Appraising Senator Sadiq Umar’s Three Years of Purposeful Leadership By Ahmed Usman Babakano
The essence of political participation by the people: individuals, groups and communities is to benefit from the attendant democratic dividends. Of course the above postulation can only be true in places where people are conscious of their rights and the leadership is equally conscientious in the discharge of its responsibilities as enshrined in the constitution.
The Kwara North Senatorial District hasn’t however been spared of the abysmal performance and dearth of leadership in the Nigerian political landscape since the return of democratic rule in 1999. From Kaiama to its neighboring Baruten all through Moro to Edu and Patigi LGAs, people of diverse backgrounds have been tested through nomination (elections) to represent the collective interests of the people of Northern Kwara but the efforts and hopes of those who seek genuine change have been dashed considering the uninspiring leadership and misrepresentation that have accompanied the periods under review.
And after many years of endless search for a purposeful leadership in democratic representation, entered a distinguished Pharmacist of international repute and pedigree; a Prince of Kaiama and a man of many firsts into the Kwara North political space; and he has never looked back since his election to represent its people at the Red Chambers of the National Assembly.
Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar short for 3SU as many of his supporters now refers to him by all standards, prior to the 2019 was a greenhorn in the politics of Kwara North and by extension Kwara State but after successfully winning his senatorial contest in an election that could best be described as a tsunami which swept across Kwara, he immediately adjusted to the realities associated with the mandate he had pledged to advance its cause.
Based on the information at my disposal, upon inauguration into the 9th Senate, an event that was well attended by constituents from far and near in the nation’s capital Abuja – an indication of the people’s acceptance and overwhelming support for the new Sheriff in town, a list of five lawyers drawn from the five local governments of the senatorial district was released with an accompanying letter of scholarship to study for Master’s degrees at the National Institute of Democratic and Legislative Studies. The beneficiaries to a large extent were active players in the revolution that had just swept across Kwara, an encouraging piece of information that there is a template for reward for participation and would be, according to sources recruited as drafters on the ranks of the NIDLS; another plus for the senator. This was the first message of intent from 3SU to prioritize the interest of his people despite the multifaceted challenges facing the senatorial district.
Kwara North Senatorial District is by far the largest in the state by landmass and the least developed in terms of infrastructure or human capital development. This means that the senator from onset had his work cut out and would need more than just political clout and will to make genuine impact in a region where its people have been long subverted and neglected by especially its own people who were supposed to advance their cause and bring succor to the downtrodden through government intervention projects. He must have been well briefed and informed about the onerous and demanding task of putting Kwara North on the path of economic growth and development by making sure that federal government presence is genuinely felt by its people.
And true to his campaign promises, 3SU has achieved remarkable success in the areas of infrastructure as the Senator representing Kwara North Senatorial District over the last three years. He has been able to balance the nexus between politics and governance devoid of the perennial interference by political profiteers and retinue of sycophantic supporters who invariably slows down democratic governance.
The importance of CRITICAL infrastructure to the socio-economic growth and development of Kwara North cannot be overemphasized. Once we are able to fix the rot in infrastructure, many other things will naturally fall in place and this is why the senator deserves all commendations for giving topmost priority to building and bridging the wide infrastructural gap in the senatorial district. From the deplorable state of roads to dilapidated school infrastructure, moribund healthcare facilities and seasonal scarcity of water to epileptic power supply; the myriad of challenges facing the people of Kwara North are enormously cumbersome and could only have been surmounted through a proactive and pragmatic approach by a willing, capable and competent personality.
The people of Kwara North are predominantly farmers and have for many years had to contend with the challenge of transporting their farm produce to target markets within the district majorly because of the deplorable state of the roads across the senatorial district, leading to increase in the prices of goods and services because of the difficulty road users usually experience. Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar has indicated interest to reduce this seasonal scourge to the barest minimum by initiating through his constituency office the construction and reconstruction of rural roads while also complimenting the efforts of the AbdulRazaq led administration in the state.
3SU’s biggest achievement based on my personal assessment has to be in the health sector which may not be unconnected with his background in medical related discipline as a trained and accomplished health worker. Recall that the senator is a Pharmacist of international standing of proven pedigree which means his bias for an efficient and effective healthcare system for his people would naturally take precedence over other areas, understandably so. By this, the constituents will understand why he has done more to reposition the moribund healthcare facilities in the district while the people have more access to affordable healthcare services in conducive environments.
