The Representative of Kwara Central at the Nigerian Youth Parliament (NYP), Hon. Ibraheem Abdullateef says former President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki gives no youth in Kwara State an option to choose him over the incumbent Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
He made this statement in a recent interview with Vanguards Newspaper, noting until the coming of Governor AbdulRazaq, Kwara had lost focus of what youth development means to the state and nation.
Abdullateef alluded to how Saraki celebrated the emergence of a 25-year-old as PDP National Youth Leader, only to anoint a man about 50 years old for Kwara.
“Bukola Saraki particularly gives no Kwara youth an option to choose him. As he was celebrating the emergence of a 25-year-old as PDP Youth Leader, he anointed a man about 50 years old for Kwara. His counterpart APC presented a 35-year-old. For a man fighting tooth and nail against the zoning of presidency in PDP to allow him contest, he woke up a few days after his 59th birthday and declared that a region would get the ticket, tightening the noose on the aspirations of others. He does not do what he preaches,” he said.
The youth leader praised Governor AbdulRazaq for being vocal and truthful with his plans and love for the young people, saying Kwara youths have all the reasons to stand by him.
“Until his coming, Kwara had lost focus of what youth development means to the state and nation. As their talent, industry, and innovation was not recognised and supported by government, many young people took to hooliganism and cultism as a leeway to getting patronage. They did get it and it became a ticket to fame. Well, some of them were not only on payroll, I am sure people would remember how a famous convict was given a state pardon and many others were rewarded with an unholy pilgrimage to Holy Mecca. It captured the value system.
“The value system is slowly being rewired and reset. People under 45 years are well over 50% in this government. Kwara gave the nation the youngest commissioner in history. She was 25 years old. You have many of them like that as SAs and SSAs too. You know when you see people of your age occupying public offices, you are bound to reflect on your life and chase excellence. This inspires a lot. More than ever, Kwara is grooming a new generation of leaders. No one should be surprised that many of them will contest elections this year. It is a newfound optimism.
“My father once told me, ‘it is not what you say you can do. It is what you do and how you do it that defines who you are.’ He seemed to have Kwapreneurs in mind. It totally distinguishes AbdulRazaq from the past governors. Transparent, encompassing and thorough, this scheme under the state’s social investment programmes supporting business ideas of young people with non-profit loans, is a shift from old order. Last year, some 170 young business owners received between N250,000 to N3 million to upscale their businesses. I feel that was AbdulRazaq telling Kwara youths ‘we value you. Your growth is our priority.’ Why will they not feel safer with him?”
Speaking on the chances of the ex-Senate President being accepted back by the people of Kwara, Abdullateef inquired: “Accepted back as what? Governor, senator, or grand godfather? That is the question.”
“The truth is as a two-term governor and ex-senate President, you don’t expect him not to have his people and he has done well so far in maintaining the base. He remains popular in Kwara but is not to be trusted with leadership. He was tested and he failed,” he added.
“Saraki is our father and son, a title holder in the emirate. He remains a notable member of the community. He was merely rejected as a leader, not banished. All thanks to AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq who is not vindictive and petty as some were with Late Muhammed Alabi Lawal after the 2003 elections, who was asked to stay away from his ancestral home. Such emotional finesse is a new level in the new Kwara. It is Kwara for all.”
According to the NYP member, only a man who is sober deserves forgiveness and acceptance. Saraki is not sorry for all the sacrileges he and his boys committed against Kwara people. He is far from being accepted.
“Election results anywhere are dictated by sentiments. He still does not understand the one about him. Look at the internal affairs in PDP which he could have used to rebrand himself. He gives orders, unilaterally saying what to be or not to be. Just like that, just because he fancied, no member from Kwara Central can run for guber. The emperor has decided. He makes no pretense about it that he won’t change for anything. So, how do they take him back? If elections are a game of numbers, we should look at the electoral college. The youths, elite, traditional institutions, civil servants, and academia, which of these is within his grasp in the state today? I feel it is an easy call that Saraki is not coming back.
“They say no one can fool all of the people all of the time. Senator Bukola did try to do that before he was caught out flat. People felt used, cheated, and betrayed, the wounds may never heal. For instance, an accomplished Kwaran and foremost community leader would tell me, O’to ge ended the unwritten social contract between Ilorin and Saraki family. He says Ilorin lent itself to the Saraki family as a platform for their political growth. Ilorin stood by them solidly. What was expected in return as they grew was development of the city. Whereas it is clear the community helped them to reach the apogee of politics as we see today, where in Ilorin do you see the 40 years worth of development done by them in the emirate? Ruminate about it. And these feelings of pessimism cut across the board.”