Former Minister of Sports and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), for the Kwara Central Senatorial seat in the 2023 general elections, Bolaji Abdullahi, in a direct reference to his arch-rival, Saliu Mustapha of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said the legislative rigour of the Red Chamber demands members with broad intellect and not a learning ground.
Bolaji Abdulahi made this assertion in an open letter to the Turaki of Ilorin, Wednesday, January 4, 2023.
“The Senate is considered as an assembly of the wiser and more experienced members of the society. This is the crux of the matter. People who go to the senate are people who have held public positions, who have done things, who have made mistakes and learnt from their mistakes.”
“By your own admission, you have never held a public office before. So, you want to start learning at the Senate? Come on. Would you even recognize a government white paper or a budget if it fell on your head?”
He further boasted that he has used both his ntellectual and material resources to better the lot of his constituency, since his political foray in 2003.
“At every occasion since early twenties that I have been an active partaker in the socio-political activities of this noble community and I have been called upon at her time of needs by her custodians, I have risen up unconditionally to it with everything I have got – be it knowledge, personal hard-earned resources, political, national and international networks.”
The former Commissioner for Education berated Saliu Mustapha for purportedly playing money politics, claiming his philanthropic gestures which had earned him the traditional title of Turaki cannot guarantee his victory at the poll.
“I did not know you until 2014. I remember the first time was in Dr. Saraki’s house. When you introduced yourself to me, you mentioned that you just came back from Ilorin and I asked you what you were doing in my town. I was surprised when you told me that you were from Ilorin. I had thought you were one of those Kaduna boys that came with President Buhari. And here you are, claiming that you have been helping Ilorin since ‘early twenties.’ Yet, I never heard of you before then. If not that this country has lost its soul to money, what would have been the basis of this contest between you and me?
“You have earned the Turaki title as a form of recognition and honour for your generousity. And if Allah wills, you
may even get greater reward. But the Senate? No. That requires a different skill set, which I believe you do not possess.”
He noted that a victory for the APC candidate could amount to unprecedented poor representation of the Kwara Central constituents.
“This is nothing personal. But what I am worried about is that if you win, Kwara Central would be greatly short-changed and under-served in the Senate at this crucial time in our history. And we would have laid the unfortunate precedence, which would make our youths think that the only thing that matters in life is money.
The erstwhile spokesperson of the ruling APC said nations only thrive modern innovations not showy spending.
“That it is only ideas, big and innovative ideas that move nations forward. That our youths want jobs, not handouts and we need big ideas to create jobs that will enable them live a life of dignity and not rely on the generousity of anybody, including myself.
He also countered claim of favouring outsiders at the expense of Kwarans in his choice of personal assistant during his time as Minister of Sports.
“You talked about me employing aides from other states. Well, how would you know? The policy of the Federal Government at the time was that ministers were allowed only one Special Assistant and one Personal Assistant; this was meant to discourage a situation where personal aides take over the job of civil servants. My only SA was from Ilorin, his name is Suleiman Saka and my PA was Salmon Babatunde Salmon. All those others from other states were seconded to my office on request by international donor agencies who were willing to support the work I was doing.”
He , however, implored the ruling APC to desist from his alleged campaign of propaganda.
“In conclusion, let me serve your APC party this warning through you. Your 2019 propaganda will not work this time. We all know that lying comes to you people naturally, but it will not save you in this election. You people think you can buy your ways to victory having run the country and our state aground? You will see the limits of money and propaganda in a few weeks. May God keep us alive and well.”