Nseobong Okon-Ekong interacts with Oluwaloseyi Babaeko, a candidate for the Kogi State House of Assembly on the platform of the Unity Party of Nigeria, who believes in doing things differently
Give us a good, but brief background of your sojourn in politics
My name is Comrade Oluwaloseyi Solomon Babaeko, I am an Indigene of Kabba in Kogi State. My political background dates back to the once-upon-a-time vibrant and visionary Kabba Students Union, followed by my active role in the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) students union, where I contested for the position of the president.
As the best students union president OAU never had, my department appointed me as the caretaker chairman of the National Association of Local Government Students (NASLOGOS)
I was later elected as the General Sectary of the Nigerian Students Society (NSS), University of Leeds U.K where I had my Master’s degree in Conflict, Development and Security from University of Leeds U.K.
There is a generation of Kogi people and indeed Nigerians who do not know of the sterling heritage of the founder of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and the exploits he did with the party, how can you bring them on the same page?
It is true that most people in my generation and the generation after are not too familiar with the sterling performance and sequence of other achievements of the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo, such as the first TV station in Nigeria (Africa), the free education policy, the building of Cocoa House in Ibadan and the building of Demonstration Primary School in Kabba and many more are all eloquent testimonies of the visionary leadership qualities of Chief Awolowo, first under Action Group (AG) and in the Second Republic, under the Unity Party Of Nigeria (UPN). However, Kabba/Bunu Constituency being a UPN stronghold during the Second Republic, made it easier for the party to penetrate. We have made our campaign issue-driven, people-oriented and development focused, coupled with the fact that I am the youngest candidate, who is also the most qualified not only because I am politically sagacious but because I’m also economically ingenious and socially dexterous. These qualities make me stand a better chance of winning the forth coming election into the Kogi State House of Assembly.
Can you talk about the visibility of the UPN in Kogi and what can done to improve on it?
The visions of UPN in Kogi State is not only visible to blind, it is also audible to the deaf that the UPN is the changing political calculus. The narrative has changed from party affiliation to personality. We have been consulting widely to improve and expand on our party members across the 21 local government areas in Kogi State. Above all, the fact that the Unity Party Of Nigeria has egalitarianism as its watchword with achievable manifesto built on the welfare and well-being of the people makes it attractive to the good people of Kabba/Bunu constituency, Kogi State in particular and Nigeria at large.
What are you doing to change the perception that the political scene of Kogi is largely dominated by the APC and the PDP?
The pain, misery and agony brought upon my people by the two monstrous and cancerous APC and the PDP have made them to lose their dominance and popularity.
The fact that we are doing things differently is key. For example I intend to sponsor a bill to criminalise the non-payment of salaries, pensions and students bursary. I will also sponsor a bill for disability allowance and the bill for a compulsory post-secondary school apprenticeship. These are the driving force behind my passion to serve my people better. Our people are now aware and conscious of the fact that we cannot continue to do the same thing, same way and expect a different result. They have now agreed to try a New Wine in a New Bottle.
Who is the rallying point for the UPN in Kogi?
The rallying point for the UPN in Kogi State are too numerous to mention. But we will mention a few, The UPN once produced a senator in Kogi west senatorial district, the Senator is with us body, soul and spirit. We have a former commissioner as the state Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Itodo and a business tycoon and philanthropist, Mr. Samuel Oshadare who has travelled far and wide as the local government chairman. The support of family, friends and associates all over the world are quite commendable and duly appreciated.