A phenomenon in Kwara politics

IN the literary context, hope is defined as “being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” In the ages past, notable men of history like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Abraham Lincoln and Obafemi Awolowo were known to have imbued men with hope in the face of staggering hopelessness. This they did through many of their platforms: Activism, free education programmes, pulpit, writing and by giving their voices against the oppression of the voiceless and helpless which saw to the meaningful abrogation of racial and color discrimination in our society. Today, all men are equal and have become global citizens owing tothe effort of those who sacrificed their all to imbue men with hope.

Back home in Kwara State, the Turaki of llorin, Saliu Mustapha, epitomises hope in all that he does. Going by his unsullied antecedents and records, this eminent man of character and integrity demonstrates hope. His Saliu Mustapha Foundation is a veritable platform emblematizing hope and succour, as thousands had been uplifted from the dungeon of hopelessness. Through his Saliu Mustapha Foundation, countless number of youth have been rehabilitated and empowered; orientated and discouraged from social vices, sent to school, given bursary and scholarships; widows supported, relief materials provided, and many more.

In Kwara State, Mustapha is a household name as a result of his uncommon and unusual philanthropic gestures aimed at freeing the masses from the clutches of poverty and endemic hopelessness. Moved by his uncommon magnanimity geared towards the emancipation of the have-nots, the Emir of llorin, Alhaji Sulu Gambari, in May this year, conferred on him the title of Turaki of llorin, a recognition that goes beyond sentiment and politics. As part of his own way of giving back to the society, the Saliu Mustapha Foundation in May this year donated 17 ultramodern boreholes to be sited in each of the 17 political wards in Asa Local Government Area of the state under the holistic supervision of the Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority. As a student activist, he took more than passing interest in politics, and this culminated in him having his political tutelary under Chief Alex Aniello, Olu Falae, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, and President Muhammadu Buhari. Actively, Saliu Mustapha set out politically in the early 2000s.

Between 2001 and 2002, he was the National Publicity Secretary of the Progressive Liberation Party (PLP). In 2003, he joined men of like minds to register Progressive Action Congress (PAC) where he again served as the National Publicity Secretary; and later joined All Peoples Party (APP) which later morphed into the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and later fused into the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). In the defunct CPC, Mustapha served as the Deputy National Chairman. In 2013, he was part of progressive minded individuals that joined forces together to change the ugly political narratives of Nigeria by birthing All Progressives Congress (APC).

In 2018, Mustapha showed interest in rewriting the not-too appealing administrative fiasco of Kwara State, but some cabal went on federal radio to announce his withdrawal from the governorship race, a withdrawal that never originated from him or his camp. Upon this act of political shenanigans, his followers felt dispirited thinking that he was going to dump the ship of APC, but as a loyal party man, he stayed put. Fast-forward to 2022, he again showed interest in manning the APC goalpost as the National Party Chairman, a position which he is eminently qualified for, but some power blocs  prevailed on him to yield to the interest of the president, which he obliged without being dissident.

As a way of rewarding in him for his loyalty, he contested to represent Kwara Central at the Red Chamber, and he won the primaries defeating an incumbent Senator. Today, in Kwara, Mustapha through his many philanthropic platforms has demonstrated capacity, competence and reliability. As he hopes to represent the good people of Kwara Central in the Senate, if he wins, many more individuals will continue to glow in renewed hope.

  • Giwa, a media and legal consultant, writes in from UK



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