The 2019 general election witnessed the influx of several young people into the political space, especially at the presidential level. We all remember the likes of Omoyele Sowore, Mathias Baba Tsado, Fela Durotoye and host of others, who made the social media the centre piece of their presidential campaign.
However, while the above mentioned individuals tried unsuccessfully to emerge in their electioneering experiment, there are others who started their ambition on social media and succeeded in winning their election. One of such individuals is Pharmacist Sadiq Umar, a distinguish Senator representing Kwara North Senatorial District.
In a yet-to-be-published book titled: “How I became a Senator in 30 days,” Senator Sadiq stated: “Several persons had at one time or the other encouraged me to seek elective office, but the pressure to run in 2019 was particularly intense and social media further amplified the voice, starting from when I was added to a WhatsApp group.”
To say it differently, Senator Sadiq Umar started his ambition on a WhatsApp group and he eventually landed at the Senate. The details of this process are contained in his upcoming book.
I was privileged to be given this unpublished book few weeks ago when I met Umar to discuss and answer questions on our organisation’s novel project, the Legislative Watch, which is seeking to advance legislative accountability in Nigeria. Legislative Watch is designed as a scientific and professional assessment programme for the annual rating of legislative performances in a fair, balanced and apolitical manner, for the purpose of strengthening the legislative arm of government and encouraging legislators to compete for excellence.
After our engagement on Legislative Watch, which was the main reason for the meeting, Senator Umar gifted me a book he just wrote, titled: “How I became a Senator in 30 days.”
This book is very special to me because the copy given to me was the last copy available on his desk and when I finally settled to read the book after few hours of collecting it, I found the content so simple and rich, more like a guide to all aspiring politicians, particularly youths and technocrats, seeking to add value to our political experience.
This is apart from the aspect of the book that provided answers to all burning political and party issues such as election financing and money in politics, building structures and navigating internal politics within political parties, connecting the grassroots and aligning with youth sentiment, handling politicians and many more.
In the book, Umar explained how his ambition to become a Senator started on a WhatsApp group and like a scene in Nollywood movie, it gradually moved from social media to reality within a space of 30 days.
The book is really a practical guide on political engagement in Nigeria and it is written by the most qualified person to do so, a professional of global standing and a distinguish Senator of the Federation Republic of Nigeria.
I have known and built a friendly relationship with Umar before he won the Senate seat during Kwara’s Otoge political revolution that swept the former ruling dynasty out of the state, and I follow his engagement at the Senate.
However, because of the enormous task before him at the Senate, especially as the chairman of an important and active committee (Chairman of Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Vice Chairman of Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases), I wasn’t expecting the Senator to have time to write a book such as this in less than one year in office.
But Umar isn’t just a Senator. He is many things rolled into one and his passion and dedication to the upliftment of Nigeria is second to none. Having gone through the book, which I find inspirational and timely, I must say that writing this book is one of the most important decision made by the Senator and I encourage many politicians as well as aspiring politicians to read the book when it is out. There’s a lot to learn from it.
As we already know, politics is the only realistic route to good governance in democratic settings. Unfortunately, not many in this part of the world have a coherent understanding of the relationship between politics and governance. Although, civil advocacy and political activism may play complementary roles to government, but ultimately the quality of governance in a given state will be determined by the quality of its politics.
This is why the Kwara Must Change movement has been at the forefront of encouraging all those who have something to offer to step forward into the political system and with this book: How I became a Senator in 30 days, aspiring politicians will find it more easy to navigate the political terrain without abandoning their principles.
. Hamzat is the Convener of Kwara Must Change.