Here are indices that swayed 2023 poll in favour of Gov. Buhari, says Buhari, as Kwara Commissioner explains why Kwara North rejected Yaman, PDP Guber Candidate Despite Agitation For Power Shift ….. Read the excerpt from the interview
My name is Abubakar Saddiq Buhari, the Kwara State Commissioner for Communications.
Question: 17 days ago, Kwarans went to the poll to elect the governor and members of the state House of Assembly. Incidentally, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq was re-elected. What’s the magic? How did it happen?
Answer: Well, for all Kwarans and observers from within and outside Kwara State, the result of the election that was held on the 18th of March was no surprise to so many people, building on the fact that before the election day, so many people knew the direction in which the Kwara people were going. They knew that Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq was going to be re-elected, knowing fully well that democracy is built on the indices that have to do with dividends and the dividends we are talking about, Kwara people are getting it and enjoying it. The basic needs that are supposed to be provided for the people by the government in power are being properly put in shape by the present administration. So before the election day, Kwarans were only expectant for them to reciprocate the good work and the interventions of the present Kwara State government that we have on board. So on the eve of the election when we started seeing results, the outcome of the result was not shocking to so many people because they knew that the righteousness, the demand and the welfare of the people have been properly taken care of in the first four years trust that was been impose in the present Kwara State administration. So the outcome of that election was not shocking to many Kwarans who have been following the trend of events in the state.
Question: Looking at the stiff opposition from the opposition figures, the attack here and there against the governor and the attempt to sway the voting pattern, were you not agitated about what might be the outcome of this election? Looking at the attacks from the opposition.
Answer: Well, in the beginning, democracy in Nigeria is on daily basis advancing. And the issue of propaganda and fake news, there has been adequate sensitisation in society against fake news and political propaganda. These people were out there dishing out things capable of spoiling the image of the Kwara State administration before common Kwarans but Kwarans were not fooled. Kwarans have demonstrated that they know what they want. Kwarans, again, demonstrated during the polls that they know where they’re coming from, where they are going and where they are supposed to be. They know how it was during the days of the past administrations. They know where they are, they know the differences. They know how things have improved and the way things are getting improved. So all those gimmicks by the opposition and the bad names that the present administration is being called are not something new. It is pure politics and the Kwara people understood that they were only playing politics and they stood firm to protect the interest of Kwara and Kwarans during the last gubernatorial polls by ensuring they stood for the administration that is correcting and repositioning Kwara into a better life. Progressively. In the past days in Kwara State, Kwara State is a state that is being widely adjudged as a civil servant state. We have the majority of our people are civil servants. Their basic needs were not being fulfilled by the past administrations. Their entitlement was not being paid. Our educational sector was in shambles, all the classrooms in which our students were supposed to be having their lectures and lessons were not in good shape. Roads were dilapidated. Nobody was there to attend to or fix those problems. Aids that were supposed to be provided by several international bodies were not being provided just because they could not pay for little counterparts’ fund they were supposed to pay for the state to get the bigger benefit, not until when Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq came on board. It was when he came on board that he started fixing all these problems. Operational materials and a conducive working environment are being provided for Kwara civil servants against the old order whereby most of the working state government environment was nothing to write home about. Teachers’ salaries were not being paid, and civil servants’ salaries were not being paid. Gratuity was not being paid, pensions were not being paid. But today the story is entirely different. Since this administration came on board, it is not on record that there has been a single month for which salary is not being or being paid in percentage. All those fear are now in the past courtesy of this present Kwara State government. So Kwarans knew the suffering that the past administration was inflicting on them after having worked for 30 days they would not pay them and sometimes they would pay, they paid them in percentage. There’s no way the people of the state are going to be happy about that. And since this administration came on board, we have not had on record that such a thing has ever happened. Even in the stance of the limited resources that we have. I can tell you authoritatively that the allocation and the money that the present Kwara State government have gotten for 3 and half years is not reasonably close to what the past administration was getting and could not pay teachers’ salary, or civil servants’ salary. They couldn’t fix our working environment. No operational materials were provided. Our roads were not fixed, and in our health sector, nothing was done. But since this administration came on board, we have rehabilitated and equipped over 60% of the primary healthcare centres that we have across the 3 senatorial districts. There’s no local government out of the 16 local governments that you go to in Kwara State today that you will not see the footprint of this administration in terms of road construction, in terms of classroom reconstruction and rehabilitation, in terms of water projects. We have many of our waterworks that are already been fixed under this administration. Kwarans knew the changes that they have witnessed under this administration and that was why even the stance of the propaganda and the bad name that the opposition parties were trying to create for the present government could not work because they know what the truth is. We now have a Kwara that is working for all Kwarans. You do not necessarily have to belong to any political class before you can be favoured or be given what is supposed to be given to all Kwarans. You do not need to know anybody that is in government before you can be given a benefit that an ordinary Kwaran is supposed to get. All these are changing under Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq.
