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Re: Kwara’s cosmetic cabinet: Matters Arising By Rafiu Ajakaye

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An article with the above caption went viral on some social media platforms a few days ago, written by Mr. Tunde Mohammed. Mr Mohammed, a senior journalist, is one Otoge campaigner we respect because of his own contribution to the Kwara struggle. We continue to respect him and other Kwarans, old or young.

However, with due respect to him, his view about Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s cabinet picks doesn’t show he understands the enormity of the historical challenge before our state or the direction the Governor is headed. He also appears to be stuck in the old, often unhelpful belief that cabinet positions should be dictated by, reflect and protect the interests of, political powerhouses — rather than it being a guide to the future we envisage or a reflection of our society in terms of its demography.

But before looking into Mohammed’s dismissal of the cabinet, it is important to say that this Governor has no kitchen cabinet and there was no point attacking what does not exist. What we have instead is a team of brilliant, disciplined, and forward-looking individuals giving their all to lift Kwara out of the doldrums.

In trying to write off the cabinet, Mohammed wrote that “critics see the assemblage as the governor’s inchoate understanding of the enormity of both the economic and political challenges facing the state and drained of any philosophical, ideological and even practical foundations to move it to a desired level.”

These lines, rather than being an attack on the Governor and his cabinet, rather underpin the writer’s misreading of the challenges ahead and how Kwara would cope in a world now defined by disruptive ideas, new priorities, and deliberate steps to bridge generational and gender gap in governance.

The people of Kwara voted for change. The 100% APC victory meant that the people want a clean break from the past that Mohammed himself admitted was sordid.

The Governor has shown excellent appreciation of this charge — whether with his carriage as a public officer, his attitude to public finance, nonpartisan approach to governance, and a deliberate attempt to break new grounds even in the face of opposition from quarters long used to the status quo.

Rather than make Kwara a mortuary of abandoned projects as was often the case when you have a change of government here, isn’t it refreshing and statesmanly to have a Governor who is passionate about completing projects left by his predecessors since public funds had been sunk into them?

The Governor’s cabinet picks, which Mohammed sought to run down, are a potpourri of brilliant and experienced professionals with strong ties to and understanding of their local communities; tested politicians with a rich history of being successful at what they do and wide appeals among the masses; respected women entrepreneurs and professionals, and adventurous and promising young people.

Mr Mohammed can be forgiven to claim that these cabinet picks don’t belong to his own political camp. But his attempt to say that their choice did not enjoy wide support or cannot propel the state to a greater height is far-fetched . Like every leader with an eye on the future, the Governor rightly spelt out what he wanted to the party and Kwara thought leaders who then recommended to him persons they felt met the criteria. In other words, the commissioner-designates mostly enjoy the support and mandate of their respective communities. At the same time, they meet the criteria of being truly representative of a new Kwara that the Governor desires while also taking care of reasonable and relevant political interests at all levels.

Perhaps what the Governor did differently, which I dare say comes under the kind of change Kwara wants and deserves, is to resist attempts to force nominees down his throats. This tough decision makes him beholden and committed only to the masses who have given him their mandates for the next four years. And, so far so good, whether measured by tangible or intangible criteria for good governance, the Governor has scored many firsts and etched his name in gold!

Apart from breaking new grounds in terms of his approach to governance, prudence, unique emotional connection with the downtrodden and verifiable improvements in service delivery to the public, the Governor has put Kwara on the global map as the first national or subnational government in Africa with the highest number of female cabinet members (56.25%). Figures don’t lie. Again, the seemingly lack of hegemonic attachment in the choice of most of the cabinet members offers a refreshing hope to the ordinary Kwaran. That is what defines transformative leaders. They do things nobody expects them to do. They challenge the status quo to achieve greater good.

The cabinet is also a practical demonstration of how a leader can change the story of his people, with roughly 50% of its members being below 40 years. They are young, futuristic, intelligent, adventurous and energetic — as the screening clearly shows. The Governor’s choice of a 26-year-Joanna Kolo as cabinet member is deemed in some quarters as trivialising governance. Mohammed seems to share such view with some of his innuendoes. We beg to differ. That decision again stands him out. It in fact shows he’s a leader with an impressive understanding of global trends and developmental issues. The average age on the African continent is 19.4 while the average age of the African leader is 62. Africa has the youngest population in the world today but it ironically is governed by people aged between 60 and 70. How best can one explain the disconnect between the leaders and the led?

