by Seun Awogbenle
In my response to H.E Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed, at the Summit on Friday, I told him that the summit, is the loudest and clearest referendum from the youth of Kwara, on the choice we would make in 2023, and that the uncommon passion, zeal, and energy that I saw at the event on the day, confirms that truly, while our present pain as a state and nation may endure for this long night, joy is on the way!
I recall that when we first mooted the idea of the Summit, the first question I was asked was if we could fill the hall, and I answered in the affirmative. I was sure from the get-go, I knew that Kwarans and indeed Nigerians have long rejected the purveyors of false hope, who have nothing to show after many years, other than amateurish, wobbling, and lopsided programmes. They have become a mere caricature and assembly of incompetent rookies, who are desperately trying to pull a wool over the eyes of our people, but without any doubt, like pop star Naeto C, once refrained “things are not the same as before”.
So, we got to work, our reference was simple, how do we get young people to believe again, without inducement or cajoling as those I referenced earlier would always do? We reeled out our messages, unveiled our speakers, and sustained our engagement till the morning of the event.
The first thing I noticed on the morning of the Summit, was the uncommon passion to get into the hall. At some point, I had to ask if we were offering some redemption inside that hall, which I was not aware. The crowd was 2 times the capacity of the hall, and even those on the overflow, stayed through the event without rancour or fight, I no longer need to be told that the people had chosen BIG IDEAS, over transactional politics, and pretentious philanthropy.
Throughout the planning period, I was in Lagos, I did not have to visit Kwara for a moment until the week of the event, my job was made easy, because of the failure of the government of the day and I was sure our people desperately seek a way out of the bottom, they have been condemned.
At the time the Summit was going on, the ruling party was almost lavishing N100M at a state banquet down the road, I understand that their lackeys were even inducing some of our participants to come and have a taste of the N100M porridge. But just like in Osun, our people refused, they choose to be an OMOLUABI over an Eyankeyan or as Governor Kayode Fayemi said in his remark at the summit, an Oniwakuwa. Please compare the video and pictures from both events for context.
At the gathering of the OMOLUABIs, where there was “no Shishi”, the hall was filled to its maximum capacity, even those on the overflow almost surpassed the numbers in the hall, while at the gathering of the “Eyankeyans”, where an N100M banquet was going on, the event was scantily attended by party faithful and patrons of the government. The atmosphere was drab and dull compared to the energetic and vibrant mood at the gathering of The OMOLUABIs.
I was no longer in doubt, the people have chosen light over the evil days of the ruling government of contract inflation, overpriced projects, diversions, grand corruption, fraud and knee-jerk response at all levels. Their bunch is led by a very uncharismatic, reticent and shy leader, trying to foist his type on the people of Kwara.
From Pakata, to Gambari to Ojagboro, The Omoluabi Summit has remained a reference by our people, they have chosen to hitch a ride on this rescue mission, from the claws of a government that has mistaken governance for “Elementary Science”!
As we go into 2023, we must remember that 2023 offers us an opportunity to press the reset button. The choice before us is between peace over insecurity, safety over fear, competence over failed promises, performance over excuses, and EXPERIENCE over EXPERIMENT.
Once again, I thank you all for your participation, May God bless your efforts and keep you all in your commitment to a better and more prosperous Nigeria, anchored on BIG IDEAS.
Seun Awogbenle is the Chairman of the Planning Committee for The Omoluabi Summit.