By Demola Akinyemi
Ilorin…Political rumblings have resumed in Kwara state over the call by a revered monarch in the state, His Royal Majesty, Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi on Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to contest for second term because of what he described as his exceptional performance in the last two years which no other governor in the history of the state had attained within the same period.
But one of the arch political enemies of the governor who currently represents the community in the State House of Assembly, Hon Saheed Popoola, an indigene of Offa, tackled his monarch for this public declaration of support. However, some indigenes of the town, particularly from the ruling All Progressives Congress, who felt offended by the lawmaker’s attack gathered at their town hall on Thursday to reprimand the lawmaker.
Recall that Hon Popoola, who was one of the arrow heads of “O to ge” (meaning “Enough is enough”) political struggle which brought the present administration in the state to power had his eyes on the Speakership position when the governor took over.
Saturday Vanguard reliably gathered that the governor in his own wisdom of equity,justice and fairness denied him the plum office and zoned the office to Kwara North because his deputy came from the same Kwara South as Hon Saheed Popoola who had since then reportedly drawn a political battle line with the governor.
The monarch, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi,Olofa of Ofa had declared support for Governor AbdulRasaq’s second term last week when the governor went to inspect one of the ongoing projects in Offa and paid him a courtesy visit. The monarch,who had earlier given the governor the chieftaincy title of Soludero of Offa told him that he has performed exceptionally well in the last two years and that no governor in the history of Kwara state had beaten his record within the period.
He asked the governor to ignore the few ones who were not supporting him, describing it as human nature because if Almighty God had come in person, people would still find fault with Him.
Olofa also said that several residents in Offa loved the governor’s style of administration and his performance and that such people were many and would vote for him when the time comes.
The monarch then prayed for the governor adding that he wanted him to contest for second term,so that he could continue and complete his good works because no sane person changes a winning team.
He said,”I’m bold and confident to say that you have done very well and I want you to contest for another four years. Don’t mind the few ones, even here who are not supporting you for selfish reasons, they are noise makers. It’s human nature.
Even if our almighty God comes in human form to rule us, some people will still castigate Him. It happened in our holy books, so, please remain focused, almighty God will continue to be with you.”
But few days after, Hon Saheed Popoola representing Offa/Ojomu in the state house of assembly chose a Ramadan lecture in Offa to reply his monarch. Popoola told the gathering that since the governor had bitten the fingers that fed him, he would not win even if he contested for second term adding that Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi didn’t have the authority to say what he said. “Olofa didn’t have authority to say what he said and all the prayers he said won’t be answered “said Popoola.
The lawmaker’s emphasis that all the prayers of the monarch for the second term of the governor would not be answered, stirred the political controversy which forced the friends of the governor and other stakeholders in Offa to come together on Thursday to condemn the action of the lawmaker.
Speaking at a town hall meeting which had critical stakeholders in the affairs of Offa including representatives of Olofa, the Chief Imam of Offa, Christians Association of Nigeria( CAN) and Muslim leaders, youths as well as business community in attendance, the APC chairman in Offa local government, Abdullateef Afolayan, said, “come 2023, there’s no vacancy in Kwara Government House as we are determined as a people to return Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for a second term in office”.
Afolayan’s declaration was greeted with a resounding applause by the Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi, the Special Advisers on Political, Communication and Strategy, Gidado Alakawa, Bashir Adigun and Sa’adu Salau respectively as well as Senator Suleiman Makanjuola Ajadi who graced the event.
The representative of Olofa, the Asalofa of Offa, Alh Isiaka Shittu, said that the ongoing development efforts in the state by the governor, especially in Offa town should be commended, mentioned renovation of the Offa general hospital, rehabilitation of Offa roads and Offa water works as some of the areas where the governor has impacted on the lives of the people in the town.
He said,”Olofa did what many thought no oba should do, he called on the governor to contest for another term. He said what the governor had done in Offa in two years were enough to ask him to recontest. Unlike in previous administrations, the governor has filled all the pot holes in Offa, the tipper garage going to Igosun has been rehabilitated.
He upgraded the state hospital under one year. There are so many things that we still want the governor to do for us in Offa. So,we stand by him in Offa, The Olofa said the almighty God has put the people of Offa in his care and he could boldly say whatever he has said.”
The women, represented by the market women leader, Alhaja Idiat Yesuf, said that the people knew the state of development in the town and the level of development which the present administration has achieved since assumption of office. She commended the governor for financial empowerment, traders money, to support traders in the state. She said that Offa women backed the endorsement of the governor by the Olofa, “because, we know how the present administration met Kwara and how it is today”.
Idiat said their attendance at the town hall meeting which was a market day underscored her members’ resolve to declare their support for the governor and they had no option than to support the second term ambition of the governor.
She said,”For us to have abandoned our markets to come here show that we appreciated the work the governor is doing in Offa and Kwara state. I’m impressed by the Social Investment Programme, Owo Arugbo and others, it’s unique and very effective and our elderly are better off. We supported our Olofa on his stand, all our elected and appointed members from Offa are working for us.”
The APC women leader in Offa, Alhaja Folake Shittu, also canvassed support for governor’s second term in office, noting AbdulRazaq’s promotion of women inclusion in government as a unique reason for them to support him.
Also in his remark, the Spokesman of APC in the state who is also a native of Offa, Hon Tajudeen Folaranmi said though his principal had not told anyone that he was contesting for second term but that his achievements that everyone could see are compelling them to call on him to contest for second term.
He said,”The governor hasn’t told anyone he’s going for second term. But his achievements are compelling the stakeholders to be calling on him to go for second term. Very soon water will be running in our taps when the ongoing works in the dam are completed.”