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AbdulRazaq, Ilorin Emirate And Kwara Politics Beyond 2023 By Idris Jimoh

Happy New Year to you. I welcome you to year 2022.This year would unveil the "magical" 2023,which you and I are expecting .It is a year most Kwarans believe so many issues will be sorted-out and settled,particularly in the politics of the State.

The year would be a year of decision. It could also be a year of retrieval .It could also be a year of consolidation. What and how the year would be depend on so many factors. One man that is,however, central to the unfolding scenario is the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.

Whatever it is,it is very clear that the permutations have begun in earnest among the political class. The politics of the next dispensation has,no doubt, commenced with vigour and it would be strongly rooted as the year progresses.

Politics is being played in various places including weaving sheds,markets,motor parks,newspaper joints and places of worship, relaxation arena and palaces of traditional rulers across the State.

Everybody seems to be concerned one way or the other.Just like in the game of football where everybody turns himself into a Coach, every Kwaran has been passing judgement,making commendations and exerting condemnations as it suit them. The issue of who should contest or who would win has been in the front burner of discourse here and there .Those who were edged out are determined to come back. Those who are in power are resolute at ensuring the maintenance of the status quo while those who have never found themselves in the real corridor of power are also working day and night to secure a space for themselves.

I am not here to pretend. I am an Ilorin man. I am also a Muslim. As an Ilorin man,my concern is how the whole scenario would play out as the future of Ilorin Emirate would be affected. 

I want the governorship of Kwara State to remain in Ilorin. I also want the incumbent Governor to serve for a second term in office. I am not saying there is no vacancy in the Government House,Ilorin. There is and there would always be vacancy every four years. But I like Governor AbdulRazaq to be reelected for a second term.

My desire is not because every first term Governor would certainly want to return for a second term. My conviction is based on visible indicators such as improved infrastructure ,impressive policies on education ,health,civil service ,good governance ,selflessness and patriotism .

Governor AbdulRazaq has no doubt earned the commendation of majority of stakeholders and patriots considering the situations he met when he assumed the office and dwindling revenue profile of the State. He has, indeed, done very well,relatively speaking.

The second reason is that the Governor is not like every other politician who believes in the sharing of our Commonwealth among the political elites. He believes in the judicious use of resources for the good of all.

One other reason why I think he should be returned in 2023 is that he would be the most experienced of the lot that would contest in the context of Otoge template that has no respect for Godfatherism any more in Kwara politics.

He would have acquired four years of unique practical experience in governance and civil administration which would make his second term far better than the current one and put Kwara on a solid foundation for full realization of the dream of our founding fathers in making the State one of the best governed States in the country.

The other reason is because he is an Ilorin man. He has done so many things that no Governor has ever done in the history of Kwara State and Ilorin Emirate in particular. He appears to be the most people-friendly of all the Governors that have ruled the State. 

His transparency, generousity, patriotism and humility are second to none. I make bold to say that,though he is the third indigene of Ilorin Emirate who will serve as the Governor of Kwara State, none of those who preceded him in office did what he has accomplished in the last three years, particularly in reaching out to the people who are the real stakeholders.

The statesmanship he adopted in the treatment of the misunderstanding generated by the adoption of Hijab in public schools in Ilorin earlier in the year showed that he is a man who can be trusted with power again. While appreciating the magnitude of power and privileges at his disposal, Governor AbdulRazaq is still very conscious of the need to take everybody, particularly stakeholders, along with the deployment of high-tech diplomacy and language of moderation.

The recruitment of thousands of teachers and civil servants without recourse to political persuasions of the beneficiaries is unprecedented. His loyalty and fidelity to the principle of nonalignment to any political lord is also pleasant to those who witnessed the unprecedented rot of the past.
Democracy and party politics are all about game of nos.

No body contests available statistics that Ilorin has the highest population of the electorate and like many cities in Nigeria determines the outcome of Governorship election in Kwara State.

In addition ,Governorship aspirants in APC in Kwara North and Kwara Centre fought keenly for the APC ticket before Governor AbdulRahaman got the ticket.

Similarly ,in the Governorship elections proper ,Governor AndulRahaman and other candidates fought keenly again and he won landslides .
The Governor and his team know the patriots in other Senatorial districts who then and now are busy working for the success of his 2nd term in line with the genuine aspirations of the majority of stakeholders in Ilorin and remain committed to the bond of unity laid by the founding fathers of the State.

It in this spirit that Ilorin people are united to return Governor AbdukRahaman as democratically elected in 2023.

It has been done many times in similar cities .
Fortunately, the Governor does not rule as if other segments of the State do not matter. Yes,he is a son of Ilorin. He is also a son and friend of the Nupe, Barubas, Igbominas and Ekitis.

Little wonder,he has been spreading more projects and appointments to the Kwara North and the Kwara South. He has been a Governor of all and a man who takes the entire State as his constituency as he should. He is welcomed in Offa and Omu-Aran and Osi as he is always embraced at Lafiagi, Kaima and Okuta. I am sure the real leaders and people of the two Senatorial Districts covet him as much as he is loved in the Kwara Central Senatorial District.

Evidently, Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq's commitment to equity, justice and fairness demonstrated thought spread of political appointments, Infrastructures and visible dividends of democracy in Kwara North and Kwara South far outweighed achievements of any previous Governor from the 2 other Senatorial districts.

What else can we say about a Governor who gave the people of other Zones privileges over those of his own in critical sectors? Or are you not aware of the ethnic backgrounds of those who head the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service , the Kwara State Geographical Information System etc?

For us in Ilorin Emirate, Mallam AbdulRazaq remains the best choice. This much has been reapteadly affirmed by important stakeholders. The highly respected Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, CFR, has not hidden his love for the leadership styles and persuasive personality of Governor AbdulRazaq. The royal father has repeatedly described him as a true son of the soil who always behaved and conducted himself in glorious manners. The first class monarch has been saying this on IEDPU Day since 2019.He repeated it in 2020 and did not mince words again last year. The kind of honour the Governor gives the Emir has been positively unusual. Such a situation must have informed such a royal endorsement.

The umbrella sociocultural organisation of the people of Ilorin Emirate, the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union(IEDPU) , has repeated the same mantra. This much was disclosed by the National President of the Union, Alhaji Otta Uthman Aliyu,who said that the Union had never had it so good and smooth with any administration since the creation of the State. A critical appraisal of the several recent press releases of the Union issued by its erstwhile Spokesman,Abubakar Imam,was convincing enough that the Union holds the Governor in high esteem.

What about the clergy,particularly the nonpartisan ones?They have had nothing but commendations for the leadership styles of Mallam AbdulRazaq. I was at the last conference of the IEDPU and I heard the very brilliant and persuasive National Missioner of the Ansarul Islam Society of Nigeria, Shaykh Abdulmumini Ayara,praising the Governor for his exceptional patriotism.

What the above conveys is nothing but the endorsement of the Governor by the relevant segments of Ilorin Emirate community. And I think they are all nothing but a clear manifestation of what is in stock for His Excellency,Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. The saying that no dutiful parent would leave his presentable child undressed for the child of his neighbour to be beautified is bound to play out in 2023.

We are all out to see what would happen.For as long as the Governor remains who he is and his administration keeps the pace of people-oriented policies and programmes "unpunctuated" the renewal of his "tenancy" at the Kwara State Government House by the people of Ilorin Emirate who would lead others in returning him to the seat of the Number One citizen of the "State of Harmony" is a "sure banker".

Jimoh,a public affairs analyst, writes from Sabo Line Road,Ilorin.

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