The recent events that are unfolding in Kwara state’s political landscape shows that the 2019 gubernatorial election will be an interesting spectacle to behold. It’s no longer news that so many people within the Kwara state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have their eyes on the exalted position of the Executive Governor of Kwara state come 2019. But rather than coming out clean with their gubernatorial ambition, most of them are silently employing different political gimmicks aimed at clinching the gubernatorial ticket without due consideration for the implication of their gimmicks on politics in the state.
Among those who are jostling for the governorship seat is Hon. Moshood Mustapha, the Special Adviser on Inter-parliamentary Affairs, Protocol and Special duties to the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sen. (Dr.) Bukola Saraki. However, of all the gubernatorial aspirants within the ruling APC, the former House of Reps member has been very unique about his gubernatorial ambition; he is the only gubernatorial candidate who did not deny his ambition. Findings revealed that since the inauguration of his team for the actualization of his gubernatorial ambition in 2016, he has been consulting major stakeholders across the 16 LGs of the state and he has also been reaching out to people at the grassroots through his carefully selected LG coordinators.
However, this gubernatorial aspirant has been on the news lately; first, it was his alleged plans to dump the APC for the PDP because of his inability to secure the gubernatorial ticket from the party; his quietness about the issue generated another write up about the plans of the leader of the APC in Kwara state, Sen. (Dr.) Bukola Saraki to hijack the PDP party structure through the help of Hon. Moshood Mustapha whose imminent defection they argued, would help to destabilize the party; the lack of a response from him culminated in yet another write-up about how he bragged about owning the PDP party structure as well as his disloyalty to his leader amongst other allegations.
Although I paid less attention to other allegations but the issue of disloyalty is not something that can be wished away because of the sensitivity of the position Hon. MM is vying for; we will never allow a disloyal person to occupy the exalted seat of the Executive Governor of the state. This allegation however, informed my decision to make my findings about this man and the findings revealed that Hon. MM has been a strong ally of his principal for over 17 years. He served in the 8 years (2003-2011) administration of Dr. Bukola Saraki in different capacities as: Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Duties, Amir Hajj of Kwara State Delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He also served as Commissioner for Lands and Housing and Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Also, it was reliably gathered that because of his track record of Service, Hon. MM was nominated and elected in 2011 as Member of the Federal House of Representatives for Asa/ Ilorin West Federal Constituency. It’s also on record that he is presently working as the Special Adviser to the Senate President on Inter-parliamentary Affairs, Protocol and Special Duties; and he was among the first set of people who decamped from the PDP to the APC in 2014 alongside his principal.
How else can someone be loyal to his principal than the loyalty Hon. MM has shown to Sen. (Dr.) Bukola Saraki? I don’t think it’s possible for someone who is disloyal to his principal to occupy the sensitive positions this man has occupied. Therefore, the foregoing, coupled with the disconnection in the allegations of anti-party activities levelled against Hon. MM is an indication that there is someone out there who is afraid of his growing popularity within the Emirate and Kwara state at large. Sources close to him revealed that Hon. MM is a liberal minded person and as an independent observer of the political situation in the state, I can categorically state that this is not a trait that is acceptable within the APC political family.
At this juncture, I must state without mincing words that I have never been a fan of Hon. MM and despite his alleged popularity in the state, I only started hearing about him recently. The implication of all the series of write-ups about him lately is that Hon. MM is becoming more popular in Kwara state. However, I fear for this man’s life because it’s obvious that there are forces rising up against him and I can’t help but be sympathetic towards him because politics is a dirty game. I don’t know when it has become a taboo for someone to nurse an ambition and work relentlessly towards the actualization of that ambition.
There is no gainsaying the fact that “politics is a game of interest” and everyone tilt towards where his/her interest will be protected. The Senate President proved this assertion when he emerged as the Senate President in 2015 against the wish of his party. This situation also played out during the Osun West Senatorial bye-election. The reluctance of the National Working Committee of the APC to field late Sen. Isiaka Adeleke’s brother, Mr. Ademola Adeleke as the party’s Senatorial candidate despite the fact that he won the party primaries, culminated in him decamping from the APC to the PDP. And as a result of his popularity as well as the people’s sympathy for his brother’s painful death, he was able to beat his APC opponent to emerge as the Senator representing Osun West in the Upper Chamber of the Federal House of Assembly to complete the tenure of his late brother.
History is about to repeat itself in Kwara state because if the news of Hon. MM’s imminent decamping from the APC to the PDP is anything to go by, then I must say that it’s a huge lose for the APC considering what I discovered about him.
In the course of my findings, I discovered that Hon. MM is very versatile, ingenious, hardworking, bold and courageous. Aside from this, he has the ability to galvanize support across board and it was this attribute that earned him the position of Special Adviser to the Senate President on Inter-parliamentary Affairs. And considering the enormity of this position, one can easily deduce that he played a huge role in the emergence of his principal, Sen. (Dr.) Bukola Saraki as the Senate President.
Political leaders in Kwara state should give room for a level playing ground and allow everyone to exercise their constitutional rights; not only for the interest of the party, but the state at large.
Politics is evolving not only in Kwara state but in Nigeria as a whole. Thus, anyone who thinks that securing automatic ticket from his/her party will culminate in victory during the 2019 gubernatorial election will be in for a shocker. The choice of the people come 2019, will be hinged on the competence, pedigree and capability of the aspirants and not on party politics. There is a notion that if you keep doing something the same way you will never achieve a different result. Therefore, since the anointing of candidates for positions is becoming increasingly inefficient in tackling the array of challenges confronting the state, party leaders must be ready to change tactics if they intend to win during the 2019 general elections.
What Kwara state needs now is politics of policy engagement and not reputation smearing. We need to expand the democratic space so as to move the state to greater heights.
By: Fatai Adetola
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