Twenty-three elders in Kwara State led by Dr. Hezekiah Oyedepo have endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC.
He told journalists in Ilorin on Sunday that the elders also resolved to vote for the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Alhaji Abdulrahman AdulRazaq.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this was contained in a press statement signed by the 23 elders, including Chief Cornelius Adebayo, Brig Gen Saliu Bello (retd), Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and Engr Simeon Daramola.
According to the elders, Kwara has benefited immensely from the administration of President Buhari and that the people were in agreement with the agenda to tackle corruption, conspiracy against the poor masses and to build a viable country.
“We hereby declare our support for the second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari because we believe he has done well within the socio-economic and political realities of the country and the glaring resistance to positive change by some reactionary elements.
“We distance ourselves and our people from the greed-driven diatribes and frustrations of a certain political dynasty in Kwara State against the president.
“In that light, we throw our weight behind the president’s plan to evolve a new political culture where nobody is seen to be above the law or is allowed to continue to trade with public funds as they recently exposed themselves to be doing,” Oyedepo said.
Oyedepo said they are backing AbdulRazaq of the APC for the governorship poll, adding that his campaign slogan. ‘O To Ge’ has captured the socio-political mood of the people who crave for a new dawn in the state.
“We agree with the candidate that the crises of governance, poverty and youth restiveness and frustrations in Kwara are directly linked to the irresponsible, corrupt and morally-challenged political leadership in the state which holds our people and their culture in utter contempt.
“We submit that this endorsement arose from practical analysis of the political space and its realities.
“We believe that AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq shares our concerns and value system as a people and he would run a government that would reflect the wishes of our people,” he added.
They dismissed as insulting, the claim by the state PDP and Senator Bukola Saraki that voting for the APC will lead to a control of Kwara government by some outside forces.
“We urge our people to discountenance the lousy claim by the unproductive and corrupt elements from the ruinous dynasty about some persons coming to take over Kwara State from Lagos or Abuja.
“We consider the claim very insulting and arrogant as it gives the impression that Kwara has been willed to the shameless characters making the claim.
“We state categorically that Kwara is not the property of anyone and any bonafide Kwaran, whatever their political platform or background, is qualified to aspire to any office in the state without being blackmailed that they represent any outside interest.
“We find it particularly insulting that the fellows making this claim are those whose origins and credentials are suspect.
“These are people, nay political contractors, without any credible roots in this state,” he said.
The elders, therefore, called for credible and transparent elections in Kwara and Nigeria as a whole.
“We are worried that the discredited dynasty is trying hard to intimidate the opposition through violence.
“The resort to violence came after they failed to plant their moles as the flag bearers of the opposition parties.
“We therefore call on the president and the security chiefs to put their feet down and ensure that our people are protected as they exercise their civic rights,” Oyedepo added.
Other signatories to the statement were: Chief Ayotunde Raji; Chief Philips O. Adekeye, Barrister Titus Ashaolu (SAN), Alh Aremu B. Yahaya; Alh Yinusa Gada; Alh Yusuf Habeeb and Rev. Jacob K. Abimbola.
Others were: Alhaji Oba Idiaro, Dr Salihu Ajia, Sen Idris Haliru, Engr Umar Shaaba, Amb Nuru Mohammed, Sen Mohammed Ahmed, Hadjia Zainab Ndalolo, Hon Issa Bio, Alhaji Busari Alade, Alhaji Salihu Idris and Alhaji Isiaka Jimoh.
Speaking at a meeting with the royal fathers in the Government House, Buhari promised not to abuse the constitution, noting that he would stop contesting after this coming election.
He said the 2019 election would be the fifth time he is contesting for Presidency.
Recall that Buhari ran for the office of the president under All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), in 2003 and 2007 and failed. He changed to Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), in 2011 and equally failed.
But in 2015 when he changed to APC, he won and took the mantle of leadership from Ex-president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
In a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the president charged traditional rulers to do more in curbing banditry and kidnapping in their communities, saying that he felt disappointed that people close to some of them were found to have a hand in such criminality.
His words, “We are determined to defend the nation and its people. We are disappointed with some of the things going on. You are responsible for the security of your neighborhood. Being close to your people, you know them. You are still relevant. I am sorry this has extended to some of your families.
“More security is not good news, but we must do something to secure our environment.”
The President commended the gallantry of the security agencies in battling kidnapping and banditry, saying “you know what we have achieved. You had one who styled himself as Buharin Daji, the Buhari of the forests, claiming to be in charge and not I at the centre. He is no more, and by my surviving him, you now know who is stronger.”
President Buhari said he was contesting this election as his fifth and the last, because as he noted, “a second term is what the constitution allows, and I will not abuse the constitution.”