Kwara 2023: AbdulRazaq remains the candidate to beat

By Qudus Adelodun

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

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