By Folorunsho Abdulkareem
Last week, elements of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State went into the archives to pull out a footage that is as old as 2018, twisted the whole narrative about it, in an attempt to embarrass the current Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. Alas, they met their waterloo as that campaign of calumny backfired and turned against them. It was to curry public sympathy for their party. However, they ended up shooting themselves in the leg by convincing Kwarans the more that they are yet to turn a new leaf. The Kwara people had in 2019 unceremoniously sacked the Saraki dynasty over years of propaganda-driven administration, cosmetic governance, among other things. In fact, the leader of the dynasty, Bukola Saraki, rode to power through a well-oiled propaganda machinery against then Governor Muhammad Lawal. The trend exactly is what they are repeating as the 2023 general elections approach. It’s an exercise in futility, if they must know.
So, in that footage they shared across the social media, was an unruly minority loyal to the Saraki dynasty who took turns to shout down then candidate AbdulRazaq at an event of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU) as far back as 2018, build-up to 2019 elections. The unruly Saraki loyalists didn’t allow AbdulRazaq pass his goodwill message. That was when the Sarakis were still in control of the reins of power. They booed the then APC guber candidate, and chanted ‘Sai Saraki’, ‘Sai Leader’ and all sorts. That was the true narrative.
In a sudden twist which reeks of unconscionable propaganda, boys loyal to the crushed Saraki dynasty picked up the video and labelled it as students of Kwara State Polytechnic booing now Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in 2022. The Kwara Poly authorities have come out to dismiss it, saying their students have since been on academic break. Even so, Kwara Poly students have no reason to boo Governor AbdulRazaq. Here is a Governor that has been consistent with the payment of their teachers. Here is a Governor that had completed the about 2000-capacity multipurpose hall in their school which was abandoned for 16 years by the Saraki dynasty now gleefully linking falsehood to them. The hall project was initiated by late former Governor Lawal. But on political vendetta grounds, the Saraki hegemony literally killed the project. This is where AbdulRazaq differs. He has been consolidating on inherited, abandoned and incomplete projects of the previous administration, while also initiating new ones. Again, here is a Governor that has helped to complete a number of their hostel projects, and at a time came to their aid over payment of school fees. He directed that considering the prevailing economic situation, students should be allowed to write their exams even when they have not paid their tuition. The students will certainly not boo such an understanding and genuine Governor to the joy of a dynasty that owed their teachers, causing their senior colleagues to sit at home in the face of strike actions.
Point number two is the fact that the footage underscores the tense and adversarial atmosphere with which the Saraki hegemony ran their government. Every opposition voice was silenced. It was even fairer in that footage, perhaps due to the raging Otoge consciousness at the time. Earlier, an opposition AbdulRazaq would not even be able to attend such an event, not to talk of attempting to pass a goodwill message.
Governor AbdulRazaq has however shown class and maturity. He has embraced opposition elements. Nobody harasses the other person on account of partisanship under his administration. State and non-state actors are not deployed to threaten dissenters. Opposition figures are allowed to come into town, attend eid prayers, and even acknowledge cheers from their followers. I witnessed live how AbdulRazaq exchanged pleasantries with Saraki, and other opposition leaders during the 2022 Eid-el-Adha prayers. Saraki left the eid ground first, making frequent stopovers on the road to do some political stunts, delaying the Governor and his crew who were at the back. I’m very sure that were it to be in their reign, the Sarakis would never tolerate such. It would be met with violence.
Governor AbdulRazaq has made the political atmosphere of Kwara sane and peaceful, that everyone can pass their sentiments without harassment. I recall some of these Kwara bloggers who are now a rabid critic of the present administration had gone to Government House under the last administration to protest what they perceived as the humiliation of their principal because his building was demolished. They were given the beating of their lives and afterwards apprehended like a criminal. That was the Kwara of yesterday. Not even a pretense of tolerance for opposition. Opposition figures were waylaid by ’good boys’, and even abducted with threats. That’s not happening. I’ve lost count of protests held under the AbdulRazaq dispensation handled with the highest level of maturity and tact. The political bloggers also publish so many falsehoods against the government, but they are ignored, and fate is now dealing devastating blows to them because no one takes them seriously again. Review the engagements on their platform over time.
