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Lukman Olayiwola Akanbi Sobi Mustapha, A Man Decades Ahead Of Time By Abdulrasheed Akogun

It's noteworthy to start by saying that I am proud of the decision I took to completely throw myself into the political arena, thereby putting my budding investigative journalism career at abeyance and almost on a hold, in the struggle for a better society under the confines of the Rebirth movement with  Mallam Lukman Olayiwola Akanbi Sobi Mustapha as the torchbearer.

It was an invaluable experience that'll be cherished for the rest of my life, as I became exposed first hand to political intrigues, selfish interest and personality fight amongst the inner caucus, also to primordial sentiments overriding group decisions and most bemoaning the 'rumour, character assassination and mudslinging committee' who were the most active workers  in all political camp, I feel these intrigues and intricacies are best left imagined.

I almost abruptly and unceremoniously alighted from the Rebirth train when the velocity was high and the speed reaches above 300Kilometers per seconds. Your reassurance and believe in me softened my heart and I was morally challenged and emboldened never to disappoint your trust and that of the other able colleagues.

Lukman Olayiwola Sobi Akanbi Mustapha is a truly detribalised Kwaran who careless about your religion, ethnicity and region. All that mattered to him was your competence and personal integrity, which are subject to constant review and consistency.

If it was in my reach to fetch the gubernatorial ticket for *Mallam Lukman Olayiwola Akanbi Sobi Mustapha* , even if it meant me paying the supreme price, I would have damned the consequences, knowing fully well, he would have changed the sad narratives and despicable reality of our dearly beloved Kwara State.

The Rebirth team which was populated almost 80%, by young but able and capable greenhorns with bottomless passion, zeal and dedication to the course of snatching away Kwara from the gluttonous and violent hegemony that has held it hostage for decades, was a conglomeration and market of intellectuals with diverse feasible, brilliant ideas with no barrier not even  against LOM the Rebirth Captain, it was often the superior argument that always carried the day even if it came from the gateman. Such was how we were able to build a revolutionary movement called Rebirth, a new and uncommon brand of politics that became the beautiful bride today. This all encompassing virtue was one of the priceless leadership traits I learnt from Mallam Lukman. I hope every other politicians imbibe the spirit too for excellent leadership.

With the glaring and obvious political inexperience nonetheless, we  achieved several feats, which will go down in history and be told to generations yet unborn. It was however obvious that the political class and indeed the numerous hangers-on weren't ready for the kind of politics we preached, as all that matters to them was the immediate return and to put it more succinctly *Naira*. Yes, it's most disheartening that Naira won against sincerity, purity and good intentions. Our people danced the inducing song of betrayal, made money their Lord yet again. Soon, reality will dawn.

LOM, the personality we love to call the Rebirth Captain is a man ahead of his time, he's a compassionate co-traveler, who was always ready to sacrifice his personal convenience and comfort for the interest of his team and the general good.

I will forever cherish and marvel at your humility, doggedness, high spirit, compassion, selfless and gentle mien even while under intense pressure and above all your unmatched leadership by example qualities.

The campaigns further exposed me to the sad  realities of our dearly beloved State which must make any sane mind enraged and befuddled on how a system could have systematically subjected its people to the inhumane situation we've found ourselves. It is nothing but the highest level of callousness, man's inhumanity to man and above all a crime against humanity and the Supreme Being.

The Rebirth movement gave me the opportunity to test my 'sideline' analysis and postulations of how politics should be played, conduct of politicians especially the reigning supreme of civility in all circumstances and above all the truism that life is all about winning some and losing some.

In this case, we proved the doubting Thomases wrong, through our conduct, engagement and activities. We were able to achieve the hitherto unthinkable, as within a couple of months the Rebirth ideology was permanently ingrained in the consciousness of all lovers of new Kwara, without downplaying the effect it has and will continue to have on the rudderless establishment we all long to change her ways and at best send packing.

If I say I am disappointed in majority of the revered opposition figures, who I later came to the sad realisation that they are the complete opposite of what they preach, then I'll be putting it mildly.

The so-called leaders of the opposition are nothing but mere machineries who are in the liberation struggle out of envy and hatred for the present occupiers and not necessarily in alliance with the popular wish of the average Kwarans seeking a better deal.

I have the privilege to witness at first hand how lofty dreams and pro-masses desire and  actions were killed on the basis of selfish and egoistic reasoning. Yet, these same set of camouflaged democrats will want us to always see them as the messiah and the best things to ever happen to Kwara liberation struggle. I say without fear of equivocation that they are nothing but masquerades dancing and entertaining Muslim adherents on Sallah day, you'll agree with me it is a misnomer.

