The government presence and impact we have seen across sectors and in the 16 local government areas that make up Kwara State in the last three years are unprecedented. The AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-led administration has been responsive, responsible, impactful and people-oriented. Pre-2019, the system that was rejected by the people of Kwara was the one that valued a circle of power brokers and elites over the critical mass of ordinary citizens. A callous system of administration that did not feel the pulse of the people. The ordinary people did not matter once some few entitled elites are happy and satisfied. Schools may look like prison yards for as long as the UBEC fund diverted has been shared between some powers-that-be.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq assumed office in 2019 and changed the whole system to be inclusive and people-oriented. It’s no longer about a few people who feel entitled, but all stratas and categories of citizens are carried along. Some people who had positioned themselves to be the next landlords of Kwara were therefore rightly disappointed as things would later pan out.
How did these people leave Kwara in 2019? What were the things our people rejected them for? Has AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq been able to address a substantial part of them? These are the questions that should guide Kwarans as we go into this 2023 election. The PDP left a Kwara where workers hardly knew when their takehome would come. If it’s not gerigedi, then they might not even take anything at all for the month. Salary arrears accumulated for months in MDAs. People began to groan. So, what is obtainable today under the leadership of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq? Apart from not defaulting for a single month in the payment of salaries to workers, AbdulRazaq has also implemented the N30,000 minimum wage. The past administration defaulted serially in salary payment to workers and never implemented the minimum wage (both N18,000 and N30,000).
Similarly, Governor AbdulRazaq has cleared salary arrears inherited by his administration. He has also shown full commitment in clearing backlogs of allowances, pensions, gratuities, promotion arrears inherited by his administration. Instead of squandering any finances available to the state, he channels it to defraying these obligations as the resources permit. If it were in the regime of these people, the SURE-P refund would have been lavished on another white elephant project just to scam the people and enrich themselves and their cronies.
The PDP are now shamelessly pushing the narrative that it is only salary payment that AbdulRazaq can point to as achievement. But that is far from the truth because his midas touch has hit other sectors too within the space of just three years. Our schools that used to be like prison yards are now being renovated, reconstructed and rehabilitated. Over 600 of them across the three senatorial districts of the state. The government also introduced KwaraLEARN to standardise learning process for our children especially with the use of technology. The recruitment process of teachers under this administration was thorough, unlike when slots of teaching were shared at political gatherings, causing a thunderous ruin to our education system.
If you go to health, it has been work and work for the AbdulRazaq-led administration. To show how bad the situation was, the whole of Kwara State did not have a standard functional ambulance. It was Governor AbdulRazaq that procured new ambulances for the state. These ambulances are moving theatres on their own, not the painted ‘danfo’ buses the previous administration left behind. The Sobi Oxygen Plant has been abandoned for years. It took the effort and commitment of this administration to revive it. In water, our waterworks, most of them inherited from the military government, were left to rot by the Saraki dynasty. After mismanaging the over N6 billion they allocated to solve water problem, they brought in water tankers to distribute water to people haphazardly and at will.
Bursary payment for indigenous students under the Saraki dynasty was a racket. Only few students benefitted, and a chunk of the money goes into the hands of unmerited people. Governor AbdulRazaq has addressed that. He has also raised the pay from N5,000 to N10,000. These are part of the situations we collectively frowned at when we said O to ge.
Governor AbdulRazaq is therefore the candidate to beat. It has been difficult for the PDP to truthfully assess and criticise his government and administration. What they now do is spread lies. In spite of all these developments, they said they did not see anything. They said they are tired. They have been spreading false and fake statistics, data on the state just to mislead the people. But Kwarans are not fools.
Their leader Bukola Saraki also shamelessly came to Kwara last week to rant and grandstand. It is laughable. Many of those projects he makes noise about as his achievements are funded by the federal government. Some of the ones he funded with the state bond he took were not completed in the life of his administration. Others were never implemented. The diagnostic centre and cargo terminal were completed under Abdulfatai Ahmed. Even the post office flyover funded by the federal government was completed under Ahmed. Metropolitan Square was never completed. Shonga Farms continues to accrue debt for the state.