I move to the Kwara PDP again. They have been crying foul that propaganda drove them out of government, and that they are only deploying same energy. Their leader, Saraki had echoed similar sentiment. Tunji Moronfoye, a self-confessed liar and regular ‘customer’ of anti-graft agencies, who is the new face of the Kwara PDP had also regurgitated similar thoughts. But it is an attempt to gaslight the Kwara people. The Kwara PDP should come out to tell us if it was propaganda that basic education had been taken to the base and that UBEC blacklisted Kwara for years over diversion of grants by previous administration. They should come and tell us if it was propaganda that there was no Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Ilorin General Hospital. They should come and tell us if it was propaganda that they were not paying salaries as and when due, and in fact left backlogs of unpaid salaries and allowances across MDAs, schools and parastatals. They should come and tell us if it was propaganda that major waterworks in the state had collapsed, and water tankers were used to distribute water to the people in the most chaotic manner. They should come and tell us if it was propaganda that Saraki embarked on dubious projects with the bond collected in the name of millions of Kwarans. The Shonga Farms of this world that gave us more food for thoughts than food for the stomach. The Kwara Mall of this world where Kwara contributed the highest equity share but is the minority shareholder, with nothing to show for in the investment. The Cargo Terminal of this world that has not yielded significant benefit for Kwarans measured against the resource committed into it. The Diagnostic Centre of this world where they bought machines but refused to pay the suppliers and when the machines started developing faults, those ones did not give them an audience, and they watched the facility failing. Billions of naira was pumped into the Diagnostic Centre project, but in their books, they did not make returns on investment. The Sarakis should come and tell us if it was propaganda that they left no functioning tractor in the state despite braggadocios about commitment to agribusiness. They should come and tell us if it was propaganda that Radio Kwara had gone off-air despite records of approving funds for its revitalisation. They should come and tell us if it was propaganda that several primary health centres had become a shadow of their old selves. The list is endless.
The Saraki dynasty failed Kwarans, shattered their hopes and moved their state years backwards. Where it appeared they took a step forward, ten steps had actually been taken backwards.
The campaign has not started yet. Jungle neva mature! At the appropriate time, we’ll do a dossier of the Saraki dynasty that seeks to return to government on sentiments and propaganda. They are not people to trust with power again in Kwara State. They have so run out of ideas that their chairman, a certain Babatunde Mohammed, has been repeating the tales by moonlight of 300 million naira siphoned at the local government areas which has been dismissed by Aisha Ahman-Pategi whom the claim is attributed to herself. All these strategies are old, jaded, and self-destructive.
AbdulKareem, a political analyst writes from Ilorin, Kwara State.
2023: A PDP Governor Will Destroy Kwara Education Again – Abdulqaudri Mahmud
Towards the end of former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed’s eight years in office, he offered some of his party members teaching jobs into TESCOM and UBEC without proper recruitment exercise. When Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq came on board, he asked that proper recruitment exercise should be done for the ‘sunset’ teachers and others. The governor engaged NUT, experts and independent bodies to conduct the exercise and they recorded the most transparent and fairest recruitment exercise in the history of Kwara state with the most qualified applicants securing the teaching jobs without influence.
Fidel Info reports that the screening committee found out that about 2,414 among the ‘sunset’ teachers didn’t deserve to be a teacher. While some of them failed woefully in the simple tests given to them, some do not have certificates and other eligibility requirements. These were the ‘olodo rabatas’ of the Saraki dynasty Ahmed and the Kwara PDP planted in our classrooms to teach our children rubbish and what they don’t know. All thanks to AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for doing the needful. Otherwise, the unprecedented achievements our education recorded in the space of three years wouldn’t have been possible.
However, the Kwara Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate Alhaji Shuaibu Abdullahi Yaman in his desperation to triumph in the forthcoming gubernatorial election said he would reinstate the ‘sunset’ teachers if elected. People like Yaman are narcissistic. Inasmuch as their stomachs are have been fed, they don’t care about those who are hungry. Because Yaman is desperately in need of the two thousand four hundred and fourteen ‘sunset’ teachers’ votes, the disaster their reinstatement will bring upon our education doesn’t concern him. May yaman yaman not happen to Kwara.
