Abdullahi: My ‘Big Ideas’ Slogan Strategy to Address Nation’s Challenges
Former Minister of Youth and Sports Development and Kwara Central senatorial candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi has reiterated that his ‘big ideas’ slogan remains only a strategy to address the various challenges facing the nation and not for money to be doled out to woo electorate.
He, however, remarked that: “The primary job of a legislator is all about canvassing ideas to solve the many problems that confront our people and philanthropy cannot be a qualification for leadership.”
Abdullahi who stated this in an open letter written to the Turaki of Ilorin and the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Kwara Central senatorial for the forthcoming election, Mallam Saliu Mustapha on his recent video comment against his slogan, made available to journalists yesterday, described Mustapha’s comment “as strange indeed and embarrassingly cynical no-thinking.”
In the letter dated January 1, 2023, the ex-editor of THISDAY Newspapers said: “A few days ago, my attention was drawn to a video in which you attempted to draw a comparison between my concept of “Big Ideas” and what you claim as “impacts.
“You went on to say that you have passed the stage of ideas and you were now at the level of “impacts”. I have struggled since then to understand what you might possibly mean by this statement.
“I understand that people may have different ideas, or may accept or reject other people’s ideas. But I have never heard anyone say he no longer has a need for ideas; that he has passed the level of ideas.”
Abdullahi added, “Dear Turaki, contrary to your belief, most problems in life cannot be solved by throwing money around.
“It is ideas that move and rule the world. The entire human civilisation advances and is sustained by constant production of ideas.
“For example, Japan was almost wiped off the face of the earth in 1945. Without any meaningful natural resources, it had to rely solely on the power of ideas nurtured by heavy investment in education and health to resurrect itself from the ruins of the Second World War.
“Now, Japan is one of the most developed countries on the planet. This is why Barack Obama said that the greatest ‘natural’ resource that a country needs is what lies in the brains of its people, rather than in the ground under their feet.
“Nigeria first discovered oil in 1956, two years ahead of the United Arab Emirates. Now, look where Nigeria is, and look where UAE is? By one estimate, Nigeria has earned about $116 trillion from its oil, UAE has earned much less.
“You know the difference sir? At the time that a Nigerian head of state was declaring that money was not our problem but how to spend it, the leaders of UAE were spending their money to lay the foundation for what was to become one of the most developed countries on earth. That’s the power of big ideas.”
He noted that, “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.”
Abdullahi opined further that, “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.”
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