By Murtala Tajudeen
In Kwara State, the race for the 2019 governorship election is becoming interesting considering the array of gladiators, who want to succeed Governor Ahmed Abdulfatai.
The current dynamics in the state, where known political heavy weights had switched parties, have further lit made Kwara politics this time.
But it is important for people to take note of those who were active participants in the apparent misrule of Kwara. The people say they are mainly found in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Of the people jostling for the governorship position, the aspiration of Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, holds greater promise.
He is neither an accidental aspirant nor a stooge. Abdulrazaq is a politician with a vast knowledge of the state and the things that could make it work better.
With a father, Alhaji Folornsho Abdulrazaq, who is a prominent figure in Nigeria’s political history, he could be said to have come from a lettered family and one grounded in politics.
Unlike some instances where coming from a prominent political family is more or less a baggage, Abdulrazaqs’ is an asset.
Little wonder he possesses an articulated vision that is capable of making Kawara acheive its full potentialities.
This dream for the state spans virtually every sphere of human engagement.
His inspiration and passion for politics in Kwara is driven by an understanding of the extreme poverty and very poor state of basic infrastructure and services in the state.
That is why his mission is to harness the human and material resources which are in abundance in the state and transform the state,alleviate poverty and improve the standard of living of our people.
As far as he is concerned, the state has no reason to be backward.
Truly, the argument is faultless given that Kwara is a first generation state established at the same time with Lagos, Rivers and Kano. In spite of being strategically located in the heart of Nigeria, the cross section between the north and the south west, a major junction for rail and highways and a huge potential for air travel, Kwara governments over the last two decades under the influence of one family is seen by some as having gailed failed woefully to develop the state. It is a pity that a first generation state now ranks number 28 from the GDP rating of the 36 state of Nigeria.
It would interest anyone to know that Kwara is far behind new states like Oyo, Edo and Ogun. Ordinarily, this ought not to have been the case. But the failure of governance has inevitably led most of the industries established in Kwara in the early days of the state to shut down.
Today, the state has not harnessed the immense potentialities of the intellectual manpower both in Nigeria and in the diaspora. That is why we have beckoned on people like Abdulrazaq to run on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC.
He has the capacity to manage men and resources, having operated at the highest level in the oil and gas industry.
He owns one of Nigeria’s first and leading indigenous international oil trading company, First Fuels.
This is more of an affirmation of his assertions at different fora, of being the best, who Kwara should be entrusted to.
At one of the gatherings, he said: “My priority in Kwara will be the provision of security and creating of jobs for the youths, we will establish industrial training incubators where youths will be given opportunities right after graduating from Secondary School to be trained in technical, electronics ,IT and related skills. This training will be directly related to industry needs as well as self-employment.
“We shall also provide agricultural extension services and take full advantage of the Nigerian Agricultural Mechanized Agency located in Ilorin. This will create opportunities for youths to go into farming on a large scale. We have very fertile soil in Kwara particularly along the banks of the River Niger, where rice will be massively cultivated. We have a huge potential for growing various crops and vegetables all over Kwara. Due to climate change we shall establish green houses with the private sector to harvest vegetables all year round, and possibly develop an export market through our international airport in Ilorin.
“These shall be our focus. However, we shall also address the provisions of good primary healthcare services, good roads ,adequate and constant water supply and provision of power through renewable energy. I recognise the excellent initiative of University of Ilorin in her plan to establish a huge solar farm and power plant on its campus .l pledge to fully support this initiative and bring it to fruition. I also recognise the need for an efficient, well trained and well paid civil service particularly teachers at all levels. Kwara State is a state of reputable public and private universities.
“We shall explore the benefits that these institutions can bring to the state and their adjoining communities.
“Finally we shall also address the tourism potentialities of the state, renovate the dilapidated tourist sites , develop new untapped sights and revive traditional festivals with the active involvement of our royal fathers, whose role also in the peace and security of the state cannot be over emphasised.”
With his experience and expertise, these dreams are just realistic. What is needed is the support of every Kwaran in making them come true.
*Tajudeen, a public affairs analyst, writes from Omu Aran