With this, Abdullahi Yaman has hinted Kwarans whom he’s aspiring to govern that he’ll operate a mediocre and incompetent government. The worst governor Kwara state ever had since its creation was Abdulfatah Ahmed, and Mr Yaman said he would uphold his legacies. Any candidate that means well for the state wouldn’t say he would continue the legacies of Megida. So, it’s safe to say Alhaji Shuaibu Abdullahi Yaman who will never be the governor of Kwara state doesn’t mean well for Kwara and Kwarans.
Alhaji Shuaibu Abdullahi Yaman’s claim that he would continue the legacies of Abdulfatah Ahmed has vindicated me. I recall a piece I wrote a few weeks ago with the title “A Governor Abdullahi Yaman Won’t Pay Civil Servants’ Salaries”. When the piece got to his idle media team, they call me all sorts of names with their dry pen. Now that their principal has said he would uphold Ahmed’s legacies which nonpayment is part of, I hope they’ll come out of their hidings and come up with some texts of apology.
Dear Alhaji Shuaibu Abdullahi Yaman, Kwarans don’t need a governor that will destroy their education system by reinstating the ‘sunset’ teachers that experts had concluded that they’re not competent to pass knowledge to our children. What Kwarans want is a governor that will give the best brains teaching jobs, facelift the structure of schools and compensate the teachers who are offering our children quality education. Governor AbdulRazaq is already doing all of these and I can assure you that Kwarans will re-elect him to continue the good job.
If Mr. Shuaibu Abdullahi Yaman really cares for the layoff ‘sunset’ teachers and believes that they deserve to be a teacher in contrary to the judgment of the experts who put them into tests, he should build primary and secondary schools outside Kwara state and employ them.
Abdulqaudri Mahmud writes from Ilorin East LGA, Zango Ward, Ilorin Kwara state
PDP’s Yaman Abdullahi Will Reverse Our Gains In Kwara – Qudus Adelodun
When I said Yaman Abdullahi the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kwara State is bereft of ideas and has no plans for the socioeconomic development and progress of our state, some attack rottweilers were unleashed on me, trying to fall on themselves in a bid to hurl insults.
The man Yaman was reported some few days ago to have said that he would implement the minimum wage of N30,000. One then wonders where he has been all the while. What an absent-minded guber aspirant! Or was he trying to be mischievous? The dynasty he ran to in a bid to satisfy his inordinate ambition never implemented the minimum wage when they were in power. That was even asking for too much because salary payment which is the basic never got the required attention. Civil servants were owed for months. They were paid geri-gedi salaries.
They were awarded fraudulent promotions (promotions without cash-backing). It was this current administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq that came and did the needful.
Governor AbdulRazaq has never defaulted in the payment of civil servants. Salary payment has been consistent, timely and up-to-date. Again, he approved the N30,000 minimum wage Yaman Abdullahi in his trance is saying he wants to implement. As it is now, no civil servant earns below N30,000 in Kwara State.
How many states are paying the new minimum wage in the whole of the federation considering the global economic and financial challenge? But Governor AbdulRazaq through sheer fiscal discipline has been managing the situation. He in fact implemented consequential adjustment too. Some states were paying the minimum wage but had since rescinded.
Kwara has not rescinded in paying the minimum wage so far. So, when Yaman Abdullahi was talking about the minimum wage, didn’t he check his facts correctly?
More laughably is Yaman Abdullahi telling some of his supporters during one of his recent visits to Kwara North that he is going to build on the legacy of immediate past Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed. I ask, is it the legacy of gerigedi salaries? Is it the legacy of owing civil servants for months? Is it the legacy of diverting UBEC grant? Is it the legacy of not getting value for money like they did with water project? Is it the legacy of leaving our schools and health care facilities like prison yards? Is it the legacy of converting public assets to private use? Is it the legacy of bastardising our media houses? Is it the legacy of abandoning our waterworks? Is it the legacy of not paying contractors and leaving unfinished projects?
What is inspiring about the administration of Abdulfatai Ahmed which some Sarakites are also very disappointed about? They blame their woes on his woeful performance and administration. But Ahmed did not just fail. Not having a mind of his own mind and being a governor that had to receive directive were largely responsible for his failure.
