Lai Mohammed Shares His Survival Story in Kwara’s Political Scene

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the former Minister of Information and Culture, has opened up about his experience battling political obscurity in Kwara State following his defeat in the gubernatorial election.

Despite being labelled a ‘Lagos Politician’ by his rivals in his home state, he persisted as an opposition figure until 2015. It was then that the APC, in alliance with other opposition parties, emerged victorious and took control at both the state and federal levels.

During a warm welcome reception in his hometown of Oro, Irepodun Local Government Area, Lai Mohammed shared how he successfully navigated through the initial challenges to regain political prominence in the state.

He said: “I remember twenty years ago when I came to run for governorship in Kwara State. After I had lost the election, some of my advisers said I lost because I was a Lagos boy/politician and I should be coming home more regularly.

“They suggested that I pick one activity yearly that would allow me to relate with my people in Oro regularly and suggested the Ramadan Talk.

“So, I will come to Oro every Ramadan and under the guise of preaching Ramadan, I met my political associates and we are where we are today.”

Speaking on religious intolerance, the former minister said, “I always brag about Oro as one of the few religious tolerant communities in Nigeria and I pray and hope that the whole of Nigeria will take a cue from the town.”

He said, “It is instructive that I started Ramadan at the Muslim praying ground, which I think is normal.

“But after two years, the Muslim praying ground was not available because it was undergoing renovation.

“I was then advised to move the event to Ilorin, the state capital, by some Muslim clerics.

“Then I informed my community of the shift in the venue, but they advised that we should hold the talk at St Andrew’s Catholic Church here in Oro. I felt a little bit surprised.

“They told me that in Oro, there is no difference between a Muslim and a Christian and for the next three consecutive years, I held the Ramadan talk at St Andrew’s Catholic Church.

“To me, this is a big statement about the tolerance of people. I only hope that other communities will also borrow a leaf from Oro. Religion is a matter of choice. My people are religiously tolerant.”

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