KWARA 2019 AND DAWN OF NEW ERA (Part Three )

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By  Mohammed Mariam Alhassan.

To Almighty God be all glories, mercies, blessings, praises, adorations and thanksgiving. God’s bounties are unlimited and His judgments unappealable. Accordingly, He has set measures and time for all things in life, and everything he designed must definitely come to pass. So the reason why human beings get desperate in their pursuit of ambitions is transcendental.

I have discussed in my previous write-ups issues pertaining to the political development of Kwara State since its creation in 1967.This piece, being a follow up to the earlier ones, is therefore tailored towards discussing most specifically the political development in the State since the advent of fourth republic (1999-to date) .

It is my belief that the analysis contained herein would help to unearth the riddles on the controversial and vexatious issue of zoning of elective positions in a given democratic system; provoke further debates and encourage contributions that would advance valuable knowledge in support of the growth of democratic governance in Kwara State and Nigeria at large. I therefore have no hard feelings against anybody’s opinion or perception or even the controversies, abuses and emotions that this piece may inevitably generate. I’m prepared to accept in good faith whatever insult that may come my way as a result of this article, believing that to be my portion of sacrifice and price in the quest to defend the truth and my conscience in pursuit of a better society, devoid of unnecessary primordial sentiment.

Kwara State is made up of 16 local government areas, three senatorial districts, six federal constituencies and twenty-four state assembly constituencies distributed as follows – 10 in the southern part of the state, eight in the north and seven in the central. Be that as it may, the scope of this piece is limited to the analysis of existing precedents at the gubernatorial, senatorial and federal constituencies of Kwara State.

The reason for this is to establish, without sentiment or prejudice, the veracity and legitimacy of the claims by some stakeholders bothering on automatic zoning of elective political positions to a particular geo-political area of the State and to ascertain whether or not this is democratically tenable or even constitutional. Where necessary, I have provided statistics that reveal political development and condition precedent in each of the constituencies that made up Kwara State since 1999 to date.

KWARA SOUTH

Kwara South, with seven LGAs of Ekiti, Ifelodun, Irepodun, Isin, Offa, Oke-Ero and Oyun, has major tribes of Igbominas, Ekitis, Ibolos and pockets of Nupe and Fulani settlers, with two Federal Constituencies of Ifelodun /Offa/Oyun, and  Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero respectively. The occupiers of the Senatorial position in the Southern senatorial district of Kwara State since 1999 are listed below:

1. Sen.M.S.Ajadi (LGA: Ifelodun) —  1999–2004
2. Sen. S. S. Ajibola (LGA: Ekiti) — 2004–2015
3.Sen. R. Ibrahim (LGA: Oyun) — 2015—to date

Observations :
From the above analysis, it is obvious that the three major tribes of Igbominas, Ekitis and Ibolos in Kwara South have all benefitted. Igbominas had 5years, Ekitis 11 years and Ibolos would have 4 years by 2019.

Federal Constituency: Ifelodun/Offa/Oyun
1.Deacon T. Opaleke (LGA: Offa) – 1999 – 2003
2.Engr. K. Shittu (LGA: Offa) – 2003 – 2007
3. Alh. K. Yusuf (LGA: Ifelodun) – 2007 – 2011
4. Alh. R. Ibrahim (LGA: Oyun) — 201- 2015
5. Hon. T. Olayonu (LGA: Offa) — 2015- Till date

Observations:
The two major ethnic groups of Igbominas in Ifelodun LGA and Ibolos in Offa and Oyun LGAs have benefited. The Igbominas had 4 years and Ibolos would have 18 years by 2019 respectively.

Federal Constituency: Ekiti/Isin/Irepodun/Oke-Ero
1.Hon. Bashir Oni (LGA: Irepodun) – 1999 – 2003
2.Hon.G.Makanjuola (LGA: Irepodun) – 2003 – 2011
3.Hon. Akeem  Ayedun (LGA: Isin) – 2011 – 2015
4. Hon.F. Adedoyin (LGA:  Irepodun) — 2015- Till date

Observations :
Above shows that Igbominas have dominated the seat since 1999 to-date, to the exclusion of Ekitis. Specifically, the Oke-Ero LGA,  because Ekiti LGA was privileged to be in the Senate for 11 years uninterrupted.

