Kwarans not ingrates: An assessment of two years administration of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq

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BY Abdulganiyu T. Hanafi

Ordinarily, there may not be any need to lend credence to the brilliant performance of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of All Progressives Congress (APC) since he was sworn in as Kwara State Governor on 29th May, 2019, if not for the sake of posterity. This aside, the Governor should know that people are keenly watching his administration’s performance closely, possibly more than he thought. Most of the leaders and members of All Progresses Congress (APC) as well as broad spectrum of the general public are appreciative of his achievements, an indication that they are not ingrates. It is safe to conclude that Kwarans are happy to have him at the helms of affairs and he should continue to do more.

In the nearest future, his leadership style would become a focus for researchers. Currently, this has generated serious debate between the members of the APC and among the people of Kwara State. No matter the side of the debate that one belongs to, the excellent performance of the easy going Governor is non-debatable. Generally, new development usually generates controversies, especially when one is averse to changes. 

Whereas, what is permanent in life is ‘change’! As it is in Kwara State, the change brings joy considering the big achievements it has brought to the state. Just as the government’s spokesperson wrote on the first year of Gov. AbdulRazaq administration, he said, it was not yet “eldorado” but the administration had made significant progress. The second year of the administration is a more success story visible in all parts of Kwara State. 

This is not unexpected as the Governor, while addressing some stakeholders of the party immediately after his election, said about 70% of Kwarans voted for him in the 2019 gubernatorial election hence he must touch the entire state in distributing the dividends of democracy. A promise kept indeed.Naturally, some issues came up during the two years of his administration stemming from his style of governance, yet he has continued to forge ahead in grand style. A cool headed individual, he is, he continues to resolve these problems one by one. The most serious one is the party crisis that is being magnified by some party’s adherents. Yet, the resolution is at sight considering the fact that all members accept that the party’s survival in the state is their ultimate aim. 

As attested to by the entire citizenry and party members alike, the disagreement had not in any way affected the performances of the Governor and his team that had been running the affairs of the state in a prudent manner with  the little resources available. People are even wondering where he is getting fund to execute projects throughout the nooks and crannies of the state.

A controversial issue came up when he decided to seek for N35bn Bond from capital market to execute some economic and social projects.The Kwara State House of Assembly and many citizens supported the Governor since the loan would aid the development of the state.The support was based on his administrative style which is prudent, purposeful and reliable. Thus, his efficient and prudent management of resources will make the loan benefit Kwara State. His desire to grow the socio-economy of the state should be encouraged as we cannot continue to crawl. Those of us who believe in this however called on him and the House of Assembly to update the public on the stages of the bond, its usages and the repayment as and when due. We never envisage any debt crisis as the economy of the state is capable of paying the loan under his prudent administration.
If we have confidence on his prudent management of resources, we are not on the wrong path.Going down the memory lane, his administration paid the hitherto owed counterpart funds in UBECand some others in health and infrastructural sectors. The administration has continued to pay workers’ salaries, pensions, gratuities as well as carrying out their promotion.This is therefore not the kind of Administration that will obtain loan, mismanage it and fail to service it as some critics want us to believe.Their disparaging comments against the progressive and dynamic Kwara State House of Assembly for supportting the Bond is myopic, misplaced and uncalled for.The Legislature deserve our commendation for good and visionary representation.

GovernorAbdulrahman’s administration does belief in bureaucracy but abhor the bad sides of it. He always attends to serious matter promptly. He did his best and won accolades throughout Nigeria for effectivelyhandlingthe covid-19 crisis in the state since when it was first discovered till date. The Governor also continuedto manage ecological problems in all nooks and crannies of the state. The early May, 2021, rain that wrecked havoc in Ilorin metropolis took the Governor and his team out at night to visit all the scenes of the violent erosion which was destroying everything on its path. The following day, worked commenced on those sites. In the previous year, he attended to many of such sites and dredged the Asa river, thereby bringing relief to many communities.

I will not be surprised if some people reading this article do not expect a chronicle of the Governor’s achievements. That will be done but not in the usual way as I am not his administration’s chronicler.Still on his leadership style, Mall.AbdulRahmanAbdulRazaq recently recruited over fourthousand (youth) Teachers to the Basic Schools (Primary 1- JSS III) and Secondary Schools to improve teaching and learning. While the issue of employment is of paramount importance to the citizens of the state, the transparent manner devoid of favoritism with which the employment was conducted was exemplary and extraordinary. The process gave hope to the youth and the entire citizenry that the children of nobody can be employed without knowing anybody. The employment was based on performances in examination and interview. That is to say, it was based on merit. The implication of this is great and beyond the employment saga as it enthrones impartiality and transparency. It emphasized merit over mediocrity.Similarly, it sent signal to parents, guidiance and students that only intelligent students who did not cheat to pass examinations will have employment in the state.Those who believed that holding a certificate that cannot be defended will fetch them job will now have a rethink. The Governor should continue to do this in all its recruitment to give hope to serious graduates who will be able to deliver in their places of work.

The administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is noted for inclusiveness with fairness to women and people with special needs. On assumption of office, the Governor visited Kwara StateSchool for the Special Needs in Ilorin and immediately commenced the renovation of the school. Needed equipments were also provided the school that had long been neglected.

The Administration scores very high with regards to its compliance with the Beijing declaration among his peers. The women were given adequate representation. In her 197th inaugural lecture at the University of Ilorin titled “Genderising the Rights for partnership not rivalry, friendship not foe, complementarily not confrontation, Professor Nimah M. Abdulraheem has this to say on P.36.
…… Governor AbdulRahmanAbdulRazaq of Kwara State seemed to have raised the hope in this regard with the appointment of his recently dissolved cabinet which consisted of 9 women commissioners out of total number of 16 representing 56.25%.
At this juncture, it is imperative to state categorically that a list of his government achievementscan be comprehensively sourced on the website of Kwara State Government,tweets of his Chief Press Secretary(CPS) MallamRafiuAjakaye,handing over notes of former commissioners, etc. Meanwhile, let me bring forth a highlight of his dynamic administration achievements.

(a) i. Numerous intercity/towns roads across the state numbering over one hundred

ii.  3 major inter-town roads: Ilesha Baruba-Gwanara Road 35km, Megida-Banni Road 33km, Baruteen-Kaiama road 87km, Alapa-Arobadi road 6.5km and some other ones in other senatorial districts.

(b) i. Rehabilitation of some water works to increase wider distribution of portable water across the state.

ii. Construction of Bore holes in various parts of the state.

(c) i. Renovation of many colleges across the state: Ilorin GrammarSchool; Government High School, Ilorin; Oro Grammar School, Oro;Patigi Sec. Sch. Kaima Government (unity) Secondary School ,Etc. 

 ii. Release of N700 Million bail-out fund for the Colleges of Education to settle salaries owed staff, accreditation and reaccreditation of their programmes. iii. Recruitment of thousands of teachers for Basic and secondary schools.iv. Securing N7 Billion for the construction/rehabilitation of classrooms and procurement of teaching and learning materials for the Basic 1-9 (Primary & JSS) in the state

(d) i. Rehabilitation of Primary Health Care Centres (clinics) across the state.ii. Rehabilitation of some hospitals in the stateiii. Construction of some special units (ICU, Eye clinic, etc) at the General hospital Ilorin.iv. Designation of General Hospital, Ilorin for consultant training in some fields etc.

(e) Redefine the security architecture of the state with the provision of vehicles for security agencies and the recruitment of 1,056 community police constables.

(f). Comprehensive agricultural policies to make Kwara a leading agricultural state.i. Purchase of new tractors and refurbishment of earth moving equipment.

ii. Provision of cocoa and cashew seedlings to farmers.

iii. Provision of 50% farm inputs subsidy scheme for 10,000 farmers.

iv. Cultivation of 500 hectares farm for distribution to youths in each of the 16 Local Government Areas.This“FarmKwara” programme has commenced in Adanla in Ifelodun Local Government Area. The farms are to be distributed 5 hectares per prospective youth farmer.

v. Ten year Agricultural Transformation Working on the completion of Federal Government Duku-Lade 10 Billion Naira irrigation project in Patigi Local Government by meeting relevant authorities in Abuja including President MuhammaduBuhari for the release of fund.

g. Renovation of dilapidated Magistrate courts.

h. Ongoing construction of innovation Hub for the use of Technopreneurs, students, researchers, e.t.c.

i. Ongoing construction of visual art centre.

j. Ongoing renovation of Olympic size swimming pool in Kwara State Stadium

k. Introduction of “Kwarapreneurs” loan programme targeting 1200 youth to start their businesses.

l. Various Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), purchase and distribution of transformers to improve electricity supply; etc

With the above listed numerous projects, it is crystal clear that the Governor is laying a solid socio-economic base that will promote growth and development in Kwara State.

All these initiatives will surely improve the GDP of the state; generate employment; improve living conditions; ensure safety of lives and properties of everyone and reduce poverty. The educational development is targeted at raising literacy level, reducing out of school children and making our graduates employable in line with his policy of human capital development. The people with special needs are not left out. His stride towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is on course.

It is therefore evident that the Governor’s policies and programmes will complement President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.

The slogan “Otoge” which means “enough is enough” is strictly meant to stop all those nefarious acts that had perversed growth and development in Kwara State. Concluding, the two years administration of Governor AbdulRazaq has changed the narrative of Kwara State for the better. The wishes of the founding fathers of the state are gradually being realised.The recent ranking released by progressive Governor’s forum in March, 2021 placing the administration of GovernorAbdulrahaman in the first place is an attestation to his excellent performances in the development of both rural and urban areas of KwaraState. A people-centred administration that guarantees development and sustains peace and security of the state. We all need to be grateful to Almighty God and support his progressive policies and general administration.

Alh. Abdulganiyu T. Hanafi writes from Ilorin, Kwara State,

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