Shuaibu Yaman Abdullahi, populist idealist, ebullient, gusto-ful, polyglot, polymath and title holder of Danmasani of Tsonga is Kwara State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming 2023 General Elections. For upwards of 30 unbroken years now, this thoroughbred professional and serial entrepreneur has lived up to his name and esteemed title of Danmasani – utilising his knowledge, goodwill, resources and time to improve the lives of peoples around him, within and outside his community.
Founder of Agromatrix, former editorial board member of Daily Trust Newspapers and a former Chairman of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Yaman Abdullahi who graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Business Administration from the Ahmadu Bello University has always been unequivocal about the need for committed and altruistic citizens to enter the political ring and provide direction for the country. In furtherance of this avowal, he ran, albeit unsuccessfully for the office of Governor of Kwara State in 2003 losing out at the PDP primaries. He remained unperturbed, continuing his multifaceted community interventions and providing support for governmental initiatives and policies. Again, in 2011, this time hoisting the banner of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), he vied for a seat in the Senate of the National Assembly (Kwara North senatorial district) – he lost at the general polls that year.
Then came O To Ge – the big political realignment with its frenzied hurricane across Kwara State in the run up to the 2019 General Elections. Alhaji Shuaibu Yahman Abdullahi (SYA) was in the frontline, highly rated by political pundits as favourite to clinch the winning gubernatorial ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC). This favourite spot was predicated on his pedigree as a dogged visionary and transformational leader who has demonstrated his competencies in both private and public sector roles and on his populist disposition to citizens-centred governance. By its blinding dust, the _O To Ge_ coalition missed its first chance at correctness by not making a Yaman choice during its distorted governorship candidate selection process. There were other similarly credible choices – the movement skipped all of them.
The outcomes of the last General Elections in Kwara and the events that followed in its wake are now history – sad ironies of contortion of fate and political façades. In retrospect, the only victory recorded by the APC led O To Ge Movement was electoral, winning the governorship and all parliamentary seats. The movement lost everything else; from popular goodwill to even its own conceptual identity. It lost its most prized crusaders, it lost the people on the streets, it lost its Party (torn into shreds), it lost its message of hope and renewal. Almost 4 years down the lane, the rudder of governance is nowhere to be seen! Kwara has now gone into a state of regression. Coming into office at a time the State debt profile was hovering around N55billion, the citizens expected a reasonable and realistic economic action plan that will fast-pace the State’s economic outlook, create sustainable jobs, push off the State debt profile, improve social services and increase wealth across boards.
Nowhere! Rather and painfully so, in the past 42 months, Kwara has moved from a relative bad position to an absolute worse, and there is no justification whatsoever why this should be so. While revenue accruing to the State from Nigeria’s Federation account has seen an unprecedented rise, the Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq’s administration has curiously embarked on the most ludicrous and shocking borrowing spree in the State’s 55years history – taking the debt profile from about N55billion it met in 2019 to about N115billion today (more than 100% increase). To the chagrin of citizens and residents of Kwara, there is nothing on ground to show for this orgy of financial recklessness; infrastructural deficits across the State are gaping and glaring, quality of lives continue to decline, poverty and penury painted on every ‘canvas’ in the State. And what feedback do the people of Kwara get from their government – silence, graveyard silence!
To date, the current administration has not achieved a single infrastructural legacy or social services innovation to add to the indelible legacies of the Saraki and Maigida years. The preceding 16 years of Bukola Saraki and Abdulfatah Ahmed governorships may not have led Kwara to the ‘eldorado’; they however were years of thoughtful and impactful governance with steady developmental progress. Infrastructural development and social services improvements were on course. In those years, there were clear signs of a State following in a trajectory of clear action plans and economic blueprints; tools which are completely alien to the present administration.
With the inexplicable debts plunged into and rising governance deficits, Kwara is experiencing the real ‘geri-gedi’ in the hands of the present administration, gulping billions of naira of the State patrimony and draining it off mysteriously into ‘God knows where’. There obviously is an ongoing deathly sabotaging of the lives of Kwarans who are alive today and mortgaging of the future of those who are yet to be born – a State unkempt, in decay and a heap of harrowing debts waiting for both! This indeed is a true state of sadness, a disc of darkness. It is on this premise that Shuaibu Yaman Abdullahi called out to friends and well meaning citizens of Kwara, anguished and forlorn, and sought to forge a pathway across political aisles for the rescue of the State.
Early in 2022, Yaman Abdullahi took a decisive step along this path. He resigned his appointment as Federal Commissioner in the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC), into which he was earlier appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2020, as well as his membership of the Kwara APC, disconnecting himself from the rudderless and citizens-unfriendly APC led governments of Nigeria and Kwara. With a long list of co-patriots, he rejoined the membership roll of Nigeria’s most established and best-tested political platform, the Peoples Democratic Party, clinching the governorship ticket of the Party, shortly afterwards.
Today, less than 20 days to the governorship election date, Yaman Abdullahi is the man to beat. He has traversed the lengths of Kwara with his blueprint of fast-tracked prosperity and wealth creation. Resonating with the citizens, received with thunderous applause and fired on by the enthusiastic energies in the eyes of youths, women and men in all the districts, a new Kwara beckons to us all. Across political divides, Kwarans like in the _O To Ge_ days are united once again in a chorus for change in the leadership; but unlike then, eyes are wide-open and the clarion call is not a blanket cheque for ‘any comer’ – this time it is for a deal that is known, tested and real. It is the Yaman Deal; rigorously articulated and ripe to happen.
Yes, it is true. The Peoples Democratic Party at both state (Kwara) and national (Nigeria) levels presents the most elaborate and well thought out plans to rescue Kwara and Nigeria from the present socio-economic quagmire. The YAMAN PLAN for Kwara will aggressively re-compass the State to deliver well thought-out economic revivalist policies geared at sustainable wealth creation, job creation and reopening of robust citizens participation in governance. Democratic anarchy and a government-in-pariah, experienced perpetually in the past 4 years as evidenced in the unconstitutional collapse and closure of the local government tier will be ended and the bottled-up creative energies of our population will be channelled for progress instead of anger, mutual hate and resentment.
It is now a bounden duty on the shoulders of all who desire positive change for Kwara to stand together and vote for a new governor who knows and means the business of governance.
This is PDP’s new deal for Kwara. It’s a new path, it’s Yaman 0’clock.
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Dr. Seyi Adigun
Head of Intelligence, Research & Strategy
Kwara State PDP Governorship Candidate’s Office.