By Demola Akinyemi
During the 100 days anniversary breakfast meeting with journalists in Kwara State inside the expansive hall of Kwara hotels, Governor Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman among others drops the hint that the much-expected cabinet list would be unveiled the following week.
But contrary to the expectations of keen watchers of Kwara politics, the much expected big and popular names didn’t make the cabinet list which, interestingly, is now being strategically released in batches.
The first batch of the names, four in all, all women have been sent to the House of Assembly for screening and approval.
The most striking among the commissioner nominees is a 26-year-old female youth corper. Miss Joana Nnazua Kolo, currently serving in Jigawa State, nominated by the people of Edu Local Government.
Other nominees include Aishat Ahman Pategi, Arinola Fatimoh Lawal daughter of the late former governor of the state Alh Mohammed Lawal and Hajia Sadat Modibbo Kawu wife of Director General of National Broadcasting corporation and Vanguard columnist Mallam Modibbo Kawu
AbdulRazaq has also nominated a former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the FBN Mortgages Limited, a subsidiary of the First Bank, Mrs. Folashade Omoniyi, as the new Chairperson of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS). She would succeed Prof Murtala Awodun whose tenure expires soon.
Omoniyi, who holds a bachelor of engineering from the University of Ilorin and Masters of Business Administration from Obafemi Awolowo University, has many years of leadership experience in the banking sector, marketing, information communication technology, and business management.
She has executive education in positive leadership from Michigan Ross Executive Education (USA); Market Driving Strategies from London Business School (UK); Strategic Uses of Information Technology from Stanford Business School ( USA); and Senior Management Programme (SMP18) from the Lagos Business School (Nigeria).
Omoniyi is from Irepodun local government area of the state.
Miss Kolo, the youngest commissioner-nominee in the state’s history, is a 2018 graduate of Library Science from the Kwara State University (KWASU). A grassroots mobiliser, Miss Kolo is an ardent advocate of community development.
If confirmed, she would be Nigeria’s youngest commissioner, taking the trophy from Oyo State’s 27-year-old Oluwaseun Fakorede.
Miss Kolo is still having her National Youths Service Corps programme in Jigawa, where she is teaching at Model Boarding Junior Secondary School, Guri. Her screening for the cabinet seat would hold after she rounds off her NYSC service in the next two weeks.
A 1997 graduate of Economics from the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Mrs Modibbo-Kawu also holds Masters in Business Administration from the University of Ilorin and various certificates from Penn Foster Career School Scranton in the United States and Metropolitan School of Business and Management in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A member of several professional bodies like the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria and Nigeria Institute of Management, she is a co-founder of a number of schools and learning centres.
She is married to the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu and would be representing Ilorin South in the cabinet if her nomination scales through the House of Assembly.
Arinola Fatimoh Lawal, a 1993 graduate of Catering and Hotel Management from the Kwara State Polytechnic, is a top-rated player in Nigeria’s hospitality industry with experience as chief executive officers of several firms including Batool Nigeria Limited, Mohbalamira Nigeria Limited and MirMira Enterprise.
Hajia Lawal, who was a member of the Kwara State Transition Committee in 2019, is a daughter of former Kwara State Governor Mohammed Lawal from Ilorin East local government. Her skills cover project management, tourism and hospitality, change management, and Risk Management. A grassroots mobiliser with effective leadership skills and emotional intelligence, the nominee is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State.
A scion of one of Kwara’s oldest political families, nominee Aisha Ahman-Pategi is a professional business manager with over 20 years experience in communication strategy, investment/financial consulting, and marketing and motivational leadership. She is a serial entrepreneur known for a contagious passion for excellence and innovation with great resource skills in research, government and relations.
Ms Ahman-Pategi was educated at the School of Remedial Studies and FASS-International Relations in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State in 1996; Agent and Broker License Barney Fletcher School, in Atlanta GA, USA in 2004; Capstone Institute of Mortgage Finance, also in Atlanta in 2006; Stanford University, Stanford California where she obtained a certificate in Political Science (Data Analysis) in 2013; Bachelor of Art – Mass Communication from Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma; and MBA Business Administration from American Inter-Continental University, Dunwoody GA.
Aisha was Sales Manager for J&S Auto Sales Decatur, GA 30082 before founding A-Line Realty SMYRNA, GA 30082 in 2004 as the President and Managing Broker. The agency serves more than 300 clients by providing financial planning, assets management, commercial and residential estate transactions.
Between 2005 and 2007, she joined Continental Mortgage/World Financial Services Inc., Atlanta, GA 30324 as Financial Advisor/Mortgage consultant where she assisted clients with their needs via financial need analysis.
Aisha, a former Senior Special Assistant to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on Strategy and Communication, has also worked for the non-profit Project Coach Foundation since 2018 as executive director.
The non-profit organisation serves the most vulnerable communities in Nigeria through Community Outreach, Advocacy, Capacity building and Health (COACH) projects.
Apparently defending the nomination of youth corper commissioner nominee Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq said he acted within the recommendations of people of Tsaragi emirate whose turn it is to produce commissioner from Edu local government area, according to Tsaragi chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We are grateful to your Excellency for approving our nomination (of Miss Joanna Nnazua Kolo) from Tsaragi emirate and we assure you of our continued support,” Paul Solomon Jiya, chairman of the APC Zoning Committee in Tsaragi Emirate, said during a visit to AbdulRazaq Thursday evening.
Jiya said Kolo’s Tsaragi Ward I was where the office of commissioner has been zoned to in accordance with the local political arrangement.
“We are grateful to you for not ignoring our recommendation. The nominee is the choice of our people and we are here on behalf of the Tsaragi emirate to thank you,” he said.
The delegation, comprising dozens of APC chieftains from the three wards in Tsaragi, was led on the visit by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Mamman Sabah Jubril who is from Shonga Emirate of Edu Local Government.
Jibril also commended the Governor for his foresight, love for the youth and community development.
AbdulRazaq, for his part, commended the delegation for the visit, which he said is an “encouragement to take bolder steps” in the service of the people.
“We are on the threshold of change. We must do things differently. We need to do it differently for a change,” he added.
“With people like you behind her, she’s not a nobody. There will be a lot of pressure on her to succeed and we’ll continue to stand by her to ensure she succeeds.”
The governor said Edu may well become the richest local government in northern Nigeria when his plans to revive Bacita Sugar Company work out alongside the completion of BUA factory late next year.
He also said he was working with the Federal Government to ensure the dredging of the River Niger and stop the menace of flooding in the state.
“Once that is done, the seasonal flood will stop. That is on our agenda. Luckily, we have a minister in the transport ministry to push this agenda so that we can stop the seasonal loss of lives and properties,” he said.
AbdulRazaq said he might also send a bill to the State House of Assembly to outlaw the practice of water travel without the use of life jackets.
As the keen watchers of Kwara politics await the remaining cabinet appointees it is hoped that the ongoing surprise strategy of the governor would be in the interest of the major stakeholders in Kwara politics who ensure the new administration through “O to ge” political machines. Whicever way it would go time will tell.