Opinion: The fear of Abdulrahman is the beginning of wisdom. By Tunde Akanbi
The administration of AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq nostalgically reminds one of the regime of a one-time Governor of Kwara state, Chief Salaudeen Olatinwo, a replica of the† administration of the then Buhari/Idiagbon at the federal level.
In the heydays of Buhari/Idiagbon regime, the then slogan of War Against Indiscipline (WAI) was the force to reckon with. For Most Nigerians, if not all, the WAI order was the beginning of wisdom. Even urinating in the public was a punishable offence that could earn one a sentence talk-less of shunting one's way at any public or government establishment or even coming late to work.
All these disciplinary measures became synonymous with the then military government. But who said such decent morals cannot be resuscitated in the current system, civilian administration notwithstanding?†
A simple visit to Kwara State where business was no longer as usual might convince one that a replica of WAI was back in the State of Harmony. Since he took over the mantle of leadership on May 29, 2019, AbdulRazaq had shown to all including naysayers that he had jobs well cut out for him. Even his closest aide cannot predict his next line of action or his next place of visit.
One thing about the helmsman of Kwara State is that anywhere he visits, he puts smiles on the cheeks of workers of such establishment, and if such organisation is moribund or about dying, he restores life to it, and in worse scenario, when a system is dead, he deploys all it requires to exhume.
A typical example is the State owned Radio Station, Kwara State Broadcasting Corporation where both the AM and FM channels had gone moribund when he assumed office. His visit to the station, which did not last more than 30 minutes had yielded positive result in the life of the station. As thing stands, the† the FM Station 99.1 is of one the most heard,† loud and clear across the length and breadth of the state and even beyond.†
Though, the governor has not physically visited The Herald Newspapers,† Kwara State† Television Authority or other arms of the state Information outfits, all of them have started breathing fresh air with a ray of hope. Staffers of some institutions or agencies hitherto owed several months of† salaries now smile to their banks. A more conducive and appropriate way of settling the arrears of salaries had been worked out.
No doubt, his visit to various ministries,† agencies and parastatals was an eye opener for him to have a firsthand information in the nooks and cranies of the government entity, not minding the fact that neither the Governor nor his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Aminu Adisa Logun, ever served in any government establishment before the election of the present government into this completely alien or very unfamiliar terrain.
One wisdom that God has endowed Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq with was that he did not hurriedly show political office holders what he inherited from the past administration† because of his belief that it is the owner of the house that knows how best to locate the positioning in that apartment.
If† the urge and desperation of some party members and even APC stalwarts are anything to go by, various political office holders and even some Permanent Secretaries, presumed to be career officers, would have since kissed their seats good bye.
Then comes the issue of the fear of AbdulRazaq, initially described as the beginning of wisdom.
The engine room of any government, be it military or civilian is the civil service. A state Chief Executive or a governor will see only what the civil servants present to him. But here in Kwara, the story has changed or gradually changing. Probably, because of the fear of the unknown, fear of retaining their positions or placing them in higher positions.† Top, middle or even the lower cadre of the civil servants had opened up what is called "Secret Files" to the governor for him to see what the civil service is all about and even areas where the governor did not direct his searchlight to.
Some were already seeing it as an act of disloyalty to their former principals, some perceived it as an act of sycophancy and some viewed it as a pay back time, to get in return their own pound of flesh.
Again, back to the era of WAl. It is no longer business as usual in the Kwara State civil service. One unique thing the incumbent Head of Service, Mrs Modupe Oluwole, had harped on even during the past administration, was punctuality to duty and hard work. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, like the one-time military governor of Kwara State, Chief Salaudeen Olatinwo, then nicknamed "Otabiabia" because of the way he jumped from one office to the other, does not give a prior notice before embarking on official visits. Unlike in the past, when civil servants would probably be snoring in beds at 10am in the morning or would not even come to work and at the end of the month, collect his or her salary.
One could even see the punctuality to duty of today's civil servants with the long queues of vehicles on the streets between seven and eight oclock in the morning despite the fact that students are still on holidays. The commercial motorcycle riders popularly called Okada are now being engaged by civil servants that are not mobile to get to work early so that office gates would not be locked against them.
Another category of political office holders that corrupted the civil servants are some† commissioners. These are politicians that want to get rich quick. Some corrupt civil servants will not seat in their offices again immediately commissioners are appointed but at the lobby, offices or homes of these commissioners, where they will be divulging areas of loopholes in order to siphon government fund.
Again, this time around, things have changed more so that the zonal office of the EFCC is at the doorstep coupled with the coming on board of an unpredictable governor. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is a personality that is difficult to read, hard to understand and a personality you will not know if you have offended him or you have pleased. The most confused set of people now are the core politicians, especially within the ruling APC.
If you asked them about the programmes or agenda of the governor, their only answer is that they do not know his look, his agenda or his next line of action, but all they know is that he is working. AbdulRazaq talks less but he is full of action, a replica of President Muhammadu Buhari in Kwara.
One major problem known with African leaders is that they start governance on a good note when given them little opportunity. But when political sycophants penetrate them and start singing the song of second term to their hears, then they will begin to derail. It is† hoped that it will not be the same with our leadership today in Kwara .
This writer has said it for the umpteenth time that he is not interested or keen in occupying any political appointment at any level. His view is that he is not against supporters of political parties being patronized but it should not be at the detriment of good governance.
Another observation again in the state governor and his deputy, Mr Kayode Alabi is their humility and respect for the various constituted authorities as well as the separation of powers and schedule of duties, which ordinarily result to conflict between the "Oga at the top" and his deputy.
With the golden opportunity now abound in Kwara, we should ensure that we guide it jealously so that it will not elude us. This is neither to vilify the past government nor praise the present administration. But like the saying goes, everyone would have the opportunity to write his or her name in GOLD if he or her government does well for humanity.
Unlike in the National Assembly, the highest number you can spend as a state governor is eight years and already the journey of that eight years or four years of AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has begun with his 100 days in office. Governor† AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and his team, I wish you a successful tenure. Amen.
Tunde Akanbi, an Ilorin-based Media Consultant.