Kolo, a worthy nominee of her political constituency, rightly represents the people of her age bracket. Critics say she has no working or administrative experience. Lies. She comes to the cabinet with the unique insights and the exuberance of her #NotTooYoungToRule community who interestingly constitute the greater percentage of our society. She’s like a barometer to gauge the sentiments of her crucial constituency. Her nomination is a lifetime opportunity and a symbolic gesture for young people to prove their mettle.

The Governor not only surpasses the 35% affirmative action suggested by the Beijing Accord, he also satisfies the Goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If we agree that women have long been neglected despite being so crucial to national development, is the writer suggesting they should have been given lesser prominence even when they had not a single person as elected official?

With due respect, Mohammed’s attempt to second-guess the performance of a cabinet yet to be sworn in amounts to putting the cart before the horse. This cabinet is to be inspired by a Governor whose sincerity of purpose, energy and commitment to a greater Kwara are not in doubt. His focus on infrastructure, SMEs, agriculture, and human capital development shows the direction he’s headed.

Mohammed is a party man and statesman. But we are afraid that his choice of words — such as his comment that the Governor was pandering to his ‘base instincts’ or is reclusive — is offensive. While he reserves the right as a citizen to critique the government and do so in the open rather than exploring several openings of internal engagement as a party man, we believe he can still do so without name calling or putting down anyone.

Finally, we would like to state that Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq fully appreciates the historical significance of his election and would do everything to justify that public trust by transforming Kwara State and making it a force to reckon with in not just the northern region but across Nigeria.

Ajakaye is the CPS to the Kwara State Governor

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Buhari, Sanwo-Olu, Aregbesola, Oyetola; Others Greet Oluremi Tinubu At 60

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The President, Muhmmadu Buhari, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Osun State counterpart, Gboyega Oyetola, have lauded the tenacity and courage of former First Lady of Lagos State and Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, Oluremi Tinubu, who clocks 60 today.

They said in situations that had demanded virtues, she had demonstrated courage and commitment to principles.

The President, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, commended Mrs Tinubu’s devotion and commitment to the development and stability of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

“President Muhammadu Buhari sends warm felicitations to former First Lady of Lagos State, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, who turns 60 on September 21, 2020, joining family, friends and political associates to celebrate the milestone, adorned by many years of service to the nation and humanity.

“The President salutes the senator, who has been elected three times to represent Lagos Central, for her courage and tenacity in many daunting situations, and remaining consistent in her passion for inclusivity, particularly as it relates to women and children, who constitute majority of the population, yet rank high on vulnerability.

“President Buhari notes, with gratitude, the loyalty and dedication of Sen. Tinubu to the growth of the governing party, All Progressives Congress, and her contributions to strengthening leadership structures at various levels, always providing wise counsels and advocating middle ground reconciliation in favour of greater good for greater majority.

“As the senator turns 60, the President believes the stage for better and more rewarding service has been set, with all the experiences gathered over the years from the Lagos State Government House, and as a ranking member of the National Assembly.

“President Buhari prays for strength, good health and wisdom for the graceful matriarch of the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu family”, the statement said.

Immense contribution
Sanwo-Olu said Senator Tinubu has contributed immensely as former First Lady and federal lawmaker to the growth and development of Lagos State and Nigeria.

The Governor, who described Senator Tinubu as a “Political Icon” in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, said her input to national growth are pragmatic testament to her visionary leadership.

He said: ”Our Dear Amazon, attaining the age of 60 years in grace and elegance is worth celebrating. Over the years, you have emblazoned your name on international stage as lover of truth, advocate of social justice, philanthropist and a loud voice of the voiceless.”

“As the lawmaker representing Lagos Central Senatorial District in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, your inputs on our national growth are pragmatic testament to your visionary leadership.

“Your pet projects-Spelling Bee and the New Era Foundation have become reference points in women and youth development in the country.”

Oyetola, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, described the celebrator as a ‘Jewel of priceless worth’ and a leading inspiration to girls and women in the country.

