Kwara Central: Bolaji Abdullahi Writes Open Letter To Saliu Mustapha
The PDP Senatorial Candidate for Kwara Central, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has said that Senators contribute ideas not money to address social and economic challenges.
It will be recalled that on Saturday, December 24, the APC Senatorial Candidate Saliu Mustapha had disparaged the need for ideas as the foundation of every development, saying he was bigger than ideas.
Abdullahi in an open letter to Saliu Mustapha on Monday, said he was perplexed that anyone would say he has passed the level of ideas, adding that such impression was pedestrian, embarrassing and cynical.
“The position that you and I seek requires critical thinking and big ideas more than anything else. The issues that would be brought before us as senators would require us to think creatively and take decisions based on hard evidence. And it will not always be pretty. Senators don’t contribute money to solve problems; they contribute ideas instead. Unfortunately, it is this same ‘ideas’ that you have proudly relegated and announced that you no longer have a need for.” Abdullahi said.
“The problems that confront our people cannot be solved by isolated acts of charity, no matter how well-intentioned. Priding ourselves as alaanu mekunu may make us feel good with ourselves, but the right thing to do is to commit to reducing the number of mekunu that depends on our mercy. We are not God. And we must never give the impression to our people that largesse from people like you or me can bail them out of their condition. Our youths who are unemployed don’t want to beg their way out of poverty. They want a job so that they can also live a life of dignity and fulfilment. This is the generational burden that people like us must carry, if we truly aspire for leadership.
“From what you said in your video, you appear to think that charity is a development strategy or that philanthropy can take the place of well-thought-out government policies. This is quite unfortunate, and I regret to say that one would expect a broader perspective than this from someone contesting to be a local government councilor, not to talk of someone aspiring for the highest legislative institution of the biggest black nation on earth. My dear Turaki, no country ever develops through the generousity of individuals, and no country will ever do. Charity has its place in every society.
“As a community of believers, charity is enjoined on all of us; in fact, it is a key cornerstone of our religion. People in our position have a duty to help the less privileged among us. That is a duty, for which we should expect no reward whatsoever, because it is our only way of saying ‘thank you’, to the Almighty Allah who in his mercy has chosen to bless us more than the people around us. Unfortunately, it is the same acts of charity that you now convert to a credential, on the basis of which you want people to vote for you.
“We all do it. Within what the Almighty Allah blessed me with, I have also paid school fees of countless children that I never met and that I would probably never meet. I have paid hospital bills, paid for surgical operations, bought wheel chairs, sank boreholes, repair roads, supported orphans, rebuilt classrooms, fix people’s houses, bought working tools for artisans, and gave people money who just wanted to eat. I do this all the time, whether in government or out of it, and regardless of party or politics. And I pray to Allah to enable me to continue to help. Up till her death, my late mother prayed for me that I would be a tree under whose shade people can seek comfort. This why you will never hear me bandy these things around for political benefits, despite immense pressure to do otherwise by associates.
“I know many people who also do the same, who never aspire to any political offices: lawyers who have built hospitals, civil servants who build houses for people, ordinary businessmen who do acts of charity on a daily basis without making a song and dance of it. Therefore, philanthropy cannot be a qualification for leadership.”
He said some of the two issues that are likely to be at the top of the next legislative agenda, including restructuring and the continuous ASUU Strike, would certainly require everyone involved to reach for their thinking caps rather than their money wallets.
“More specifically, conversation about restructuring is also going to be a major negotiation and bargaining platform for the different peoples of this country. What this means is that what happens to Kwara State, and to Kwara Central from the restructuring debate will depend on the capacity of those representing us at the National Assembly. This is why we must ensure that those who are going to speak for us have a clear understanding of our historical affinities and the kind of alignments and realignments that will best serve the interest of our people today and into the future.
I will take one more issue, the issue of ASUU strike. You would agree with me that this should be a source of embarrassment to anyone in government today. And our children cry out to us to find a permanent solution that will bring this disgraceful occurrence to an end. So, what do we do? As aspiring representative of our people in the Senate, our people should want to know what ideas we have for solving this seemingly intractable problem. We certainly cannot throw money at it and make it disappear, can we?” He said.