Kwara: Don’t distract the driver, please!

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SIR: After years of being left in the lurch, divine intervention came for Nigeria’s State of Harmony, Kwara when, in 2019, the people elected what came close to their idea of a people’s government. The election of Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq lifted people’s moral and the governor, aware of the heavy burden on his shoulders, literally hit the ground running when he assumed office. He has not buckled under the burden since then.

It is 17 months into the journey and, already, dirty politics is threatening to buckle him. From all indications, some passengers in the jalopy the governor is have become distractingly rowdy in a way that could bring the journey to grief! Let unresolved, the needless and avoidable crisis that has engulfed the Kwara State branch of the ruling APC party portends real bad news for the state. This is not cheering news for the state’s estimated three million people. It is time for decent Nigerians to rise and avert a return to the Kwara’s better-forgotten past.

The advertised grouse of those who have sworn to make Kwara ungovernable is two-fold:  one, they allege that they are not carried along in running the state and, two, that Governor Abdulrazaq triggered events that ousted the state’s interim chairman of the party by the national caretaker committee of the APC.

Keen watchers of Kwara politics knew that opposition to the governor would not be long in coming immediately after he named his first cabinet. Reason was that those who expected to be ‘compensated’ for bringing APC to power in the state felt aggrieved that neither they nor their handpicked nominees featured in the list. That, in the estimation of those who aspire to be Kwara’s new political overlords, was the first alleged infraction committed by Governor Abdulrazaq.

More curious was the opposition to the governor’s decision to insist on competitive bidding for ongoing developmental projects in the state! Reasonable as it sounds, the governor’s decision opened him to charges of being too rigid and unyielding! For politicians who are long used to being ‘compensated’, this was the last straw: the governor has crossed the proverbial redline and therefore deserve to have spanners thrown into his work. No one cared a hoot about the man’s adjudged honesty and incorruptibility or, for that matter, his rating as a performing and achieving chief executive! Enough on the lame advertised reasons for the crisis!

It appears the die is cast and nobody should be deluded into believing that the politicians will leave the governor to seamlessly execute his mandate. Meanwhile, in the midst of the preventable confusion, the vultures have started to fly low in anticipation of a major feast. In an ironic twist of events, even the rampaging governors who made no distinction between Kwara state treasury and their private accounts are coming out of their political Siberia to jump into the fray. To worsen matters, some big voices in the “O to ge!” campaign now hobnob with corruption high priests of yore, all in the desperation to diminish Governor Abdulrazaq.

Perhaps, it is time to awaken the politicians who aspire to replace the rampaging oligarchs of the immediate past to the stark reality that it was the people, not a handful of APC chieftains that elected Governor Abdulrazaq. And, from all indications, the people chose a governor they can always call their own! But, since it is impossible for people to be compensated individually, the best the people expect his government to do is precisely what it has busied itself with since 2019: execute life-changing developmental projects and upgrade decayed infrastructure across the state!

A word of caution suffices here. It is important to remind ourselves that a return to the oligarchic past, when a few people treated state funds as personal wealth, frittered opportunities, elevated cronyism to an art and effectively turned the people of Kwara State into a vulnerable, unquestioning and submissive lot is not an option. The people must resist the urge to return to the famished path of the past when available jobs, major and minor, denied competent hands in the state and contracted to friends and family members elsewhere. Kwara must not return to the past when cultists, armed robbers, hired killers, and other roughnecks had a field day and operated, oftentimes, with the support of prominent politicians.

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