What Saraki and his men have been trying so hard to hide is the fact that Governor AbdulRazaq is embarking on landmark capital legacy projects that will not only make Kwara a go-to place for economic and business activities, but also completely change the outlook of the state. These projects include the Innovation Hub, Visual Arts Centre, Garment Factory, Film Studio, International Conference Centre, Gen Tunde Idiagbon Flyover, Dualisation of Adeta-AlHikmah Road, Osi-Obbo-Aiyegunle Road construction and so many others are legacy projects of Governor. He is doing all these at the same time he is trying to address the basic challenges facing the state in education, health, water, civil service, sports, road, among others. The second term is a deserved one. We must not hand back our state to the termites that ruined it when we said O to ge.
Adelodun writes from Oro, Kwara State
Saraki: A Man Who Refused To Pay Pensions, Gratuities Is Pontificating On Governance- Qudus Adelodun
Bukola Saraki, the leader of the dynasty that ruined Kwara State and destroyed every great legacy for which the state is known, was in Ilorin some weeks back. He was pontificating on governance. This is a shameless attitude because he has no moral right to do so. During his reign as governor of the state, he had every down resources to take Kwara to a greater height, but he frittered everything with greed, avarice and kleptomania. He was lucky to have governed at a time of oil boom where the country had so much resources. But what can he point out today as his achievements?
If Bukola Saraki is not fraudulently taking the glory of federal government funded projects such as KWASU, Post Office Flyover, renovation of Ilorin International Airport, among others, he would be advertising failed, white elephant investments such as Shonga Farms, Cargo Terminal, Kwara Mall, Mandate III Estate as achievements. All these are failed multi-billion naira projects that Kwara continues to bleed from because the state still services huge debts on them long after Saraki is gone. Did he do us favour or doom?
Mandate III estate is there with billions of debt. Shonga Farms too with billions of debt. Cargo Terminal did not benefit the state. Kwara Mall has not yielded one kobo as returns on investment to the state. Bukola Saraki did not pay the contractors that handled the Metropolitan Square project for him. He did not pay the contractors that brought machines at Kwara Advanced Diagnostic Centre for him. These are what he point out as his achievements. Failure!
As if those are not enough. Bukola Saraki did not pay pensions and gratuities of retired civil servants in 2009 and 2010, despite the huge resources available at his disposal. That’s too mean. It is the Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq he loves to talk down to every time he has the opportunity that has cleared that mess many years after. Even his stooge, Abdulfatai Ahmed that governed after him couldn’t help him clean that mess. Did Ahmed ever fail in paying the pension packages of Bukola Saraki as a former governor during his reign? This was even when he was drawing huge salaries and allowances as senator. They can comfort themselves, but comfort is not to be given to the masses. Yet they continue to pontificate and still nurse the idea of coming back. Is that not shameless of them?
I was at the bank last week after the payment of the accrued pensions of 2009 and 2010 by Governor AbdulRazaq. I could see the happiness, excitement and fulfilment in the senior citizens that came to withdraw their monies. They were so glad. I tried to engage one of them, and he told me they had been suffering to get their pensions and gratuities for long; and even some of them had died in the process. The old man commended Governor AbdulRazaq, saying his impacts are always felt in the state.
These are the testimonies on the streets, but the PDP elements who are tired of life said they have not seen anything good. May our minds not be blocked. What Governor AbdulRazaq has achieved in the last three years have been massive. The schools the Saraki dynasty left to rot are being renovated and rehabilitated. The waterworks they left in a total state of dysfunction have been repaired. Salary payment, pension payment and gratuities have been up to date, timely and consistent. Road construction projects are hitting the nooks and crannies of the state. Our health facilities are witnessing overhaul. The agric sector is also getting a turnaround. The youths and women are being empowered and included in the decision making table.
