Why Kwarans Must Rejoice at Abubakar Sulaiman’s Ministerial Appointment By Abdullahi Perogi
The appointment of Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman as the minister representing Kwara State in the Nigeria’s federal executive council could not have come at a better time. This appointment must excite every Kwaran who truly yearns for positive change, particularly every Kwara person born from early 1980s. This generation of Kwarans grew up to know the Sarakis as everything that is needed to become anything in Kwara.
For the first time since then, Kwara is having a minister without the nod of the Sarakis. Former Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi said the other day that he is grateful to the Sarakis for making him son of a ‘menial worker’ federal minister. Abdullahi was probably being grateful in his own imagination but such comment – coming from somebody with a university degree and years of experience as a journalist – underscores the existential threat Sarakiism poses to every Kwaran.
Abubakar’s nomination therefore signals a new dawn. It is the beginning of a new era. It means the rise of another power centre, a phenomenon that is healthy, natural and consistent with change as opposed to the monotony associated with everybody having to go to the Ile L’oke country home of the Sarakis before anyone can attain his sociopolitical aspirations.
Despite Abubakar’s nomination and confirmation representing some watershed, issues have been raised with his emergence, even so from some PDP members in Kwara State. It is not clear whose agenda or interest such dissenters represent while claiming membership of PDP. Time will reveal very soon enough.
But the truth is that the minister came to the job well recommended, as his short profile and performance during the senate screening demonstrated. Even an awed and humbled Bukola Saraki has acknowledged Sulaiman’s personal qualities.
Born in Ilorin West local government of Kwara, Abubakar Olanrewaju Sulaiman had his primary education in Alore L.S.M.B School Ilorin. He had his secondary school education at Community Secondary School Ballah from where he proceeded to Kwara State College of Technology (now Kwara State Polytechnic) for his A Level programme. In 1987, he gained admission into Ahmadu Bello University where he bagged a bachelor of science degree in Political Science.
Sulaiman was at UNIJOS between 1992 and 1994 for a Master of Science degree in International Relations and Strategic studies. By 2004, Sulaiman had completed his PhD in International Relations at the University of Abuja.
He has been a sociopolitical activist from his secondary school years, a zeal that got him nominated as president of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN); secretary of MSSN at the Kwara Tech. He later became the National President of the Ilorin Student Union in 1988.
Those who sought to stall his nomination on account of alleged political naivety and disconnect with the grassroots clearly missed the point. Indeed, the minister was a chairmanship aspirant for Ilorin West Local Government under the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1993 and House of Representative Aspirant for Asa/Ilorin West in 1999.
He was until the appointment the chairman of Kwara G3, a nonprofit political movement that is at the forefront of the clamour for a better Kwara, a Kwara where individual liberty is guaranteed. To cap it, in November 2013, Sulaiman was the convener of Kwara State Stakeholders Roundtable that brought together the many like-minds who today constitute the PDP powerhouse in the north central state. A versatile and popular political analyst, Dr. Sulaiman until his appointment taught political science and international relations at the University of Abuja.
Like many other Kwarans, the minister has contributed significantly to manpower development of Kwara state in general and the Ilorin emirate in particular. That he doesn’t make noise or advertise this does not detract from this basic fact.
Sulaiman’s appointment as a minister has turned a new page in Kwara politics particularly more so because it means the emergence of a new power centre completely independent of Saraki’s political machine. For some of us who are so thirsty of change in Kwara, the minister’s appointment came at a very crucial moment.
Wait a minute: Sulaiman’s nomination may have thrown up an interesting yet unintended issue in Kwara politics and where he comes up will definitely play a role in the politics of 2015 in Kwara.
The minister is not just from Ilorin West local government – Kwara’s most populous local council. The man, quite interestingly, comes from Ajikobi, the same ward that produced incumbent Senator Bukola Saraki; the senator before Bukola, Gbemisola Saraki; the incumbent chairman of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), Professor Oba Abdulraheem; and of course Hajia Bola Shagaya. In addition, not only did all these major figures come from Ajikobi ward, they almost come from the same street.
Indeed, Sulaiman comes from the same Agbaji environsas the Sarakis.
Congratulations, Dr Sulaiman. Congratulations, Kwarans of my generation.
#Perogi writes from Ilorin, Kwara State.
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