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Fierce battle for Gov AbdulRazaq’s second term begins

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Gov AbdulRazaq presents N123Bn Budget
Kwara State Governor, Abdulrazaq

By Demola Akinyemi

For the elders caucus as well as some leaders and chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara state, their eyes are already on the ball for Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s second term in office.

Notable elders and chieftains of APC who cut across the three senatorial districts in the state seized the opportunity of a stakeholders meeting in Ilorin last Monday to declare their total support for the governor. So also were delegates from the sixteen local government areas of the state while giving update on the state of the party.

The members of the elders caucus included Bar Kunle Sulyman; Sen. Sulyman Mankanjuola Ajadi; Sen. Ahmed Muhamad; Chief J. B. Ayeni; Chief Wole Oke; Amb. Nurudeen Muhammed; Alh. Folorunsho Ayinla; Hon Ilias Ibrahim; Prince Sunday Fagbemi; Alh. Iliasu Alabi Iponrin; Princess A. R. Babalola; Pa G.G. Jaiyeola; Hon. Agbaje Wahab Femi White and Chief Titus Ashaolu SAN. Others were Chief M. T. Lawal; Chief J. A Shogo; Hon. Yahyah Yinusa popularly called bulldozer; Brig Gen B. I. Agbabs (rtd); Engr. B. O. Oyeyemi; Chief Teju Oguntoye; Hon. Al-Hassan Yahyah Bagudu; Dr. Sheu Ibrahim; Salman Jawondo Esq; Hon A.S. Katibi;Alh. Mustapha Kobe; Sen. Bisi Oyewo; and Hon Faruk Saruk among several others.

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Declaring their total support for the administration of Governor AbdulRazaq, they said he has changed the narrative of governance in the state.

Speaking with journalists during the interactive session the elders said that they have a historic duty to support AbdulRazaq on account of his impactful leadership in the state, his prudence in the management of state resources, his humility and his approach to issues, including party politics.

Spokespersons of the elders among whom were Senator Makanjuola Ajadi, Prince Sunday Fagbemi and Barrister Kunle Sulyman said it was unfortunate that some persons within the party were teaming up with opposition elements to discredit the governor in spite of his achievements which could be felt across the state within a short period of time.

According to the elders caucus, “Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq remains a man of the people and he stands tall as a man of honour among majority of our party members in the state, in spite of the unfair demarketing campaign launched against his administration by some of these party chieftains and their co-travelers in the opposition. Not only has the governor demystified the office of Governor with his uncommon humility, simplicity, and prudence, he has redefined the story of our state in many positive ways. Whether in health, education, road, or water, the governor has touched lives in many ways never seen before.

“He has strategically taken governance to the people such that there is no electoral ward in the state that cannot point to one or two things that they have benefited in just 18 months of his administration. 

Analysis of what the governor has achieved, particularly in the health sector, road, water, education and social protection of the vulnerable, are legendary. The interesting thing about him is that he sees governance as an affair that transcends party loyalty, and this explains why he has become so popular with the masses, to the chagrin of his traducers!

“Here is a governor who has driven his own private car since day one of his administration to date. Here is a governor who lives in his own house till date. Here is a governor who is not taking salary.

“Here is a governor who is willingly opening up his government for accountability through the phenomenal social audit process. Here is a governor who just wants to deliver his campaign promises to the people, despite the biting economic realities. Here is a governor who gives every part of the state a fair sense of belonging by always identifying with them in time of cultural celebration or mourning, and extending government’s patronage to every segment of the state. 

Today, Kwara is a model state on the continent in youths and women inclusion in government”.

They also noted that “the government has positively changed the narrative of staff welfare in the state civil service. There is now regular payment of salary, no more percentage payment and promotion of staff has resumed while arrears of salaries and allowances dating as far back as 2012 are now being paid. 

Besides, pensioners now enjoy regular payment of pensions while a sustainable arrangement for payment of gratuities on monthly basis has now been put in place. Why then would anyone from his own party go against him? The only explanation is that such persons are not interested in development but in their own hidden agenda which is at variance with the ‘Otoge’ mantra.

“We have kept quiet for long in the expectation that good reason will prevail. But silence is no longer golden and it is about time every patriot, within and outside our party, stood by this humble and hard working gentleman in order not to allow a few persons, with dangerous sense of entitlement and greed to erode the historic gains of 2019.”

The elders also said the emergence of various amorphous groups within the party in support of the governor was borne out of open enmity and anti-party conducts of some party chieftains who do not hide their disdains for the governor and government of their own party.

They added: “Unknown to many unsuspecting members of the public, the emergence of various groups that have declared support for the governor was not without a justifiable background. It is to show that this performing governor is not without patriots who felt that the only essence of Otoge was the service of the people. Other interests are secondary.

“For as long as the governor does this, he has the full backing of the majority of party members, elders and the entire populace of Kwara State. Quite sadly, shortly after the inauguration of the governor, some chieftains within the party started a campaign codenamed ‘jeunkosanwo’(meaning,eat and wash your hands). This implied that the governor was never going to have a second term, irrespective of his sterling performance. They were ready to frustrate and distract the government just to realise their own selfish ambitions.

“Despite working against the governor from day one of his administration, many of them felt it was their birthright to become the godfathers to the same governor and handpick anyone for him”.

Making particular reference to one of the arrowheads of the governor’s traducers, they said,”in the case of Akogun Oyedepo, he lobbied to be made the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in order to use same as a platform to clinch the prestigious rank of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

“While this is not a crime, we feel anyone who wishes to be so honoured ought to show support for the governor as a party person. Hon. BOB and other party chieftains never disguised their dislike for the governor and his administration for reasons totally unconnected to development of the state. Contrary to decency and party rules, they go on radio to openly condemn the government of their own party.

“Had the governor not endeared himself to the masses with his humility, simplicity and people-focus performance as can be seen in every part of the state, the insurrection by these persons were enough to bring down any government. Yet their anger was basically that the governor was not giving them attention, which is not true.

“Several party chieftains and patriots in their own right therefore felt a need to stand with the governor who is clearly being unfairly treated by those who ought to push aside personal gains and stand by him to rebuild the state for us and generations to come. This is why we have also come together to stand for the governor! The people of Kwara State are totally in support of the governor and his administration because he has made them the focus of governance.”

The battle has indeed begun with the replacement of the state Caretaker Chairman Hon Bashir Bolarinwa with his deputy Alhaji Abdullahi Sanmari on Tuesday and this development has created serious political wedge between the governor and some people in his own party.

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