Access to quality and affordable healthcare has been a tall order for the people of Kwara North. Residents in rural communities usually have to go through harrowing experiences before they get to the nearest healthcare center where services on offer are invariably short of the required standards. But with Dan Amar Kaiama’s commitment to rewrite the history books and bring succor to the downtrodden, there are more than seventeen ‘functional’ Primary Healthcare Centers spread across Kwara North, courtesy of the senator’s unwavering commitment and determination to bequeath a healthcare delivery system that will address the needs of his people, a go-to place for all forms of illnesses that usually would’ve taken patients thousands of miles and kilometers before they could get help. Border communities in Baruten are potential beneficiaries of these interventions that will put an end to medical tourism to the neighboring Benin Republic.
Most of the Primary Healthcare Centers that now provide a wide range of healthcare services for the people were comprehensively renovated; supply of medical equipment and drugs with sinking of motorized boreholes so as to provide clean water are the topmost priorities in all of these centers. From Fey in Patigi through Okutanla and Pututa in Moro and Edu LGAs respectively, the people of these communities and adjoining settlements could now wake-up and easily walk into the facilities located in their various localities where they are assured of quality medical attention at affordable rates. A clear departure from our recent past.
The reconstructed PHCs at Takogabi and Pututa, both in Edu were abandoned while under construction for two decades until the senator captured the two for reconstruction. Similar tales of abandoned healthcare centers and dispensaries that are now back to life thanks to the visionary leadership of 3SU whose foresight and legislative participation which he takes seriously has put Kwara North on the map again; abound all across the district. Senator Sadiq’s exploits in three years has undoubtedly superseded the previous tenures since 1999, there is verifiable evidence of Kwara North getting its deserved attention. You can go and verify.
The senator has been strategic in his approach to issues bordering on the welfare of his constituents. Because he’s an expert and a major player in the healthcare sector, he hasn’t only facilitated the rehabilitation and refurbishment of primary healthcare centers across the senatorial district but has equally followed up with three different phases of free medical outreach for the people of Kwara North, ranging from free eye surgeries, free tests for common ailments such as hepatitis, malaria and sugar level (diabetes) with free distribution of drugs to patients to enhance early discovery and help patients recover from such illnesses. This is what is called responsible representation in the true sense of the word.
It’s been infrastructure and more infrastructure across the nooks and crannies of the senatorial district. The gains of the last three years cannot be swept under the carpet whatsoever, a quick vox populi on the streets of Lafiagi, Patigi, Bode Saadu, Kaiama and Kosubosu will reaffirm the assertion that the senator has done remarkably well by all standards for a first termer.
In the education sector, similar success stories are told all across the district. There is no denying the fact that Kwara North is an educationally disadvantaged district. Education is the most important thing that the people of the region need right now. Not just any type of education but access to quality and affordable education. This cannot be achieved without a dint of hard work and uncommon commitment by those in positions of authority.
Pretty aware of this wide gap, Senator Sadiq Umar on assumption of office made the need for his constituents to have access to affordable education a topmost priority given the dilapidated state of infrastructure in schools across the senatorial district. And because he is a talk and do personality, many new structures in primary school and secondary schools in Kwara North are courtesy of his vision to ensure that all children of school age are enrolled into school, consolidating the efforts of the state government towards repositioning the battered image of the education sector in the state. This has proven to have reduced the disturbing numbers of out of school children wandering the streets and posing threats to the peace of the society. The construction and reconstruction of a variety classrooms, water facilities, toilets, examining halls and most importantly, instructional materials is a deliberate action worthy of commendation as it has reawakened the hope and interest of the indigent whose social status wouldn’t have given them access to this education that is a right of every citizens. He has also during the years under review through the Sadiq Umar Foundation supported indigent but academically exceptional students to pay up their tuition fees in different levels of their educational pursuits to help them achieve their dreams, aspirations and fulfil their potentials in life.
