A final Memo to Kwara North By Onilemarun Abdulkareem


Dear Kwara Northerners, it is deliberate that I chose to delay until the last minute before sending this message. With less than 24 hours to the much anticipated 2023 governorship election in our dear State, I believe you will need a fundamental truth to take to heart as you go out to cast your ballot. This is therefore a service I have placed on myself, if only to satisfy the demand of conscience and to place on record my attempt to warn you of the steep political road ahead should you fail to get your son, Alhaji Abdullahi Yaman to the Government House in Ahmadu Bello way in this election.

My check revealed that the last time Kwara North produced a governor was in 1993 when Alhaji Shaaba Lafiagi governed the State from January 1992 to November 1993. It is now 30 years since then. That is a long period of time; in fact, it is the entire years of existence of some independent countries like Eritrea, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and others. I’m therefore one of those who readily admit that your region has long been out of power and deserves to get it this time, even though I do not think you are going about it the right way.

To begin with, while your strategy of negotiation to gain power is an excellent one, the lack of coordinated and single-minded effort on the part of the region is quite indicative of a glaring disunity in your quest. While a group within your region, the Kwara North Stakeholders Consultative Forum undertook an aggressive campaign, asking all major political parties to concede their governorship ticket to Kwara North, only the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) eventually honoured that request. But despite the promise of KWSCF that “the people of the zone will support any political party that zoned governorship to Kwara North,” observers were left wondering when a report filtered in that “unusual crowd of political stakeholders of Kwara north extraction converged to call on Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to contest the 2023 governorship elections in the state.” Apparently, this is an indication that your region is not even united in its agitation for power. How then can you expect other parts of the state to take you seriously?

As often said, power is not granted, it is acquired. To be sure, the fear of domination and the risk of being kept out of the mainstream of power equation in the state which Kwara north has always expressed are valid concerns; but the situation is not peculiar to Kwara and it is in fact consistent with the asymmetrical power relations which have shaped human social existence and experiences through history. However, those who have been able to record success with the agitation for power were united in their demand, unlike the case with your region which has shown in its quest a glaring case of what Murray Edelma refers to as “the united we stand myth.” It is now obvious that Kwara North is not united in its agitation for power.

After all is said, Kwara north’s best chance at occupying the governorship seat depends largely on tomorrow’s election. With the well-publicized ‘blackmail’ of supporting the party that fields a Kwara northerner as candidate, any failure on the part of your region to mobilize sufficient votes for Abdullahi Yamman tomorrow would have revealed a glaring lack of commitment to the demand for concession of power which you seek from other parts of the State.

Unfortunately, democracy thrives on the concept of majority rule which stipulates that the majority should make political decisions for the whole group, and for the majority to consider it fair to concede power, those who seek it, in this case Kwara north, must themselves approach their agitation in unity. That appears to be missing.

If for any reason the PDP candidate, Abdullahi Yamman loses tomorrow’s election, his failure would have removed the veil from any argument of marginalization which Kwara north may want to put forward either in 2027 or anytime in the future. The ‘Kwara north, it is now or never’ slogan used by the PDP in some of its campaign materials was in recognition of this glaring fact. Should Yamman lose tomorrow, especially if he performs poorly in Kwara north itself; your region would have buried any claim to equity in any future contestation for power in the state. You definitely can not claim that anyone is unfair to you if you reject your own and by doing so prove unfair even to yourself.

Since there is no law preventing any candidate from the other regions from exercising their right to contest, Kwara north would be better off to start preparation for a battle for the governorship ticket ahead of 2027 if it misses this chance. If the PDP has given Yamman the ticket and his region refuses to vote for him, then Kwara North would have lost the moral right to complain of any sort of marginalization henceforth. Like the Kwara PDP has warned, IT IS NOW OR NEVER.

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