Immediate past national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has declared his intention to contest 2019 governorship position in Kwara state under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Abdullahi, who made his governorship intention known in a carnival-like atmosphere in Ilorin on Wednesday, said that his administration would be pro- youth.
He said that part of his goals as governor would be to empower youth in the state for growth, competitiveness and economic transformation.
The governorship aspirant, who was a commissioner for Education in Kwara state between 2007 and 2011, said that his government would provide quality education, skills development and support lifelong learning.
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Abdullahi, who dismissed arguments by opponents of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki’s leadership style, said that the leadership had rather empowered young people from the poor background like himself who ordinarily would not have had a shot at public office in their lifetime.
He also promised to work on establishing a credible marketing platform for farmers to ease the burden of selling off their produce under pressure.
“This is a journey that started in 2003 when I joined the state government. In all those years one thing that has become very clear is that Kwara state’s biggest asset is our youths. And so we need to ensure that our young ones don’t constitute the problem for us in the state because right now, 54 per cent of Kwarans are below the age of 0-19 years.
“We have to plan for them and that is my main agenda. I will focus mainly on youth development because if we don’t solve the problem of the youths, they will one day come and solve us, so to speak. Because they are in the majority, if we don’t solve their problem, one day they will wake up and descend on us.
“I interact with them regularly and I know what they want; these young people want decent education, they want to develop their skill, they want to have good jobs, to become useful citizens and not beggars. And unless we make their issue a priority this state won’t survive.
We may be spending money building roads and bridges but if we neglect them we are deceiving ourselves. I, therefore, understand that our greatest focus must be on education and health”, he said.
On criticism of the Saraki political structure, Abdullahi recalled that but for Saraki’s involvement in his life, it would have been difficult for people like himself to come to limelight.
He, therefore, dismissed the calls by the opposition for a free Kwara as empty rhetoric given that Saraki has already given his followers freedom they need to become significant in their lifetime.