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2023: PDP, Yahman/Makanjuola’s Leprous Ticket Is Saraki’s Foxy Route To Power

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In spite of the recent whitewash, there is no longer a pretence to the reason and way the major opposition party in Kwara, PDP, wants to regain power and rule the state in 2023. It is to continue the bizarre bazaar political system of having Kwara as a ‘chopshop’ to feed the mouths, bellies, and ambitions of careerists in politics rather than building a liberal, inclusive, flourishing state with space and opportunities for all.

The mode and outcome of its primaries and the choice of running mate for its guber candidate were the last dots in the drawing of PDP’s true image. The others are the organization, carriage and unfiltered public statements of the party and its leaders, including their shock-jocks which betray the over-starched regalia of change and rebirth its main PR arm seek desperately to clothe them in.

For the record, out of the 34 available elective positions, PDP has presented only one woman Mrs Ibiyeye Adisa Iyabo and no identified youth (according to national stipulated age) as candidates against APC’s five, which is the highest in history, including a 26-year-old Rukayyah Shittu. The underrepresentation of youths and women are glaring and reflective of the party ideals of leadership in the 21st century.

If you thought the barbaric method of their primary elections, a 40-year-old insignia of dysfunctional politics, and the quality of candidates on offer for elective offices, are not the most revealing of the ultimate desire of this ‘me-and-my-crony’ politics, the choice of its gubernatorial running mate would pour cold water on your steely heart.

There is no logical explanation for the farcical decision of PDP to pick a man who had run alongside Rt. Hon. Razaq Atunwa in their woeful outing in the 2019 polls, again, despite his chequered history with integrity, other than the fact that he was the perfect person to work with for the man behind the throne.

Hon. Gbenga Makanjuola, the ex-deputy chief of staff to Senator Bukola Saraki, a two-term federal lawmaker, is a strong and experienced politician. But as rich as Gbenga’s profile is, he is confoundingly more renowned for alleged corrupt and sharp practices than any public good. I do not wish to be hyperbolic but 7 out of 10 Kwara youth may just not know PDP’s emeritus running mate more than another aide who was remanded in prison by a federal judge over fraud charges totalling N3.5 billion.

If it were a party more concerned with probity and accountability, in line with a post-O’to ge mood for fresh breath, it would have taken a break from fielding an EFCC customer as the Messiah of the people. There is no place in history lepers were credited with building prosperity. It is either PDP no longer brook no love for public acceptance and intermediate societal values or the interest Makanjuola comes in to cover all the time remains first.

In all honesty, one may think there could be better people to select from in the PDP. But there may be no better ticket for Bukola Saraki to achieve his desire to put Kwara back under his whims. While there is no worse guber ticket than this for the Kwara people, there is no better fawning, obsequious people who will do anything they are being told to do. This agenda now rests perfectly on one side on Alhaji Shuaibu Yaman’s legendary desperation for power and flies on on the other side on Makanjuola’s fastidiousness in getting ‘things’ done with little or no trace. I must admit I marvel at the eyes of the godfathers in picking such a formidable duo for securing the brother-sister’s cause to retain Kwara as a family venture. Yaman/Makanjuola ticket has even far more potential of doing the Lord’s work than Abdul Fatah/Kisira ever did.

The ex-governor Abdul Fatah Ahmed was known as a very brilliant banker and accomplished administrator boasting public and private experience before the office and the deputy was a distinctively honest elder. More respected analysts have said over the years that Ahmed was picked by his godfather as his successor because he was convinced he could blend governance with politics. There are decade-long stories that if Ahmed had been given the free reign to govern, he could have been a far more successful person in the office. Now, I am tempted to wonder how someone with a far lesser standing and dignified Yaman/Makanjuola ticket would succeed where Ahmed/Kisira failed for eight years as paperweight leaders of the Kwara people, if they ever won.

Although many have been pontificating about issues around Yaman’s alleged financial insolvency and unravelling details of contract default cases, I would rather be concerned about his rather embarrassing knowledge of issues of governance in the state as a guber candidate. As was laid bare by the now infamous debt gaffe during the unveiling of his running mate over the weekend, there is little to cheer for in his capability to study, analyse, and innovate policies to open the new frontier of socioeconomic development. I am very sure it will not be one-off.

Schoolboy errors such as that one are very much indicative of awareness, capability, and readiness more than billboards and posters hired hands make for one. For instance, while it was very much easy for Hon. Gbenga to say he would partner with the gubernatorial candidate to address “the issue of poverty, insecurity, political decadence, financial misappropriation, lack of respect for rule of law, transparency and dwindling state of economy bedevilling the state when elected in the 2023 generations,” it was by far the most ridiculous thing to say by someone facing arraignment for alleged complicity in financial fraud cases. It could have sounded very much honourable if he was also a former legislator with excellent legislative records.

