Opinion:Kwara 2019: The shape of things to come. By Femi Olabisi
Not so many saw it coming. Weeks before October 1st, observers and the general public had their eyes fixated elsewhere. None had thought the Kwara State PDP governorship pendulum would swing to the direction of the young, brilliant and energetic lawmaker representing Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency. Saraki It took many by surprise that 49-year-old Hon Razak Atunwa with an intimidating profile in private and public service emerged the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2019 governorship election.
His emergence no doubt is a testament to the believe that excellence, no matter how hidden, will surely shine above its obscurity. Atunwa is not a novice in public service, neither is he an opportunist who has come to take advantage of his youthfulness to win election at a time the nation is clamouring for the emergence of younger and intelligent political players to take over from the older generations. Even the most fervid partisans and opposition members would never deny the fact that Atunwa is a right candidate and would make a good and effective Kwara Governor.
From his antecedents, the Federal lawmaker has shown a strong command of the issues, he has demonstrated a good record of private and public service leadership, and he is seasoned in politics and governance within and outside Kwara state. After his 11-years of sterling and active law practice following his bagging of Masters Degree from the University of East London at the age of 25, Atunwa dipped his feet into the murky waters of politics at a relatively young age of 36 when he was appointed as a Commissioner for Land and Housing in Kwara state in August 2005, from there we moved to become the Commissioner for Information and Home Affairs, Commissioner for Works and Transport and Commissioner for Finance (from 2006 to 2010).
At a time when youthfulness, match with experience, exposure and capability to deliver has become the resume line to seek political power in the present dispensation, Atunwa no doubt has all that is needed in his arsenal to run his policy-centric governorship campaign. His active service in four different ministries in Kwara state and his emergence as the Speaker of the State House of Assembly (2011-2015) and his present position as a federal lawmaker where he chairs the House of Representatives Committee on Justice, have in no small measure armed him with the immense knowledge and experience needed to continue with the implementation of good Governance master plan initiated by the government of Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki in the state of harmony.
Coming into office, Atunwa will not have to waste years struggling with understanding the governance of Kwara State, he has been part of the system and he knows where to start from. This surely makes him a formidable and credible candidate to lead the next government of Kwara state. Given how exceptional Atunwa, a licensed pilot certified in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, has been in the previous and present political office he held, it is obvious that his Kwara First campaign, hinged on human capacity development for everyday Kwarans, local content development to drive inclusive growth, and massive investment on health and Education infrastructure, will transmit Kwara to the next level of development and consolidate on the progress of the past and present. Pundits have also posited that Atunwa will definitely live beyond the hype, his intimidating profile, years in the making of a formidable political player in Kwara and national politics to be a stellar leader in Kwara state. Kwara is fortunate to have Atunwa at this time, he would definitely be good at the job when he eventually wins.
Olabisi is an Ilorin based public affairs commentator