Issues as Kwara marks 100 days of new political order

Date: 2019-09-02

BIOLA AZEEZ reports on the hide and seek among stakeholders in the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over who should be regarded as the leader of the party in the state. BIOLA AZEEZ reports on the hide and seek among stakeholders in the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over who should be regarded as the leader of the party in the state.

AS the residents of Kwara State, particularly the members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) rally support for the governor of the state, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, there are divergent views on the activities of the new administration since its inception. The APC government, which assumed office on May 29, 2019, had promised that its style would be a departure from the old order, more so, as the APC government took power completely from the immediate past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government in the 2019 general election, having won all 24 seats in the state House of Assembly, including all the nine National Assembly seats.

While the supporters of the APC government would want to roll out drums to celebrate 100 days of the current administration in the state, particularly, as they said that the governor had showed determination with efforts made so far to ensure a turn around, a number of critics opined that a lot was still expected from the governor. The new APC government in the last three months, according to a cross section of residents of the state, had taken some steps to revamp some public utilities and infrastructure. Its critics said all the measures were cosmetic and salutary to be celebrated by anybody. However, a stalwart of the APC in the state, Alhaji Adebayo Azeez, called for patience and understanding from the people as the governor takes practical measures to right the wrongs of the past. "The process at bringing about the much-needed change has commenced and it's gradual. The governor is a listening governor and a God's gift to the state. So, everyone with pieces of useful advice should come up to help move the state forward. Our people should not expect the old ways of doing things like giving handouts, but should be more concerned about the provision of democratic dividends to generality of the people in the state, especially in the areas of job creation and youth empowerment through agriculture," he said.

Also speaking, the lead strategist of the Nigerian Workforce Strategy and Enlightenment Centre (NIWOSEC), Dr Kayode Ehindero, charged the government to effectively utilise the state's human resources by identifying their strength and tapping identifiable opportunities for rapid development of the state.Ehindero, who linked perceived low workers’ output to use of consultants, contractors and political office holders by previous governments instead of qualified state workforce, claimed that the past governments did not show faith in its workforce.

“They resorted to using consultants, contractors, special assistants and advisers at the detriment of qualified civil servants. Government workers were treated with ignominy; the political class took the centre stage in the workforce. The civil servants, in spite of their potentials, intellect and energy, were relegated to the background. They received salaries without job satisfaction, if the salaries were paid as at when due," he said. Dr Ehindero implored the governor to effectively deploy human resources in ascertaining their strength, managing their weaknesses and tapping identifiable opportunities. He added: “It is high time we joined global train by utilizing our human resources for maximum productivity in our drive towards meaningful development."

However, some critics of the APC government chided it over the delay in the appointment of commissioners by the governor. According to them, the delay is having a negative effect on governance. Governor Abdulrazaq recently sought the confirmation by the state House of Assembly the names of only seven special assistants and advisers. Some pundits said the delay by the governor in releasing the list of commissioner-nominees was based on the need to avoid some mistakes of the past. They also said the delay was because of the desire of the governor to accommodate all the interest of all the major stakeholders in the APCin order to avert possible backlash that may emerge from any hasty decision. Many top notch, includeing Alhaji Yaman Abdullahi; Alhaji Lukman Mustapha; Professor Oba Abdulraheem, Alhaji Hakeem Lawal; Alhaji Moshood Mustapha, Isiaq Modibbo Kawu, Alhaji Yakubu Gobir, and Tajudeen Makama Audu contested the 2019 APC primaries before the party ticket was eventually landed on the lap of AlhajiAbdulrazaq, who eventually won the governorship election. It was also gathered that the interest of all the aspirants must be taken care of to ensure amicable conclusion in the list of the prospective commissioner for the state.

Some observers said that the delay of the list might also be due to the power play within the state chapter of the APC, with the stakeholders trying to make sure the power tussle did not dovetail into the process of constituting the state cabinet. The intrigues within the party was said to have led to a split in the APC into different camps. The friction, it was learnt, predated the 2019 general election. Some aggrieved APC members reportedly failed to work faithfully for the party during the election, but the APC was still able to win all the elective positions. Though, the party appears to have been able to manage the crisis from gaining prominence, observers said the crack within the Kwara APC remained obvious. One of the indices of the friction was the opposition by some members of the party in the state to the re-nomination of Lai Mohammed as a minister for a second time. Some APC members had also opposed the nomination of Senator GbemiSaraki as minister before she eventually got the appointment.

Mohammed was largely regarded as the de factoleader of the APC in the state until the party produced the governor. However, the observers said that members of the political camp loyal to the governor were said to favourthe governor becoming the new leaderof the party in Kwara naturally. The governor was said to have met with the APC stakeholders recently during which he reportedly told them that he would prefer to have a harmonised commissionership list because of his desire to form an all-inclusive cabinet. "The governor recently met with some of us, the stakeholders, and asked us to be united because he does not want a list of commissioner-nominees tainted with division," a source in the APC said.

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