Home » How Saraki dynasty sidelined us for 40 years – Kwara Assembly member-elect reveals

How Saraki dynasty sidelined us for 40 years – Kwara Assembly member-elect reveals

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Member-elect, Kwara House of Assembly, Hon. Lawal Ayanshola Saliu in this exclusive interview with The City Gazette, x-rayed critical issues surrounding his emergence as the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate for the Ipaye/Oloru/Malete, Moro Local Government in the just concluded general elections.

Hon. Ayanshola also talked about how Shao Ward had been shortchanged from producing member of Kwara State House of Assembly for the Ipaye/Oloru/Malete Constituency about 40 years after Chief Stephen Woke Oke from Shao won House of Assembly seat under the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN.

Q: Who is Hon. Ayanshola ?

Hon. Ayanshola: My name is Hon. Lawal Ayanshola Saliu. I am an indigene of Shao, Moro Local Government Area of Kwara State.

I hold a Higher National Diploma in Purchasing and Supply from Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin. I had worked with a lot of Multinational companies in Nigeria.

Q: How did your journey into the political world begin?

Hon. Ayanshola: I started venturing into politics since my Primary School days because I love agitating for the rights of others as I am a proponent of equity, fairness and justice. At my own level, I do fight for the rights of the less privileged whenever I feel they are being trampled upon so as to put things in order.

I was also involved in Student Unionism during my days in Kwara State Polytechnic. I was a Class Representative when I was in ND 1.

Due to the leadership qualities in me, my department nominated me to represent them at the Students Union Government, SUG, level.

Your victory has, in the long run crowned the age-long agitation of the people of Shao community, what is your take on this?

Hon. Ayanshola: Our father, Chief Stephen Woke Oke was the only Member of the Kwara House of Assembly produced by Shao Ward since 1983. Since then, Shao Ward has not been lucky to represent the Ipaye/Oloru/Malete Constituency.

So, this time around, we came up with fierce agitation because some wards have produced representatives more than two, three times at the expense of Shao. It was obvious that our ward was deliberately being relegated to the back seat.

With determination, we enlightened our youths on the need for Shao Ward to produce the candidate that will represent Ipaye/Oloru/ Malete Constituency and we began the journey in 2016, immediate after the 2015 general elections. We were in the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, we spoke with one voice. So, when the former administration under governor Fatai Ahmed in Kwara State defected to the PDP, we had to leave the party for them because we cannot stay together in the same party and that was how we joined the O TO GE struggle in 2019.

To let you know how serious our struggle to produce the member that would represent Ipaye/Oloru/Malete Constituency in 10th Kwara House of Assembly was, about four major political parties zoned their ticket to Shao Ward-APC, PDP and SDP in the recently concluded general elections.

Today, after so much agitation, we broke 40 year-old jinx. Shao Ward is a force to reckon with in Ipaye/Oloru/Malete Constituency.

Before 2019, no political actor has a say except what the previous dynasty has decided or decreed but we appreciate the current administration for giving us listening ears. Even in terms of appointments, we didn’t get anything.

Q: Judging by your comment did you mean Shao was not on the same with the Saraki dynasty?

Hon. Ayanshola: My reply is yes because Shao has been engaging itself in community development. If not for the current administration, for the past 16 years, you cannot pinpoint any project put in place by previous governments. The projects you see in Shao are those ones done by the administration of former governor, Muhammed Lawal from 1999 to 2003 but from 2003 to 2019 there is no where you can find government presence in our community.

Q: How would you describe the previous and the current administrations?

Hon. Ayanshola: Throughout Saraki period, no governor or commissioner has visited Shao community, but in less than four years, governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has visited Shao uncountable times. he has done a lot of projects for us – look at our township road about 1.2KM, the Health Centre and Primary School have been refurbished. Our aged people are currently benefiting from Owo Arugbo.

In addition, the current administration is gender sensitive, bringing more women into his cabinet and you can also see in the last election where five women won Assembly seats in the state. The governor believes women too have important roles to play in society.

Talking about youth inclusion, he is actually building the future of the state as he wants the youth to take over from them because one day they would retire from politics. The babbar riga politics has ended in the state. We now have vibrant and active youths who are changing the narrative.

For instance, few days ago, I had an appointment with the Honourable commissioner for Works, Rotimi Suleiman, he asked me to meet him somewhere but when I got there, I was surprised to see him on construction site working tirelessly on Sunday.

Shao community will continue to show our support for governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for again appointing one of our own, Justice Abiodun Adebara as the Chief Justice of Kwara State.

Q: With your victory at the recently concluded poll, what do your constituents stand to benefit?

Hon. Ayanshola: Our people are going to benefit alot. As you know, Moro Local Government Area is an agrarian society and we would do everything possible to make our farmers switch from the archaic way of farming to mechanised farming in order to encourage aggressive farming in Moro.

We have to constituencies in Moro, you can see I am making reference to the whole Local Government not my own constituency alone because we want Moro to speak with one voice. We don’t want to encourage any form of discrimination as we are still lagging behind. So we want serious development to come down to our LG too and for us to get that, we can only speak with one voice.

Secondly, politics is gone and we need to face governance because we don’t want to sideline anybody and I even to tried to reach out to my opponents to extend my hands of fellowship to them so that we can cross-fertilise ideas on how to move our constituency forward. We would see how we can hold a Town hall meeting to deliberate on the way forward. Even after my inauguration, I will still remain in Shao so that I will be close to my people to know their needs and demands.

On the final, I call on the Kwaran populace to continue to support and pray for the current administration under the tutelage of Mallam AbdulRaman AbdulRazaq for the wonderful work he has done in less than 4 years.

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