The people with a flawed knowledge of the state, problematic personal images, and a horrible sense of our socio-cultural development cannot replace the present administration. Other than what they write for them on the pages of paper and billboards, Yaman/Makanjuola inspires no hope, panache, and excellence for no ordinary Kwaran. I have particularly found it funnier than Kiekie’s jokes that the word ‘prosperity’ is becoming their official cliche. This sounds eloquently beautiful other than the fact that the word is bigger than them. Neither Yaman/Makanjuola nor Saraki/PDP can look at themselves in the mirror and pronounce the word either as a public or private person. To create wealth and deepen prosperity, there must be a knack for solving existential problems for the people. There is no trace of such a noble dream for the state in a party that grounded education, arts and sports, health, women and youths engagement and deepened the gap between the haves and have-nots in the Kwara. If they could, they would not have left a disastrous state, in place of a better one they inherited in 2003.

As we journey towards the general elections, I ask Kwarans to be very much observant and alert in accessing and electing those who will lead the state so as to elect credible and true leaders for themselves and not placeholders for a ravenous set of oligarchs.

Abdullateef writes from Ilorin.

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World Tourism Day: The AbdulRazaqs And Their Quest For Tourism Development In Kwara By Usman Lade

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As the world celebrates World Tourism Day with the theme, ‘RETHINKING TOURISM’, this year’s commemoration is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the efforts of the leadership of the Kwara State Government in its dedication and commitment to repositioning the shape of tourism in the State toward meeting people’s quest for pleasure and economic prosperity.

Tourism can therefore be seen as a composite of activities, services, and industries that delivers travel experience to individuals and groups traveling 100 kilometers or more from their homes for purposes of pleasure.

According to the World Tourism Organisation, “Tourists are people who travel to and stay in places outside their usual environments for more than 24 hours and not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited.”

The Governor of Kwara State AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and the First Lady Amb. Olufolake AbdulRazaq have both demonstrated their commitment and quest to the development of tourism in the State through their various interventions, investment, and promotion of the tourist attraction centres in the State.

Ambassador Olufolake AbdulRazaq in her attempt to promote tourism in the State recently visited some tourist centres. Some of the existing monument and tourism centres in the State visited by the First Lady include the marvelous Owu waterfalls in Ifelodun Local Government Area; Dada pottery and Aso-Ofi weaving Hub, Sobi Hills, and the University of Ilorin zoological garden.

However, there is no denying the fact that major investment is being made in the tourism industry throughout the State since the assumption of Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in 2019 as Governor of the State. His commitment and continued investment in the tourism sector in both infrastructural and human capital development has been regarded as one of its kind since the creation of the State in 1967.

The significance of tourism development in protecting both natural and man-made contents cannot be over-estimated, especially in the preservation and protection of several historic, archaeological and cultural destinations from destruction due to its positive utilization in such areas.

Some of the tourism infrastructural developments embarked upon by this administration included the soon-to-be-completed Ilorin Visual Arts Centre, which when completed, will house a Dolby studio, and a gallery where the artworks of both famed and upcoming artists will be displayed and also serve as a collection bank of artistic works.

The administration is also building a Sugar Film Factory which will provide an avenue for aspiring filmmakers and creatives to have access to world-class sound stages for TV/film production at affordable rates, attracting big production companies to come and shoot in Kwara.

In a bid to also create a go-to leisure place in the state capital and to reduce the annual human pressure on the Kwara Mall (Shoprite) during every festive period in the State, the Governor recently approved the beautification of Flower Garden in Ilorin as part of his efforts to make the place a beautiful recreational centre for residents of the state.

The flower garden, which will be a replica of the popular Agodi Garden in Ibadan, Oyo state when completed, would promote the look of the garden, as a green area for relaxation and healthy social interaction for one and all.

With Kwara becoming the fastest growing state in the North Central geo-political zone with so much interest from international and other prominent national organizations making the state a new destination to host their conferences, summits, and workshops amongst others, the administration of AbdulRazaq is building a two in one gold-standard facility that will make Kwara a go-to place for tourism, resort, and conference in Nigeria.

The state-of-the-art-centre will also in turn create thousands of direct and indirect jobs, and attract better attention to the state when completed.

Other digital and tourism infrastructures initiated by this administration are Ilorin Innovation Hub, Digital Literacy Centres, and the reconstruction of Esie Museum road, Irepodun Local Government Area of the State.

Recall that the Governor during the last Ilorin Durbar said his administration is taking steps to institutionalise such cultural events and treat them as tourist attraction for the state. Some of these events include Ijakadi Festival, Offa; Awon Mass Wedding, Shao; Gani Festival, Borgu Kingdom, and Regatta Fishing Festival, Patigi.