Question: Looking forward, what should Kwarans be expecting from this administration?
Answer: Well, development is a continuous process and it doesn’t just happen within the twinkle of an eye. It’s a chronological process that must be taken one after the other. Presently, we have several developmental projects that are ongoing and this administration will not rest, this administration will not put in abeyance the need for the state government to complete these projects for Kwara and Kwarans to get the benefit that is supposed to come with those development projects. Some of those projects are the Ilorin Visual Arts Centre, The Innovation Hub, we also have the International Conference Centre which is expected to be the most patronise international conference centre we have in North Central because presently the only international conference centre we have in North Central Nigeria is in Abuja. And you may disagree or agree with me that the cost of living and the cost of organising conferences in Abuja can not be compared to the cost that will be incurred if we have it in Kwara. Things are cheaper, and easier here compare to Abuja. So many other North Central states will prefer to fly into Kwara to organize their conferences in a peaceful and less expensive state like Kwara that we are. And that will, on the other hand, also increase the internally generated revenue of Kwara State because when people troop in they are going to patronise our hotels and our vendors. This is the foresight Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq has. The Ilorin Visual Arts centre, when completed will be the second visual arts centre as far as the entire of Africa is concerned. The only one we have presently is in South Africa. There is none in the entire West Africa and there are so many departments expected to be in that Ilorin Visual Arts centre like the cinematic arts gallery, and post-production section of it whereby all these movies that we watch on Netflix and other movie-showing platform can be right edited here in Kwara. Many states will no longer have to travel to Lagos before they can have suitable post-production editing if the Ilorin Visual Arts centre is completed. They can come to Kwara to have the best quality of the kind of movie production they will want to go to Lagos to have because most of the similar places you see in Lagos are not as standard as the ones we have ongoing in Kwara State. Same as Ilorin Innovation Hub. It is being built by the state government but we are going to have a lot of private technological companies. They’re going to bring in their people and it will provide an avenue for Kwara youths who want to build skills in different technological aspects to want to help their skills learning as far as technology is concerned. So if you look at the Ilorin Innovation Hub, the Visual Arts Centre, and the International Conference Centre, all these are being properly designed. When people come in from other parts of the country, you know the Ilorin Visual Arts centre is not built for the consumption of Nigeria alone. Just like I rightly mentioned earlier that it’s going to be the second as far as the African continent has to do. People from other West African states will have to be flying into Kwara State for them to have their movie production editing and other related kinds of stuff in this Ilorin Visual Arts centre. We have International Conference Centre, we have the Innovation Hub, all these will attract international bodies to want to visit Kwara. We also have the Esie museum. So these are things that when people are coming into Kwara State, they look at. Also, we have an ongoing redesign of the popularly known flower garden. If you visit the place, you’ll agree with me that this government has a proper developmental roadmap for Kwara State. So when you visit the flower garden now and compare it to what we used to have as a flower garden, you’ll know that this present Kwara State government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure Kwara gets developed and Kwara wears a new face.
Question: many expected Kwara north people to vote massively for the PDP governorship candidate as a response to your agitation for a power shift, what happen?
