I have consistently argued at different quarters that the resurgence of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after the exit of former governor Bukola Saraki and his yes-men – including Governor Abdul Fattah Ahmed – is a good thing for Kwara, our struggling state. This is because the party parades many individuals who command huge respect in the communities they come from and even beyond.
At the moment and up until February 2015 attention is understandably on the PDP in Kwara State. Pundits, sponsored and otherwise, have written articles pontificating on the battle ahead for the party’s governorship ticket. Indeed a number of names have come up and different arguments are being sold to explain who may get the ticket, and why.
I want the PDP to win Kwara governorship poll partly because Kwara needs a change – call it a breath of fresh air – from ruling by proxy and sheer lies that have characterised Ahmed’s uninspiring and pliant four years in the saddle.
For PDP to strike a chord with the Kwara electorate, however, it must ensure it does not bear any semblance with the current arrangement as it goes to poll: whether in terms of its governorship flag bearer having questionable relationships with the ruling dynasty now or in the past or himself/herself carrying some baggage that makes them open to crushing attacks or weigh them down even when elected.
At the moment perhaps only one or two of the PDP aspirants can really appeal to the Kwara public spread across the senatorial districts or lovers and backers of Kwara liberation struggle outside the state. The past is here to haunt many of the aspirants because of their roles in past appointments.
I do not expect the party to field anyone from anywhere whose ambition poses what some people elsewhere may call ‘existential threat’ to their own people – owing largely to the way such fellow had conducted himself in previous appointments. It will be childish to dismiss the landmines such nomination mean for the PDP. APC will skillfully mobilize against such nomination.
Neither do I expect the party to field somebody who has been in public office for years without anything concrete to show for it. This is another category.
But perhaps most abhorrent – and I really exercise so much fear about this – is the possibility of the PDP going to the poll with anyone once indicted for corruption or sabotage as its candidate. I am aware that a certain businessman – once indicted for corruption and barred from running for public office because of his ignoble roles in the management of a now rested federal parastatal – has joined the race for the PDP governorship ticket.
It in an insult on public probity and national mood against the wrecking impacts corruption has had on our public life for such persons to even indicate interest in an office as important as the office of the governor of a state! Having once been barred from seeking public office, it is a show of disrespect for public morality for such characters to even nurse such an ambition.
I am not in anyway suggesting that saints exist anywhere. I think however that there should be minimum standard acceptable for anyone to seek public office. The PDP will do itself a world of good to scrutinise the backgrounds of all its aspirants especially in Kwara where their challenger’s major baggage is corruption and notoriety for enriching themselves with public fund.
Finally, the PDP must ensure it never fields candidates whose only reference point is politics. S/he is not known for any particular job outside politics. The way to change the face of our politics is to begin to field as candidates individuals who can add value to public service and humanity. A stitch in time saves nine.
*Alabidun writes from Ilorin, Kwara State.