OPINION:Kwara South: The crown fits 'Lola Ashiru! By Abdulrazaq Magaji
Things are beginning to look up for Kwara South Senatorial District. And, from the look of things, the zone is on its way to get the quality representation it so desires at the Nigerian Senate when it is inaugurated next June. This is an optimism that is well grounded as the zone appears to have settled for a standard-bearer to send to the Senate.
It is the second time in four years that Architect Isa Oyelola Ashiru, the man better known to his numerous admirers and associates as Lola Ashiru, will be running for Senate. In 2015, he was on the verge of a landslide victory before the Buhari tsunami gave his opponent an edge. Much water has passed under the bridge since then. Today, Architect Ashiru is favoured to pick the ticket of the APC party which he ran against four years.
This is coming after the sitting senator literally committed political harakiri after he chose to swim with a drowning political camp in the state! To his admirers and keen followers of the politics of Kwara South, Lola Ashiru may just be waiting to be handed the crown next February.
It is, indeed, a wind of change from which Kwara South stands to gain. Unlike in 2015 when misfits rode on the Sai Buhari train to the National Assembly, most legislators will now have to rely on their own steam and their performance to be returned by their constituents. With reports of legislators being mobbed and attacked by aggrieved constituents, allegedly for alleged poor representation and crude legislative malpractices, several senators appear to have reached the end of their stint at the National Assembly.
From the look of things, the ninth National Assembly is going to be different. Its difference will be result of the chilly wind of change that is expected to blow away all manner of clowns off their peacock thrones at the National Assembly. For good reasons, Kwara South, which was hallmarked for poor quality representation will be a major beneficiary. It is, perhaps, in furtherance of the desire for quality representation that the people of Kwara South as well as political leaders and other stakeholders in the zone heaved a deep sigh of relief when Architect Ashiru returned to the APC!
In fact, the Support Lola Ashiru Campaign which began as an isolated campaign immediately after the 2015 election took a new twist few weeks ago when Architect Ashiru returned to the fold of the APC, a party he helped found and funded! Since he returned to what he called "my natural habitat", the home of the businessman cum politician has been turned into a Mecca of sort with more communities, youth, women and professional groups in Kwara South endlessly trooping in to pledge their support for his bid.
Central to the factors working in Lola Ashiru's favour is his passion for the Nigerian project! And some of his suggestions to drive the Nigerian project, just as his antidote for the high cost of governance, are as pragmatic as they are revolutionary. At all points in his ongoing meet-the-people tour across Kwara South, Architect Ashiru told communities to identify and vote for credible and competent politicians in 2019 as a first step toward bringing government closer to the people.
At the heart of the debate in Nigeria today is how to achieve low-priced but high-quality representation at the National Assembly as a way of enriching the legislative process and deepening the nation's democracy. To Architect Ashiru, one way is for legislative duties and remunerations to be on part-time basis! His other suggestion is for legislative seats to be reserved for women, youth and professionals as is the case with several emerging democracies. Either of the proposals will encourage busy professionals to bring their expertise to the table. Aside enriching the nation’s democracy, Architect Ashiru's proposals are capable of sidelining misfits who see the National Assembly as a rehabilitation centre!
Those behind the renewed clamour to get Architect Ashiru elected have valid reason. The way it is, people have realised the mistake in entrusting their destiny to some imperious absentee godfather who does not have their interest at heart. This new feeling is further fuelled by prevailing belief among the people that if Architect Ashiru could deploy personal resources to positively transform lives as a private citizen, he could be trusted to improve the lives of a greater number of people if elected Senator to represent Kwara South.
Expectedly, the upswing in support of Lola Ashiru’s bid has been phenomenal. Of recent, critical support has come from indigenes of the Middle Belt resident in Kwara South as well as members of the Arewa Community who recently honoured Architect Ashiru for being ‘a reliable and trusted friend of Arewa’. Similarly, a conglomeration of youth and professional associations in Abuja called Kwara South Discussion Group and another Abuja-based group, Coalition of Kwara South Indigenes as well as Offa/Oyun Patriots and Igbomina Harmony Group are some of the latest groups that visited to pledge support for Lola Ashiru.
It is time for Kwara South to get its act together and rally round a man who has a legendary penchant to do good. Aside being an addition to an already very colourful hat, a seat in the nation’s Senate for Architect Ashiru in 2019 provides him another opportunity to do more for the people of Kwara south.
The sun will shine!
Magaji < firstname.lastname@example.org.> is based in Abuja, Nigeria