Why The APC Is Failing In Kwara

By Ogunrinde Olayinka, Graduate of Political Science, University of Ilorin.

As a student of political science, over the past few months, I have watched the political actors in my home state, Kwara, campaigning and jostling for power. Some of them want to be House of Assembly members; some of them want to go to the National Assembly as Senators or Honourable members; others want to be Governor; while still, other just want to be the godfathers behind the scene — pulling strings and giving orders.

Focusing on the main contenders, the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and their main challengers, the All Progressives Congress (APC), one thing that strikes me as odd is the clear distinction between the organisational structure and the competence of the candidates being presented by both sides.

For example, the PDP has presented Honourable Razak Atunwa, a former speaker of the State House of Assembly, and current Honourable Member in the 8th National Assembly as its gubernatorial candidate. Atunwa, who also served as a Commissioner for Lands and Housing in the Saraki administration, won the PDP primaries in a landslide due to his executive and legislative experience, that seems to make him well-prepared for the task of governing the State of Harmony.

On the other hand, the APC has presented a virtually untested — at least in public service — Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as its candidate. Abdulrazaq, whose major claim to fame is that he is the son of the first lawyer in northern Nigeria, has galvanised a segment of the Kwara population with his campaign slogan ‘O to Ge’, which translates to ‘Enough is Enough’ in English.

A brief perusal of the social media handles of the APC and PDP candidates shows that while the PDP candidate, Atunwa, is looking to the future by putting forth specific agendas that his government can be held accountable to if he assumes office, the APC candidate, Abdulrahman, is focusing on the past and trying to appeal to voters based on sentiment, with no specific manifesto that he can be held accountable to.

While Atunwa on one hand, tweets and posts about tapping into the existing comparative advantages of each of local government areas of the state in order to boost the state’s economy, Abdulrahman, continues to focus on stirring up sentiments.

One worthy distinction, is that in the last 10 days for each substantive and specific post of Atunwa’s where he sets forth a specific agenda to develop Kwara, there are at least 3 posts from Abdulrahman that simply say “O To Ge.”

As we, the people of Kwara, prepare to choose which party we will follow in the forthcoming elections, let us be reminded that slogans do not win elections and ‘O To Ge’ is not a manifesto.

We must remember the lessons of APC government at the federal level, who promised us ‘Change’, but instead plunged our economy into its first recession in 30 years; flushed all our development indexes with the international community into the toilet; and spread the insecurity across the nation from the North East, where it was once contained, to areas in the North West and the North Central.

Personally, I will not be swayed by sentiment. I will be convinced by specifics. On February 16th and March 2nd, when I go out to vote, I will cast my votes for the candidates and the party that put forth specific agenda for continuity in the development of the state. I will vote for the party, that is consolidating on the successes of the previous years, not the candidates that want ‘Change’ simply because they want power. In my honest opinion, Atunwa and the PDP, are what’s best for Kwara in 2019. As a student of political science, I stand by this.

-Ogunrinde Olayinka, Graduate of Political Science, University of Ilorin.

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