While the desperation for political office which has been one of the major bane of Kwara State politics and politicking was elevated to statecraft in the party (APC), it was nonetheless a curious pointer to the reality we all badly want to wish away without walking the talk.

Going through your acceptance speech even after highlighting the glaring, avoidable and artificial irregularities that trailed the gubernatorial primary exercise, it further reemphasized my believe that you're a God sent and a man who is decades ahead of time.

You said and I quote "I stand here deeply humbled as a passionate Kwaran, having reviewed the journey so far, with the love and acceptance I got from across the length and breadth of the State, I am reinvigorated and left with no regret of the well thought out decision we took to throw our hat into the gubernatorial contest with a deep conviction that we have the technical know-how, contact and understanding of the plethora of artificial challenges militating against the realization of a Kwara we all can be proud of.

I was never under the illusion that the journey would be a smooth ride, it was envisaged that with the Nigerian mode of politics and politicking, the path will be laced with mudslinging, character assassination amongst others, yet we closed our eyes to these challenges, based on the truism that nothing good comes easy and nothing is too big to sacrifice towards rescuing the State from the violent and forceful grip of the heartless political hegemony that have intentionally and systematically impoverished majority of Kwarans.

We toured the entire State, journeying through the length and breadth of the State, coming in contact with dejection, abject poverty and neglect, dilapidated, decayed and at some places non-existent infrastructure and completely absent government presence. The Rebirth vision was a consequence of this miserable reality facing the good people of Kwara State.

I stand here today in the full glare of the world to affirm that the exercise was laced with sharp practices, lack of organization, faulty and embarrassing process thereby depriving us of victory as we were clearly the most popular aspirant with wide acceptance, especially on the street. This has deprived us of implementing our well researched blueprint, which would have turned Kwara around for good across all sectors.

Our vision of 5 fingers of Rebirth, woven around provision of Water, Economic Growth & prosperity, rejuvenation of our Physical Infrastructure, provision of efficient, affordable and accessible Health services and Education & Youth Engagement has unfortunately been met with a stumbling block of unbefitting electoral process and prioritization of immediate gains that wouldn’t last us a day over years of benevolent governance for the people which is our ultimate goal.

However, regardless of the fact that we were hedged out of the gubernatorial race by irregularities and electoral malpractices, we can never be hedged out of the struggle to achieve a Kwara that works for all. We appreciate the fact that what binds us together, which is birthing a truly prosperous Kwara for the benefit of all is far greater than what may break us apart. We respect the supremacy of our party and accept the outcome of the primaries in good faith.

We understand that in every contest, there will always be a winner and vanquish. In this case however, we are all winners as we are poised and remain committed to winning Kwara state for Kwarans. I appeal to all my compatriots in this struggle to accept the outcome in good faith and let us rededicate ourselves by standing firm for the party and the ultimate goal of emancipating the people of the State from the current hegemony that has held our State on the jugular for decades.

I use this opportunity to promise, Kwarans that I will remain dedicated to the course we have preached and both in my private and public life, fight for the betterment of the impoverish Kwarans. I will remain a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and contribute my quota towards ensuring our great party emerges victorious across boards.

I enjoin you all to continue to live and dine with the Rebirth ideology as ours was never hedged on our getting the ticket, rather it was evangelized as an ideology which is expected to outlive us all.

"While It is a fact that the exercise was fraught with several avoidable and artificial irregularities, I must admit the large turnout was encouraging and a pointer to the renewed political awareness of Kwarans. It is a clear reassurance that never again will the political class take us for a ride''. This quotes got me extremely emotional and I wept for the lost opportunities.

I pray Kwara and Kwarans wouldn't have to live to perpetually rue the lost golden opportunity of having a man of proven integrity, competence and compassion at the helms of affairs in the State of Harmony.

I must admit I wasn't all perfect in my decision making, I had my low and high points, but I am excited I am opening another phase towards the fulfilment of my divinely ordained mandate to humanity.

I would forever be grateful for the trust you reposed in me and my team against all odds, we were practically in the thick of everything, we manned the kitchen and cooked several sumptuous delicacies and at few times served inedible meals.

I however use this opportunity to announce reverting to my first love, investigative journalism, with more vigour and energy like never seen before in the annals of  Kwara journalism. The Fresh Insight brand is undergoing a complete rebranding and repackaging that'll unceasingly as it is known for wet the information appetite of the populace while maintaining its mandate of putting powers that be on their toes. This, I make bold to say and place on the alter of posterity for better judgement.

 Abdulrasheed Akogun was the Head of Media Lukman Olayiwola Mustapha Gubernatorial Campaign, he writes from ilorin.

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