‘Federal might or not, Kwara is PDP’
Professor Suleiman Olanrewaju Abubakar, Director-General of Campaign Organisation of Abubakar Bukola Saraki, believes that nothing will upend the the political control of Kwara State by the senate president. The former Minister of National Planning and Statistics told ABIODUN FAGBEMI in Ilorin that the current heat being turned on Saraki’s political dynasty by the opposition would fizzle out
• Political prostitution must stop in Nigeria
How has it been heading the Saraki’s campaign organisation?
My job is one given to me on trust and I am ready to put in my very best. I am to paddle the ship of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State. I am to mobilize all the resources of our party in the state for us to be victorious in all the cadres of elections this year. The job requires experience, skills and dedication in view of the type of government at the centre. The government thrives on propaganda and falsehood. As the Director-General of ABS, it has been a herculean task. But in the last five weeks, we can say that we have done the needful. We have done our campaign flag-off and try to mobilize our supporters to do the needful just as we told them to make the elections rancor-free.
Despite recent scathing attacks by the opposition against Kwara PDP, are your chances still bright?
What do you mean? We are very optimistic that our party will carry the day both at the state and federal levels. Kwara is a PDP state and our people are on ground to prove it when the time arises.
But are you not scared about the much-touted ‘federal might’ that could be used against your party?
‘Federal might’ counts where one is popular, I mean where the electorates believe so much in you. It counts where you are a credible candidate with stewardship. With the Federal Government of today under All Progressives Congress (APC), I don’t think that concept can work anywhere. Federal might where Nigerians would wake up and see massive killings of people? Where you have brigandage, annihilation, and unethical boycott of meetings with Labour Union leaders; don’t let us talk about anything called Federal might. Can APC, with all these vices, utilize the instruments of federal government to its advantages anymore? APC government is no longer popular due to hardship and poverty the people are made to suffer. I don’t see therefore where the ‘federal might’ will count where certain variables are missing.
The Yoruba phrase ‘o to ge’ (enough is enough) is popular with APC in Kwara State and the popular interpretation is that voters in the state should jettison the political structure of Saraki and embrace another option. How true can this be?
The question is, ‘o to ge’ of what? If they say they don’t want certain people again, then who do they want? Look, most of them now referring to themselves as opposition group enjoyed the same structure for between 16 and 17 years. Many of them were Chief of Staff, Secretary to the State Government, and Commissioners, name it. But when they were dropped for other candidates, they are chanting ‘o to ge’. ‘O to ge’ of what? I think we need to get those characters out of politics. It is a slogan just for slogan’s sake. I think the people of Kwara are wiser now. They know who is there for them whether or not there is any election.
If you look at the person on the other side, I mean their governorship candidate, his lineage had always been the one presenting opposition candidates in the state. Could it be said then that ‘o to ge’ means, why should it be their family members alone? Why could they not try others within the same opposition camp? If the characters we have in the state APC today are going for this year’s polls, they are not in any way credible to Saraki’s establishment.
Let them point to what they have done for the state, the Ilorin emirate and the people. How many lives have they positively affected? How many scholarships have they awarded to our people? There are mosques and churches around, let them tell us their level of contributions to all these. Many of them did not even attend any political meeting before. If they doubt me, let them assemble journalists and take them round these projects.
If they have not done these things, they are not in anyway better alternatives. When they were serving in the structure of Sarakites, it was not enough then. Saraki is human, but he has done much better than any of them. We should therefore keep faith with the present political leadership in the state. They have no moral credibility to launch the slogan. They are Kwarans in diaspora.
Check my antecedent as a student union leader or among those who championed the cause of Kwarans in the past. We know those who were there for us during the days of struggle. I am not saying that Saraki is perfect, but I think there must be room for correction.
Since you joined politics you never changed political party unlike some others. What informs your seeming consistency?
I am a professor of political science and I know what an ideal political party structure should be. Democracy in developed nations attained the level it is today due to party discipline and adherence to ideologies. It is a political culture they had put into practice over the years. We often impact the theory on the students and now it is our turn to show that we understand the practical. We must make the system work. Let me confess to you: I had been under intense pressure by PDP to defect to APC. No. We should not decimate the opposition. The vibrancy of any democracy lies with a virile opposition. Political prostitution must stop in Nigeria.
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