AbdulRazaq has cleared PDP mess in Kwara - APC chairman
Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State, Honourable Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa, speaks with BIOLA AZEEZ on sundry issues affecting the state.
HOW has Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq fared since the inception of his administration?
So far so good; don't forget that the state was in shambles by the time the APC took over. The governor declared that there was nothing on ground, despite all the resources that were at the disposal of his predecessor. There is virtually nothing that can be pointed at, to the extent that the office of the governor is leaking. As I am taking to you, both the governor and his deputy do not have good offices to operate from. They are just trying to make use of guest houses converted to offices. It is as bad as that. The same thing goes for infrastructure in the state. Above all, there was nothing to fall back on, in terms of money left behind.
But since Governor AbdulRasaq came in more than three months ago, he has been putting the pieces together to see that things are put in shape. That is why the governor has been able to make some notable achievements in his first 100 days in office. There were so many services the people of the state were hitherto deprived of, which they now have the opportunity of getting. For instance, for several years the state had to contend with acute water shortage. The governor has evolved a temporary measure that allows some parts of the state capital to enjoy potable water. The same thing goes for the other two senatorial districts of Kwara South and Kwara North.
Secondly, in the area of education, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) counterpart funding expected of the state, which the previous government had not thought right to pay for so many years, has now become a thing of the past. The governor released money for the counterpart funds which now allows UBEC to release some funds to the state. If this fund is released, it will assist the government in its educational policies. This will ultimately lead to an improvement in the standard of education in the state.
Don't forget that this state has not been part of the Federal Government school feeding programme because the role which the state is expected to play has not been so in the past government. This governor has thought it right that the programme takes off in the state, because he knows the effects of that on the state. One of the effects is increment in school enrolment and also improvement in the standard of education. What do you want to teach a hungry pupil?
In the health sector, recently there was a health summit which the government organised to look into the sector. All the challenges in that sector too have been collated together and they are receiving attention from the governor. The governor has been able to do so many things in a very short period of time and we are looking forward to seeing better things to come from him. What we have seen so far are just tips of the iceberg.
How do feel about the victory of your party at the governorship elections tribunal?
Naturally, I feel extremely happy, though we knew very well that those who went to court just wanted to waste the time of the court and also waste their own resources. We knew that our party had done proper screening. We knew that there was nothing wrong with the qualification of our candidate to contest the election. What the Electoral Act says is that parties are to screen their candidates. If any of party puts up a candidate that has k-leg, then it is the party's cup of tea when there is a problem. Our party has done a thorough job. What the tribunal did was just to confirm a very good job that our party had done.
What is responsible for the delay in the constitution of the cabinet of by the governor?
I think people should be patience as regards that. Although it is something that ought to have been done, but I don't want to see that as a delay. Up till now, there are still some states that are yet to have commissioners. But then, another thing we need to know is tha tthe governor is just coming on board and he needs to take his time. This is a state that has been ruled for several years by the people in opposition. Governor AbdulRazaq needs to take his time in choosing the right set of people that will be working with him. I guess that is what is holding him down and I think that in no time, the list of the commissioner-nominees will be completed. Already, four names have been forwarded to the state House of Assembly.
Do you think the APC can emerge victorious in the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states?
We are confident that our party is winning the two states by the grace of God. There will always be differences and we are in a situation where there will always be dissenting views because these days people don't realise that governance should be also likened to the position of the breadwinner of a family. The father of the house has a lot of challenges; at the end of the month, he has to pay for house rent, food, school fees and other things. And this is being drawn from the salary, which is being depleted to the extent that some bills will have to spill over.
Running of government is like that too. There are so many challenges that usually face a government at any point in time. That accounts for the reason all the needs of the people cannot be attended to at a single point in time. As a result of that, there will always be complaints from some quarters. In the case of Kogi, we have had a lot of complaint; some coming from the opposition. Some of the problems are being magnified than they are appear. I think Governor Yahaya Bello, who has emerged as our partyís candidate in the November 16 election, who has been there in the last four years, is familiar with the terrain. I think by now he should actually know how to cross his 'Ts' and dot his 'Is'. He should know how to take care of the challenges he has before the election. We are very optimistic that our party will reclaim victory in Kogi State again.
We are also looking forward to victory in Bayelsa State. Challenges differ from one party to the other. Even the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is struggling with its own too. From reports that are getting to us in Bayelsa, the people of the state are ready for the APC. The PDP has been ruling the state since 1999 and they have not had any good thing to show for their many years of reign. People of the state have made up their minds to vote to give the APC a trial. So we are also looking forward to clinching power in Bayelsa.
How have you been managing the different interest groups and politicians that worked the APC victory in the state?
To a large extent, we have been able to manage that and see that the party is relatively at peace. Though, some new groups are trying to spring up for one reason or the other, we have made them to understand that no group should be allowed to override the structure of the party. That is my position as the state chairman of the party. Every political group that is being formed must queue behind the structure of the party. They must also operate, following the order of the party. We must not allow ourselves to derail.
Do you think the APC government has come to stay in Kwara State?
I want to tell you that, by the grace of God, the APC has come to stay in the state. We are also hopeful that our government will perform very well; that in the next four years, our people will not have any choice than to vote for the APC. We know that we must not relent at all and that is why work is always in progress at the party and government levels for us to maintain and sustain the victory we have got.