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PDP Guber Ticket to Kwara North, a Bad Ticket; Gov. AbdulRasaq Developing the Zone Never Like Before – Barrister Alhassan

Read excerpts of the interview

As a Kwara Northerner, how would you assess the performance of the present administration in your senatorial district?

I can categorically say that the present administration of His Excellency Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has performed wonderfully well in addressing the development challenges of my senatorial district- Kwara North because for the first time in many years, the state government is fairly siting capital intensive projects across the three senatorial districts and as a result, Kwara North is receiving its fair share of massive infrastructural development going on in the state. In the eight years of the past administration, Kwara North like other parts of the state suffered and degenerated a great deal in all areas of development. we suffered set back in educational facilities, health facilities, roads, water supply etc and the present administration has noted that the long neglect of public infrastructure has led to large scale decay in the system, and as such this administration has focused its attention from inception on fixing the shameful state of our public facilities. That deliberate effort is yielding positive result across the state and the result in Kwara North is more obvious, because we are the worse hit by the bad governance the state was subjected to under the past administration. Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq stayed focused on ensuring that all parts of the State get government attention and our people in Kwara North, even members of the opposition party are acknowledging his mass intervention in ensuring that development gets to the grassroots. We in Kwara North have seen a lot of positive changes in government programmes and its policies. For instance, if you look at the capital projects of the Abdulrahman administration, there is a deliberate focus on spreading the projects across the state, and as a result capital projects are been sited in Kwara North, everyone can see the massive work on Ilesha Gwanara road, its a 33Km stretch of road in Baruten LGA, the Kishi-Kaiama road which is about 34.5 Km in Kaiama LGA, Gbugbu International market in Edu LGA, and the Special Agro Processing Zone that is coming up in Lata, and the 28Km Yana Tsaragi -Shonga road undergoing procurement process.These are capital projects with clear economic relevance.They are all in Kwara North.The Governor also chose Alapa road in Moro LGA in Kwara North to flag-off construction of a total of 1000 Km rural roads worth over $60 Million, that’s about 30 Billion Naira and most of these rural roads are in Kwara North because most communities in our Local Government are rural areas. The people have indeed witnessed a departure from the mis -governance of our present day critics who are trying to stage a come-back to their political leader, Bukola Saraki, through the back door using sectional sentiments.

Are you saying that this administration has done better in 3 years, compared to past administrations?

Yes indeed. When UBEC blacklisted Kwara State because of the Yahoo Yahoo conduct of the past government education in Kwara North suffered total neglect for many years. This Government has turn the story around by paying the fine and accessing what is due to Kwara, the State is injecting 14 billion Naira into fixing the mess in our basic education. Teachers of primary and Junior Secondary Schools across the state were not motivated.They were not getting salaries on time, and when they get the pay, it is mutilated, 25%, 35%- They called it ‘Geri Gedi’ Salary all that nonsense is no more. These administration has fixed that mess. As I speak with you, in every ward across the senatorial district in Kwara North our people can see work going on in many schools to fix the educational facilities including complete whole school construction, building of ICT labs, building and complete renovation of blocks of classrooms, provision of chairs, desks and learning materials. This is what is happening live in all our wards. I talked about this because fixing basic education is key to the development of Kwara North, because we don’t have access to the alternative provided by private schools. Most rural communities don’t have private schools. Our General Hospitals and Primary Health Centres that were abandoned in Lafiagi, Kpada, Gwanara, Okuta,Kaiama- everywhere you go in Kwara North you will see real projects that matter to the populace. Yes! In every town in Kwara North, you will see township roads, The New water works in Jebba has been a long awaited project for the people of that town. The difference between this administrations is that we have listening leader that is focused on the projects that matter to the people. When the Governor found massive deficit in our teaching work force, the Governor approved recruitment of brilliant unemployed Kwarans as Teachers. Young people from Kwara North who have no connection to politicians got these Jobs without going to anybody to lobby. Our Senatorial district got a large chunk of these employment slots of the 4,700 teachers recruited. In the past, you have to know someone on Ahmadu Bello Way to get such jobs. Recruitments were shrouded in secrecy just like the so-called sunset teachers were recruited. No adverts, No exams, No interviews, Just know a Politician and that affected us badly in Kwara North. The massive development experienced under this Abdulrahman administration cannot be compared to the mess our people have been getting from the past government. So, for our people in Kwara North, the Abdulrahman administration is a true development- focused government that has earned the love and trust of the everyday Kwara Northerner through delivery of the desired dividends of democracy in a short period of time. These are intervention we have not seen in the state and in Kwara North particularly, for a very long time, but now, people can feel the impact of government programs directly.

Are you aware that, some of your people in kwara North, majorly from opposition party (PDP) are agitating for power shift, what is your view on this agitation?

