Lukman Olayiwola Mustapha is a banker and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State. He is one of governorship aspirants of the PDP in the state. In this interview with select journalists, including Hammed Shittu, he speaks about his ambition, his chances, insecurity, among others
Why are you in politics despite being well established in business?
I’m very passionate about Kwara State and I have no other town, no other place that I can call my home than Kwara State. Growing up, my first experience outside Ilorin was when I went to the university. So, the zeal to make the community and state better has been there for decades. I must confess to you that in my own little way and within the capacity, I have been contributing to the educational development of the state, especially in providing support for indigent students. Apart from that, I’ve also been caring about the health of the people of the state and also I’ve been contributing to the basic things that we take for granted. That’s why we think that we should go into politics so that we will be able to leverage on our past record of achievement in our private capacity and to see how we can broaden the scope and how we can influence positive development and improvement in the lives of our people.
With due respect, I believe that PDP is a platform which we can use to showcase our seriousness in getting this done, and as I’ve said earlier, we want to be better than the current system and to cause a change. Also, the direct hegemony to the government in power is PDP and that’s why we are in it. We have been in PDP for a while, contributing our own quota to sustaining the party and making it a vibrant opposition party in the state. As I’ve said earlier, every democracy must have an opposition. It is the opposition that will keep the government of the day in check and that is one of the cardinal pillars of every democracy and we believe to a large extent that PDP has been able to do this and it is our hope and desire to be in government and be in power in 2019.
What will be your agenda when you eventually become the governor of Kwara State?
Kwara State was created in 1967 on the same day with the likes of Lagos, Kano, Sokoto and some other states and since then, the state has witnessed growth in terms of population, physical structure and all of that. But in basic economics, growth is different from development. A nation can witness growth without development but a nation that is developing must ordinarily grow. We are still lagging behind on a number of issues and not under the illusion that we have not made any progress at all. We want to come up with a charter between us and the state; we want the state to judge us according to our charter. We have five high priority areas, which are education, food and water, infrastructure and lastly, security. And that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t pay attention to other areas. We also know that youth engagement is a major issue in Kwara State and also in the country as a whole. We are looking at how we are going to make the youths interested in becoming entrepreneurs in the areas of agriculture, provision of water, health facilities and so on and so forth. We want our people to be responsible; we want to have people of the state that are law abiding citizens and, most importantly, we want to cause a social orientation in our people, to make them see our value and our ethics and also if we are able to increase our economic base and provide institutional framework for people to be able to harness.
How do you handle remarks that you are a tool in the hands of Bukola Saraki?
Let me clarify something, there is no way you wouldn’t be tempted, one way or another. My party people know how I’ve been supportive in one way or another; they know how I feel about the continuous impoverished condition of the people in the state and how I feel about the situation in the state. I believe it is part of all those political thoughts that I’m being sent by someone. But for me, it’s because they couldn’t get anything else to say about me, that’s why they started picking up talks because I worked with Saraki at Societe Generale Bank 30 years ago. Recently, I heard that I was dismissed from a bank, all these just to bring down my name. I’m not bothered, I’m ready, I’m prepared for this. One thing I know is that I’m straight, and I’m still in the banking industry.
What is the situation in the Mustapha’s family in Ilorin over your ambition and that of your brother’s, Moshood Mustapha?
Let me start by saying that I thank God for the kind of family I have. My father is still alive and he’s a great man and a respectable man in the society, and when he talks people listen. Politics to him is something he has been doing for a very long time, and about two weeks ago, he turned 88, so he is an old man. Also about my brother, we love each other and you all know him very well and there is no denying the fact that we are in two different political doctrines and this doesn’t in any way affect our relationship as brothers but we have different political ideologies. We belong to different political camps and for me, politics is not about the Mustapha family and my relationship with my brother, it’s about the impact we make in the community that we are serving. It is a precedent in the family, my father and my grandfather belong to different political parties and also my father and his own brothers, so this shouldn’t cause any havoc in the family. I have an excellent relationship with my father.