In his commitment to making this a reality, the Governor said: “From next year, preparations for it would be captured in the budget, and organizers and the affected ministry will have to go through the traditional budget defense at the House of Assembly.”

The quest of the AbdulRazaqs towards tourism development in the State is beyond dependence on the monthly Federal Allocation to boost the revenue generation for the state, hence, identifying tourism as one of the key sectors to explore for economic gain and prosperity.

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Yaman And His Shoes Of Trouble By Lateef Olamilekan

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The Governorship Candidate of the Opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in my state is one Shuaib Yaman.

I’ve not had the opportunity to have seen any video of him speaking directly to issues either on live TV, pre-recorded or in print – he’s nowhere to be found.

One astonishing thing is that since he declared his bid for the governorship seat, he has been a recurrent guest in the online news platform, always in the news.

A discerning one would have thought he’s in the news because he’s addressing issues of governance or meeting different fora in the state to galvanize support but no.

The candidate is wearing a shoe of trouble, he’s always running from one trouble to the other, hardly would a week come by without him being in the news for negative reasons though.

At a time, he was in the news for not being in the state he wishes to govern for the Sallah festival but rather stayed back in his official residence in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria.

He was also reported to have donated a paltry sum of 750k to the victims of the Alanamu inferno with some getting as low as 3000 naira, how would you give someone who lost almost a million naira something as low as that, isn’t that trouble finding and prospeterous.

This week, Yaman has now rammed into another trouble.

A Former Governorship candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) in Kwara state, North Central Nigeria Dr. Abdulmumin Yinka Ajia sued Yaman for 2500 dollars debt.

This is contained in suit no. KWSG/280/2022 pending at High Court of Kwara State, sitting in Ilorin.

Ajia was reported to have after trying to reach out to Yaman through his friends and political associates resort to litigation as his final of reclaiming the fund he Yaman owed him.

The fund was reportedly lent to Yaman in the build up to the primaries to settle party leaders and delegates.

Yaman in a statement credited to his Media aide said the fund in dispute was for a manifesto the plaintiff wrote for him.

Shameless trouble finding Yaman couldn’t come up with a manifesto that he had to hire the service of Ajia to help him come up with a manifesto.

Isn’t that supposed to be the first duty of a candidate who’s serious about governance? I would leave the answer to Kwarans to decide during the election in 2023.

I will be waiting on the sidelines for him to get into another trouble again.

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Owo Isowo: Does Kwara PDP Have A Short Memory?

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This question becomes necessary as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara state continue to call the disbursement of N20,000 grants each to 30,000 female petty traders across the 16 local government areas in the state by the Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-led administration vote buying. “The money is not to empower petty traders but to buy their vote since elections are coming,” Kwara PDP ignorantly alleged.

While this writer admits that the 2023 elections are some months away and that politicians across parties are currently buying votes with gifts, cash, and kindness ahead the elections, he discredits Kwara PDP’s mischievous claim that AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s social intervention to the 30,000 female petty traders was influenced by the coming elections to buy their votes in anticipation of the elections.

Those who know AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq very well and have been following the activities of his administration, would agree with me that he doesn’t joke with the welfare of the good people of Kwara state. The AbdulRazaq-led administration has proved it countless times through its social investment and poverty alleviation programmes handled by the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP).

From ‘Owo Isowo’ for the petty traders, ‘Owo Arugbo’ for the aged, ‘Kwaprenuer’ for the Kwara youths, these life-changing programmes are an incontestable proof that the government of AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq prioritizes the welfare of the indigenes of Kwara. The civil servants in Kwara state and students can also attest to the fact that Governor AbdulRazaq has been a blessing when it comes to welfarism.

What this writer observed in the vote-buying claim by Kwara PDP about the disbursement of N20,000 grants to female petty traders by the state government which commenced on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, is that hate politics and fake news have shorten its memory. If not, it wouldn’t have been hawking lies that the grants were disbursed to buy the votes of the traders.

For the record, the Wednesday disbursement wasn’t the first phase of the empowerment programme for traders. The first phase was in September, 2020; the same month! 21,623 petty traders benefited from it unlike the latest which incorporated 30,000 petty traders. Where was the Kwara PDP when the empowerment was done in 2020? It wasn’t vote-buying then but it’s now? Smiles.

This writer wishes to advise the Kwara PDP to continue telling lies and spreading propaganda which is its trademark. Since it doesn’t know how to market its gubernatorial candidate. Where did the propaganda it spread about the person of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq towards the 2019 governorship election landed it? Distant second! History is about to repeat itself. Again, the Kwara PDP will ‘lu lule’ because AA lo tun kan!

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