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OPINION

Sadiq Umar: From Social Media To The Senate

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The 2019 general election wit￾nessed the influx of several young people into the political space, es- pecially at the presidential level.

We all remember the likes of
Omoyele Sowore, Mathias Baba
Tsado, Fela Durotoye and host of
others, who made social media the
center piece of their presidential
campaign.

However, while the above men￾tioned individuals tried unsuccess￾fully to emerge in their election￾eering experiment, there are others who started their ambition on so- cial media and suceeded in winning their election.
One of such individuals is Phar￾macist Sadiq Umar, a distinguish Senator, representing Kwara North Senatorial District.

In a yet to be published book ti- tled, “How I became a Senator in 30 days”, Senator Sadiq stated that, “Several persons had at one time or the other encouraged me to seek elective office, but the pressure to run in 2019 was particularly intense and social media further amplified the voice, starting from when I was added to a WhatsApp group”.

To say it differently, Senator Sadiq Umar started his ambition on WhatsApp group and he even￾tually landed at the Senate.
The detailes of this process is contained in his upcoming book.

I was privileged to be given this
unpublished book few weeks ago,
when I met Sen. Sadiq Umar to dis￾cuss and answer questions on our
organization’s novel project, the
Legislative Watch, which is seek￾ing to advance legislative account￾ability in Nigeria.
Legislative Watch is designed as a scientific and professional assess￾ment programme for the annual rat￾ing of legislative performances in a air, balanced and apolitical man￾ner, for the purpose of strengthen￾ing legislative arm of government and encourage legislators to com- pete for excellence.
After our engagement on legisla- tive watch, which was the main rea￾son for the meeting, Senator Sadiq
gifted me a book he just wrote, ti￾tled “How I became a Senator in
30 days”.

This book is very special to me because, the copy given to me was the last copy available on his desk and when I finally settled to read the book after few hours of collect- ing it, I found the content so sim￾ple and rich, more like a guide to
all aspiring politicians, particular￾ly youths and technocrats, seeking
to add value to our political expe￾rience.
This is apart from the aspect of
the book that provided answers to
all burning political and party is￾sues, such as election financing and
money in politics, building struc￾tures and navigating internal pol￾itics within political parties, con￾necting the grassroots and aligning
with youth sentiment, handling the
politicians and many more.

In the book, Senator Sadiq ex￾plained how his ambition to be￾come a Senator started on a What￾sApp group and like a scene in Nollywood movie, it gradually
moved from social media to reali￾ty within the space of 30 days.

The book is really a practical guide on political engagement in Nigeria and it is written by the most qualified person to do so, a profes- sional of global standing and a dis￾tinguish Senator of the Federation Republic of Nigeria.

I have known and built a friend- ly relationship with Sen. Senator
Sadiq before he won the Senate
seat during Kwara’s Otoge polit- ical revolution that swept the for￾mer ruling dynasty out of the state,and I follow his engagement at the Senate.

However, because of the enor￾mous task before him at the Sen￾ate, especially as chairman of an important and active committee (Chairman of Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Vice Chairman of Primary Health Care and Com￾municable Diseases), I wasn’t ex￾pecting the Senator to have time
to write a book such as this, in less
than one year in office.

But Senator Sadiq Umar isn’t
just a Senator, he is many things
roled into one and his passion, and
dedication to the upliftment of Ni￾geria is second to none.

Having gone through the book,
which I find inspirational and time￾ly, I must say that writing this book
is one of the most important deci￾sion made by the Senator and I en￾courage many politicians as well as aspiring politicians to read the book when it is out. There’s alot to learn from it.

As we already know, politics is
the only realistic route to good gov￾ernance in democratic settings.
Unfortunately, not many in this
part of the world have a coherent
understanding of the relationship
between politics and governance
Although, civil advocacy and po- litical activism may play comple￾mentary roles to government, but ultimately, the quality of gover￾nance in a given state will be deter￾mined by the quality of its politics.

This is why the ‘Kwara Must Change’ movement has been at the forefront of encouraging all those who have something to offer to step
forward into the political arena and
with this book (How I became a
Senator in 30 days), aspiring poli￾ticians will find it easier to navigate
the political terrain without aban￾doning their principles.

-Hamzat, the convener of Kwara Must Change, writes for Abuja.

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