If there is one area the senator has, in three years tried to leave an indelible footprints and has equally resonated with the electorate, then it should be the idea of reconstructing and asphalting township roads in major towns and communities in the North. The North is not and may not be an economically viable destination for agribusiness especially as its other two counterparts majorly because of lack of access roads but the efforts through his constituency office to open up the district by way of prioritizing construction of feeder roads connecting major settlements is smashing. This is another infrastructural consolidation initiative undertaken by Senator Sadiq Suleiman to compliment the efforts of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in road construction and rehabilitation across Kwara North, shows the duo are working in unison to institutionalized and bring good governance closer to the people in the grassroots. Erosion controls and construction of mini bridges connecting rural communities are a constant sight all across the length and breadth of Kwara North as the Senator works tirelessly to bridge the infrastructural deficits. Yes, some communities may still be on the waiting list and would grumble at this assertion but what is certain is that he has demonstrated strong leadership capacity, foresight, commitment and the political will. As it is popularly said, the Nigerian(Kwara North)project is a work in progress.
The socio-economic growth and development of emerging markets and economies largely depends on consistent power supply and Kwara North is not left out in the renewed efforts to achieve a clean and green environment through the consumption of clean energy. Kaiama, Gbugbu and Essanti in Lade Ward III have all received new transformers to stay connected to the national grid. This will improve the sustainable living income for the local population through increased patronage of local industries and small businesses that are electrical power-dependent. The burning of fossil fuel is on the increase and its effect on global warming and climate change is glaring, a tenable reason behind the solar street lights initiative to light up rural communities in Kwara North Senatorial District.
In the same vein, motorized boreholes have been sunk in different parts of the senatorial district through the constituency office of the distinguished senator and his foundation respectively to curb the scourge of water scarcity that is fast becoming a seasonal problem. Some others have been rehabilitated in effort to ensure everyone regardless of their social status is carried along.
Need I mention the mega empowerment that was well attended by constituents drawn from across the senatorial district to cushion the effect of post covid-19 global economic meltdown? Petty traders, farmers, transporters and even the party structure were some of the beneficiaries that went home with different working tools and materials such as utility vehicles, motorcycles and tricycles to support their businesses. The reward of goodness is more goodness.
On his contributions to legislative businesses, he has sponsored and cosponsored motions and bills on burning national issues, speaking fluently with confidence while marshalling his points.
Governance even in the most advanced democracies is sustained by continuity and in our political parlance, we say governance is continuum. Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar has done remarkably well in the space of three years. He deserves a return ticket to the Red Chambers of the National Assembly if we are truly concerned about the progress and development of Kwara North as a district. He has laid a workable template for the district and if voted for a second term in office as mostly expected, he will be going back as a ranking member of the senate where he would be able to push for and facilitate more people oriented projects to Kwara North.
If you don’t understand the workings of the National Assembly, you may not know what it means to be a ranking member of the legislature but then, you certainly need competence and capacity to attract federal presence to your district, two traits that 3SU has effortlessly demonstrated by virtue of his achievements over the last three years. You need political clout.
Yes there is room for improvements especially in the area of human capital development. He’s no stone unturned in his resolve to redefine democratic representation through inclusion and participation. The paradigm shift we have always wanted is making inroads to all parts of Kwara North courtesy of senator Sadiq Umar’s pragmatic approach to issues bordering on good governance.
Indeed, it’s been purposeful and responsive three years for Kwara North and its people, little wonder why the electorate are patiently waiting to repay his exemplary leadership capacity with bloc votes in the next general elections.
Unfazed. Unperturbed. Unfettered. Only waiting to take Kwara North to its deserved developmental position.
APC SAK: On March 18, Our Vote Should Be For AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq- Qudus Adelodun
Just like the February 25th election is now history, March 18, the new date of the gubernatorial and state assembly elections, is also around the corner and would also become history in the nick of time. One significant thing however is that we cannot afford to get it wrong in our dear state, Kwara. Citizens must vote right and vote wisely.
The March 18th poll is a choice between maladministration and good governance. Never must we allow darkness to triumph over light! Any mistake could cost us a whole lot; something fatal than we had experienced in the past. That’s why for me, I choose AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Mr. Capacity) over the assemblage of desperate and disgruntled politicians.
Kwarans, we must never forget where we came from. Four years ago, we liberated ourselves from the hands of desperate, arrogant and self-serving politicians who had arrogated our state and all its resources to themselves. They had no regard for human dignity. They failed in governance and administration.