PDP zoned the governorship ticket to Kwara North as a gimmick to get back to power through sectional sentiment. But our people are wise and they are more informed. They can see the massive developmental transformation going on in the state and in our various Local Governments under the administration of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak and they want these trend of development to continue. The people of Kwara North will go back to Egypt, where the slogan of a political party is Oloye (Saraki)! Don’t hear them in their meetings, when they say P D and P, the slogan is Oloye! We, in the APC are not part of that agenda. The Kwara North Caucus of APC have unanimously adopted Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for second term even before he declares his intention. These endorsement enjoy the support of key stakeholders like the Senator representing Kwara North, the Speaker of the State Assembly, Members of the House of Representatives from the zone, Members of the State House of Assembly from Kwara North. Elders of the Party like Senator. Ahmed Mohammed from Baruten, Alhaji. Abubakar Ndakene, Ambassador Nurudeen, Engr. Yunusa Yahaya, Alhaji. Ilyasu from Moro, Chief Wole Oke etc these serious known power brokers. And the Youths in Kwara North solidly support the endorsement of the Governor for second term. Most of the people that are championing that campaign called Kwara North agenda are those that have had opportunities in the past and disappointed the people and the entire zone as a whole. In my ward, we have a former Senator, who is leading the PDP agitators for the so-called Kwara North agenda, for eight years, and the only project we had from him in the town for eight years is an 1KM road of clay-laterite. In less than 3 years, go to Lafiagi today and see the projects of the Abdulrahman administration, go and see schools, general hospital, township roads, etc. Under the present leadership, the General Hospital in my town Lafiagi has been completely remodelled.The Government Secondary School has been totally rebuilt with new about seven new blocks of classrooms, the township road to General Hospital and Secretariat has been reconstructed, New blocks of classrooms are being built in atleast Six Primary and Junior Secondary Schools, Farmers, in their thousands got subsidized farm inputs and mechanization services, civil servants, now receive their wages in full. These overnight agitators for Kwara North Governorship in PDP have served as Ministers, Senators, House of Representatives and Assembly, Commissioners, and influential people within the corridor of power, they brought nothing home in terms of developmental projects, so, when they go home and talk to people, Our People don’t believe them, because people can see what this Abdulrahman administration is doing in their domain to make life better for the masses. They can see the social intervention programmes under Kwara State Social Investment Programme. They can see how government workers come knocking at the elderly people’s doors to give them financial support on a bi-monthly basis in a well organized manner. Nobody wants to bring back the Ile-arugbo system under any guise. And that is what the PDP Zoning of ticket to Kwara North is all about. You know in the Ile-arugbo system, You gather old people in one house in Ilorin give them Eba or Puff-puff with N 500 each. We in Kwara North will resist being used to bring that shameful order back to our state under any guise.

Don’t you think that 2023 would have been a good time for your zone to grab Governor, since a major opposition party has voluntarily zoned ticket to the district?

This major political party you are talking about was requested to zone the ticket to Kwara North in 2019, but they did not. They are zoning it to us now, because they know that it is a bad ticket, a completely useless ticket. They know the ticket will not fly and we are not falling for that gimmick in Kwara North, that is why, the entire APC family in Kwara North, from elders, to elected officials to party leaders to women leaders, youths leaders met in Bode-Sadu, Moro Local Government Area, earlier this month and took a decisive stand on 2023. We unanimously endorsed Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for a second term, even before he declare his intention.We unanimously called on the Governor to contest for second term to complete the good work he is doing.

Do you think majority of the people will be ready to vote incumbent Governor again in 2023 at the expense of voting one of their own for Governor?

Most of these people you are calling “one of their own” have failed the zone and most people are tired of their politricks. One of them is still executing projects he was supposed to execute when he was in office as a member of National Assembly. He diverted the money and a civil society organization is on his case, so he was executing constituency projects two years after leaving office to avoid being dragged to the cleaners by CSOs. We, in Kwara North APC endorsed Governor. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for second term because we are listening to civil servants. We are also listening to Farmers. We are listening to the vibe on the street and the vibe we are catching from the street of Kwara North 4 + 4. For your information, we have a very large population of our people who are civil servants working under the Local Governments, and State Government, these folks can see and feel the commitment of this administration to their welfare, they can feel the Governor’s commitment to payment of the N30,000 minimum wage and the consequential adjustments, they can feel the positive impact of timely payment of their full wages.They are happy, they don’t have to deal 30% and gerigedi salary. A large chunk of our people are also Farmers, and last wet season alone about 10,000 Farmers got Farm inputs at 50% subsidy. We are feeling the vibe from these farmers and their Families and it is 4 + 4.We can’t go contrary to what the voters want..

Yes. Some of the agitators for power shift are cool guys, they want more development. However, where we differ with them is that having a Governor from your village those not guarantee that your village will be transformed to Dubai. We believe, The Governor is doing a good Job and he should be supported to complete this Job. The Governor gave support to BUA LASUCO- A project of about N 140 Billion Naira which has resulted in the company committing to access the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Program to build a 283 KM roads and bridges connecting Lafiagi-Bode Sadu and Kosubosu cutting across Edu- Moro-Kaiama and Baruten LGAs of Kwara North. Look at the upcoming Multi-Billion Naira Special Agro Processing Zone in Lata which the state, African development Bank and some Investors have already committed Funds to, Look at the long stretch of road constructions going on across the zone. These are the determinants of our voting patterin 2023 not parochial sentiments. I can assure you that Kwara Northerners will not be used to interrupt these development by self-serving Elites. Kwara Northerners will vote Governor. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq en mass for second term if he declares to contest for second term. The Governor has proven to Kwara Northerners and the entire state that he is a Governor for all and he is committed to a Kwara State that provides opportunity for all, and that is why I believe the parochial sectional strategy of power mongers will not work against him In sha Allah.

Words on marble: They are zoning it to us now, because they know that it is a bad ticket, a completely useless ticket.

Culled: Nigerian pilot

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