You cannot have two people at the driver’s seat and not expect a mishap to happen. Emperor Bukola Saraki was the man whose words were law. He had the final say. Ahmed must take order from him and not offend. That is the kind of personality Yaman Abdullahi will make. You can see he didn’t get the deserved respect he was supposed to be given during the PDP presidential campaign flag-off in Kwara. Everything was about Bukola Saraki, a man his people also claimed is not on the ballot. So insignificant was Yaman treated that Dino Melaye spokesperson of the campaign council mistook him for another person.
So, what should Kwarans watch for if Yaman Abdullahi mistakenly becomes governor. Just like his PDP colleague in Osun Ademola Adeleke the dancer who has no innovative idea to contribute to governance, Yaman Abdullahi will take us back. He will abolish the minimum wage. He will repeal the law that set up KWASSIP that has benefitted hundreds of thousands of people. KWASSIP is a baby of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. It was established under him as an anti-poverty mechanism where citizens irrespective of their political affiliations have been empowered, even to the tune of millions of naira individually. Yaman Abdullahi will abolish this establishment. He will reverse the promotion of people. Remember the dynasty he dines with never cash-backed promotion.
Yaman Abdullahi will also repeal the gender composition bill that promotes affirmative action, where female must occupy at least 35% of public positions. The dynasty Yaman Abdullahi is wining with does not respect the female folk and the youths. Yaman Abdullahi will pull down the innovation hub, garment factory and the likes. Some of the pundits in their camp are already saying rubbish about these investments that will not only make Kwara a go-to place, but also shore up the revenue base and generate employment opportunities.
Yaman Abdullahi has no progressive idea to paddle Kwara State to the dreamland. Kwarans must never let him reverse the gains we have witnessed under this administration. Poverty rate has reduced from 30.2% in 2019 to 20.4% in 2022. Unemployment rate has reduced from 21.2% in 2019 to 16.5% in 2022.
Kwara moved to 8th position from 19th position in 2019 in terms of fiscal sustainability rating. Over 600 schools have been renovated, rehabilitated and reconstructed in the last three years. About 14 waterworks across the three senatorial districts abandoned under the last administration have been rehabilitated too, with 2 new ones added to the list under this administration. Health care facilities have also been rehabilitated.
Development has been spread across the 16 local government areas of the state in the last three years. This administration has been hugely impactful to the general people of Kwara State. We must never go back!
Qudus Adelodun writes from Oro, Kwara State
Why Is Saraki’s PDP Behaving Like A Headless Chicken? By Qudus Adelodun
I didn’t foresee that my home truth will throw Bukola Saraki’s fake boys in disarray. Since I penned my article on how Saraki’s PDP will place Kwara State on Jumia for ridiculous sale after milking its resources dry if they mistakenly get power back in 2023, some of his fake boys have been trying to outdo one another in a contest of sycophancy and disingenuousness.
From the fake Dare Babatunde who I gathered was a high ranking official of the Saraki government but was only hiding under that name as has been his wont overtime, to the rabid Abdulyekeen Mohammed Bashir who also wrote to ‘mark attendance’, his writing devoid of logic and context, and other media bandits of the Saraki dynasty spread across the new media, what unites them all is the behaviour of a headless chicken.
They refused to address the substance of the matter and were just blabbing and throwing insults! Look, people with sound defense won’t use a whole article to insult and rant. So, you guys should face the issues squarely. I’m particularly surprised the fake Dare Babatunde couldn’t be proud enough of the government and principal he served and therefore offer his name in his watery defence. You can’t defend the indefensible.
If I may jolt the memories of these attack dogs, the people of Kwara said O to ge in 2019 because they were tired of the bad, uninspiring, poor, enslaving governance of the Saraki dynasty. They did that in one, loud voice that no elective position went the way of the dynasty. Some of you in fact agreed that if a chicken were presented as a candidate against your people, it will succeed. Does that not tell you how low you went in governance? Why are you struggling to rewrite history now?
You ran a state for 20 years and destroyed all the legacies of our heroes. Your leadership turned Kwarans to a people who had no water to drink. No quality healthcare system to access. Courts were in tatters. Civil servants didn’t get their salaries as and when due. They were also owed for several months. No implementation of minimum wage. Schools were like prison yards. You didn’t make teachers happy. These are basic, basic things. Yet you failed massively on them. I wonder if anyone who has honour will come out to identify with this glaring failure. It’s your history, don’t rewrite it.
The AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq you have targeted your diatribes at has provided water for the people by repairing the dysfunctional waterworks you abandoned for years. And we do not see the sorrowful tankers you used to distribute water about again. He has been timely and up to date in the payment of civil servants. The computers, printers you failed to buy for them to ease their work, he has bought them. He has invested so much in the basic education you collapsed. Over 600 schools have been rehabilitated and reconstructed in less than three years. Teachers get paid as and when due. Quality learning through KwaraLEARN is ongoing at our basic schools. We are already getting the low-hanging fruits with the brilliant and superlative outings of our pupils in external contests. More is to come. We have left the era where pupils are assisted in exams to make up for the failure of the system. Go see the ambulances this government procured for the state and compare it to the nonsense you left behind. You also know that you didn’t leave a single functional tractor across the state, but we now have about 15.
I chuckled when I saw Abdulyekeen defending the peculiar mess of UBEC grant diversion. He said the past administration didn’t divert the fund. He has the onus to explain to us why Kwara was blacklisted for years and they kept mute. Are they working in the interest of Kwarans or against? And more so, if anyone has more reason to go to court, it is Abdulfatai Ahmed whose government has been indicted. Is he not supposed to clear his name considering the weight of the allegation? What dingbats like Abdulyekeen don’t understand is that the people of Kwara can clearly see the difference between the past and the present. No amount of insults or illogicality will rewrite our story here!
So, I also posited that there was no meaningful investment Saraki did throughout his administration. All his vaunted achievements were marred with never-seen-before scam and failure. None of his boys have been able to do the analysis of the financial resources committed into Shonga Farm and the returns on investment Kwara has benefitted from it. In any case, Shonga Farm ended up a failure in the life of their dynasty, just like the dubious Cargo Terminal. Abdulyekeen should tell us where the Trailer Park Saraki promised to do when he wanted to access his bond is. Then, they have been trying to steal the glory of the FG in some projects. KWASU is one of them. You see, don’t be deceived, 90% of the structures at KWASU was funded by the Federal Government. This is the same way they got full payment for the Post Office Flyover they did which the FG was disappointed in its execution. Years later, Governor AbdulRazaq is constructing the Tanke Flyover with nearly close amount they voted for the Post Office Flyover years ago. Who’s the scammer? A well-informed person in the Saraki camp should come out and tell us what Kwara has benefitted as returns on investment from Kwara Mall and why they had to offer more shares to the private partners despite the fact that the state contributed mostly in the project. These are the issues I expect those behaving like headless chickens to address. Did Saraki not procure machine at Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre and refused to pay the contractors, carried over the debt to the administration of Abdulfatai Ahmed and to Governor AbdulRazaq. How can Kwara under Saraki attract billion naira worth of bond to execute investments and there is no record of the returns the state has made in them. It’s just debt, debtand debt everywhere. Abdulfatai Ahmed should also step out to explain how Harmony Holdings’ N4bn capitalisation fund turned to N404 million.
Under Governor AbdulRazaq, statistics are saying poverty rate have reduced, unemployment has reduced. These are results of his committment to the social investment programmes where people had benefitted millions of naira. Kwara has moved places in financial sustainability rating. Kwara was one of the states that attracted FDI in 2021. The number of industries in the state has risen tremendously under AbdulRazaq. Promotions are ongoing with cash-backing. The pensioners the cruel Saraki dynasty refused to pay, this administration has been paying. This administration is also embarking on legacy capital projects that will boost the economy, create job opportunities and bring prosperity to the state. They are unique and one-of-a-kind in the region and nation at large. The Visual Arts Centre is primed to do last mile finishing. Our Eye Centre follows immediately after the one in Kaduna in the whole of the North. The Innovation Hub will be one of the largest in the country. We have the Garment Factory, International Conference Center, Tanke Flyover, Nootia FM, Kakakin FM, Film Studio, Intensive Care Unit. All these achievements and feats in just three years are what is giving the Sarakites migraine. They can never forgive Governor AbdulRazaq for liberating Kwara State.
Adelodun writes from Oro, Kwara State
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