We must never forget that we came from an era where civil servants did not get their salaries and entitlements as and when due. We must never forget that we came from an era where senior citizens who are retirees did not get their pensions and gratuities. We must never forget that we came from a regime where the water question could not be tackled head-on and our people were at the mercy of tankers to access something as basic as water. We must never forget we came from a regime that was rocked with all kinds of financial scandals, misappropriation, lack of value for money and widespread corrupt practices that drew our state several years back. It was under this same era that UBEC grant worth billions of naira was diverted, taking our basic education many years backwards.
Kwarans, we must never forget all these atrocities and scenarios as we approach the gubernatorial and state assembly elections to make an all-important decision. As we go to the polls, we must also bear in mind the landmark transformation and remarkable change that have happened across sectors of the state.
Starting from what was practically ground zero, AbdulRazaq has taken our state to enviable heights. From a state with no functional tractor in 2019, Kwara is now recognised as one of the rice producing states in the country due to his major investments in agriculture and support for farmers. From a state with no functional ambulance in 2019, Kwara was applauded for its exemplary role in managing COVID-19 and is now the state that houses the largest Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the whole of central Nigeria. The state now has ventilators. Our Isolation Centre is renovated and refurbished to a standard taste. Our long-abandoned Oxygen Plant in Sobi is now up and running. All these are results of prudence and capacity.
With the quantum of works this administration has done in the last four years, there is no ward in Kwara State today where it doesn’t have a project. The administration has established bold government presence in all the wards constituting the state. Young people and women are given recognition like never before in the state. The same state where youths were relegated to nothing and/or as ‘good boys’ is now where they get million naira grants to boost their entrepreneurial desires. This stands commendable! And this is the same fashion in which the government has been supporting every segment and demography of the society.
One thing I will never forget to add is the conducive political environment this administration has created. Opposition and dissenting voices are not been silenced or muzzled. It was so bad under the previous regime that opposition elements dare not attend events that the governing personalities attend. Everything has changed. People now have the platforms to ventilate their views without nursing the fear of being chased about by good boys.
The political culture has also changed drastically. Yesterday, you had to practically crawl and genuflect for the hegemons to grow in politics and government. Today, nobody does that. Political offices have been largely demystified. You now have the sense that political office holders are more or less like you, and that you can also be one in the nearest future.
Kwarans, we must never forget. We must allow the consolidation of this transformative foundation that has already been laid. On Saturday, March 18, we should all come out en masse to vote Mr. Capacity AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. He is the man who has shown capacity where others failed woefully.
Adelodun writes from Oro, Kwara State
March 11: Dear Kwarans, Let Us Do Four More With AbdulRazaq By Abdulquadri Mahmud
A few weeks before the presidential and national assembly elections, I was very optimistic that my fellow Kwarans would vote for the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) because of the unprecedented achievements the state has recorded under the party. And as God would have it, they did. They voted APC from top to bottom. Their action no doubt shows that they are progressives and do not want any party (PDP) that will reverse their gains over the last three years. It also shows that they do not want a Saraki dynasty that will take them back to the era of geri-gedi and all sorts of maladministration.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Kwarans for choosing to be progressives. Also, I want them to know that there is no chaff in all the candidates they elected. They’ll represent us well at the national level and fulfill their campaign promises.
However, Kwarans should know that our dear state will not be fully progressive if we fail to re-elect Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq whose achievements in the last three years have brought Kwara back on track. The governor has done well for us and the best way to compensate him for his good intentions towards us and our dear state is to come out en masse on March 11 to cast our votes for him. Among all the candidates vying for the post, AbdulRazaq is the only candidate who means well for Kwara.
AbdulRazaq was tested and he delivered. He comforted Kwarans and recorded the achievements his predecessors could not record in their 16 years of misruling and looting Kwara state. Bukola Saraki and his stooge Abdul Fatah Ahmed had almost sold Kwara on Jumia before AbdulRazaq came on board. They had sold many properties belonging to the state government. Despite this, they did not pay civil servants salaries. Despite this, they could not fix bad roads and schools whose structures were terrible and posed threats to students.
