Governor AbdulRazaq dares to be different - NATIONAL TRUMPET


Thursday, October 6, 2022

Governor AbdulRazaq dares to be different

By Adisa Ismail

Flash your memory to some decades back and draw a picture of how this same Kwara State used to be. It was all about a single man whom everybody must genuflect for. He brooks no dissenting voice. He just barks down orders. Many years after he even left office as governor of the state, he was still notorious for ordering around his succeeding governor whom he admittedly handpicked.

The man lorded over the state. He treated people as though they were less human. We have seen several pictures of people standing while he was sitting comfortably to have conversations with them. It didn't mean that there were no chairs for those standing to sit. That was just his own way of telling them they were less human.

He had no respect for our values and culture as a people, and even our elders. Veteran journalist and columnist with ThisDay Segun Adeniyi had narrated how he assembled a team of community elders to receive a foreign, juvenile musician at the airport. That was the height of disrespect in our culture. One of the elders was said to have even protested right at the place against the ‘see finish’ as the new generation would call it.

In those years when they had power in their hands, as an opposition member, you dare not openly and freely ventilate your opinions. Leaders of the opposition were harassed and tormented. The dynasty had an army of youths empowered to wreck havoc on anyone who dares say no to the status quo. They weaponised poverty and threw handouts at people, while they stole their future and inhibited progress for the state.

There were extravagant spendings here and there and the state treasury was milked dry to satisfy personal greed. They allocated choice buildings to themselves and legalised payment of humongous pension and other perks to themselves, while the state was bleeding. School structures were dilapidating. Waterworks had gone bad. Salaries were not paid as and when due. Basic healthcare facilities were in disrepair.

But the new Sheriff Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq dares to be different. He has demystified public office with his very modest spending, humility, simplicity, respect for human dignity, respect of our values and culture.

AbdulRazaq makes everyone feel truly respected. He moves about the street with no air. He speaks often to the people at the grassroots, show concern for them during eventualities. You could see recently how he attended the funeral rites of the late Sheikh Abdulganiy Nureini Aboto, defying the downpour. He was soaked in rain, but that didn't matter to him than the compassion and empathy he wished to extend.

Governor AbdulRazaq carries his bag by himself. He walks into events without air, unlike the gangster-like style some public officers are used to. He respects the young and the old. No government in the history of Kwara has granted the youths and women inclusion and sense of belonging like his. His cabinet is filled with young, brainy chaps and women. And they have been doing very well. Their colleagues outside there also feel important and have the optimism that it could get to their turn at anytime.

The governor is not a lavish person. This perhaps is why he is having it so rough with some politicians whose idea of politics and governance is to channel collective wealth into their own personal pockets. Despite the fact that he would be at most disadvantage, Governor AbdulRazaq took a bold step to abolish the wicked, extravagant pension packages to ex-governors and their deputies. For a state struggling to make ends meet, such expenses is ill-advised.

Unlike in the past where peanuts are thrown at our old citizens in the most debasing manner, Governor AbdulRazaq has through the Kwara State Social Investment Programmes, KWASSIP, restored their dignity with Owo Arugbo in the understanding that social security is necessary for them. Young people are not empowered for evil, they now enjoy business support and funding running into hundreds of thousand and million naira through the same KWASSIP and other offices.

Civil servants welfare is now given keen attention. Salaries are paid as and when due, unlike what was inherited where backlogs were mounting across board. There are investments in critical sectors of the state. Education is breathing back to life. Health is coming back. Major waterworks have been fixed. More importantly, opposition elements have the latitude to express their concerns without hindrance. No good boys attack them. State forces are not used against them. In fact, many of their abandoned projects are being completed. They did not offer this decent gesture to their predecessors. So far, Governor AbdulRazaq has shown with sufficient examples to be different!

Ismail writes from Ilorin.

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