar, Hon Zakari Mohammed, Senator Sha’aba Lafiagi, Alhaji Ladi Hassan, Alhaji Ahman Pategi, Saka Isau, SAN,… And there are more humble and noble men and women who are equally and competently qualified but did not pick nomination forms. Hon. (Dr) Amuda Kannike has all it takes to be a governor; Alhaji Yusuf Babatunde Abdulwahab has proved his mettle as a potential candidate; Toyin Sanusi has also demonstrated sufficient consistency and loyalty; Barr. Lanre Daibu also possess requisite competence to be a successful governor.
Surely, the decision of the party’s leadership and the delegates to pick Atunwa must have been made after serious reviews and assessments of intricate political scenarios. That being the case and as the candidate himself readily agreed and confessed to the people, his emergence was not because he was perhaps the brightest, most articulate, most pragmatic or most loved among his co-contestants. It is just that there were several men with sterling qualities jostling for just one position and in the end someone must clinch the ticket. And that lucky man is Atunwa 1. But for a note, Barr Atunwa is a bright, articulate, pragmatic and loved candidate.
Just check the list again: Ali Ahmad, the erudite legislator and scholar whose performance as Speaker and head of the legislative arm of government has brought tremendous success to the operations of that arm of government and its interface with the executive and judicial arm. His contribution to the administration of justice in this country cannot be forgotten; just like his loyalty to the system that brought him out of the university to become a politician. More than that Ali Ahmad is a man of the people and of high integrity.
What of Zakari Mohammed? His roles in the state, and his performance as a federal legislator has brought recognition to Kwara state and if any man is fit to lead this state as chief executive, surely this young and dynamic man fits the bill. Or Alhaji Sha’aba Lafiagi, the amiable former governor, aged but agile, filled with wisdom and experience. Is he not fit enough, even having been in that office when many of us were still learning the rope in our various fields of endeavour?
Or Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, who has left visible legacies of his capability both when he was here as a commissioner that revamped the educational system of the state and even did more greatly as a minister of Sports? His foresight, acumen and intellectual prowess are attractive gifts of nature that could be applied to achieve success for any group of people. And he has shown himself over and again that if we measure loyalty by sacrifice of comfort, he has doubly proved that he is qualified to be called loyal. Or who would say Professor Sulyman is not qualified; after spending time with great minds in the university and supervising the mother of all ministries—planning—in this country? I can go on and on about these men.
But one thing that gladdens my heart is the reality that the Saraki political structure has been able to produce, or attract to itself, men and women who can be called upon at any time in this state and nation to lead us and we are confident they have what it takes. The Great Hall is indeed a factory for churning out great potentials.
And good enough, the political structure to which we all belong is an inclusive one that does not play use and dump. Thus, one can easily vouchsafe that these men of honour, who decided to sacrifice their rightful ambition, for the unity and progress of the political family, who did not decide to bring the political family into disrepute when the tide didn’t favour them as we have witnessed in other climes of recent, won’t be forgotten. They had opportunities in the past and the doors of further opportunities are not closed against them.
With a successful political structure as we have here, there are enough opportunities for all. Only that the opportunities won’t come at the same time. Today, it is Atunwa’s turn. Yesterday was someone’s and tomorrow it would be another person’s. That’s the existential reality. We should just continue unrelenting in our individual and collective intercessions for the success of the structure in its foray into higher offices in this nation.
No human institution is perfect. None! No one is infallible. None! With more consultations we can achieve more successes and unity. With a grand advisory and consultative council there can be more cohesiveness. It is gratifying to note that the former aspirants did not only resolve to give Atunwa the opportunity to clinch the ticket but also would work with him to win the general gubernatorial election. That was what he did for Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed in 2015 when the incumbent governor was the one given the opportunity to be governor. This commendable attitude instructs us about our religious fate; that it is the Almighty Allah that gives power to whom he wills, when he wills and however he wills. As members of the same family, we can’t also forget the fact that this is still our show; it is our choice, it is our decision and as such it is our opportunity to show the world again that ‘Ile Loke’ is indeed a place of unity, love and honour. This is aptly captured in the call line of our candidate; ATUNWA 1, ONE FOR ALL, ALL FOR ONE.
May the Almighty bless this our decision.
*Oba can be reached via e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org