Kwara State Assembly on Thursday confirmed all the 16 commissioner nominees forwarded to it by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
That came three days after the lawmakers commenced the screening of the cabinet picks in what has been described as about the most thorough yet friendly confirmatory sessions in the state.
Speaker Salihu Yakubu Danladi said the nominees were confirmed following a three-day screening that saw the House asking them questions related to their backgrounds, expertise and track records as Kwarans.
“The nominees are hereby confirmed as commissioners for Kwara State. We so resolve. I now direct the Clerk of the House to communicate this decision to the Governor,” Danladi said at the plenary after the House had earlier dissolved into a Committee of Whole.
The Thursday confirmation was preceded by screening of four nominees who were the last batch of the 16 appointees.
The nominees were Oyedun Julianna Funke (Isin); Agbaje Wahab Femi (Offa); Joanna Nnazua Kolo (Edu); and Arinola Fatimah Lawal (Ilorin East).
A seasoned educationist and women-rights advocate, Funke said the best strategy for Kwara to keep teachers in the hinterlands would be to pay rural teachers’ allowance to personnel who agree to serve in the villages.
She also called for free accommodation for such teachers and concerted efforts by the host communities to accommodate them in manners that make them comfortable to work and live there.
“If I find myself in the education ministry, I will ensure that we liaise with the communities to embrace the teachers and offer them the necessary support. We will also reintroduce or strengthen School Based Management Committees (SBMCs) to help in this regard,” she added.
“The idea of political officials influencing transfer of teachers should stop. Our children are the ones suffering. Once we give them these incentives and take away undue political influence, the teachers will stay.”
Femi, an administrator and grassroots politician, said Nigeria must never prioritise stomach infrastructure at the expense of physical infrastructural development.
“I believe there are other ways of compensating those who have done one thing or the other. But we definitely can’t play with physical infrastructure. Several Countries have left us behind because of our attitude to governance. Our problem is the lack of honest and altruistic leadership, or people who place public interest above personal interest,” he said.
He was later asked to bow and go following massive endorsements of his nomination by the lawmakers who recalled his contributions to the victory of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
26-year-old Kolo told the lawmakers that her nomination was a challenge for her to contribute to the development of the state, calling it a “a rare privilege to serve.”
“I thank God for this rare privilege to serve. It is not by my power or any personal effort. I also want to appreciate the Governor for the golden opportunity given to me to be here today,” Kolo said, her speech repeatedly interrupted by wild applause from the gallery.
She commended her party and community leaders “for their mentorship and support”.
Speaker Yakubu he was impressed by Kolo’s opening remarks which were rendered in flawless British English, urging her to represent “our (youth) constituency well”.
“You’ve got a lot of work to do. You can’t let us down as members of your Constituency,” Yakubu added, asking her to bow and go.
The final nominee was Arinola Lawal whose screening session was the most emotional as lawmakers took turns to praise the role of former Governor Mohammed Lawal — Arinola’s father — in the socioeconomic development and political struggle of Kwara.
She was ushered into the parliament amid loud praises of her father while the screening session was punctuated by shouts of ‘omo L’Aderin’ — one of the many cognomens of Arinola’s father whose tenure as Kwara Governor was the most memorable since 1999 when Nigeria returned to civilian rule.
Arinola, whose managerial experience spans tourism and hospitality sector, was later asked to bow and go as the session became emotional. She was the only nominee who did not say a word throughout the screening.
The Governor had sent a total of 16 nominees for confirmation as commissioners.