Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Ahead of the 2019 General Elections, the Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr Ali Ahmad, has broken his silence over his gubernatorial ambition, saying he was open to join the race.
Ahmad however said he would throw his hat in the ring only if the people, and what he referred to as “authorities”, consider the state apex seat as his next assignment.
In an interview with journalists in Ilorin yesterday, the Speaker stated that those who are either older and younger than him have become governors and he would not shy away if given the opportunity.
Ahmad, a one-time State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, was elected a member of the House Representatives representing Ilorin East and South Federal Constituency between 2011 and 2015, where he served as Chairman, House Committee on Justice.
The Speaker is currently representing Ilorin South Constituency in the State Assembly on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He explained that he was willing to serve in any public office that would enable him deliver on his mandate.
“I will be interested in not only becoming Governor, I want to be President of the country, I want to be Secretary General of UN (United Nations). I want to be everything that I can, that I know I will be able to deliver. I have people older and younger than me becoming Governors in Nigeria,” the Speaker said.
He added that: “If Kwara people and the authorities believe that is the next assignment, we are open to it.”
Speaking on the autonomy of the legislature, the Speaker said the issue had enjoyed the support of over 24 State Houses of Assembly with assurances that it would receive presidential assent after passage.
“We are very happy this time. We have more 24 State Houses of Assembly. We had only two or three States voting against. And I’m sure those States are regretting now. We are sure Mr President would assent to that bill. We have assurances from members the Federal Executive and members of the kitchen cabinet that Mr President would sign it,” he said.
He noted that the independence of the legislative arm would also translate into an effective way of curbing corruption in public offices, adding that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would be relieved of its workload.
The Speaker pointed that the war on corruption has not been successfully won because of institutional problems.
“We need to strengthen institutions. Once you strengthen the National Assembly, you strengthen the office of the Auditor General, EFCC would just be dealing with some issues. EFCC cannot even tackle what goes on in the Federal. EFCC is not going after Federal Civil Servants who get involved in over 60 percent of corruption nationally. EFCC is not going to States where Governors are Governor-Generals,” he argued.
“So, when State Assemblies become independent, when Federal and State Auditors-General become independent and look at State Governors at a distance and do their report, they wouldn’t give it to him. Their report would go to an independent House of Assembly. It is hosanna for Nigeria,” Ahmad added.