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Date: 2018-07-20


When it became reality during events leading to the 2015 General Elections that Dr. Ali Ahmad was ‘coming back home' to contest the seat of Ilorin South State Constituency in the Kwara State House of Assembly, some sceptics who were apparently oblivious of the tradition of rewarding excellence in the Saraki dynasty frowned at the perceived 'demotion'. However, Dr. Ali Ahmad, the man at the centre of it all saw it as a call to serve his people in another capacity. To him, service is service, irrespective of the capacity in which it is rendered. He also won the election.

On 9th June, 2015, when His Excellency, Alh. Dr. Abdulfatai Ahmed, the Governor of Kwara State proclaimed the inauguration of the 8th Assembly in Kwara State, the 24-member House unanimously elected Dr. Ali Ahmad as Speaker. What a right choice considering his pedigree as an outstanding Federal law maker. Although this was not the first time Kwara would be having a Former Federal Lawmaker as its Speaker, the coming of Dr. Ali Ahmad however made a big difference as he is a right peg in the right hole and with the right dimension. Despite not having held a principal position while in the House of Reps., the charisma with which the Speaker conducts the affairs of the House has endeared him to Hon. Members and staff alike.

Acting on the impulse of a Yoruba adage that says "No one understands the language of a talking drum better than the man holding the drum stick", the opportunity of traversing different parts of this country with Dr. Ahmad on official engagements has really revealed his true personality. In all of these events where Dr Ali Ahmad had the privilege of speaking, he always made meaningful contributions to burning national and international issues. His eloquence among his peers is unparalleled.

Numerous as these events are, one cannot forget in a hurry the hosting of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislature in November, 2015 barely 5 months after taking office, an event that bears a clear testimony to this claim. Another is the Constitution Amendment Conference held in June, 2016 at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos State. There, Ali Ahmad had the consent of his colleague Speakers of the State Legislatures to lead debates on knotty/controversial clauses proposed for amendment. He was an ever-sought-after figure while the Conference lasted.

Alas all the Clauses he spearheaded for amendment sailed through as desired by the Speakers of State Legislatures.

In November, 2016, Dr. Ali Ahmad was also at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja venue of an Anti-Corruption Conference where he was a lead discussant on the topic Fighting Corruption at the State and Local Government Levels. The programme was organised by the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption in Conjunction with the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Ali Ahmad carried the day with his eloquence and brilliant presentation of the topic. He was on top of the game. His session earned a standing ovation from the participants including those who even did not agree with some of his positions on the subject matter.

Any day a meeting of Conference of Speakers of State Legislature of Nigeria, the umbrella body of Speakers of the 36 State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria, is called, staff of the Conference Secretariat and indeed Aides of Speakers of other States always eagerly await the arrival Dr. Ali Ahmad because they know with him in attendance, far reaching decisions would be made, and in good time. Even his colleague Speakers would always wished he attended every meeting of the Conference. And in all sincerity, he has not at any time let them down. Kwara Speaker will ensure he attends meeting of Speakers' Conference in the face of any odds even if alone without any of his Aides accompanying him.

Also at the In-house Training for State Counsels in the Kwara State Ministry of Justice that took place on 13th December, 2016 at the State Banquet Hall, the Speaker presented a paper on the ACJA, the topic was well treated and its contents simplified for even the layman in attendance; kudos to the erudition of Dr Ali Ahmad. One cannot expect less from an Associate Professor of Law. The list is endless.

Kwara is indeed blessed for having the kind of Ali Ahmad in the saddle of governance. As the 3rd Session of the 8th Kwara Legislature that he currently heads winds down to usher in the last lap, one cannot but pray for good health, knowledge, wisdom and elevation for this rare gem so that the State can reap more bountifully from his erudition, eloquence and political sagacity in the next political dispensation. Aren't we blessed in Kwara?

Adebayo Abdullahi

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