Full text of an address by Kwara APC elders and stakeholders held in Ilorin on January 11, 2021 - NATIONAL TRUMPET

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Full text of an address by Kwara APC elders and stakeholders held in Ilorin on January 11, 2021


Good afternoon gentlemen of the press.
 
For the past few months, a number of events have occurred within our great party APC in Kwara State. Some members of our party have chosen to play to the gallery on issues of party administration or the performance of the government freely elected by the people of this state in 2019. 

We have watched and spoken to these persons in private for many months in our innocent belief that they were going to abandon selfish agenda for common growth and join hands with the administration to make life a lot better for our people. 

Having failed to listen to voice of reason and constantly turning history on its head to deceive unsuspecting members of the party and general public, we are compelled as party stakeholders and elders to stand up to be counted at this critical moment and set the record straight. 

This press briefing has therefore been called to make it clear that the Governor, humble, unassuming, and performing, is a victim of vicious attacks and blackmails from individuals who have long masked their greed, personal aggrandisement, ego, unbridled ambitions, and false sense of entitlement with claims that they are fighting for the party. 

The Governor and the silent majority of our party members and leaders are putting up with persons who feel that we owe our breaths and victory at the poll to them alone. 
  
Jeunkosanwo and the emergence of AA support groups
 
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’. 

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. 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. 
 
Clarifications on caretaker committee and Supreme Court judgment
 
We are not unaware of come erroneous impressions being created by these chieftains that the Supreme Court pronounced Hon. BOB as elected chairman with a tenure of four years. This is not true. 

The case was never decided on its merit by the Supreme Court. Rather the appeal to the Supreme Court by Balogun Fulani was dismissed because it was not properly entered before the court as required by the rules of the Supreme Court. 

Furthermore, the substance of the case had nothing to do with election of Hon. BOB as party chairman. Rather, it was about the validity or otherwise of the dissolution of the Balogun Fulani-led executive by the APC National Working Committee and the appointment of a caretaker committee led by Hon. BOB.
 
When the national headquarters of the party recently dissolved state executives, these party chieftains and their cohorts went to town to say that the Governor opposed the return of Hon. BOB. 

This is a joke taken too far because the Governor, as the leader of the party in the state, could have activated the relevant provisions of the party’s constitution to have the caretaker committee removed if he so wanted to. 

But it is clear he was never interested in removing anyone especially that party reforms is ongoing from the National Headquarters which had recently kickstarted the process for another rounds of congresses and national convention.  We have mentioned this to disabuse the minds of our people. It is in fact not true that he does not consult with the party. He does and the records are there. 
 
Otoge is our people’s battles, not anyone’s initiative
 
The likes of Akogun and others have tried to personalise the Otoge struggle. This is dubious. For students of history, the Otoge campaign indeed predated this Republic! It is an idea that had long been etched in the minds of the people. 

Akogun joined the progressive folds only in 2003 or thereabouts when he fell out with the Sarakis. He was commissioner and House of Assembly Member through the patronage of the older Saraki. 

The Otoge struggle had long begun before then and the likes of the Governor had always been part of the struggle to free the state from what Akogun and others never thought was evil. 

It is particularly insulting for Prof. Oba and his ilks to lay credit for the struggle. Professor Oba only joined the struggle in 2014 after losing the governorship slot within the Bukola Saraki fiefdom! 
 
Why the Governor enjoys massive support
 
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq remains a man of the people and he stands tall as a man of honour among the 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. 

This is not by chance. 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. 
 
The health sector has received about the highest priority even before the advent of Covid-19 pandemic and the result is there for everyone to see. The administration has started rehabilitation works across dozens of decrepit primary healthcare facilities. 

Long-abandoned routine immunisation and vaccination is back. For the first time, Kwara now has isolation centres equipped with modern gadgets like ventilators, defibrillators, patient monitors, and others. Its oxygen plant has been revived. 

For the first time, the state now has ambulances with capacities to manage patients in critical conditions on the go. Indeed, Kwara is now listed as A-list state in healthcare sector.
 
The Governor is changing the story of Kwara in the education sector. More than seven years after it came under the hammer, the state Kwara is now off the UBEC blacklist. It has accessed a backlog of N7.1bn UBEC counterpart funds with a matching grant of N7.1bn to gradually reposition the schools. 

Aside from the upcoming UBEC intervention, the state on its own is carrying out renovation works in at least 43 basic schools. With the UBEC funds in the kitty, no less than 600 basic schools are to get facelifts while teachers are also to be trained. 

The transparent process to recruit 4701 qualified and competent teachers into our public primary, junior and senior secondary schools is ongoing and should be commended by all. 
 
In May 2019, water tanker was the source of potable water in most parts of the capital city, even in the Government House. Pipe-borne water is back and stable in Ilorin metropolis while nearly 500 boreholes have either been dug or rehabilitated across the state. 

No fewer than nine water works have been fixed since this Governor came on board while contracts for more have been awarded. With water situation being tackled, Kwara is keying into the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), a key component of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 to promote hygiene and end open defecation. 

Under this scheme, many schools and hospitals across the state would now for the first time get tap water and pour-flush toilets.
 
The administration is ending the helicopter money politics that had plagued Kwara’s past. Within the past 18 months, the administration has fixed over 100 rural and urban roads/culverts/bridges. 

Many agrarian communities are now getting standard roads, those hitherto cut off from civilisation are being linked, while at least 500 rural roads are to be fixed under the World Bank-enabled Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) arrangement for which the administration had earlier paid counterpart funds. 

These road projects are spread across the senatorial districts, deliberately linking agrarian areas to the urban centres.
 
Modelled after President Buhari’s SIP, Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) is the Governor’s multi-faceted and nonpartisan response to the question of extreme poverty and government’s poor attention to the vulnerable. 

Under the scheme, at least 21,623 petty traders have accessed soft loans to stay afloat while over 10,000 transporters who could not work during the COVID-19 lockdown were supported. Similarly, already-enumerated 10,000 vulnerable and poor senior citizens, from age 60, are now getting monthly stipends under what would be the state’s first ever institutionalised social protection scheme. 

The scheme is also offering free digital training to young people to help them cope in the new economy. Over 3000 persons received training in July while 10,000 more are undergoing a richer version of the course in the second phase of the programme in conjunction with WootlabInnovation and Grow With Google. 

A total of 30,000 young people are billed to benefit from the training within three years. Proprietors across 1,119 private schools in the state were given soft loan to help cushion the effects of the COVID-19 shutdown. The federal government has indeed hailed Kwara State’s version of the Owo Isowo (TraderMoni) for its innovative features, such as the inclusion of BVN of the beneficiaries. 

This is just a few of the many interventions he has made to lift our people out of people. 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!
 
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, 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. 
 
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 back to as far back as 2012 are now being paid. 

Besides, pensioners now enjoy regular payment of pensions. A sustainable arrangement for payment of gratuities on monthly basis has now been put in place. Following the aftermath of the ENDSARS protest across the nation which led to widespread looting of private businesses, Kwara State has stood out in offering supports for these businesses in a transparent manner. 
 
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 persons with dangerous sense of entitlement and greed to erode the historic gains of 2019. 
 
Thank you and God bless you. 

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