Letter from the North: An open letter to Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi and Mallam Salihu Mustapha

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By: Temitope Muhideen Convydence

Dear Mallams,

I bring my very warm felicitations to the two Mallams; Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi and Mallam Salihu Mustapha (Turaki Of Ilorin). I do trust that you are staying safe for the task ahead. Let me start by confessing upfront that I was more inclined to tarry a bit further on writing you publicly regarding this matter of urgent public importance. Quickly, please permit me to confess also that this wouldn’t be my first time calling both of you and your camps to order regarding your political aspirations. Sometimes last year in my article entitled “Political gidigbo (wrestling in Kwara central)”, I implored you both to regulate the uncouth statements coming from your media teams against your respective persons. I also reminded you about the political war of 2003 in Kwara between Late Alabi Lawal and Late Olusola Saraki. Sadly, in your recent letters to each other, you have taken the battle personally, using derogatory remarks, exposing your weaknesses, and starting up a possible political war if care is not taken. I ask “How did we get here?

The basis of your enmity started from your political sobriquets of Big Ideas and Big impacts. Your Excellencies, like every other progressive kwarans, would believe, I so much believe in the strategic ability to translate the core meanings of your political sobriquets to the people of Kwara central without taking each other to the gutters, without hauling insults at each other, or without unnecessary mocking, as seen in your letters. I asked myself the meaning of the prefix “MALLAM” attached to your names, and I found that it means “teacher” literally. Teachers are builders of society. With good traits and enviable character, teachers don’t engage in shows of public embarrassment.

Your excellencies, it saddens me as I tell you that your political competition (Mallam Salihu Mustapha and Mallam Bolai Abdullahi) has become cutthroat politics and has begun to take the form of zero-sum, where one side’s gain is inherently the other’s loss. Finding a common cause is becoming impossible. And like one of you wrote in his letter “Friendship should be cherished regardless of the situation”, I want to hope that it can be real – that you can be friends also to the reality of the result of your actions. There is at present a cacophony of voices all over the senatorial districts lamenting the surge in insults, denigration, political violence, and word crimes as read in your letters.

Your excellencies, in a developed nation where laws and regulations are being checked, your letters and political assaults on each other are enough to disqualify you both as it goes against the new Electoral Act 2022. Dear Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi (Mr. Big idea); you can showcase your big ideas, story, antecedents, and possible solutions to our community problems as well as the implementation of your designed ideas without throwing stones on the roof of your opponent. Dear Mallam Salihu Mustapha (Mr. Big impact), impacts should be a reflection of your contributions to the lives of those you want to serve, can you not talk about your community impact without shading your opponent?

Lastly, while I understand that politicians use whatever style and methods to get what they want, you should also understand that the people whom you intend to represent are watching your political steps. And they are writing your story on your behalves. They are defining you away from what you call yourselves. It’s important to fear the outcome of your fierce political war because this time, the masses will revolt against the seeking of public sympathy from our politicians. With love, I wish you well in your aspirations.

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