OPINION - NASS 2015: Between Atunwa and Shagaya. By Rotimi Olawale

Date: 2015-03-11

Usually, election season comes with diverse expectations, disappointments and surprises. At this period, while some committed public servants receive accolades and overwhelming support for giant developmental strides done in previous years which gives them victory, some candidates only come at that period to register their presence through billboards, banners, posters and handbills; they are unconnected with the people, neither are they seen in the realms of social development in the years preceding election.

As widely said, elections are not won overnight, electoral victory comes from rich social investment made by a leader in its people in preceding years. Thus, the quest to win an election without traceable record of social services of a candidate is tantamount to a farmer who wants to harvest without planting, such farmer must not only be set to fail but also be set to come back the next farming season.

On a very objective note, a bid to compare the candidacy of Barr. Razak Atunwa popularly called "1" with Alhaji Sheriff Shagaya who are both contesting for Federal House of Representatives, Ilorin West/Asa Federal Constituency can be tagged a "bias" because at the end of it all, no point will favour the latter, not even the bonus if at all there is such.

The essence of this assessment is to further educate the voters in order to guide them in making the best choice of candidate. Commencing with Atunwa, a brilliant, articulate, and visionary leader of the State House.

Atunwa has a long, rich history of involvement with grassroot, its issues, and solutions. Being in the Kwara political structure for almost a decade, Atunwa has been readily available funding a cluster of projects designed to strengthen grassroots in his constituency. The essential logic underlying this strategy was to ensure the living standard of people who elected him is ameliorated, hidden talents are discovered and nurtured, trust is built, and cooperation is encouraged among the people.

Such leadership quality improve the capacity of citizens to solve broad problems facing society and to deliver better human services to social and cultural groups in the local communities.This has systematically established Barr. Atunwa as a key grassroot politician taking after the Kwara All Progressive Congress leader, Sen. Bukola Saraki. The above mentioned doesn't weaken Atunwa's performances as the Speaker of the State House of Assembly; under his leadership at the state house, over 30 bills have been passed into law and about 40 motions made in salient areas that affect communal existence.

On the other hand, the candidacy of Sherif Shagaya coming under the Peoples Democratic Party has been accompanied with sufficient ridicule and aggressive rejection. First, the general question been asked by the constituents is "who is Sherif Shagaya"? The fact that Sherif is unfamiliar with the people cannot be overemphasized. Not only is he unpopular in physical presence with the people, he is equally very unpopular in contributions to social wellbeing particularly before elections. Unfortunately, for him, campaigns which are inherently meant for candidates to account for they have done and unveil their plans for the masses have gone violent. It might interest you to know that since the postponement of the elections, Sherif Shagaya has returned to Abuja, his base.

A leader that does not spend time with his people cannot understand their problems, a leader that does not understand the people's problems cannot profer solutions to them. Sherif Shagaya should step out boldy and state what he has done for his constituency before now to deserve the people's support and votes. Asa and Ilorin West's problems cannot be solved by a man who lives in Abuja, the problems can be solved by a man who resides within the people, interacts and spends time with them at close intervals. We must take upon ourselves the onus to educate fellow constituents about the need to angrily vote against PDP/Sheriff Shagaya, which is not on personal note but on ground of development for the people. Atunwa-1 is the best candidate for this position. Spread the news.

Rotimi Olawale is a Media Assistant to Barr. Razak Atunwa

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