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Senate 2019: The search for excellence is on, By Abdulrazaq Magaji

By News Express on 14/11/2017

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•Abdulrazaq Magaji
•Abdulrazaq Magaji

The search is on! With more senators being beaten and attacked by aggrieved constituents, allegedly for alleged poor representation and crude legislative malpractices, Nigerians have no choice but to begin an early search for credible and competent replacements in 2019. The early search is not unconnected with the growing realisation since 2015, that a mistake was made when misfits rode on the ‘Sai Buhari’ train to the National Assembly. The result has been catastrophic.

From the look of things, 2019 is going to be different and Kwara – the State of Harmony – stands to gain from the wind of change. For residents of the state, poor quality representation at the federal level has assumed a frightening proportion, and the people could hardly be faulted for wanting to effect a change. It is, perhaps, in furtherance of the search that opinion-makers and prominent and not-too-prominent residents of Kwara south have turned the searchlight on Architect Isa Oyelola Ashiru.

What began as an isolated campaign immediately after the 2015 election took a new twist few months ago when more communities, youths, women and professional groups joined the clamour for Ashiru to run for Senate in 2019. For now, however, the subject of the draft campaign says he is cementing old alliances and building new ones. Much of the credit for the upswing in support for Ashiru’s candidacy must be attributed to the great work being done by the Lola Ashiru Foundation. 

Central to the factors working in his 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 a recent interactive session in Abuja, Ashiru said, for 2019 to be meaningful, it is imperative for communities to identify and vote for credible and competent politicians across party lines; to avoid a recurrence of the mistakes of 2015. He also believes there is need to build enduring structures that will enthrone the ideals of free, fair and transparent elections.

To achieve low-priced but high-quality representation at the National Assembly, the architect suggested that legislative duties and remunerations be on part-time basis or, as is the practice in some emerging democracies, for legislative seats to be reserved for professionals. This, he believes, has the dual advantage of enriching the legislative process and deepening the nation’s democracy as well as checking misfits who see the National Assembly as a milking-cow.

As it is, more people are beginning to realise that a mistake was made when party affiliations, more than competence, determined the outcome of the National Assembly election in 2015. The new feeling was fuelled by prevailing belief among the people of Kwara south that if, as a private citizen, Ashiru could deploy personal resources to positively transform lives, he could be trusted to improve the lives of a greater number of people as a public office-holder. This may be reason for the upsurge in visitations to his country home in Offa, as well as his base in Abuja, by individuals and groups bearing goodwill messages.

So far, the Kwara South Discussion Group, a conglomeration of youth and professional associations - and another Abuja-based group, the Coalition of Kwara South Indigenes the Offa/Oyun Patriots, another Abuja-based group made up of artisans as well as the Amalgamation of Kwara South Students at the University of Abuja – are some of the groups in the campaign to draft Ashiru.

Critical support also came from the vibrant Arewa Community in Kwara South. In its endorsement, leaders of the Arewa Community assured the architect – whom they described as ‘a true friend and ally of Arewa’ – of their preparedness to join in the campaign to ensure his victory. These are no doubt reassuring for a man with a legendary penchant for good.

History beckons! Aside being a welcome feather to a colourful cap, a senatorial ticket for Lola Ashiru in 2019 provides him another opportunity to do more for Kwara south.

The search for a proactive and people-oriented Senate in 2019 is truly on.

Abdulrazaq Magaji,, writes from Abuja.

Source News Express

Posted 14/11/2017 12:12:18 PM


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