He also praised her for providing uncommon representation at the National Assembly.

Oyetola said: “On this momentous occasion of your 60th birthday, I attest to the uncommon representation you have been providing in the National Assembly as a Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic.

“In a nation in search of a moral compass for its young girls and women, you are a leading light and an inspiration to women who constitute about half of the population to enable them contribute their quota to the development of Nigeria.

“The Progressives Family is proud of your role as one of the strong Matrons of the Family and one of the foremost breeders of a successor generation working hard to enthrone sustainable democracy and development.”

She’s a pillar
The Minister of Interior, Chief Rauf Aregbesola, described the 60th birthday as a notable landmark in an exceptional life of a wife, mother and patriot.

He described Mrs. Tinubu as a pillar behind her husband, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, adding that “it would not have been possible for Asiwaju to be as successful without a supportive and efficient wife that you are.

The former Osun State governor said:”In your own right, you have been passionate about child development and women emancipation. Your presence in the Nigerian Senate has been qualitative, adding depth and sagacity to the business of legislation.

“You have been an inspiration and pillar of support for the progressives, women and the circle of friends and disciples of our leader.

You have distinguished yourself as the quintessential woman in beauty, elegance, generosity and compassion and yet can identify with the entire spectrum of humanity in humility.

“Your devotion to God and His service in the Christian community is as outstanding as your commitment to the service of the entire human race.”

Also congratulating Mrs Tinubu, the former Minister of State for Agriculture and Otun Aare of Lagos, Chief Demola Seriki, said:”As a Senator of the Federal Republic, you are active in the business of legislation for progress by sponsoring notable motions, resolutions and bills that have impacted on socio-economic and political development of the nation.”

Former Minister of State for Defence Senator Musiliu Obanikoro noted that Senator Tinubu has endowed her seat in parliament with honour and visibility, thereby inspiring other capable women to aspire to positions of leadership in the country.

He added:”What you celebrate today are multiple successes at the home front, in politics and public life, particularly the reality of diligent service to Lagosians and Nigeria, passion for youth mentoring and human development, commitment to women empowerment, compassion for the poor and needy and an abiding faith in your Creator.”

Exemplary personality
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, described her as an exemplary woman, a pillar of strength to progressive politics, an achiever and role model who has consistently used her time and resources to better the lives of the downtrodden, motivate young people and inspire other women.

“Senator Tinubu remains a worthy source of inspiration to many young people in Lagos and across Nigeria. She used her positions to influence them for positive actions that will impact the society and better their lives. Through her Spelling Bee Competition and annual End of the Year event for children she helped many to discover God-given talents. The symbolism of the ‘One Day Governor’ Prize for the Spelling Bee Winner set a new standard in the mobilisation of the talent and creativity of young people.”

The Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, hailed Mrs Tinubu for his political zeal and passion for the welfare of the less privileged.

He added:”Your motherly disposition to societal welfare is legendary and your exemplary character is worthy of appreciation and emulation.”

Hailing Senator Tinubu’s sense of accommodation, Lagos State House Deputy Speaker Wasiu Eshinlokun said:”You have taken us as part of your family and opened doors of unrestricted access to us.”

House of Representatives member James Faleke(Ikeja Constituency) described her as a dutiful mother and our mentor’s jewel of inestimable value.

To him, Mrs Tinubu is also a source of inspiration, a political force to reckon with, a leading light, a gift to the polity and a role model.

Faleke added:”Your contributions to national discourse have been incisive and in depth as a law maker.”

Former Polaris Bank and Managing Director and Lagos East All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate Tokunbo Abiru described her as a believer in good governance who has inspired talented women to participate in politics.

He said as a philanthropist, the senator has extended a duty of care to numerous indigent youths and women in Lagos through her empowerment programmes. “

Abiru added:”In the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, you have established yourself as an advocate of public welfare through your visionary and outstanding people-oriented activities that were shaped by your genuine concern and compassion for the downtrodden.”

Hailing Mrs. Tinubu’s sagacity and hardwork, Tayo Ayinde, Chief of Staff to Sanwo-Olu, described her as a mentor and role model to many people.

