By Ahmed Lukman
I was lucky to be one of the young persons in the media hosted by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on a Saturday evening. The event is almost a past now, but I still relish the awesome experience it offered.
The Governor breezed into the venue of the meeting. No airs. He then walked as quick as he could and settled down quietly. Finally, the great man we have been anticipating his arrival is here. I could read the excitement in everyone’s face. Myself was excited too. The meeting commenced.
After a prelude, we the guests introduced ourselves. The Governor listened carefully to each and everyone of us, with his gaze firmly following every speaker. For me, that speaks to attention to details. We rounded off the introduction session.
Fast forward to the time the Governor began his remarks. Soft-spoken and articulate, H.E AbdulRazaq spoke to issues around governance, administration, development, politics. Forget what some naysayers who have never had the opportunity to sit down with the man say. Governor AbdulRazaq is a great thinker, repository of ideas (global ideas) and an effective communicator. He rolled out the feats he has recorded in the last three years, the ones he’s recording, and his vision for the state. He spoke about the ROTS he met on ground too, and how he and his team have been making sacrifices to clear them and once again put Kwara on the map. He dished out statistics, case studies from various countries. The Governor has a fine grasp of developmental issues. He’s acquainted with the trends on international scale.
He started from the media itself, touching on how our heritage Radio Kwara, Kwara TV, The Herald were left in tatters and pitiable conditions by the previous administration. All these state-owned media outfits were completely off air and out of production for issues bothering on poor working equipment, workers welfare, inconducive work environment, among others. Staff were owed backlogs of salaries. He spoke to how he has been able to rescue the situation. Radio Kwara and Kwara TV now running 24 hours. The latter is now on Star Times, while efforts are ongoing to enlist it on DSTV. The turnaround that has happened to their studios. And lots more. The Herald is now running consistent quality publications. The labour of our forebears that was already heading to vain is now being rewarded with the efforts of Governor AbdulRazaq.
He moved to education, spoke on the UBEC funds (the PDP people hate to hear it because it exposes their callousness to state and particularly young children). He spoke on the facelift happening in schools across the three senatorial districts; the thorough recruitment exercise, the KwaraLEARN programme. And many more. He touched healthcare, water, agriculture. How his administration has revived so many waterworks across the three senatorial districts. How every area is now being reconnected to get water. In the past, tankers were used to distribute water in the state capital. Yes, he also spoke on workers welfare. How he has not been owing salaries, clearing arrears, banished gerigedi, providing conducive work environment for civil servants.
He then went on a journey into the signature projects of his administration. The Garment Factory. The Innovation Hub. The Visual Arts Centre. The International Conference Centre. The General Tunde Idiagbon Flyover. And lots more. These are projects that stem from visionary, futuristic and global thinking. They will create job opportunities, place Kwara on the map and make it a go-to place, as many of them are rare projects in the country. Film post production works are only being done in Lagos. Kwara will join the list as the Visual Arts Centre will house a Dolby studio. Governor AbdulRazaq told us how Garment Factory would create not less than 2,000 jobs. The potentials in Innovation Hub and ICC. And how these projects are already nearing completion. Some vociferous PDP elements have been dragging the Governor on signature projects. They should tell us if those signature projects they link to Saraki were ready in his first term. Governor AbdulRazaq will deliver many of his signature projects in his first term. H.E also spoke on the Ilorin Masterplan too. The Okuta Radio. Ilesha-Gwanara, Osi-Obbo-Aiyegunle road projects. How he is spreading development across the three senatorial districts.
The Governor was so robust, clear and on point with his narrative. He spent quite a lot of time rolling out his feats and plans for Kwara. From my observation, he did not exhaust one-third of what he intended to lay bare due to time constraint. We later told him to ‘off the mic’ (Your Excellency, issokay, off the mic). It was a reassuring moment to be a Kwaran. With AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, our state is sure heading for greatness.
There’s also something to note. He said the PDP leadership cannot compete with his administration in terms of policy and administration, and that they only depend on lies, propaganda. Then, a video emerged where the leader of the Kwara PDP, Bukola Saraki was urging the new entrants into his party to weaponise propaganda against the current government. That’s clearly true to type!
Yes, as expected, some mischievous persons and little minds have latched on the meeting to do infantile and petty things. Most of them from the opposition PDP and the erstwhile Aanigbas, now splintered into SDP and NNPP. But they were united in pettiness. I saw laughable posts tagging our loving pictures as “Data Boys Visit Governor AbdulRazaq”. These are elements who do similar praise-singing for their principal, but are very rabid to see others commend and sell their own leaders. What colour of hypocrisy is that.
Deep down some of these fellows, they are very crazy to get that kind of opportunity to meet the Chief Executive of the State at a close range. Many of them have never had such opportunity. When their leader was in power, they were not given that sense of recognition. Political thugs were valued and regarded than them. That meeting with the Governor really unsettled them. It shows unlike their leader, Governor AbdulRazaq appreciates our loyal followership of him, fairness to him and belief in his cause. And he did communicate it too.
In fact, in 2018 when Bukola Saraki later hosted some of these fake boys, they were given ill-treatment meant for the sub-human. A few of them sat of the floor, while a large number of them were on their feets. That’s dehumanising! But these shameless persons are outside today macking mockery of guests who sat on chair, were given opportunity to flow with H.E AbdulRazaq. Is that not an irony?
There have also been stories about a gift doled out by the Governor. I struggle to see what is beyond the ordinary about this. Especially when the fake boys Saraki hosted in 2018 were also gifted a paltry N200,000. But little minds continue to make issues out of it. For me, it’s really not about the gift. It’s about the recognition. The dignity with which we were treated. The courtesy rather than dehumanisation the fake boys were meted with. The opportunity to speak with the Chief Executive of the State which some of these fake boys never had with people they call leaders when they were sitting in same position. Thugs were valuable than them. The gates of Government House were flung open for thugs during the years of their leaders, but not for them, who were not even recognised by the slightest means.
I look forward to more of such close range meetings with His Excellency. As e dey pain dem, e dey sweet us. Fake boys and their colleagues in mischief, the Aanigbas will cry me a river!
Lukman writes from Ilorin
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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