Sulaiman Baba Ali: A Bridge Builder, Architect, Icon of Contemporary Politics and Philanthropist (1)

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Alhaji Sulaiman Baba Ali, a one time honorable commissioner of health from 1999-2003, and the present Chief of staff to the honourable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, is an outstanding Nigerian.

As chairman, Sulaiman Baba Ali Foundation (SBA), an apolitical organization created to give helping hands to the vulnerable and provide employment opportunities for the youths, he has built bridges of unity across the three senatorial districts and religious lines, thus, contributing heavily to the evolution of our democracy and philanthropic in Kogi state. 

It is safe to say that SBA, as he is fondly referred to, has advanced the cause of the less privileged, youths, women and the vunerable within the period under review.

As a technocrat, patriotic politician and traditional title holder of Gabi of Lokoja, Sulaiman has also set up and managed successful businesses that provided employment to teaming youths across the state before he joined politics where he provided employment to hundreds of Kogites at Kogi state ministry of health, when he held sway as a commissioner between 1999-2003.

As a strategist and philanthropist, Baba Ali has blazed the trail in bringing standards to politics in Kogi state, as his reach has helped thousands of underprivileged persons with access to a better life irrespective of tribe, religion and districts.

His success story in public life, business, politics and philanthropy speak to the core values of hard work, determination, courage, industry, patriotism, tolerance and a generous commitment to giving back to society.

SBA’s loyalty and dedication to duties assigned him by his principals, Late Governor Abubakar Audu and his current boss, His Excellency Rauf Aregbesola, and his performances in office is a decision many say is a masterstroke: finally, nailing the unemployment and poverty coffins among our people.

Though far from being perfect, like most human, his life in very many ways provides a good lesson that his peers, and aspiring leaders and  politicians, particularly the youth can emulate from.

And it is for these reasons that his nomination as chief of staff to the honourable Minister of Interior received wide applauds by Kogites, irrespective of political and religion affiliations. The goodwill messages on the occasion of his appointment were many, cutting across party, religious and tribal lines.

Recently, the SBA Foundation provided revolving loan to over 300 women which received commendations. The commendations which ranges from APC and PDP chieftains, traditional and religious leaders, who all acknowledged SBA’s contributions towards reducing poverty and unemployment among the people of his constituents and beyond.

For instance, the Oba Yoruba Community in Lokoja, Alhaji Chief Audu Oke, called him a patriot and a leader whose service to humanity is noteworthy. The Maiyaki of Lokoja, Alhaji Aliyu Lawal Jiya, described him as a detribalized leader, political icon and philanthropist.

In an interview with this reporter, the Dokaji of Lokoja, Architect Kilani Hassan, described him as a dear brother, a man of faith, a patriotic son of Lokoja and a leader of substance.

He went further to stress that with the recruitment of our youths into Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Federal Fire service.

“There is no gain saying the fact that Hon. Sulaiman Baba Ali has carved a niche for himself as a dogged and uncompromising fighter for democracy, justice, honesty, fairness, equity and equality.

“You have become the indisputable, indefatigable architect and icon of contemporary Kogi politics and a mentor to countless young politicians today.” he said 

Similarly, a traditional ruler from the Eastern part of the state, who doesn’t want his name in print, had this to say on the character and contributions of Sulaiman Bab Ali towards the human development.

“Ali’s recent political partnership, particularly with the people of Kogi state, will not only propel the state to the highest pedestal of development, it will  bring the state out of the economic woods to state of prosperous and development.”

According to him, the partnership have raised and restored  the hope of the vulnerable and  downtrodden Kogites who view it as a preferred destination.

It is a shared consensus by many analysts that Hon. Baba Ali, who aspired to become Governor of Kogi state in 2015, is one of the very few leading young politicians with an appeal that is truly national.

As the Chief of Staff to Honourable Minister, Ali cultivated a very good relationship with the politicians, civil servants and masses alike.

His capacity for accommodation and understanding no doubt endeared him to the teeming youths, women and elders  of Kogi state.

Hon Sulaiman Baba Ali has within the twenty two years of being in the public spotlight shown that his brand of politics is not defined by any tribal or religious imperial agenda and that he is not a religious bigot, though a devout Muslim, there is no tinge of fanaticism in his actions.

Those who know him attest to his ability to work very well with Christians and the premium he places on merit over religious and other sentimental considerations.

Ali is as much at home in the East, Central and as he is in the senatorial district, Kogi West.

He has a huge network of friends in politics and business across the three senatorial districts of the state. These power networks span all shades, tribe and religion. 

In a highly polarized political system such as ours, it is difficult to find such a high profile  young politician cum philanthropist who has successfully maintained without contradiction a wholly state outlook like Baba Ali.

He remains a model for appropriate political positioning for Nigerian politicians, especially those who desire to lead.
He has stood out and championed unbiased views that is not only acknowledged and reflects the growing tensions in parts of the state before the emergence of Governor Yahaya Bello in 2015, it has also proffered practical solutions to the Kogi diversity that there are still men of stupendous goodwill, cutting across districts, tribe, in the mould of Hon. Sulaiman Baba Ali, the Gabi of Lokoja.

– Musa Tanimu Nasidi, publisher of TheAnalystNg, an online Newspaper, writes from Lokoja.

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