The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said this year’s election in Kwara State will not be determined by playing the regional or religious cards.
Rather it will be determined by issues of good governance and the improvement on the social well-being of the people.
The Minister, who made the remarks in Ilorin on Thursday, at a sensitisation forum for APC Women Leaders across the 16 Local Governments in Kwara, said because of their desperation to retain power, the political oligarchs in the state have now resorted to playing the regional and religious cards to hoodwink the people.
He was reacting to the scaremongering by Senate President Bukola Saraki that the APC planned to annex Kwara as part of the South West after winning the election.
Mohammed countered: “I can speak for myself. I am a bona fide and proud Kwara citizen. My father and mother are from here. No question about that. Our gubernatorial candidate is unquestionably a proud Kwaran, from right here in Ilorin, and there are no questions about his origins. So who is the stranger here?”
Alhaji Mohammed dismissed as absolute lie the claim that some people want to take Kwara to the Southwest Geo-Political Zone.
“In this season of politics, everything goes. We are therefore calling on our people to beware of those who are trying to sell snake oil to them. The issues we are concerned with here in Kwara have to do with good governance and better life for our people. Our problem is not ethnicity, it is not religion, it is not even gender.
”These elections will not be determined on the basis of ethnicity, religion or gender. The main issues here have to do with how our state has been governed in the past 50 years, 40 of which have been dominated by them. What has happened to the commonwealth, which has been cornered by them at the expense of the people. Where are the roads and other infrastructures to justify the huge resources that have accrued to the state? If you follow a path for so long, and it leads you nowhere, won’t you try another path? These are the issues,” he said.
The Minister also recalled that at the recent launch of the PDP campaigns in Kwara State, the party bigwigs claimed that President Buhari was the cause of the under-development in the state, while ignoring the fact that the Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa road, which they took to Bode Saadu where they launched their campaign, was rehabilitated by the Buhari administration.
“That road was impassable during the time of the PDP, the same party they are now touting as the one with the magic wand,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed, who challenged the PDP government in Kwara to account for the several bailouts funds they have received from the Federal Government, said the state government could not pay workers salaries despite receiving bailouts and Paris Club refund.
He said the oligarchs who are doling out their personal funds to help offset workers’ salaries in Kwara are actually returning some of the commonwealth they have looted, hence their questionable benevolence should earn them nothing but public opprobrium.
The Minister tasked the women, whom he said are the closest to the grassroots, to go out and counter the many lies of the PDP,
In her paper on the roles of women in politics, a Senior Lecturer of Mass Communication at the University of Ilorin, Dr. Sa’adat Beki, said it is imperative for women to join politics in order to ensure that things are done properly.
On her part, Mrs. Tawa Yusuf, who delivered a paper on behalf of the General Manager of Sobi FM, Mrs. Mairo Mustapha, on the expectations of Kwara women in the 2019 elections, charged the women to promote the “O to ge” (enough is enough) slogan from the home-front to ensure that all APC candidates are elected at the polls.
APC stalwarts who attended the occasion include the party chairman, Hon. Bashir Bolarinwa; APC Women Leader Ramat Abolaji Okin, Chief Wole Oke, Senator Ahmed Mohammed and former Speaker Benjamin Issa.