Answer: Interestingly, I happen to come from the local government where the major opposition party gubernatorial candidate comes from, in the person of Alhaji Shuaibu Yaman. I’m from Edu Local Government, I’m a Nupe man by the tribe. I know him so well, he knows me. But Kwara North, I have been saying it and I will continue to say it, this is democracy and what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Kwara Central have had it, Kwara South have had it, and Kwara North naturally is supposed to be given a chance as well but we from Kwara North there have so many issues bedevilling our senatorial district. Fundamentally, we are far behind in terms of development. And our major factor responsible for the clamour that you all saw it because of the underdevelopment of Kwara North when compared to the other two senatorial districts we have in Kwara State. One, aside from the fact that the development that we all yearn for, we are witnessing it reasonably under this administration. Kwara North sincerely wants to be governor of this state because, since the return of democracy in 1999, we have not had it in Kwara North senatorial district. But what Kwara North cannot afford to jeopardize is having somebody who is going to represent the interest of Kwara North. We will prefer to support somebody even from outside Kwara State that we know will attract development to our region rather than have our person who we know to a very rational level that he’s not for the development of our region but for his personal development. Aside from that, this is somebody who came under the platform of a supposed godfather. Kwara North can not afford to have a stooge as a representation for the position they have been clamouring for overtime to come and wear that cap, under the guise of Kwara North. We cannot afford to have a stooge as our representative in the government house as the governor from our region. This is not somebody unknown to Kwara Northerners, that same man is not unknown to Kwarans. As far as Kwara State politics is concerned. Aside from the fact that Yaman came under the leadership of Sen. Abubakar Bukola Saraki if you go back to history and you make your holistic findings, you’ll agree with me that the person is a seasonal politician who always comes to look for a position wherever it is electioneering period and immediately after elections, once he loses or fails to get a personal benefit, he always flies out of the state. You’ll not see him again until the eve of another four years. That has been the kind of game he has been playing. So people have been watching, people have been observing. In 2019 when we were doing ‘O to get the struggle, the first beneficiary of the struggle was Alhaji Shuaibu Yaman because it was right before the 2019 general elections that he got appointed into a federal position, make your findings and discredit this statement that I’m about to make that for his 3 and half years representation in the federal position there was no single empowerment. The person or through the office. No development was attracted to the region. Not to his immediate community, not to talk of the entire local government by extension, to worsen it, Kwara North. You’re in a federal position for about 4 years, there was no development, either directly or through the leverage of your office attracted to Kwara North or your local government and you want to come under the guise of Kwara North’s agenda to cajole us. We are not fools. We are due for the governor but we don’t want a stooge. And even when you talk about stooges, there are categories to them. This was supposed to be a stooge that does not care about his people, not even personal empowerment. He was rich enough to have brought out several millions of naira to purchase forms and embark on campaigns but could not even use one million nairas to empower one single person. We know what we are doing in Kwara North, we want to be governor. There’s no hide-and-seek about that, but we don’t want a stooge. We want somebody that we know is part of us, we want somebody that we know cares for us, we want somebody that we know will listen to the plight of Kwara North and Kwarans at large. We don’t want a sectional governor. We don’t want a governor that will say because we have not been governor for a long time, I am coming back for a vendetta mission. We want a governor who will be able to harness the interest of the entirety of Kwara State. We want somebody that we know that when you knock at his door at any time he’s going to listen to you, he knows where our shoe pinches, not somebody who will just fly in the eve of the election and fly out if he doesn’t get what he wants immediately after the election. This has been the trend, the kind of politics this same man has been playing and that is why it was so difficult for him to even win his local government. No matter how bad you are as a person, there has been a clamour that the Kwara North agenda but the supposed Kwara North agenda flag bearer could not even win his local government. It is that bad. And the major factor responsible for that is that Kwara Northerners know the kind of person this man is and they know that he could not be trusted. They will prefer to stand with Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq and I have always repeatedly maintained that the support you saw Abdulrahman got from Kwara North during and before the election I have been saying it and I will continue to say it, it is not because he is Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, not because he’s the governor. It goes beyond being Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq or being the governor. Ordinarily, if the kind of developmental activities we are witnessing gradually in Kwara North was being given by another person, believe me, that person would get such support. The support he was able to get from Kwara North is a result of what Kwara Northerners have felt under his leadership. If it was to be another person on that seat and he gave them such due recognition and gesture, believe me, Kwara Northerners would have reciprocated the same thing to that person not just because he’s a sitting governor but because he’s Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq. It was his work that spoke for him. It was what he has done that spoke for him in Kwara North during the polls.
Question: Simply, Kwara Northerners voted for development?
R: They voted for development. They could not afford to see that development is truncated.
Question: What are the arrangements to have a sellable person to push forward as Kwara North candidate for the governorship election in 2027?
Answer: 2027 is a discourse of interest but this is 2023. The elected officers are even yet to be inaugurated. When we get to the bridge we’ll know how better to cross it.