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Our Campaign Not Making Case for or against Saraki Dynasty, Says Kwara-America Based Senatorial Aspirant 


Engineer Nurudeen Balogun is one of those seeking to unseat the present Senator representing Kwara South Senatorial District at the National Assembly. Balogun, an Aerospace and automotive engineer and a Senior Manager, Cost Analysis for one of the foremost rocket launching companies in the world. In this interview with WESTERNPOST Newspaper Kwara State Correspondent, MOSUNMOLA AYOBAMI, speaks about what motivates his political interest, chances of winning and representing his senatorial district at the Red Chamber during the forthcoming 2019 general election among other sundry issues. Excerpts

Engineer Nurudeen Balogun

What motivates your political interest?
Over the years, myself alongside many in the diaspora have concerned ourselves with solving many problems in the areas of education, human capital development, and healthcare that ails our people.  At times, it feels like we cannot work fast enough to make enough difference in the lives of the people.  Taking a step back, we realized that our problem is that of political leadership that has failed our people over the years.  Therefore, the true solution lies in providing political leadership that can do the most good for a greater number of people.
What political office are you vying for?
If the people would have me, I am looking to represent my people as their Senator in the National Assembly.
Why are you vying for the office?
The Kwara South Senatorial District is made up of Igbomina, Ibolo, and Ekiti people.  I am an Igbomina man from Esie with ancestral link to the Ibolo nation by the way of Offa as well.  Therefore, representing the people at the Kwara South Senatorial District level will give me a chance to provide political leadership to a greater number of my people.
Do you think you have what it takes to emerge as a winner?
Success is a result of good preparation meeting good opportunity.  God willing, I believe we have what it takes to emerge as the eventual Senator of Kwara South.The battle will be along ideas and vision for Kwara South.  We believe that we have a strong message that resonates with our people.  Therefore, we are confident that we will come out victorious.  This is not about me as a person but, more about our people looking to take their own destiny in their own hands.
Under which political party platform are contesting?
I am contesting on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
With Saraki dynasty in Kwara do you see yourself winning that office?
Without a doubt, the Saraki dynasty is entrenched and has a long history in Kwara State politics.  However, our campaign is not about making the case for or against the Saraki dynasty.  Our campaign is about making a case to the people that we seek to bring an alternative collaborative and democratic leadership to the people whereby the elective representative of the people serves at the pleasure of the people.I believe that our message is resonating with the people, and the people are truly ready for fresh ideas and faces to represent them.  All of these mean that we have as good of a chance as anyone of emerging victorious God willing.  However, we will continue the hard work of reaching out to the people at the grassroot level and carry our message of a new vision and new dawn coming to Kwara South to every nook and corner of Kwara South.
Before contesting, how have you been giving back to your community?
Before even thinking about a political career as I indicated earlier, myself alongside many others have been working on providing solutions to the various issues our people area facing.
We hired and paid for teachers in Mathematics, English, and Sciences to help our students struggling to compete successfully.  We renovated school buildings in an effort to give our students a safe and secure learning environment. We provided notebooks and school kits to our students.  We sponsored many students by providing tuition assistance.
Igbomina Mobile Clinic sponsored by the Igbomina Community, North America, which I am the President of the organization, is well known name in Kwara is bringing primary healthcare solution to the people.  In partnership with goal-getters initiative, we have repaired and brought back to life many mechanical boreholes across Kwara while providing the communities with tools and training youths in repair techniques as a way of creating a long-lasting solution.All of these activities and efforts led our Royal Father the Elesie of Esie Oba Yakubu Babalola to bestow on me the title of Akinkanju Omo of Esie Kingdom back in 2012.  So, many of our community service and development efforts pre-date our political activity.
Do you have any political linage in Kwara?
I would say that we are not too political in our family.  However, my late Uncle was a member of UPN during the 2nd Republic.  So, my politics is largely shaped by my own personal experiences and my desire to help people.
Where are you from?
I am from Esie (Isale Offa Compound) in Irepodun Local Government.
Where do you reside?
I currently reside in the United States of America with my family.
What do you do for a living?
I am an Aerospace and automotive Engineer and also Senior Manager of Cost Analysis and Control for one of the foremost Rocket Launching company in the world.
Is there any similarities between running of government in Nigeria and your place of residence?
The Nigeria model of the executive, legislative, and judicial separation of powers was modeled after that of the United States of America.  Therefore, there are similarities.
However, there are lots of differences in terms of the relationship between those in government and the governed when we look at Nigeria situation versus what we can see in the United States.
Coming to Kwara 2019 Gubernatorial candidates, have you seen any credible candidate among those contesting?
The Kwara State PDP platform has provided the good people of Kwara State with many credible candidates that have expressed positive alternatives to what is currently provided by the government of the day.
They are all out there making their case directly to the party, primary delegates, and general electorates.  I encourage the good people of Kwara to give them a good look and they will not be disappointed in the caliber and resourcefulness of the candidates that Kwara State PDP has to offer.
And to 2019 Nigeria Presidential candidate choice do you think Nigerians are safe with President Buhari remaining at the elm of affairs?
Safety and security remain a great challenge for the people of Nigeria.  While tremendous gains have been made against the menace of Boko Haram in the North East, we now have many low-grade security situations bedeviling our people.  From issues related to herdsmen attack, robberies and kidnappings, cultism, and drug related offences are gradually on the rise.  Most of these can be attributed to the lack of economic opportunity available to the people. Recent economic report showed an anemic quarterly economic growth of 0.8% outside of the oil sector. This is a reduction from prior quarter. Not only are we declining, we are not generating enough economic growth to absorb the growing number of people willing to participate in the economy leading to unsustainable level of unemployment. This rising unemployment level poses a great threat to Nigeria’s security.  We need a coordinated approach to address this quickly and treat as a national security emergency that it truly is.


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