KWARA NORTH
Kwara North, with five local government areas of Baruten, Edu, Kaiama, Moro and Patigi, and with major tribes of Nupes, Batonus, Bokobarus, Yorubas, Hausas, Fulanis and others, has two Federal Constituencies of Baruten/Kaiama and Edu /Moro/Patigi respectively. The following are the Senators that have represented Kwara North Senatorial district in the National Assembly since 1999:
1..Sen. B. Zuruq (LGA: Patigi) – 1999 – 2003
2. Sen. M. Ahmed (LGA: Baruten) – 2003 – 2011
3. Sen. M. S. Lafiagi (LGA: Edu) — 2011- till date.

Observations :

Kwara North is made up of three axis of Baruten/Kaiama, Moro and Edu/Patigi.  Senate seat rotates between Baruten/Kaiama and Edu /Patigi axis to the exclusion of Moro axis since 1999 to-date. Baruten/Kaiama benefited 8 years, and Edu/Patigi 12 years by 2019, to the exclusion of Moro axis.

Federal Constituency: Baruten/Kaiama
1.Alh. I. issa Bio (LGA: Baruten) – 1999 – 2003
2. Hajia M. Adaji (LGA: Kaiama) – 2003 – 2011
3. Alh. M. Zakari(LGA: Baruten) — 2011- till date.

Observations:

The two LGAs  rotate the seat almost equally. Kaiama had 8 years and Baruten would have  12years by 2019.

Federal Constituency: Edu/Moro/Patigi

1.Engr.Y.A.Yinusa (LGA: Edu) – 1999 – 2007
2.Alh.A. A. Bahago (LGA: Patigi) – 2007 till date

Observations :
Edu and Patigi LGAs rotate the seat hand in hand to the exclusion of Moro LGA since 1999 to date. Edu had 8 years and Patigi would have 12 years by 2019.

KWARA CENTRAL
Kwara Central consists of four LGAs of Asa, Ilorin East, Ilorin South and Ilorin West with major tribes of Hausas, Fulanis, Yorubas, Nupes, Barubas and others. It has Asa/Ilorin West and Ilorin East/Ilorin South Federal Constituencies. The following are the Senators that have represented Kwara Central Senatorial district in the National Assembly since 1999:

1. Dr. I. Salman (LGA: Ilorin West) – 1999 – 2003
2. Sen. R. G. Saraki (LGA: Ilorin West) – 2003 – 2011
3.Sen. A. B. Saraki (LGA: Ilorin West) — 2011- to date

Observation :

Ilorin West solely dominates the Senate seat since 1999 till date to the exclusion of the other three local government areas.

Federal Constituency: Asa/Ilorin West
1. Hon. R. G. Saraki (LGA: Ilorin West) – 1999 – 2003
2.Chief.S.Ogundairo (LGA: Asa) – 2003) – 2007
3. Hajia Nimata Oba Suleiman (LGA: Ilorin West) – 2007 – 2011
4.Hon.M. Moshood (LGA: Ilorin West) – 2011 – 2015
5. Hon. R. Atunwa (LGA: Asa) – 2015 – to date

Observations :

The LGAs rotate the seat hand in hand. Ilorin West 12 had 12 years and Asa would have  8 years by 2019.

Federal Constituency: Ilorin East/Ilorin South
1. Hon. S. Faruq (LGA: Ilorin East) – 1999 – 2003
2.Hon.Z. L. Edun (LGA: Ilorin South) – 2003 – 2007
3.Hon.W. Issa (LGA: Ilorin South) – 2007 – 2011
4.Dr Ahmad Ali (LGA: Ilorin South — 2011- 2015
5. Hon. A. Kannike (LGA: Ilorin East) – 2015 – to date

Observations:

The two LGAs rotate the seat hand in hand. Ilorin south had 12 years while Iloin East would 8 years by 2019.