In a congratulatory message, he said:”We thank God for your life of achievements and diligent service as exemplified in your legacies as the Emeritus First Lady of the Centre of Excellence, Founder of the trail-blazing New Era Foundation and outstanding Senator of the Federal Republic.

“Your Excellency, you have established yourself as a philanthropist, owing to your passion for the empowerment of indigent students, youths, women, artisans and peasants, who now perceive you as a friend, cheerful giver and role model.

“As a member of the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, you have offered quality representation to Lagos Central District and done Lagos State proud by raising fundamental issues that are germane to its welfare and progress.

“Your legislative contributions have marked you out as a humanist, a core progressive ideologue and defender of public good. At the home front, you are a successful mother of promising children, a dependable ally of our indefatigable Leader, and host to the progressive families who perceive him as the arrowhead and rallying point.”

Ayinde added:”The attributes of your exemplary life are your spirit of accommodation, character, sense of honour, integrity and commitment to principles.

“It is gratifying that your involvement in politics and governance has inspired other talented and resourceful women to aspire to positions of public trust in our fatherland.

“As the progresive bloc gazes at the future with optimism, we pray to God to, in his infinite mercies, give you robust health, long life and manifold opportunities to play greater roles in the life of our country.”

She’s accommodating
Former Lagos State Housing Commissioner Bosun Jeje congratulated the celebrator, saying her passion for distinction, excellence and political productivity should be commended.

He added:”Senator Oluremi Tinubu is a very accommodating person. She believes in what her husband and our leader believes in. She is a great asset and an example of a virtuous woman. May God give her robust health and long life to continue to serve humanity.”

To House of Representatives member Babajide Obanikoro, Senator Tinubu is a great mother whose wisdom and unquestionable character have been a source of inspiration.

“You have shown exemplary leadership and motherhood to all of us around you,” he added.

Former Lagos State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and House of Representatives member Prince Rotimi Agunsoye noted that Senator Tinubu has set a standard for youth and women empowerment and community service as a former first lady.

He said through her pet project, the New Era Foundation, she had contributed to human development by raising a crop of young men and women, whose future academic and career attainments were predicted by the quality of their performance at the Spelling Bee Competition and other programmes designed to catch them young.

Agunsoye added:”You are offering the best in representation as Senator from Lagos by sponsoring the critical Bill on Special Economic Assistance to the Centre of Excellence, a remarkable move that has raised awareness about the comparative endowment and contributions of our state and the special need to accord it a special status within the federation.

A philanthropist
“You have succeeded in building a network of friendship through your human face, tender heart and milk of human kindness. The focus of your philanthropic activities underscores your compassion for the needy, indigent students and women, not only in Nigeria, but also in some countries in West Africa.”

House of Representatives member Jide Jimoh(Lagos Mainland) said God has made Mrs. Tinubu a vital asset and an enduring gift to her generation in all ramifications.

He said as a former first lady, x and wife of Tutor-General of Nigerian Politics, Asiwaju Tinubu, she had lived to expectation.

Jimoh added:”You are an amazing woman endowed with simplicity, humility, tolerance, milk of kindness and passion for youth, elderly and women empowerment.”

Lagos politician Oladele Adekanye said:”What you celebrate today is the import of great character, the virtue of an indomitable spirit, extension of a duty of card to the indigent and passion for public welfare.”

Ifako Ijaye Council Chairman Apostle Oloruntoba Oke thanked Yeye Asiwaju for being a pillar of support for the APC national leader.

In a message to her, Oke said:”Behind our successful and highly esteemed leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is ouf delectable Amazon; a dutiful wife, proud mother and dependable ally , who has made the home front comfortable for our leader and consistently played host to the progressive forces in the process of searching for the way forward.”

Ikosi-Isheri council boss Princess Samiat Abolanle Bada said:”Your name resonates, not just as?a politician; you are a quintessential mother, a model to celebrate and an enviable beacon of hope.”

The chairman of the Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a former member of the House of Representatives, described Senator Tinubu as a woman of substance and pride of women folk.

He said Mrs. Tinubu is also an achiever as a federal legislator, whose contributions have marked her out as a believer in national unity and progress.

