Muktar Shagaya is a 32-year-old son of businesswoman and fashion enthusiast, Hajiya Bola Muinat Shagaya. The All Progressives Congress (APC) House of Representatives candidate for Asa/ Ilorin West Constituency, in this interview by YUSUF ABDULKADIR, talks about his experience in politics, his long-term goal and the participation of youths in politics.
What prompted you to join politics?
I believe that in order to progress we cannot shy away from change. To achieve the results we have never achieved before calls for us to do things differently. That being said, our solutions will most likely not look identical to the solutions of other countries as we have our own set of differences and peculiarities specific to Nigeria. I also believe in an inclusive style of governance that gives citizens avenues to contribute to the betterment of society in different capacities. A leadership style where every member of the community is engaged such that no one is left feeling insignificant.
What are the plans you have for your constituents, if elected, and what impacts have you made before now?
Our campaign mandate is made up of three tenets: Heritage, Development and Progress. These are the very ideals that have guided us thus far and will continue to guide the plans I have for my constituents. Kwara State has such a beautiful and rich culture that deserves to be maintained and celebrated. And additionally, the development and progress of my constituency will be aided through impactful legislative representation, socioeconomic support by empowering our youth and women; provision of educational facilities and materials; healthcare services support; innovation and technology and community development programme/interventions. As a board member for Salman Shagaya Foundation, I have been impacting lives through numerous initiatives prior to my involvement in politics.
What is your opinion about the Not Too Young to Run Act?
Well, firstly, I would like to appreciate President, Muhammadu Buhari for assenting to the bill. Its importance to our democracy cannot be overemphasised. It is definitely giving Nigerian youths more opportunities to participate in politics and governance.
How will you rate the performance of the governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq? Do you think he deserves a second term?
The popular song, ‘beri ise wa tabieri ise wa, e woo igboro wo…’ answers the first question. I believe His Excellency has delivered on rebuilding Kwara State. He rehabilitated 14 water works and built two water works. His landmark achievements and huge investment in education such as KwaraLEARN; UBEC Grants; first of its kind teachers recruitment and implementation of minimum wage. Some major projects he has executed include Osi-Obbo-Aiyegunle road; Ilesha Gwanara Road; Adeta-AlHikmah road; Orisa bridge; Gen. Tunde Idiagbon bridge; Visual Arts Centre; Innovation Hub; International Conference Centre; Intensive Care Unit; Eye Centre; Dental Care Unit; Special Ward GHI; Eight-Wing Squash Court; Rehabilitation of Olympic Size Swimming Pool; Gbugbu International Market; Osi Campus of Kwasu and Ilesha Baruba Campus of Kwasu. I believe he deserves a second term. Kwarans are saying ‘Ma se lo’.
It is public opinion that your brother, Sheriff Shagaya and your mother’s influence in politics and business respectively led to your interest and participation in politics. How true is that?
I am very fortunate to have the support of my family in my decision to run for office but the fact remains that when all is said and done, each one of us must be motivated by something more than our own interests and desires to lead a meaningful and purposeful life. I have always been interested and passionate about bringing all the knowledge and experience I have been afforded to my country to implement real change in the lives of real people. During my involvement with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), I had firsthand experience of the rough realities of numerous communities across 27 states. In that role I was motivated to bring about as much difference as I could, and now I believe I would like to be at the helm of affairs in the decision-making process to enable me to do even more of that. It is with a great sense of humility, patriotism, and dedication I would be honored to represent the good people of Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency under our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
You emerged as the candidate of APC for the House of Representatives to represent Ilorin West/Asa constituency at the age of 32. How do you feel about that and what are your strategies?
I am thankful to Almighty Allah. I am also thankful to everyone that played a role in this coming to fruition; to our great party APC, to our leader, the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, to the party leadership and all the members. Our strategies are to uphold what my values are as a leader and what our party stands for— progress. It is about being a voice for my constituents at the national level and pushing for a system that creates opportunities for all. At the crux of it all remains a people centric approach to problem solving.
What are your thoughts on the current state of politics/legislation in Nigeria?
We are developing daily as a nation. We have recorded landmark achievements on infrastructure, health, entertainment, agriculture, and many other areas. While there is undoubtedly in room for improvement, there is hope in knowing that the challenges we face are indeed conquerable.
What other activities do you engage in apart from politics?
Aside from politics, I am involved in the renewable energy sector and have a solar company. I am also a community development practitioner.
What examples or legacies are you setting for your constituents and Kwara youths in general?
My hope, God willing, is to inspire youths like myself to dare to hold themselves accountable to high standards. To strive to be responsible citizens and get involved however they can and in whatever capacity they can to instill change within and beyond their direct spheres of influence. I truly hope that I, myself, am a worthy ambassador for the youth in Kwara state and around the nation. I will try my very best to ensure I also represent the interests of the youth demographic too.
Would you advise youths to participate in politics full time or pursue their career while they participate by the side?
Politics is a career in itself. Whatever you do to make a difference is a worthy career so long as your intentions are good. My advice to youths would be to always remain dynamic. Politics can be extremely unpredictable as nothing is ever guaranteed. What is most important is harnessing transferable skills in whatever role you hold so that whatever comes next, you are in a better position to perform optimally.
What is your advice for the people of Kwara State as the 2023 general election draws near?
My advice would be for the great people to stay informed and stay encouraged knowing that each and every one of you have the power to make a true difference. So please collect your voter’s cards and go out and cast your votes for the All Progressives Congress Candidates (APC).
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