Governorship
1. Late Alh.M.A.Lawal (LGA: Ilorin East) – 1999 – 2003
2. Dr. A. B. Saraki (LGA: Ilorin West) – 2003 – 2011
3.Alh. A.  Ahmed (LGA: Ifelodun) — 2011- to date
Observations:

Late Alhaji Mohammed Alabi Lawal and Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki are both from Kwara Central while Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed is from Kwara South. Kwara Central benefited 12years and South 8 years by 2019 to the exclusion of the North.

From the foregoing analysis of political development and precedents of each constituency, we can see and confirm traceable imbalances and domination of one form or the other without any legal sanctions. This is because there is no particular provisions in the 1999 Constitution of the  Federal Republic of Nigeria(as amended) that made mention of automatic zoning of political elective position to a particular geo-political area or a given Constituency. Instead, every segment of the constituency has equal rights to contest the available elective positions without any legal sanctions.

The Constitutional provisions in Chapter 5, Part1c, Sections 65,  Part 2c Section 106, Chapter 6, Part 1a, Section 131, and Chapter 6, Part 2a, Section 171, do not expressly or impliedly stipulate as mandatory the automatic or unautomatic zoning of political elective positions. Instead, it guarantees every Nigerian in possession of the necessary constitutional requirements the equal right to freely contest available elective positions in full exercise of his/her democratic and fundamental human rights without any legal sanctions or encumbrance.

Issue of zoning or rotation of elective political positions to a particular geo-political area is the creation of political parties as part of their internal arrangements and strategy for winning elections in a given political environment, which is not binding. Zoning or rotation of elective positions is a gentleman’s arrangement and a marriage of convenience that has no constitutional backing. Any interested person from a given particular constituency or delineation can decide to contest the available elective positions without any legal sanctions, and it is left for the electorate from that particular electoral constituency to decide.

Without doubt, we all know that the two major religions of the world are against all forms of inequity. Both promotes love, unity, fairness, justice and peaceful co-existence. For instance, Holy Quran, Chapter 5 Verse 8 states : ” O you who believe, stand up as witnesses for Allah in all fairness and do not let the hatred of people deviate you from justice. Be just. This is closer to piety, and fear Allah. Surely, Allah is aware of all you do.”

In other words, Islam preaches fairness, equity and love even in a hostile situation. Islam still preaches fair treatment and justice. Unfortunately, the principles of democratic system are based on constitutionality. The logical reason and conclusion on moral ground and in the spirit of natural justice,  equity and fairness is not feasibly operational and sacrosanct. Otherwise, all the geo-political areas within a given constituency that have been marginalized in one form or the other ought to be automatically given the opportunity to contest elective positions unopposed. That is, assuming, all things being equal.

However, issues of morality and conscience hardly work in politics. Instead, it is a game of rules and regulations, numbers, calculations, advantages, wits, interest, ambition, dialogue, negotiations, manipulations, popularity, denials, deceit, schemings, luck and survival of the fittest. Morality and conscience are easily forgotten when issues of ambition and interest come into play during a political contest, especially when the enabling political environment for winning is glaringly visible and favourably fertile. This explains why it is easy and convenient to have the following precedents existing and unchallenged in the Law Court. A few examples would suffice:

 Senator David B. Mark, from Benue State, has been in the National Assembly since 1999 to-date. Senator Ahmed Lawan and Senator Ali Ndume, both from Yobe State, have been in the National Assembly since 1999 to date. Ilorin West LGA has dominated the Kwara Central Senatorial seat to the exclusion of other three LGAs since 1999 to-date. Baruten/Kaiama and Edu/Patigi axis rotates and dominates Kwara North Senatorial seat to the exclusion of Moro axis since 1999 to-date. Igbominas LGAs of Ekiti/Isin/Irepodun/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency dominates the seat  to the exclusion of the Ekitis since 1999 to-date. The Edu and Patigi LGAs of Edu/Moro/Patigi Federal Constituency dominates and rotates  the seat hand in hand to the exclusion of Moro LGA since 1999 to-date. The Ekiti LGA of Kwara South Senatorial District would have spent 11 years, Ifelodun LGA 5 years and Oyun 4 years by 2019.

