Bolaji Abdullahi: Between juicy carrot and loyalty. By AHMED 'LATEEF

Date: 2018-08-24

In this piece, AHMED 'LATEEF chronicles the life of the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, his personality and other distinguishable qualities that have metaphorically made him a "cynosure of all eyes" as he clocks 49 years. What has remained sacrosanct in human history is change. Probably due to nature and other prevailing circumstances, human beings are susceptible to change. When at another time they chose to maintain the status quo and stay put, change in tide may compel them to reverse and thus be in tune with dynamics of time. That is the situation human beings sometimes and inescapably too find themselves without prejudice to others who could hide under the pretext of doctrine of necessity to act when actually they have a predetermined mindset. Happenings around have made it imperative to ascertain between rationality and irrationally, responsibility and irresponsibility, truth and falsehood and loyalty and betrayal and the likes.

And no matter the altitude with which the falsehood flies, truth shall catch up with it even within a twinkle of an eye. There are ways to separate loyalty and betrayal. It is said in local parlance that "true friends are known during the hard times". Those who conceived the analogy may have had in mind the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Abdulganiyu Bolaji Abdullahi.

If nothing at all, he has endeared himself to the warmth embrace of a number of people who believe come what may, he is an individual who would never trade or sacrifice loyalty on the altar of a juicy carrot. At different occasions, Abdullahi fondly and admirably called "Omoluabi" has been ensnared in situations that depict and call to questions his real identity and personality.

At some point, he got trapped between the red devil and the deep blue sea and when it became inescapable to do the needful. What a world! He would not but realise that charity begins at home and to him personally, if one trades own neighbour for a penny, it would be impossible to reverse such transaction.

In about 15 years of his sojourn in politics, a lot of water has passed under the bridge as people would say. Abdullahi has, by what circumstances and dynamics of politics imposed on him, grappled with loyalty test, and in all the tests that were accompanied by intense pressure, he has not found cause to renounce his loyalty. Perhaps, he is conscious of the popular axiom that the river that forgets its source dries up.

With fortunes, prestige and covetous paraphernalia of offices, he has every opportunity to play a double edged sword and continue to sip from the pot of honey not only when he served as APC image maker, where he resigned few weeks ago but also during his stint in ministerial position.

As a substantive Minister and by extension member of Federal Executive Council until early 2014, Abdullahi had everything going well for him. Who would have thought someone with luxury around him would decide to abandon such and opt to be left in the lurch? It was in 2014 that some powerful forces mounted pressure on him to choose between loyalty and juicy carrot while serving as a Minister.

He was asked to denounce his mentor and President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, when the latter as a sitting Senator led likemind Senators to form new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), a breakaway faction of the Peoples Democratic Party after pulling out of the National Convention of the party held in Abuja.

The exit of Saraki from the former ruling party, which he recently returned to from the All Progressives Congress (APC) brewed suspicion as to where the loyalty of the former Kwara State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology lies. When it became apparent that he would not denounce his mentor, he was summarily kicked out of the way as a Minister of the Federal Republic under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Such was his lots!

As if that was not enough, the latest in the episodic loyalty tests came forth with his appointment as the National Publicity Secretary of the APC. Upon assumption of office at the party's National Secretariat, Omoluabi as fondly called had his assignment well cut out for him beyond the usual issuance of press releases.

Eminently revered as a cerebral journalist, Abdullahi while resuming his duties made it crystal clear that he would operate within the ambit of professional calling, a paradigm shift from what used to be the practice prior to his assumption of office.

And the former APC spokesman walked his talk throughout the period of services with the ruling party until recently when the centre could no longer hold for the party following the defection of some political bigwigs and prominent among them was his mentor and senate president.

He also called it quits with the APC after advancing some reasons, which primarily revolved around loyalty. As a man, who operates within the realm of principles, he wittingly or unwittingly aligns himself with the immortal postulation of that ". It is his conviction that to be heroic is dignifying.

However, one thing is unique about the journalist turned politician. He always etches his footprints in the sands of time in whatever capacity he serves. When he was appointed as aide to former Kwara State Governor in his formative political years, he never envisaged bigger responsibilities were in the offing for him.

Although, he is a second class upper Mass Communication graduate of the prestigious University of Lagos, Akoka, Abdullahi did not study any educational courses or take special interest in pedagogy.

Having taken into account his competence, ability and capacity to do, the former Editor with This Day Newspapers was deployed to the state Ministry of Education, Science and Technology where he carried out a major reform that made Kwara to be envious by others. And suddenly, Bolaji Abdullahi became a household name in the state. It would not be out of place if he is described as a revolutionist in the state education sector.

It was his enviable performance and track record of achievements that earned him ministerial appointment when he was nominated as a member of the Federal Executive Council as Minister of youth development where he also added more laurels with victories of national teams under his watch when hew was later asked to also manage Ministry of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission.

Bolaji Abdullahi also possesses qualities such as integrity, competence, adroitness, prowess, astuteness and above all humility. His unassuming posture could be mistaken for hubris but a closer relationship with him betrays such erroneous impression.

With impeccable performances where he had held sway, all eyes are on the 49 year old former Minister as he declared his intention to contest the governorship seat of Kwara State come 2019 in continuation of his selfless service to humanity, which has always been his watchword.

 

 


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