The governor is also embarking on legacy projects that will change the face of Kwara and make it the one of the preferred destinations for business, investment and economic activities. For instance, the International Conference Centre the Governor AbdulRazaq-led administration is building will be the best in the whole of North-Central after the one in Abuja, the national capital. No state in Nigeria except Lagos has the facilities for last mile finishing that the Visual Arts Centre/Film Studio Governor AbdulRazaq-led administration is building will house. The Eye Centre in the state built and equipped by Governor AbdulRazaq follows that of Kaduna in terms of standard in the whole of the North. We also have the Innovation Hub. And many more.
If Kwara has had a visionary, selfless and financially responsible and disciplined governor like AbdulRazaq instead of the kleptos that superintended over our affairs for 16 years, our state would have moved forward and be competing fairly with the likes of Kaduna in the North. We must give AbdulRazaq another chance to solidify the placement of Kwara on a sound footing. One good turn deserves another. Those who cannot pay something as basic as salaries and pensions during their time should bury their heads in shame and stop rubbing it in our face!
Adelodun writes from Oro, Kwara State
Count On Our Support At The Polls- Emirate To Gov AbdulRazaq
The Emir of Gwanara in Baruten local government of Kwara state, Alhaji (Dr) Sabi Idris KotoKotogi II, on Thursday said the Emirate has witnessed significant growth and development under the APC government in the state, declaring their resolve to overwhelmingly vote for Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in the coming elections.
Fidel Info reports that He said the administration has not only prioritised their infrastructure needs but also restored their dignity as a people, saying the Emirate is reputed for paying virtue with virtue.
The Emir was speaking in Ilorin when he led a powerful delegation from the Emirate on a courtesy visit to Government House.
“To whom much is given much is expected. We want to use this opportunity to assure you and your government that ours is an Emirate that pays virtue with virtue. Therefore, you can count on us and on our support for your second term. On the days of election, we shall vote en masse for this administration that gave us a sense of belonging and treated us as human beings,” he said.
The Emir spoke through the Magajin Geri of the Emirate, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Oyooru.
The First Class monarch commended AbdulRazaq for his leadership quality and appreciated him for being passionate about the welfare of the people.
The Emir had earlier conferred on the Governor the Emirate’s Chieftaincy title — Dallatu of Gwanara — with the coronation ceremony coming at a later date. He was decorated with the traditional emblems of the Emirate, including a sword and other attires.
“The purpose of the courtesy call is to express our very sincere appreciation for the many good things, which your administration has done and is still doing in my domains, including the construction of the Gwanara township asphalt road within the first one hundred days in office,” he said, adding that the administration was the first to construct asphalt Road in the whole Baruten local government.
“Other projects of importance that are/being executed are the renovation of Gwanara Basic Health Center (BHC); construction of 33km Gwanara/Ilesha asphalt road; rehabilitation of Gwanara waterworks; remodelling and rehabilitation of LGEA Central School Gwanara, and provision of ICT Centre in the school; provision of new classrooms in Damera, Gogere, Suuru, and other communities in the Emirate; total renovation and remodelling of Grade 1 Area Court; and the facilitation of the newly established Federal Science and Technical College Gwanara, among others.”
Prominent in the Emir’s entourage were the Speaker Kwara State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Yakubu Danladi Salihu; Clerk of the House Hajia Halimat Jumai Kperogi; Special Assistant to the Governor on Political (North) Hon. Abdulkareem Yusuf (Dan-hawah); and the Chief Imam of Gwanara Alhaji Salihu Usman; among others.
AbdulRazaq, for his part, thanked the Emir and people of Gwanara Emirate for their objectivity and how they firmly stand by his government, asking them to sustain that tempo.
He urged the Emirate and the entire natives of Baruten to intensify their support for Hon. Yakubu Danladi, who he said has been his government’s partner in progress and has been using his influence to bring many goodies to Gwanara and Baruten as a whole.
“It is important for you to give him the support he needs at home so that the government knows that it is working with a strong partner,” the Governor said.
“Let’s face the reality, there is no (political) position that Baruten LG has not had in the past, apart from Governor and President of Nigeria. You have done Deputy Governor, you’ve done Speaker, you’ve done Minister and all that, but you can see the level of development in just over three years compared to their (PDP) entire sixteen years.