Children of same parents, ward and LGA were elected and served at the same time. Senator R. G. Saraki in the Senate after 4 years in the House of Representatives, and Dr  A. B. Saraki, State Governor for good  8 years. The latter also succeeded the former on the expiration of her tenure in 2011 and has been to-date.

President George Bush was American President at the same time his son, W. Bush Jnr was serving as a State Governor. Subsequently, Bush Jnr became American President. Late Senator John McCain of United States of America, who died fortnight ago, was in the Senate for over 30years. And several other examples abound all over advanced democracies of the World.

Accordingly, he who must come to equity must come with clean hands. The aforestated imbalances and domination of one form or the other cut across every Constituency of Kwara State. No Constituency is free from this blame and allegation of one form of marginalization, imbalances and shortchanges. According to Sheilk Uthman Danfodio (RTA),  “Conscience is an open wound, it’s only the truth that can heal it”. The truth of the matter is that zoning or rotation of elective positions to a particular geo-political area within a given Constituency or delineation is undemocratic and unconstitutional. Every constitutionally qualified person is automatically qualified and constitutionally enabled to exercise his/her democratic and fundamental human rights to contest available elective positions without any hindrance.

Believing that we are all stakeholders in Kwara and Nigeria projects, and considering the circumstances and reality of our country, which is riddled with avoidable serial economic and political crisis, our primary concern and preoccupation should be to look for credible candidates with visible and laudable outstanding performance, irrevocable and irreversible progressive stance with outstanding capacity for service delivery. Indeed, those are necessary prerequisites of elected representatives that we all need in order to effectively re-engineer the socio-political and economic direction of Kwara State and the Nigerian nation come 2019 general elections.

In politics, when you talk of emancipating the people, you must look for the best brains, not on the basis of sentiment. We are talking about getting the best materials. And while the best candidates may not necessarily come from your geo-political zone, you are under moral obligation to support competent individuals, who have the requisite experience and talents to propel and move Kwara State and the Nigeria nation forward.

Voting and electing candidates on the basis of primordial sentiments such as religion, tribe, gender, party and geographical location without necessary requisite qualifications for effectiveness and efficiency in leadership is counterproductive. The resultant consequence is continuous but avoidable under-development and its inherent excruciating pains. Moreso that effects of poverty, diseases, hunger, unemployment, armed robbery, kidnapping, inflation, depression, frustration and Infrastructural deficits are no respecter of age, gender, tribe, religion, political party, geographical location or even social status.

The present state of Nigeria calls for sober reflection and requires realistic clinical solutions. Consequently, we must all rise to face the challenges of defending the future of this country by giving full cooperation and maximum support to very competent, progressive, visionary, responsible, resourceful, tested, trusted, and reliable individuals as political party candidates for all the elective positions in the 2019 general elections.The era when people vote blindly to elect undertakers, savages and wolves in sheep’s clothing into positions of high responsibilities because they are following the instruction of a political godfather should be a thing of the past. The shared interest and desire for the socio-economic and political development and growth of Kwara State and Nigeria must supercede any other considerations. And to ensure the attainment of this objective, we must vote and elect leaders, not rulers.

In 2019, we must vehemently resist any attempt to unduly impose candidates or suppress us into oblivion. We all owe it a duty to ourselves to duly protect and promote the interest of the present and future generations from being jeopardized by reactionary forces.Thus, we must take our destiny in our hands. To ensure that, we must vote and elect candidates that can guarantee our fundamental human rights without any hindrance.

Given the constraint of time and space, and the reality of our political environment that is highly polarised, there is need to get everyone involved; especially now that 2019 is around the corner. Time has come for us to immediately move into action and live up to our responsibilities through early preparation and mobilization, devoid of unnecessary primordial sentiments and violence of any guise.

Finally, if you have not collected your permanent voter’s card( PVC), you are kindly advised to do so. Your lamentation is not the way out, rather the solution lies in wisely exercising your franchise on election day. Your vote is your power, so endeavor to use it wisely without any recourse to violence in whatever guise. Let’s build together a Kwara and Nigeria that future generations will be proud of.

Long Live Kwara State.
Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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