Lagos State Local Government and Community Affairs Commissioner Wale Ahmed said Mrs Tinubu is celebrating the mercies of God upon her household and contributions to the cause of good governance in Lagos State and Nigeria.

Lagos State APC Vice Chairman Hakeem Bamgbola and former council boss Abiodun Mafe said Mrs Tinubu deserves to be celebrated due to her role in the development of Lagos.

Mafe, former Chairman of Mosan-Okunola Local Council Development Area, said the Spelling Bee Competition initiated by Senator Tinubu has made way for many winners of the competition.

Knack for detail
Mafe said: “Senator Oluremi Tinubu is a charismatic person with a knack for distinction and detail. She is ever supportive to the cause of good governance. We cannot forget how she continues to rally supports for her husband and our leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on several occasions especially during Asiwaju Tinubu’s two term tenure as the Governor of Lagos state,” he said.

Bamgbola, the former Chairman of Itire-Ikate Local Council Development Area, said Senator Tinubu deserves all the accolades.

He added: “She has proved her mettle by rising to the demand on many occasions. Her contributions to issues on the floor on the Senate are always germane. Back home, her welfare programmes are awesome. Thousands of youths and elderly have benefitted from the gesture and many are still going to benefit because she derives joy in lifting people and assisting the less privileged. We pray that God grant her long life with good health to continue with the good things.”

End.

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Our Country’s Main Endowment Not Oil But Our People -Osinbajo

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The Vice-President of the federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria’s main endowment as a country “is neither crude oil nor any other mineral resource, rather our people.”

The Fidelinfo gathered that this was contained in a statement on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the Vice-President spoke while delivering the keynote address at the 111th Founders’ Day Lecture of King’s College, Lagos virtually.

Akande, in the statement titled, ‘Teaching young people integrity, innovation and hard work is the foundation of a good society,’ said Osinbajo also noted that the country’s economic aspirations and capacity to compete in the global economy depend on “how effectively we empower our people to fulfill their potential.”

He quoted Osinbajo as also stressing the need to focus on productivity, character and civic education, as well as the need to “change both the substance of education and the methods of educating our children.”

The vice president stressed the need to teach young people that there were huge rewards for creativity, innovation with a culture of integrity in business and personal life, coupled with hard work and diligence.

These, he said, were the foundations of a good and prosperous society.

“When people are nurtured in the notion that rent seeking or the prebendal capture of wealth or benefit by access to power is the path to success, then the society will not prosper.

“A few will capture all the resources, everyone else will be poor or on their way there,” Osinbajo said.

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AbdulRazaq Sponsors Unilorin First Class Graduate Master’s Degree

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The Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has sponsored the masters degree of a University of Ilorin, Education graduate at the master’s level at the University of Nothingham, England.

The Fidelinfo gathered that the sponsee, Mr Olaniyan Yussuf texted the governor for two months seeking for his Support till he laterly got his attention of late.

AbdulRazaq then agreed to sponsor the remaining 50% of the admission fee, totaling over 10,000 pounds.

This sponsorship was captured in a thank you message made available by his erstwhile working place, where he volunteered Teach4Nigeria, on their official Twitter page @Teach4Nigeria.

The series of tweets Reads:

“Yusuf @olaniyanyusuf4 has always displayed a sense of possibility. He lost both parents at a young age and worked hard to graduate with a 1st class from the University of Ilorin, Kwara State. Upon graduation, he joined Teach For Nigeria, to teach in a public school in Ogun state.”

“After teaching for 2 years,Yusuf decided to pursue a Masters in Education @UniofNottingham where he was awarded 50% scholarship towards his tuition. In his attempt to raise the other half, he started a crowdfund which didn’t yield much nor dissuade him.”

“He was encouraged by well-wishers to find a way to get in touch with his state Governor, @RealAARahman H.E Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.”

“For two months, Yusuf called and texted the Governor until his tenacity finally caught the Governor’s attention who then awarded him the outstanding 50% (£10,000) through the Kwara State Government for his leadership and service to humanity.”

Congratulations Yusuf, we are so proud of all your achievements & service! We can’t wait to see what the next phase of your life brings. Thank you for your service & impact. Thank you to the Kwara state government @followKWSG for making Yusuf’s dream a reality #teachfornigeria” the tweet stated.

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