2019 election: For our today and tomorrow


By Oba Abdulwahab

On Saturday, I will cast my vote for Abubakar Atiku as President and Bukola Saraki as Senator representing Kwara Central district. This should be expected of me, ordinarily, having served in the last eight years in the political structure headed by Saraki.  This decision of mine is beyond lame follow-follow syndrome and personal interest. Apart from being a student of history, I’ve keenly followed the political trajectory of our state for the last 40 years, and sufficiently grounded and equipped to set the right priorities. Without undue pride and arrogance, I’m mature enough, exposed to a great deal and cosmopolitan in outlook to be able to make informed decisions.
I’ve weighed the options available to Nigerians in general and Kwara state, in particular, on this election, and I can boldly hold that except we are to deceive ourselves, our options are quite explicit: Atiku and Saraki. And by extension, this would mean in our state, Hon Razak Atunwa remains our best option too.
Let me speak a little about the Atunwa option. He remains the best man for the job, based on exposure and experience. Here is a man who has been exposed to governance at very critical levels; as Commissioner for Information, Commissioner for Finance, ‘Commissioner for Works, and later on Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly. As a Speaker, Atunwa supervised the introduction of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service law,one of the significant achievements of the outgoing administration and this has led to a jump in the monthly internal revenue of our state from a meagre N600 million monthly  to about  N2.5 billion.
We don’t need a governor that will start to learn the ropes after inauguration on May 29. If we honestly need someone who, like a Parachuter, will hit the ground running, as the saying goes, not someone who will be summoning one council or another, sampling opinions on basic governance issues and thereby wasting precious times while the people suffer, then it’s Atunwa. We experienced that when the APC won the federal election in  2015 such that it took six months for President Buhari to pick his cabinet and till date he is still complaining about the cabinet. Like Babatunde Raji Fashola and Akinwumi Ambode who had experiences in governance, and did not only carry on all on-going projects of their predecessors, Gov Abdulfatah Ahmed completed on-going projects of former Gov Bukola Saraki. This is what’s expected of any in coming governor in the state. Not a Trump-like governor who will create confusion and division every where.
And the voice of the people is the voice of God. Today, the widespread adoption of Atunwa is an indication that he’s the right man for the job. From across Kwara North, the PDP campaign train has been received warmly both by traditional leaders and the commoners. Our traditional rulers are perceptive enough to know where to throw the hook, and from Offa to Kaiama, from Lafiagi to Patigi, from Shona to Tsaragi and several other communities. The refrain has been the same: Atuwna represents a durable and assured future than pitching tent with an untested, unstable hand whose real intention in politics is mainly to oppose Saraki.
And just a few days ago, the workers also pitched their tent with the winning team. Having weighed the options, they understand that Atunwa represents the best of their dreams. Someone they can easily relate with, someone who is not afraid to show commitment to the resolution of issues concerning their welfare and their well being. Artisans are also following suit, just like the commercial motorcyclists. It is actually hard to say who is not queueing behind the Atunwa project today.
Yes, we still have such people. Unfortunately many of them are being deceived about the real intention behind the agitation against Saraki. As I said in my column last week, the real reason for opposing Saraki is that he stood for a One Nigeria project, the same ideal his father stood for all through his life but power mongers in the APC opposed. There is no possibility of hiding the truth again, that Tinubu continues to oppose Saraki today because Saraki opposed his becoming a Vice President in a Muslim-Muslim ticket proposed by Tinubu for Buhari in 2015. Tinubu also would not mind supporting Buhari even if he’s to rule from a hospital stretcher so that he can possibly become the next president from the South West. Playing God!
But they came to Ilorin to hurl abuses at Saraki, saying they are bent on ‘disciplining’ him. His offence was merely because he allowed sense to prevail in 2015 and refused to hand over Kwara to their rapacious political onslaught. That is why on Saturday I will stick with the man who can stand for what is right for Nigeria, a man who is committed to the continued development and peace of Kwara and to a government I am sure will make things better for us in  Kwara. Those who shout Ó tó gé are either bereft of ideas or proded by personal grudge, hatred or greed. Even in the most advanced democracy of the world, anybody can be anything without any family restriction or impediment. George Herbert Walker Bush was the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993 and the 43rd vice president from 1981 to 1989. His brother, George Walker Bush also served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He had previously served as the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000. John Ellis “Jeb” Bush, son of Goerge H. W. Bush and brother of Walker Bush also served as the 43rd Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. He was also an aspirant to the office of the United States in the year 2016. William Jefferson Clinton served as the 42nd President of the United States from January 20, 1993, to January 20, 2001, yet his wife Hillary  clinton contested for the same office in 2016.
God anoints leaders and installs kings. Even when those shameless hawks and political scavengers who led the onslaught against Saraki manipulated installations of their wives and children for various political offices against popular wishes, Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki was virtually “blackmailed ” into allowing his son, Bukola Saraki dabble in  muddy, turbulent and dirty water of politics. I’ll vote Saraki because I want Kwara to occupy a position of pre-eminence in Nigeria. I’ll vote Saraki because I want our youths to secure more opportunities at the federal level. I’ll vote Saraki because I want my children to rise and never fall or fail.
And again, I can’t give my vote for Buhari because he has not justified my efforts and commitments to him in 2015. For whatever it is worth, Buhari has failed to manage executive/legislative relations for over three years, thereby denying Nigerians the unquantifiable benefits desirable there in. Although he wants us to call him Mr Integrity, he has actually failed simple integrity tests by aligning with people of questionable character simply because it’s time for election.
I agree with Saraki that Buhari does not understand the business of governance and that explains why instead of building businesses, we are having businesses relocating from our shores. Even at private level, Buhari has not been able to manage his livestock beyond 150 animals since 2015. If he had done, he would not have broken any law because the law allows him to venture into agriculture. But in reality, his own business has failed, so how can he lead our national business?
Again, Buhari has not sufficiently convinced me what Kwara stands to benefit from supporting his party again having frustrated efforts of Saraki and other key stakeholders to bring such benefits to the state. In contrast, Atiku has promised us No 3 slot again apart from other benefits. That is more realistic in politics than asking us to wait until you win before you decide what comes to us. That was what got Ogun people very angry during the week; the President was more or less telling them ‘vote for me’ then go and work out your own political salvation. No genuine and sincere leader does that, no genuine and sincere General leaves his troop to fate. He swims and sinks with them. But again here we have a President who is naturally weakened by reason of age but who has decided to sit tight not minding the consequences on the political and economic health of our dear country. It is so sad. And that is why I boldly say, today, My hands are up for Atiku. I stand with Saraki and I queue behind Atunwa. O Tun Ya!

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