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Government & Politics

Yinka Aluko: Kwara Is Locked Between Competency And Loyalty

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Alhaji Ahmed Yinka Aluko was the deputy governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State during the 2015 elections. In this interview, Aluko, who served as Special Adviser on Security matters in the state for 10 years, speaks on political intrigues in the state, and his refusal to follow the Senate President, Bukola Saraki to the APC. Excerpts:

You served as Special Adviser on Security for 10 years, what is your take on the state of affairs in the state now?
Well, I started as Special Assistant Inter-governmental affairs, where I was able to use the office to stabilise government, before I was elevated to the position of Adviser on Security.

I have no regrets throughout my stay in that office. This is because, unlike others, I was given a free hand to operate and we ensured that we reduced crime to the barest minimum, and our watchword was ‘there is no sacred cow’. And today, when they talk of record of service, I am an eloquent testimony of success.
You fell out with the political structure of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in the build-up to the 2015 elections, what were your reasons?
I never fell out with Saraki per say. However, if people see it that way, fine. But, you see, I am one of those people who believe a man should queue behind principle and not an individual. We didn’t quarrel in the real sense, but we sat down and had a discussion. Before God and man, all the reasons adduced by Bukola Saraki for leaving the PDP were personal – ‘Jonathan promised me this and that but never fulfilled them.’
I told him (Saraki) that I wanted to see among his grudges: non-dualisation of Ilorin/Omu-Aran roads, Ajase/Offa/Erinle and Ilorin/Bode-Saadu/Jebba etc which are all in bad shape. So, it (defection) shouldn’t be personalized. Governance is all about the people and not personal issues between Saraki and Jonathan.
So, I told myself that since he (Saraki) is leaving the PDP based on personal issues, and not collective grievances, I won’t follow him and the irony of it is that Saraki’s complaints against the Federal Government, led by Jonathan, are applicable in Kwara where he led. It is not about PDP or APC – it is about our people, and with the exception of sycophants, majority of the people agreed with me. I was invited and offered a position which I turned down instantly.
The struggle for me wasn’t about position; it was all about our people. Nothing was working in Kwara and we were looking for a way to make things work. We were locked between competency and loyalty, and the moment they feel you are not loyal, no matter your level of competency, you will not be allowed to do anything.
Those who are loyal lack the ideas and initiatives to better the lot of the people. My personal assistant does not need to wait till I direct him before acting on all issues; he should be someone that can act independent of the principal when need be.
What is your own definition of loyalty?
To me, loyalty is all about understanding and supporting the situation to the benefit of your master, the state and yourself. This implies that if you’re loyal to me, and I’m going wrong, you must prove your loyalty by telling me the truth and advising me to do the right thing. It is, however, a pity that these virtues are scarce in Kwara politics, as sycophants, blind and unintelligent followers failed to correct their principals while going wrong, all in the name of loyalty. Political leaders only want to be told who is abusing them and other mundane discuss, I will rather enjoin my followers to tell me the facts regardless of my personal feelings
Though the APC won in Kwara, but even the APC members are abusing their own government every day. And the reason why most APC members in Kwara State, are not on the same page with Tinubu and Buhari, is because the two leaders did not support Bukola’s bid to become the Senate president. Why must everything start and end with him? And because of Bukola’s insistence on becoming the Senate President, nobody from the structure is getting anything from the federal government. It shouldn’t be all about him, our people should be made ministers, ambassadors etc. He (Saraki) feels he is the only one that deserves position; he wants to determine who grows and to what level. The mentality of not allowing power to slip from his hand has made him to hold people with independent mind in contempt.‎ Nobody with an independent mind will agree hundred percent with the actions and inactions of an individual. Those that served on the same cabinet with me can attest to what I’m saying.‎ Personally I don’t have anything against Saraki. He, however, needs to convince me on why I must go the way he is going. When you ask him ‘why are you going this way’? He will only say ‘that is where I want to go’ and I cannot take that for an answer.
Kwara State was created in 1967 and it is disheartening we haven’t developed pass where we are, especially when you compare us with our contemporaries.
Do you regret supporting Goodluck Jonathan in the last general elections?
I don’t regret supporting Jonathan. It was not about an individual; rather, it was a support for our party -the PDP. I never signed up to be minister, senator, ambassador etc. My concern is I don’t want to be comfortable in the midst of poverty in the society.‎ If you have platform, and it enables you meet your basic responsibilities, you don’t need to worship anybody unless you want to live above your means.‎ Let them create jobs and opportunities; they should create an enabling environment for people to thrive fairly.
I don’t regret my actions and decisions because I have my reasons for doing same. I was trained to always give critical analysis on issues. And when someone gives me a superior argument, I will accept it.
What would you ascribe to the woeful performance of the PDP in Kwara State at the last elections?
The problem with the Kwara PDP started with the choice of the minister because, at that critical moment, we needed somebody who would impact positively on the fortunes of the party. And unfortunately, he (the minster then) could not.‎ Those that supported the minister for the appointment did it based on business and nothing more.

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