By Muhammed Belgore

What bothers me about the future of my country has never known regional boundaries.

For once however, my conscientious compass wants to focus on my land of origin, the State of Harmony, Kwara.

That I might continue this charity at home even if I did not begin it there.

Nigeria sometimes makes me sad. The nation’s condition as a whole and in its entirety has me wearing a bothered countenance.

How much more my own dear Kwara. 

I will confess that I do not spend as much time in Ilorin particularly where I am from as much as I do in Abuja where I reside.

As is common with my generation I find myself back home occasionally.

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A wedding, death of a loved one, or family events are what take me go back to Kwara, so I do not express myself here with the arrogance or entitlement as some might want to observe. Some may even say: what does this writer even know about Kwara, does he stay there? 

That could be a careless question. Nevertheless, development is obvious to see. You do not need to spend days anywhere to know or to see forward movement of the condition of the polity anywhere. 

Good governance announces itself. What the condition of today reveals is failures of the political gladiators not only in the state but nationwide and at the federal level in their mandate of governance.

This is why it is pertinent to care about the happenings of the next election and to observe and analyse the political players on whose decisions will rest the fate of citizens after the 2023 elections. 

What happened in 2019 as a result of the ‘otoge’ movement was a complete shocker. One that not even the worst detractor of Bukola Saraki could  have predicted with assured certainty regardless of their determination to change the status quo. But the status quo did change.

Most surprisingly Bukola Saraki did not win even in his own ward. 

The people prevailed and their thumbs expressed on the ballot papers the words enough is enough. Otoge! And enough seems to me to really have been enough.

There was no sort of symptom of good leadership in Kwara State. 

Kwarans have always been subjected to the Amala politics played by Bukola and his father before him.

They never demanded true leadership as they did in 2019. The Otoge uprising was well and truly belated. But then what came after? Can it be said that Governor Abdulrasaq has done better? Can the protagonists of the Otoge movement claim any justification for the 2019 movement? I may not think so. 

It is with mixed feelings that I make this conclusion because maybe that status quo tumble deserved better and also because I like Bukola Saraki. I met him once and just as he does when I see him on TV or in the papers, he exhuded charm and charisma. 

On face value, a very fine politician. My confusion as to why he did not do a good job in furthering the condition of the people’s welfare while he was steward of the executive arm of government is further exacerbated by what to me seemed like a job well done, when he was President of the Senate. 

Too often, Nigerians, the ones who care about the machinery of governance anyway, have disregarded the Senate if not the entire legislature as a home for political retirees, most notably, Governors. 

Rather than a hallowed chamber filled with wisdom, drive and poise, it has become like those nursing homes where the elderly are submitted for care because at their age they now cannot do without tender loving and the ministrations of political office. This, for most people who understand the essence of democracy, and its crucial modus operandi of checks and balances is a cog in the wheel of democratic machinery. 

The legislature in Nigeria today suffers a bad reputation. One that has perhaps been well earned. The 8th Senate was however a vibrant exception, more than any in Nigeria’s democratic history. But others have been less so. Most would tell you and I believe, rightly so, that it was due to the fact that the President of the 8th Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, understood the role of the arm of government he capably led. 

Among other party gridlocks he seemed to have brilliantly dribbled, coupled with political virtues which his detractors saw to be sins, it would all eventually lead to his well known travails at the time. He just would not let the executive arm take the machinery of governance and Nigerians for a ride. 

Having said all these, where do we now go from here? In the legislative sphere, to cast light on the Kwara Central Senatorial district where Oloriegbe defeated Saraki, one of Saraki’s commissioners whose name enjoys whispers of positive expectation is in the running to represent the people of the Kwara Central Senatorial district, the venerable Mallam Bolaji Abdullah. 

Bolaji is one gladiator whose name, despite the negative sentiment of the people towards the camp of Bukola Saraki, enjoys an exceptional song of praise. 

A tree cannot make a forest and Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi was just  one man among many while he was Special assistant and eventually commissioner under Bukola and so he cannot carry the blame for the failure of that administration. Without discharging him completely of blame for the ineffective governance of the time, as he was factually part of the team afterall, he still can find enjoyment under the shade of extenuating circumstances as the buck did not stop on his table. 

So, why should he not find space in the red chamber of the legislative arm come 2023? Attentive political observers say he did very well for the education sector as commissioner, he could only play his part and that part he played capably well. Can anyone beat their chest to the fact that his most likely opponent, Dr Oloriegbe will do a better job in the Senate? What legacy does he have based on the past four years? 

So whither the political gladiators of Kwara State in the forthcoming elections, songs of otunya, let’s go again, now parade the streets, perhaps Oloye’s camp will have the opportunity for redemption after the 2023 elections. Let’s watch and see how it will all go.

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