Kwara 2023: Time for a New Choice – A Rejoinder

By Mas’ud Adebimpe

I have just read an article credited to my brother, Alhaji Wahab Oba. Considering that discussions, debates, arguments and counter-arguments are the key ingredients of democracy, I must sincerely appreciate Alhaji Oba for finding the time to enrich public discussion with his intervention.

I have also found his argument persuasive indeed just like all similar arguments on this subject matter of Kwara North governorship agitation. Like such previous arguments, it was also evident that he was not writing from the position of an objective analyst, or even a political observer.

The only difference in his own case is that from the obvious contradictions contained in the first three paragraphs, one could deduce that he was struggling to convince the reading public about a particular idea that even he himself may not have totally internalised. This is understandable. After all, no matter his motivation, no sympathiser can grieve more than the bereaved.

I also noticed how the writer started by bemoaning the poor performance of the incumbent Governor, only to switch completely to discussing issues bothering on marginalization and “covenant breakers.” This sleight of hand alone is suggestive of intellectual dishonesty, which undermines the premise of the rest of his argument. But don’t let us dismiss him so quickly. He is my brother.

If Alhaji Oba was truly bothered about the development of Kwara State and, like he seemed to do in the first two paragraphs of his article, believes the incumbent Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has failed the State, one would rather expect him to limit his arguments to the capacity of the likely candidates he believes could do a better work, even if all his choices would be from Kwara North. Unless of course, if his argument is that the magical solution to all the problems of underdevelopment in Kwara State today, including the poor governance under AA is the zoning of governorship to Kwara North in 2023. I doubt that even he can indulge in such absurdity.

However, not all of Alhaji Oba’s arguments are bereft of logic, even with his ill-disguised bias. His argument that Kwara North deserves to produce a governor can hardly be faulted. The problem is when he begins to confuse what the political elite in Kwara North want and what the ordinary, much suffering and much suffered people of Kwara North want.

In Kwara North today, we have three categories of people as far as this agitation is concerned. We have the few political elite who only want power for themselves and are now disguising their personal ambition as a collective aspiration of the people. Then there are a few educated elements who are genuinely driven by a sense of patriotism and who don’t care much for power or the benefits. Unfortunately, this group does not even care who becomes governor, as long as that person is from Kwara North.

In the last category are the majority of the people of Kwara North, the farmers, the fishermen, the traders, the army of unemployed youths. These ones are too poor to want anything more than a better life for themselves and their children. And they don’t care whether the help they need will come from a Kanuri man or and Igbo man. More importantly, these people can hardly make a distinction between a governorship position or any other political position. And they know people who have held important positions in their localities. People who have been Deputy Governor, Speaker and members of House of Assembly, Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members of the House of Representatives, Honourable Commissioners, Local Government Chairmen, Heads and Members of Boards of government agencies, party Chairmen, Special Advisers, Special Assistants etc. They know all these people and they can only ask, all these positions these their people have held in the past, how has it benefited them?

Alhaji Wahab Oba, and all these other people who are pretending to love Kwara North more than they love themselves; dyeing their cloths in deeper indigo than the bereaved, are conveniently forgetting this fact. They have anchored their argument for the marginalisation of Kwara North on the singular position of the governor as if that is the only position of impact. It is not.

If Kwara North is backward today in terms of all indices of human development and infrastructure, it is not because they never produced a governor; rather it is simply because their political leaders over the years don’t really care about their people.

The benefits of the positions that they have held had only reflected on them and their families and had not impacted on the living conditions of the people. However, the people of Kwara North may be poor, but they are not stupid. They know that these politicians who claimed to be fighting for the masses, are also eating everything on behalf of the masses. That’s why our campaign train was stoned and humiliated in the very village of one of them who is now posturing as champion of Kwara North. Politicians appear to have a short memory. But the people do not forget.

How I wish that the governorship aspirants in Kwara North today are marketing themselves on the basis of their track record of performance and service in the positions they have held in the past. It would have been easier for us to chose. But to ask us to make a political decision that would determine the direction of our life based solely on zoning or quota system is simply outrageous and selfish..

What I can understand my brother, Wahab Oba to be saying is that we should hand the governorship ticket to Kwara North so that they can bring development to Kwara North. In other words, we should elect a governor from Kwara North for Kwara North, then why should the rest of the State support you?

This is the crux of the matter. You accuse Mr. A of marginalising you. Then you want that same Mr. A, whom you have defined as your enemy, to support you to get to power so that you can redress your perceived marginalisation. Mr. A will either be stupid or suicidal to support you. Afterall, who will risk handing over a loaded gun to someone who sees him as enemy? My brother, Wahab ?ba, that is not justice and equity. That is suicide. And in Islam, suicide is a grave sin before Allah.

If anybody from Kwara North desires to be governor, it is absolutely within their rights to do so. But what they need to do is to convince the rest of the State that they are the best option that we have and that supporting them would be in our collective best interest. It is naive for the politicians in Kwara North to think that anyone will hand power to them based on moral suasion alone. This is the biggest mistake they are making. The entire argument of Kwara North for governor has been built on the mantra of fairness, equity and justice. But I am sorry to say, power is not about justice or equity. It is about interests. If the rest of us are not backing the Kwara North horse, it is because we are busy tending to our own horse. We are not promoting what you have defined as your interest only because we want to protect what we understand as our interest; not because we don’t like you or we think less of you.

At the moment, the Kwara North agitation, the way they have been threatening everybody, is sounding as if they are on some kind of revenge mission against the people they consider as oppressors. This is sending dangerous signals across Kwara Central. This is democracy, and we are open to debate. Let the Kwara North agitators convince the rest of us why a governor from that zone is in our collective best interest at this time. My brother, Wahab ?ba, and his like should stop this cheap blackmail because it is not working. If your best  argument is that your people are suffering, we should therefore give you power so that you can take care of your people. What about our own people? But we all know that this has nothing to do with the people, whether people of the North, Central or South. And in that hypocrisy lies the real tragedy.

The reality today is that if the PDP must have a fighting chance in the next election, it must be willing  to eschew emotion and take its decision based on cold calculations. Anything short of this, we should be prepared to face another defeat. The truth is that majority of voters do not belong to any political party. In 2023, they will vote only for a candidate (not party) that best appeal to them. Let Kwara North focus on giving us that candidate. It is as simple as that.

No part of the state is an island or can do without the other. For this very reason, what we need is a governor for all of us, for all of Kwara state. Not a governor for North or Central or South. And after four wasted years of the Otoge misadventure, even APC members are looking to our party to bail them out by bringing forward an obviously better. alternative to the current governor. If we fail to do that, my bet is they would rather stick with the devil they know and wait i get caught fort out for another four years..

*Adebimpe is former Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abubakar Bukola Saraki.

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