Kwara at 50: What are we celebrating?


Let me congratulate our dear state for attaining 5 decades of existence as one of the foremost states created in 1967. It is, indeed, worthy of commemoration considering its economic viability, potential natural and human resources, peaceful and harmonious environment, to mention just few.
Kwara State is significant in the history of Nigeria, having given birth to Kogi State and parts of Niger state. Kwara also shares borders with Benin Republic to the west, Niger State to the north, Kogi to the east and Oyo state to the south.
An over view of our achievements, particularly from 1999 to date when democracy came into stay, will offer us with the option to either celebrate or moan Kwara State @ 50.

Nonetheless, my hypothesis will not be based on the sentiment of being a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, or an indigene of Kaiama, Kwara north, where we live like internally displaced persons given the worst nature of our roads and lack of meaningful development since the last 18 years of democratic governance. Rather, it will be structured on realities, facts and figures.
First and foremost, there is no gainsaying Kwara state has achieved tremendously and developed versely in the areas of education, infrastructure, agriculture etc, during the military administrations.

For instance, most of the physical structures such as the government house, governor’s office, stadium, state secretariat, and all the edifices that accommodate most of the ministries today, were executed by the military government. It will also interest you to know that most tertiary institutions like the Kwara State Polytechnic, Colleges of Education, Ilorin and Oro, School of Nursing Ilorin, School of Midwifery, Ilorin, School of Health Technology Offa and a host of others, were all established during the memorable reign of the military.
Similarly, all major roads in Ilorin were constructed under the military administrations, irrespective of our meager resources at that time.

However, the military came to an exalted end with the swearing in of a democratically elected governor of the All Peoples Party (APP), later All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Late Alh Mohammed Lawal, in 1999.
Lawal embarked on grassroots projects like the construction of feeder roads; motorised boreholes with 10,000 litre capacity overhead tanks across Kwara State; the palaces of all the 1st class traditional rulers were renovated.

He also ensured the distribution of fertiliser, tractors and loans to farmers to boost agricultural production. He ensured massive construction/renovation of primary and secondary schools across the 16 LGAS and gave bursary and scholarships to students.
He did his best within his 4-year tenure until he mysteriously lost election to his successor, Dr Bukola Saraki, in 2003. The economic activities of the state improved to a large extent during the tenure of Saraki from 2003 to 2011. He made some landmark achievements in the areas of infrastructure, education, health, rural electrification and socio-economic development.

Ironically, Saraki’s tenure allegedly pioneered the indiscriminate collection of loans; sale and diversion of government properties; allocation of lands and official guest houses to family members, friends and cronies; diversion of local governments’ allocation, and the massive corruption that engulfed the state leaving it in huge debts.
As a result of this ugly trend, the development of the state has immensely been hindered while the citenzenry wallows in severe penury.
As if that was a preamble, Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed succeeded his boss in 2011 and tagged his administration “Government of Continuity”.

But was it the CONTINUITY of projects or corruption and gross misconduct? He also launched a slogan “Kwara State, it’s good here.” What is good here?
Nevertheless, he flagged off a project tagged “Operation no potholes.” As I am talking to you today, virtually all the township roads in Ilorin have graduated from potholes to POTDAMS.
Aside the fact that the governor lacks the basic impetus to give Kwarans the desired leadership, he is equally bereaved of ideas and strategy. Most disgustingly, the local government system is another major area of concern.

The third tier of government has indirectly been scrapped with the council secretariats turning to abattoir where you can buy the best meat and soup ingredient. The deliberate failure of the government to conduct even a predetermined council election as it is usuallydone, is the height of government’s disregard for the rule of law, irresponsibility and insensitivity to the yearnings and aspirations of the electorate.

The continuous running of the local councils by an illegal caretaker committee is not only unconstitutional and satanic, but a ploy orchestrated to create a vacuum in furtherance of stealing the allocation that accrues to the local councils. WHAT’S GOOD HERE?
Today, Kwara State tops the list of states that have not paid civil servants for so many months despite the bailout funds released by the federal government. The civil service has been crippled with most of the functions taken over by consultants, consequently, rendering it ineffective and inefficient.
Kwarans are weeping, bleeding and rotten in sorrow and abject poverty.
In view of the above assessment of the various administrations since the inception of democratic governance in 1999 to 2017, do the projects executed commensurate with the resources that accrued to the state between the period under review? If the answer is yes, kindly make a table to substantiate your submission. But if the answer is the negative, what exactly are we celebrating?
Therefore, I call on all and sundry to join the struggle for the liberation of our dear state.
The Kwara of our dream, we shall get there, we are just in a process.
So, help us God

Prince Mahmud wrote from Abuja; 08033162784

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