“It is not about voting anybody to a position of either senator or governor. It is about voting for somebody who can do the job and have the interest of the people at heart. Somebody who goes home and is responsible to the people at home. Nobody goes home more than the Speaker (Yakubu Danladi) as far as we are concerned. Why is this young man doing these laudable things? You need to rally around him. And from the projects you have seen, he has delivered.
“You gave us overwhelming support in the last elections without knowing what we were up to. It was a blind trust. But we have shown you the good results and that we can do more, so give us the opportunity to do more and be able to officially open up Gwanara to the Republic of Benin. And to work with the federal government to have a new border post to be able to cross from Gwanara axis.”
He promised to continue to deliver good governance to Kwarans and assured the Gwanara Emirate of his administration’s commitment to equip their basic healthcare centre and provide it with adequate doctors to meet their health needs.
Hon. Danladi said the real development exists in Gwanara community only during the present administration, and that there is no single ward in the whole Baruten that has not seen the government’s presence, thanking AbdulRazaq for a job well done.
“Your Excellency, our people in Baruten are grateful to you. You are doing wonderfully well. I am sure we are the younger generation. Since when we know what they call politics, this is the only time we are seeing the presence of government in our Emirate. There is no district or ward in the local government that your government has not touched. So, we are proud of this administration,” he said.
He said the Emirate has always spoken in one voice on the ballots since 1999, and will repeat the same at the next elections, promising to deliver the 230 polling units in the Baruten LG for the Governor and other APC candidates.
Kwara: APC Presidential Campaign Rally, Atiku’s SUG-Like Campaign And The Doubting Thomases Of The Saraki Dynasty- Abdulqaudri Mahmud
Before the All Progressives Congress presidential campaign plane landed in Ilorin on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, the doubting Thomases of the Saraki dynasty had said all sorts of condemnable things like “Buhari will not come because he does not like how AbdulRazaq is managing the state”, “Tinubu and AbdulRazaq are not on good terms”, and “Kwarans won’t attend the campaign because they are fed up with AbdulRazaq”, among others. They took to the internet and misled as many as possible of their unsuspecting readers.
The campaign which was massively attended by the loyalists of the APC, and most especially Kwarans, slapped the rumor-mongers and doubting Thomases of the Saraki dynasty with facts and proof that President Muhammad Buhari, incoming President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Kwara APC, and specifically Kwarans are solidly behind Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq — who has been the hope of the hopeless since he became the mayor of the state in 2019.
The unprecedented APC presidential campaign didn’t only clear the doubts of the doubting Thomases of the Saraki dynasty — it also proved that the Saraki dynasty has been rejected by the majority of Kwarans who said Otoge, enough is enough in 2019. Their massive presence at the campaign is a pointer that their stance remains the same — Otoge! As I pointed out in one of my previous articles that “Kwarans have compared and contrasted the Saraki dynasty/PDP inglorious 16 years and Governor AbdulRazaq’s progressive 3 years and some months, and they prefer the latter’s.” Has the APC presidential campaign not proven me right?
If not that Bukola Saraki and his fake boys aka Sarakites are shameless, the Saraki dynasty does not deserve to come back in 2023 — not even in the next 50 years. But see them, shameless folks, regrouping themselves to return to power, so that they can continue the loot if allowed to stir the affairs of the state. Kwarans, specifically the civil servants can’t forget how the Saraki dynasty maltreated them. The dynasty owed them salaries and denied their promotions. It didn’t stop there, it also made their children learn under terrible conditions with dilapidated school buildings and the absence of learning materials. The diversion of Kwara’s money for personal use ended with the Saraki dynasty.
The APC campaign has thrown the Saraki dynasty and Kwara PDP into confusion and excruciating pain. They didn’t expect the massive turnout. Of course, they had thought it would not be different from the Atiku-Okowa SUG-like campaign. It has shredded and shattered their hope of coming back. But if you know these Sarakites like this essayist, you will trust them to start giving a dumb reason for the massive crowds at the campaign.
Abdulqaudri Mahmud writes from Ilorin East LGA, Zango Ward, Ilorin Kwara state
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