By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
A physically challenged person, Bamikunle Rasaq Tunde, has declared his intention to contest for the Oyo North Senatorial seat on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Bamikunle, who is the founder of Baba 70 Foundation, a non-governmental farm project focused on creating a platform of mediation between farmers and herdsmen as well as fighting the cause of people living with disabilities within Oke-Ogun and environs, said his decision to vie for the seat is part of his efforts towards fighting for the downtrodden, poor and people living with disabilities.
In a statement he personally signed on Wednesday, Bamikunle said in line with his vision, he made the declaration of his political ambition known to the public in what he considers his territory; the School For People with Special Needs, in Iseyin, Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo State, on Monday.
He said the visit to the school was part of consultations with stakeholders to galvanise support for his aspiration to clinch the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket as the party’s flag bearer in the 2023 elections.
He said: “We have tried the rich and able bodied people to represent us at the State Assembly, Federal House of Representatives and the Senate but they have largely disappointed us. It is time to make a paradigm shift; let us send a physically challenged person who is not a “money bag” but a commoner, to represent us and see the difference. I promise to stand for the people, air their views and stand accountable to the people always. I promise to serve you with fear of God.
“My aspiration to go to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not to acquire wealth but to seek ways to improve the living condition of the masses through the instrumentality of the law. I have committed my meager resources to selfless services in the past and I believe if I am given the opportunity to serve on a larger pedestal, I will do more for the masses; the peasant farmers, poor artisans, okada riders, students, civil servants and the physically challenged persons are my primary constituents. I am one of you; I know your desires, aspirations and challenges. Therefore, I will be a better representative because I understand what your realities are.”
He called on well meaning individuals who desire to help the cause of the masses to join the train and support his ambition to create a platform to help his people by helping to make his mandate a reality, adding that, “while I know this is capital intensive, I believe that people who have sincere love for the masses will join this train of emancipating the poor and downtrodden.”
“I thank the management of this special school for the warm reception. I thank all our teeming supporters for trooping out to support me. I greatly appreciate the efforts of Honourable Raheem Ajibola (FM), the proprietor of this great school. You are a politician with a difference. I commend your love and passion for the people with special needs. It is rare to see a public spirited young man like “FM” who will commit his hard earned income into such a less lucrative service of running a school for the handicaps in this age when many young men are struggling to invest in such high yielding ventures. I sincerely thank the President, Accurate Youths Forum, Iseyin, Comrade Haadi Yunus Oyetayo, and all his colleagues for the confidence reposed in me to call on me to take up the challenge to seek for recognition for the physically challenged in politics of Oyo State and give voice to the voiceless,” he added.
Speaking, the Chairman of Iseyin South Local Council Development Area, Honourable Raheem Ajibola, stated that Bamikunle had always been a pillar for the community of people living with disabilities.
“It is not strange that he is coming to this school for declaration of his ambition because he always comes here for his celebration; this is where he marks his birthdays and this is where he came to name his son. He has always been committed to the development of the people and the town, giving out of his meager resources to help people.
“We are not in doubt that he is worthy to represent us because we all know what he stands for. He was emboldened to move his ambition because he knows the government in power in Oyo State is committed to the welfare of people living with disability and is willing to allow them explore their potentials.
“As part of his love for the people, he always ensures he helps the cause of peple living with disability,” Ajibola said.
At the declaration, Bamikunle donated solar lights, food items and writing materials to the school.