One year after the ‘O to ge’ Revolution in Kwara State.
By Stephen A. Awoyale
A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle between the future and the past.
‘O to ge’ is not just a slogan but a revolution; not just to the ‘Saraki dynasty’ but to injustice, inequality, bad governance, corruption, uneven distribution of wealth and development, infrastructural deficiencies etc.
Kwara State, one of the first States that was created in Nigeria in 1967 was now a shadow of itself. The labour of our forefathers now seems to be in vain. This was seen in the visible backwardness and under development. Some will ask if there is hope for the State as many of the major and monumental projects that we had in the State were courtesy of the past military Government like the Kwara State Stadium, Kwara Hotel, Water Corporation, Kwara State Library, Kwara State Polytechnic etc.
We should not seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community, our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own, unfortunately, this seems not to be the situation in Kwara State. Kwara State is regarded as one of the least in the country in terms of infrastructural development.
One year after the ‘Otoge revolution’ in Kwara State, When the ‘Otoge slogan” grew to more than just a slogan, but a movement that led to revolution in the State.
The revolution dethroned the 40 years misrule and hegemony of Saraki’s dynasty in the State, and gave power to the people, the election was one of the freest and fairest elections in the country, kudos to the good people and law abiding citizens of Kwaran. They deserve all the accolades of the last general elections, as the then Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki lost woefully in the elections and not only that, all his candidates lost their respective elections.
If you ask me if that was the greatest thing to happen, I would say a BIG NO!
To remove/dethrone is easy, but to rebuild requires a lot of patience, sincerity, dedication, commitment and Political will.
There is no doubt that ‘the new Sheriff’ is a good Man and has good intentions for the masses but what is needed in the state at this crucial period is definitely more than good intentions.
The selection of appointees (Commissioners, SAs etc) raised dust; some Party leaders & Elders claimed that they were sidelined and ignored, while some claimed that the appointees do not have what it takes to contribute meaningfully to the the current situation of the State, that they lacked the necessary knowledge, skills, experience, exposure & maturity to deliver.
After the swearing-in, there was a serious war in the media space between the new government and some aggrieved party members. Kwara State became one of the leading States quick in releasing Press Statements, that time, at least, there would be two (2) press releases that came out in a day.
There were always serious agitations for contracts & positions in the State.
Agitations are definitely part of Politics but it must be done in a reasonable manner and for the good of the society, not for selfish interest or ulterior motives.
From what I have observed about the Governor, he is very intelligent and I will announce for free that his gentility or quietness is not a sign of stupidity or cluelessness. His Excellency Abulrahman Abdulrazaq, fondly called ‘AA’ is always miles ahead.
In my own assessment, His Excellency is a good student of Abraham Maslow’s School of Thought. He prioritizes the basic needs of the people like Water, School, Health, Good roads, Food etc. Over 70% of Kwarans belong to this category, he’s using the bottom-top approach to address the basic needs of the masses. I must salute him and appreciate him for identifying himself with the masses and cost saving.
His Excellency is a prudent spender, especially when it concerns State money. Little wonder he said, he will rather share projects than ‘share State money’. This explains the cries of detractors that the governor is lavishing money does not hold water.
Thank God for his kind of lifestyle and foresight, this helped the State in the current COVID-19 global pandemic in terms of preparedness and conduct in the unfortunate situation. The state was given a high rating by both private and governmental bodies in tackling the pandemic.
The present administration has elevated the status of Women and Youths as they have become major stakeholders in the State.
This was never the case in the state. Currently, we have youngest Commissioner in the country and over 56% of the cabinet are women. This has been duly recognized by relevant local and international bodies and organizations.
His Excellency has done a lot in changing the wrong mindset and narrative of corruption and laziness in the State. It is no longer business as usual like sharing money for free, getting contracts without work done or sub-standard work done.
Now, Kwara’s money is working for Kwara and Kwarans.
The governor has tried to erase the ‘O ga so pe’ mentality and ‘godfatherism’’ in State, he is building a State where ‘the son of nobody can become somebody’.
I will advise the governor to put all appointees and stakeholders on their toes. They should be motivated, encouraged and chastised when necessary. As the governor cannot do everything or be everywhere- all appointees must be made to deliver on their mandate promptly and excellently to consolidate on the efforts of the governor.
However, I will enjoin the Governor that this is not a time to relent on his oars and giant strides or succumb to pressures as there is plenty of work to be done. This is a time for serious, strategic and concerted efforts to bring back the glory of the State and bring back the state to an enviable place.
I will advise His Excellency to set up a credible Project Monitoring team, to supervise and evaluate the quality of jobs and project execution in the state. This will minimize cost and bring sanity to the polity.
Another aspect is maintenance. Maintenance should be an integral part of the process.
Most of our property are not well maintained as our maintenance culture is very bad. To public infrastructure, maintenance is very key in establishing a legacy that will be beneficial to all.
I will advise His Excellency to look into the rancour in the party, as the leader of the party, he should bring all the parties involved to a round table for settlement in a way that will not affect the general happiness of the masses. If this is not properly handled and it degenerates, it will wreck a lot of havoc and slow down the wheel of progress.
I believe strongly that our Governor has the capability to deliver on the dividends of democracy to Kwarans, we should keep praying for him as he needs our prayers and support to excel.
We should encourage him, advice him, criticize him if need be but with the important mindset that Kwara must be great.
I was opportuned to be part of a team (Kwara Development Trackers) that visited and assessed the basic needs and Infrastructural deficiencies of all the 16 LGs in the State, I can boldly say that the task is enormous.
Let us join our hands together.
I recall that in a meeting with His Excellency, he said “if I fail, we have all failed”. This touched me greatly.
I will like to emphasize that, if the governor fails, all ‘O to ge’ crusaders & agitators have failed.
It is not only about Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq again, but about KWARA STATE and the State is definitely bigger than any individual or group of people. It should not be about us, but about the greatness of KWARA State.
Stephen A. Awoyale