It was AbdulRazaq’s emergence that brought relief and renewed our hope in Kwara state. All the things that could have benefited Kwarans such as the 30,000 naira minimum wage, provision of potable water, and others, Saraki and Abdul Fatah failed to deliver them. They treated Kwarans like they were not humans while they comforted their party loyalists with the state’s treasury. It was the AbdulRazaq-led administration that changed the story. Today, our people have access to potable water and receive the 30,000 naira minimum wage among others.
To continue unraveling the progress, growth, and developments we see today in all parts of our dear Kwara, we must ensure AbdulRazaq’s victory at the polls on March 11. That’s the only way to prevent Saraki and his hungry boys from coming back to loot our treasury. The Saraki dynasty has nothing to offer other than misery, suffering, and poverty. That’s why we must do everything legal to prevent the dynasty from raping Kwara again.
Dear Kwarans, “let’s march to victory and progress”. Let’s do four more with a trustworthy, receptive, and responsive AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. He remains the best man for the job. Kwarans do not need someone who will be waiting for his greedy and merciless leader’s directive before he can attend to their needs. What Kwarans need is someone who has the wherewithal to run her affairs and that person is Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq!
Abdulqaudri Mahmud writes from Ilorin East LGA, Zango Ward, Ilorin Kwara state
Why Kwarans Shouldn’t Fall For Saraki’s New Gimmick- Abdulqaudri Mahmud
When Bukola Saraki realized that his several propaganda to pit Kwarans against Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s performing government didn’t work, he directed all his followers to start begging Kwarans to vote for the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar if they can’t vote for the party’s governorship candidate, Abdullahi Yaman. He said the former’s victory was more important than the latter’s. The former Senate President didn’t just say this, he has discovered that well-meaning Kwarans are in full support of AbdulRazaq’s second-term bid.
However, Kwarans should be very careful and shouldn’t fall for Saraki’s new gimmick. Even though Saraki has failed to tell his followers why he prefers Atiku’s victory to Yaman’s, some of us know his reason. Saraki knows that Yaman can’t win AbdulRazaq at the polls, therefore, if Atiku wins he is going to help him claim either by force or by raping the court. Currently, Saraki’s boys have been meeting unsuspecting Kwarans and begging them to vote for Atiku if they can’t vote for Yaman. That’s why you will barely see them campaign for Yaman in the last few weeks.
This essayist urges Kwarans not to fall for Saraki’s evil plans against them and the progressive state. The steady development and unprecedented achievements of the present administration have been giving Saraki and his retrogressive camp a serious headache and they are sad that Governor AbdulRazaq is doing what they couldn’t do for the people in their 16 years of governance in Kwara state.
From Saraki’s campaign rallies and his very recent interview on Sobi FM, it is glaring that he does not mean well for Kwara state and Kwarans. Saraki said the AbdulRazaq-led government had failed. If I may ask him, a government that pays salaries and promotes workers has failed? A government that repairs roads and renovates schools has failed? A government that provides potable water for its people has failed? A government that provides good teaching materials and introduced KwaraLEARN has failed? A government that creates jobs and pays the 30,000 minimum wages has failed?
Saraki is a sadist and he doesn’t mean well for Kwara state. His return will be a disaster for our dear state. May Saraki not happen to us again. If not for the Otoge movement in 2019, it is only God that knows where Kwara would have been by now. Bukola and his protege Abdulfatah Ahmed crumbled the state. Workers were owed months’ salaries, no potable water for the people, the structures of schools were terrible as students studied under the trees, no learning materials in classrooms, pensions, and gratuities were not paid, and hospitals were not hospitable. These are what Saraki calls achievements that AbulRazaq has not replicated which made him a failure, according to Saraki.
The Otoge movement gave us a brilliant, smart, and progressive AbdulRazaq. In all the areas Saraki and Abdulfatah had failed, AbdulRazaq has done well in the areas. Therefore, dear Kwarans, the 2023 presidential election and national assembly elections are this Saturday, February 25, let’s cast our votes for all the APC’s candidates and most importantly, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It’s our massive votes for Tinubu and other candidates that can stall Saraki’s evil plots against us and our dear state.
Abdulqaudri Mahmud writes from Ilorin East LGA, Zango Ward, Ilorin Kwara state
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