Why did you choose a relatively new and young party like the NNPP to contest the 2023 election instead of big parties like APC and PDP?
My choice of the NNPP as a platform to contest is borne out of the fact that we have tested the two prominent parties in Kwara State and they have been found wanting. So, we need another party to contest against the two of them – APC and PDP. For 16 years, we had the PDP running the affairs of this state and it got to a stage when we, the youths, as well as the masses deemed it necessary to look for another platform to challenge the PDP. That was why in 2011, the platform we used was the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). I was a contestant that time on the platform of the ACN for the House of Assembly seat in Ilorin West Local Government Area. That is Ajikobi/Alanamu constituency. We went as far as having a rerun in my own election though I wasn’t declared the winner in the end. It nevertheless marked the beginning of the challenge. I didn’t win in the first instance; it was an electoral fraud against us. So, we went to the tribunal, which ordered a rerun. The rerun was done, though it was fraud again because of the power of incumbency used against us. In 2015, we used the same ACN platform which later merged with others to form the APC. However, we had to leave the APC which we nurtured for PDP when Dr. Bukola Saraki and his people migrated to the party. Those of us in ACN migrated to the PDP, using the platform to challenge them. But again because of the power of incumbency when Saraki still held sway in Kwara State, they won.Between 2015 and 2019, we went back to the APC because Saraki and his people had left the party for the PDP, where they came from initially. It was the APC, using the ‘Otoge’ mantra that was now used to dislodge Saraki and his PDP in 2019. We chose NNPP because it is a party that has all the required philosophy and ideology we need to establish good governance for the masses of Kwara State and Nigeria as a whole.
What are your chances and that of your party in the 2023 elections?
Our chances are very bright because in Kwara State, party is not the main consideration. The first consideration is the interest of the masses and that is why we can use APC today, use PDP tomorrow or any other platform.Any platform is acceptable to Kwarans if the operators are people they know and trust will give them the dividends of democracy. So, the platform one uses doesn’t really matter. More so, those of us, who are now contesting on the platform of NNPP, are products of the masses.They know us very well and they trust us too. So, all the candidates of the NNPP across the country are people who have been identified with the grassroots. They are the kind of people who have invested in assisting the masses; they have used their wealth, time and energy to create opportunities for the masses. Our governorship candidate is Prof. Shuaib Abduraheem. He is somebody who has very good track records wherever he worked. When he was a lecturer at Bayero University, Kano, he facilitated admissions for thousands of Kwarans. Back home at the University of Ilorin as a two-term vice chancellor, he left indelible marks in the memory of the people.Also, as the chairman of the Federal Character Commission, he facilitated employments for many Kwarans. Then, those of us too like myself, I have my own investments that I’m doing for my people. That is why I can categorically tell you that my chances and that of our party in winning at the 2023 general elections are very high and bright. Aside winning other offices, I can confidently tell you that the NNPP will form the government in Kwara State in 2023.
Do you have confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)?
As at today, I have a very high confidence in INEC because the body under the present headship has been conducting free and fair elections across the country. We have seen situations, especially in Osun State, where the APC, even as the sitting government, lost the governorship election. INEC, as presently constituted, doesn’t dance to instructions from any quarter. Hence, the APC has been losing elections and also winning. The PDP has also been winning and losing too, while even the less known parties have also won elections where least expected. As a computer expert, I have seen that the introduction of technology into our electoral process as championed by this headship of INEC has given a lot of credence to the system, particularly the introduction of Biometric Voters Accreditation System (BVAS).This has taken care of a lot of areas of fraud perpetrated in previous elections. The introduction of BVAS has actually sanitised the system. The BVAS is currently being tested at the tribunal in Osun State, where the election that propped up Ademola Adeleke as governor is being contested by former Governor Gboyega Oyetola and his party, the APC.
What’s your take on the security agencies? Are you satisfied with their performance so far?
In the present dispensation, I have not recorded any area of suspect with the security agencies. We have not seen or heard of their involvement in helping any party or party candidates unlike in previous elections under the PDP where we even saw soldiers getting involved in helping the ruling party. It is kudos for President Muhammadu Buhari as this terrible scenario has never happened under his watch.
What will be your priorities if elected senator for Kwara Central in 2023?
If I’m elected a senator in 2023, my priorities will be different from the pursuits of most senators, who always say they will do roads for their constituents, provide water, and so on. This is not the primary responsibility of a senator. Senators are supposed to legislate to bring up acts that will translate to laws for the benefits of the people. We have a lot of problems which only legislative acts can rectify. Like now, we have insecurity.One of the solutions to insecurity is for us to make sure that the local governments are functioning well by conducting elections to make sure that the local governments have chairmen and councilors as constitutionally stipulated. If elections are conducted at the local governments in Kwara State, we will have more than 300 people in a dispensation holding political offices. This will make the villagers to go back to the villages. Sadly, the villagers have deserted the villages for the centre in search of greener pastures. That is why there is insecurity because the hoodlums or terrorists coming to any village will not meet any young man on ground to resist them.The Senate and House of Representatives have passed the bill for the local governments to be autonomous, but for it to become a law, two third of all the state Houses of Assembly will have to append to it. Incidentally, only about 10 states have appended to it, while Kwara is one of the states that have not appended to it.But, if I win this election come 2023, I will relate with other senators so that they can interact with their respective Houses of Assembly speakers and members with a view to ensuring that the Act is translated into law. That’s one of the things I’m going there to do. Secondly, we have serious unemployment, not only in Kwara, but also the country. To tackle this menace, our education has to be restructured. So, I’m going to the Senate to propagate technical change and technology transfer.tTha’s one of the things that I will bring to the floor of the Senate because government alone cannot employ everybody. With technical education, our youths can become employers of labour and selfreliant. In Kwara, we have to make sure that we revive our technical colleges, so that even if a child will be an artisan that will be able to refine the mineral resources we have in our state, not just doing something that is not related with what we have.For technology transfer, we have to select our good students, youths and send them abroad to places like China, where they will go and learn how to use technology to explore the resources we have in our state and when they return, whatever they learnt they will teach others.l bring to the floor of the Senate because government alone cannot employ everybody. With technical education, our youths can become employers of labour and selfreliant.