2019 elections not perfect but credible —Suleiman
Honourable Mohammed Ba’aziki Suleiman is a member of the Kwara State House of Assembly where he represents Adena/Bani/Gwaria/Gbanabe constituency. In this interview with GBENGA OLUMIDE, he speaks on his experience in party politics among other issues.
How would you rate the 2019 general election?
The 2019 general election may not be perfect but it was credible with a better umpire mechanism than the previous elections held in the country. Yes, my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), did not win in the election in Kwara State, but the reasons for our failure are quite obvious. I want to sincerely admonishe the party leaders to stay and remain focused in the party. We must be focused, savvy and disciplined to convince the electorate that we are not band wagon of hungry politicians who are thirsty of power.
There has been this rage over the amended Kwara State Local Government (Amendment) Law 2006. As a thorough grass root politician, what is your take on the operations of the third tier of government?
Without any iota of doubts, local government administration in the 774 councils across the country must be autonomous, financially and administratively. The councils are the closest to the people at the grassroots level. Tax consultants have no business in local government administration at all. I am convinced that if the next administration in the state considers it expedient to grant full autonomy to local government administration, the story of the state would change for better and the lost glories of the state would be restored and rural dwellers would be better for it.
You lost in your bid to return to the state House of Assembly. What is your next line of action?
Yes I lost the election but the loss is not my final destination in my political careers. Life continues and I will be more engaged in large scale farming, business, buying and selling and, at the same time, be more and more active in local politics.
It is quite a fortunate coincidence that my successor happens to come from the same place with me. Our relationship is very cordial. We speak every day; he asked for my support and advice regularly and I freely assist him in every way so possible.
You have been in politics for some time, what has been your contribution to the development of your constituency?
I have being in active politics for about two decades and to the glory of God, I have been a majority leader in the legislative arm of Kaiama Local Government Area of Kwara State where I represented Gwaria Ward. I have been a youth empowerment coordinator of my local government area. I held the position of special assistant on electoral matters and I am a member of the eighth Kwara State House of Assembly. To the glory of God, I am a key stakeholder in the development of Kaiama Local Government Area.
Do you have any regret that you were not re-elected?
Yes, I have some regrets as I have two bills that touch my heart so dearly. One of them is a bill for the establishment of the Kwara State College of Agriculture to be sited in Kaiama. The other one seeks for provision potable water in rural areas in the state to avert incessant communal clashes between Fulani cattle rearers and farmers over grazing in rural areas.
Do you feel let down that you did not win the election?
Not at all. Rather, I want to use this medium to thank all my people back home who stood by me this last four years. They believed in my ideologies/programmes/projects. I also want to advise that they should be more patient and give unparallel support to my successor and the incoming government in the state. The youths must be productive, resilience, focused and aspire to be the best in their various vocations. I want to assure all our party men and women, party faithful, stakeholders, elders and our village heads that I remain accessible with my door widely opened for assistance, discussions and dialogues. As a people with common destiny, we should continue to co-exist peacefully and speak with one voice at all times. Our traditional institutions and elders must be respected.