Any Problem In Drafting Lai Mohammed?
The other time he contested his party's governorship primaries in Kwara state, third rate publicists who were working at the behest of pedestrian and dubious politicians in the state launched a vicious and dishonest campaign that, being a Lagos politician (whatever that meant!) Alhaji Lai Mohammed had no business with politics of Kwara state! The talebearers went to town again when President Muhammadu Buhari announced Alhaji Lai Mohammed as ministerial nominee for Kwara state. Of course, the president knew Alhaji Lai Mohammed will not disappoint. He has not!
In neighbouring Osun state, the people reasoned differently and happily embraced Alhaji Abdulrauf Aregbesola who went on to be elected governor. The sensible and farsighted argument in Osun state was that, having cut his political teeth in Lagos state, Aregbesola was bound to perform creditably. The man has not disappointed. As it turned out, Osun's gain became Kwara's loss. Osun is working while Kwara state keeps faltering because Osun delegates nominated a serious-minded 'Lagos politician' while delegates in Kwara state were financially induced to vote for 'homeboy' whose main brief is not to work but to hold power in trust for a rampaging clique.
Hopefully, the era of inducing delegates to nominate wrong candidates may be coming to an end. This is because the outcome of last year's presidential election has shown that, when the chips are down, Nigerians can identify and vote for honest and decent people. Building on the gains of 2015 therefore, there is the need to begin to draft decent and honest people who otherwise would have been sidelined by the asphyxiating money politics we play! Politics should no longer be considered a dirty game that should be left to dirty people. It is this misconception that pushed the country to its present sorry state.
Come 2019, Kwara state should try another active participant in the success story of Lagos state who bares the same first name with Governor Aregbesola. There is no gainsaying the fact that Alhaji Abdulrauf Lai Mohammed has a key role to play in salvaging Kwara state. In this regard, this is a passionate appeal to Nigerians of goodwill to join the draft-Lai Mohammed campaign because Kwara is at a crossroads, an avoidable situation caused by years of sustained plunder by a pilfering cabal.
Honestly, the years of puppetry that turned the people into a vulnerable, unquestioning and submissive lot and which is also responsible for turning the state into the butt of derisive jokes must stop! What the state needs at the expiration of the current caretaker government in the state is a foresighted government, not another surrogate or caretaker government that holds power in trust for plunderers! The _State of Harmony_ can no longer accommodate discredited leaders who cannot appreciate the demarcation between state funds and personal wealth! It will be another mistake if, in 2019, the people of Kwara state put their destiny in the hands of another surrogate and his principal who feed fat at the expense of the people!
With educated, intelligent, god-fearing and incorruptible people, many people out there fit the bill. Truth is, Alhaji Lai Muhammed is in a class of his own. By every standard, President Muhammadu Buhari's choice for minister of information is like his principal: Lai Mohammed is nobody's and everybody's man! He is a politician of the finest order who has made a name for himself since he came to national political limelight. What is more, Alhaji Lai Mohammed is too serious-minded to engage in the indulgences that push people to the desperate point of stealing public funds! Put Lai Mohammed in charge of state funds and the people of Kwara state can go to sleep assured that their money is secured!
Born in 1951, Alhaji Lai Abdulra'uf Mohammed, lawyer, businessman, publicist and politician of the finest order cut his political teeth in the early 1990's as a leader of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP. Those who claim some level of acquaintance with him say honesty comes naturally to the information minister. His thoroughness, his disdain for money politics, his sense of justice, his belief in due process and his incorruptibility came to the fore when he successfully managed the press and media affairs of the ruling All Progressives' Congress, APC.
As the main publicist for the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed put the lie to the claim that publicity is impossible without a small dose of dishonesty. And, like his principal, he jealously guides his personal integrity by which he is guided in whatever he sets his mind to. It is indeed an irony of fate that with abundance of straight-thinking sons ofthe soil in the mould of Lai Mohammed, Kwara state remains in the woods mainly because its destiny was intractably tied to that of a larcenous, self-serving few.
The pilfering cabal in Kwara state has become even more daring, more desperate and more devious since 1999. From the late Alhaji Muhammad Lawal, a retired naval chief, to scandal-prone senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and incumbent _Maigida_ Abdulfatai Ahmed, the state has been unlucky with its elected governors. Of recent, the picture of Kwara state as a besieged territory was brought into proper perspective by stomach-churning EFCC account of treasury looting during the eight years Dr. Bukola Saraki held sway. This is a matter for another day, anyway!
For now, how to snatch the State of Harmony from the jaws of death should be paramount! Equally important is for the next government, like the corrective Buhari/Osinbajo administration, to erect formidable structures as a bulwark against a clique, however devious they are and whatever the depth of their pocket, from pocketing the state! A situation where one man determines the fate and destiny of a people for selfish and parochial purposes, especially in a state overflowing with intelligent, far-sighted and, more importantly god-fearing people, is not healthy. The situation has forced Kwara state to abdicate its unique role of a veritable bridge!
Honestly, the sad experience in Kwara state, especially over the past decade and half, has shown that nothing good comes from any political arrangement that allows one man to decide who gets what. The people of Kwara state have God to thank for the gift of the Buhari/Osinbajo-led APC government! Today, those who hitherto held Kwara state by the jugular appear to be losing grip and the people can now breathe freely. For instance, the act of ass-licking, one of the demeaning practices that forced self-respecting individuals to keep their distances from aspiring to serve is gradually yielding ground.
The collective dream of a brave, new Kwara devoid of the manipulative tendencies of a thieving cabal is realistic. But, first, there must be a sustained and deliberate drive to draft the independent-minded and farsighted Alhaji Lai Mohammed into the race for Government House, Ilorin, in 2019. Nothing should be left to chance in the drive to entrust the future of Kwara state to a politician who will not improve himself at the expense of the people! If it is taken that Alhaji Lai Mohammed stands out of the crowd of possible candidates, why on earth, should there be any problem in drafting him?
Written by Abdulrazaq Magaji.