Kwara: One Good Term Deserves Another
It is twenty-four months into the journey and, from all indications, the people of Kwara state made a wise choice in 2019 by electing His Excellency Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as governor. Coming at a time morale was at zero level, Governor Abdulrazaq knew he had to go the extra mile to lift sagging morale amongst a captured and despairing populace and literally hit the ground running when he assumed office. He has not disappointed the people.
The cheering news for the 3 million residents of Kwara state is that the governor has been very tactful in handling the needless and avoidable intraparty crisis which, few months back, portended bad news for the state. The strategy, delivered with telling effect, has been for the Governor Abdulrazaq to refrain from joining issues with noisy, implacable and inconsolable distracters. In an ironic twist of fate, the crisis further strengthened the governor and earned him more admirers even from unlikely places.
At issue is a vicious struggle to hijack and control resources of the state that pitted Governor Abdulrazaq against some party leaders. So far, there is nothing to suggest that Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Abdurrauf Mohammed is on the side of distracters who seek to return the state to its immediate past when freeloaders held sway. For one, the governor is performing and for another, he has not been accused of corruption or plans to hijack the common wealth or any of the several vices that past governors turned into virtues. What then, is the crime of Governor Abdulrazaq if he is adjudged to be above board and diligently executing his office?
The advertised grouse of those who vowed to make Kwara ungovernable is two-fold: one, that they are not carried along in running the state and, two, that Governor Abdulrazaq triggered events that ousted the state’s interim chairman of the party by the national caretaker committee of the APC. We shall soon return to the first allegation, but on the second allegation, even the governor’s antagonists shy from admitting that prominent members of the sacked state party executive has been under investigation at the party’s national headquarters for failure to account for ‘missing’ party finances.
Now, back to the first allegation! Opposition to the governor was not long in coming immediately after he unveiled his first cabinet. Reason was that those who expected to be ‘compensated for bringing APC to power’ in the state were angered by their exclusion or their handpicked nominees featured in the list. That, in the estimation of those who aspire to be Kwara’s new political overlords, was the first alleged infraction of Governor Abdulrazaq.
More curious was the opposition to the governor’s decision to insist on competitive bidding for ongoing developmental projects in the state! As at today, a massive rehabilitation programme is underway across the state and the government insists it has to be carried out after competitive bidding. Reasonable as it sounds, the decision opened the governor to charges of being too rigid and unyielding from politicians who are long used to being ‘compensated’ for being party members. No one about the man’s adjudged honesty and incorruptibility or, for that matter, his rating as a performing and achieving chief executive!
On the unadvertised reasons, the much uninvolved bystanders know, at least from press reports, is that this is another reprehensible fight over money! No more, no less! Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong in compensating people, winners and losers alike, in politics. What is wrong is when a few politicians constitute themselves into ‘We, the people’ and pretend to speak for all as was the case before Governor Abdulrazaq came on. If truth be told, Kwara state would not have found itself in dire straits if previous governors did a fraction of what the present administration has done since 2019.
Still, nobody is deluded into believing that the politicians will allow the governor to execute his office unhindered. Sign of this is that, in the midst of the preventable confusion, some big voices in the “O to ge!” now appear on live radio talk shows with corruption high priests of the immediate past, all in the desperation to diminish Governor Abdulrazaq. In the midst of it all, the rampaging governors who made no distinction between Kwara state treasury and their private accounts are coming out of their political Siberia to jump into the fray. The vultures have started to fly low in the vain hope of a major feast!
Perhaps, it is time to remind so-called APC juggernauts who hobnob with disgraced oligarchs of the immediate past that they face an invincible foe in Governor Abdulrazaq. The governor was elected by the people and, from all indications, he is nearest to the people’s idea of a leader they can call their own! But, since it is impossible for people to be compensated individually, the best the people expect from the sitting government is precisely what it has busied itself with since 2019. The people of the state must support a government that is executing life-changing developmental projects and upgrading decayed infrastructure across the state!
It is also important to remind those who presume to be the mouthpiece of the people that most Kwarans are satisfied with the emergent Kwara state under Governor Abdulrazaq where public resources are not meant to be hijacked, where the majority, not a few politicians, are collectively compensated with state resources, and where the word of an overbearing individual is not law! With only pain and anguish to show for their blind loyalty in the past, the least the state and its longsuffering people desire and, what they are getting from the present administration, is quality governance, a commodity that was never prioritized by ruinous administrations in the past.
The collective and shared dream of a rejuvenated and harmonious State of Harmony, devoid of any manipulative tendencies, is realistic. To ensure that the state continues to excel at fairness, politicians must rise above pecuniary tendencies and quit spending precious time on radio to insult and speak ill of a governor adjudged to be performing.
If one good term deserves another (term), then Governor Abdulrazaq has earned himself a second term.
Magaji < [email protected] > is based in Abuja