May 29 in Nigeria, except for some election circumstantial states, is regarded as the start of tenures in our political space. It is also a time to take stock of how politicians whose political campaign promises are gauged against their achievements. In Kwara State, for instance, May 29, 2020, would be exactly a year after power baton changed hands and a man of destiny, Malam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq became the seventh democratically elected Governor of Kwara State. On that day Gov. AbdulRazaq took the oath of office, something ‘strange’ happened. We never see such in the State, a governor to be sworn-in drive himself to the Council Chambers of Government House for his inauguration. Wonderful!
HE AbdulRahman has decided to do away with fanfare that always comes with the inauguration of a new government. He had insisted on a modest swearing-in ceremony. What of his inauguration speech? Very brief and straight to the action point! Since that day, Gov. AbdulRahman has changed the face of governance in the State of Harmony. He has brought governance closer to the people through his inclusive way of running the government.
Malam AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq has since been showing impressive skills of a prudent manager of scarce resources in his day-to-day efforts towards running the affairs of the State. He has set an example in prudence, accountability and transparency. He has consciously reduced all the paraphernalia attached to the office of the governor. This might be to enable him to conserve limited resources for good delivery of dividends of democracy to the populace. He has reduced the number of official vehicles that usually accompanied the convoy of the executive governor.
Try to invite Gov. AbdulRahman to an occasion, he will be there before you! No African time in his dictionary. He is always punctual at events and other official functions. It is a complete reversal from what had become the culture of men of power. Apart from the fact that he sees governance as a collective responsibility, his style of leadership is turning the fortune of the State around. Governor Abdulrasaq has shown panache for competence in the office with his careful approach and understanding of the problems of the State. He has established a style of governance that reduces bureaucracy.
In his determination to keep faith with his people whom he promised a new lease of life, Governor AbdulRahman has, in his one-year in office, been braving the odds of the financial crisis the state is facing, to execute several people-oriented programs. In the last one-year of Gov. AbdulRahman, he has completed some of the ongoing projects he inherited from the past administration. Several new ones are coming up. The schools are being put to shape. Roads are ongoing. Portable water is now running from our taps. The Radio Kwara AM which nearly collapse before he took over is now functioning. New FM station is springing-up in Baruten LG. The health sector is wearing a new look. Kwara United Football Club is back in the Nigeria Professional League. Not only that, but he has also revived the Kwara Sports Festival after 15 years of stagnation. Besides, Gov. AbdulRahman has contributed in no little way to poverty reduction, job creation and Kwara development in the past one year of his administration.
In all these achievements, it seems Gov. AbdulRahman, sadly, has not been carrying the APC, his party especially some of the Otoge arrowhead along in his government. Although, the perceived intraparty crisis in the APC Kwara State should not be surprised to anybody who has been paying attention to APC since its formation in 2015. It is not a hidden fact that APC started-out in Nigeria as a coalition of mostly aggrieved politicians who were out to oust the PDP from power in the 2015 general election. In 2019, the move in Kwara State was to oust the Saraki’s from the political stage of the Kwara politics and they succeeded. It was not long, however, before the union got entangled in a web of internal crises. For instance, barely a year after its inauguration, many of the party’s stakeholders took a back seat, involuntary though, arguing that they were not being carried along. True is that a gathering of strange bedfellows will be prone to crisis and difficult to manage, but it seems there is no any genuine attempt at integration of aggrieved party members, especially on the part of HE AbdulRahman. APC in Kwara has been polarised.
For those who don’t see the intraparty crisis of the ruling party in the State as a big deal, they may need to note that the ultimate victims of a troubled ruling party in Kwara State are the ordinary people whose interest automatically takes the back seat. HE AbdulRahman need to give every member of his APC party a sense of belonging. He alone can resolve the crisis in the party. I believe he will do it. And for those who are benefiting from the crisis, they should be warned! A word is enough. Finally, in the remaining 1, 095 days or so of Gov. AbdulRahman’s first term of office, he needs to up his game in the area such as the provision of housing, especially for the civil servants. Minimum wages too. Very crucial! Many civil servants are also due for promotion, he should please do something. His government, also, need to invest in legacy projects that will leave after him. Kwara needs more of security enhancement. Gov. AbdulRahman needs, as a matter of urgency, policies that will attract substantial investments in agriculture and industry. Need we ask for more? Aren’t we Oliver Twist? May AA succeed!
*Abdulfatai is a freelance researcher, writer and editor. He writes from Ilorin and can be reached on email@example.com or/and @AbdulfataiTomori on Twitter.