Let me start with a poser. Is there something about political office that infects occupants with political amnesia? Or is the quest to please pay masters so strong that appointees’ tend to forget their own antecedents and succumb to shockingly illogical illusions of grandeur and importance?
Reading an interview by Senator Suleiman Ajadi, a presidential aide, in a recent edition of the Sunday Mirror, I was forced to conclude that the above statements were true, at least in the former senator from Kwara’s case.
As someone from Babanloma like Ajadi, I am deeply familiar with his political antecedents that rob him of the moral and political right to claim a pivotal role in the state governor’s emergence or to vilify the same political platform that benevolently granted him the only electoral victory in his lacklustre political career.
I remember that our man from Babanloma has become deft at the political dance.
The most ridiculous of Ajadi’s assertion and exertion in the said interview was his amusing attempt to ascribe the political might of the Saraki political machinery to himself having regard to the 2011 gubernatorial elections in Kwara State. To set the records straight, Ajadi was part of the team that campaigned for incumbent Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed in his successful bid for governorship in that year.
Before Ajadi and his fellow political travellers start ascribing Ahmed’s victory to themselves, I have news. You only coordinated a solid electoral train that was destined for victory.
It is a platform that has elected every governor in the state since 1979 and will have delivered Ahmed’s and others’ victory even in the hands of other lieutenants of the late icon and his successor, former Governor and Senator of the Federal Republic, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
I make this point to alert the President and others in the PDP taken in Ajadi’s feeblesaber-rattling and illusions of grandeur: our man from Babanloma is a spent political force in Kwara politics who will struggle to deliver his polling booth in any transparent election. He is the typical example of politicians who brag to Abuja about their relevance in Kwara politics in the morning and slip into town unsung and unannounced at nights, beating a hasty retreat back to the Abuja hustle before sunrise.
For me, the greatest illustration of Ajadi’s bizarre logic and macabre dance is his attempt to diminish the Ahmed administration’s achievements since 2011 merely because such vile propaganda fits into the PDP’s desperate ploy to retake Kwara. For someone who claims to be a former commissioner of finance in the state, Ajadi displays scant knowledge of public finance in questioning why the government will borrow cheaper funds to pay off expensive loans and free up money for other pressing commitments. Even a socialist, who our man is clearly not, cannot argue with the inherent logic of refinancing.
The most amusing part of Ajadi’s assertions was his futile attempt to dismiss Governor Ahmed’s development strides in Kwara State, some of it obvious in our man’s backyard. For someone who claims to have managed a state’s finance to criticize a governor’s decision to complete inherited capital projects really questions his understanding of the dictates of public finance.
How much the state will have lost if Governor Ahmed had chosen to ignore his predecessor’s projects and concentrated on new ones in an attempt to please people like Ajadi is better imagined. I refer the Senator to other parts of the country where billions of naira in public funds have been wasted on abandoned projects just because an incumbent doesn’t want to continue his predecessor’s projects purely for political reasons. From my observations, governance in Kwara is based on need. The N3.7 billion that the government says it spent on remodeling and upgrading five general hospitals will have built and equipped at least three brand new ones if the administration wanted to please people like Ajadi and his co-travellers. But what is the sense in building new hospitals when the existing ones serve the needs of the populace and are in some cases begging for an upgrade. Assuming without conceding that all Ahmed has achieved in his three years is completing the numerous road and other projects inherited from his predecessor, isn’t that worthy of applause from all of us Kwarans?
Yet from my investigation Ahmed has done a lot more than that. He has turned five general hospitals including that of near-by Share into start of the art facilities that are the pride of every Kwaran and the envy of the opposition.
Still in Ajadi’s senatorial zone, the people of Ajasse Ipo and more importantly the youths of Kwara State will forever remain grateful to the governor for establishing the expansive City and Guild of London-affiliated International Vocation Centre that will no doubt get more of our youths employed.
Thanks to continuity, Ahmed is building a new engineering complex at the state-owned Kwara State University, Malete to encourage science and functional education for youths.
Youths of Babanloma and from indeed across the state are among the 5, 200 recently engaged by the government under Quickwin as everyone can testify. Yet our man chooses to ignore this obvious transformation of lives.
•Alabi writes from Ilorin, Kwara State.