By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Kwara state Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has been unanimously endorsed for a second term in office by Elders and Stakeholders Forum of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara state.
Briefing journalists in Ilorin, the state capital, on Monday, they hinged their endorsement on the superlative and amazing performances of the governor, describing him as “humble, unassuming and an excellent performer to the great satisfaction and expectations of the electorate who gave him the mandate on 2019.”
Coming hard on the governor’s critics, particularly within the ruling All Progressives Congress, the Forum said: “The governor is nothing but a victim of vicious attacks and blackmails from individuals who have long masked their greed, personal aggrandisement, ego, unbridled ambitions, and false sense of entitlement with claims that they are fighting for the party.
“The Governor and the silent majority of our party members and leaders are putting up with persons who erroneously feel that we owe our breaths and victory at the poll to them alone.
“Unknown to many unsuspecting members of the public, the emergence of various groups that have declared support for the Governor was not without a justifiable background. It is to show that this performing Governor is not without patriots who felt that the only essence of ‘Otoge’ was the service of the people. Other interests are secondary. For as long as the Governor does this, he has the full backing of the majority of party members, elders and the entire populace of Kwara State.
“Quite sadly, shortly after the inauguration of the Governor, some chieftains within the party started a campaign codenamed ‘jeunkosanwo’. This implied that the Governor was never going to have a second term, irrespective of his sterling performance. They were ready to frustrate and distract the government just to realise their own selfish ambitions. Despite working against the Governor from day one of his administration, many of them felt it was their birthright to become the godfathers to the same Governor and handpick anyone for him.
“In the case of Akogun Oyedepo, he lobbied to be made the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in order to use same as a platform to clinch the prestigious rank of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). While this is not a crime, we feel anyone who wishes to be so honoured ought to show support for the Governor as a party person.
“Hon. BOB (party caretaker chairman) and other party chieftains never disguised their dislike for the Governor and his administration for reasons totally unconnected to development of the state. Contrary to decency and party rules, they go on radio to openly condemn the government of their own party. Had the Governor not endeared himself to the masses with his humility, simplicity and people-focused performance as can be seen in every part of the state, the insurrection by these persons were enough to bring down any government. Yet their anger was basically that the Governor was not giving them attention, which is not true.
“Several party chieftains and patriots in their own right therefore felt a need to stand with the Governor who is clearly being unfairly treated by those who ought to push aside personal gains and stand by him to rebuild the state for us and generations to come. This is why we have also come together to stand for the Governor! The people of Kwara State are totally in support of the Governor and his administration because he has made them the focus of governance.”
On the crisis rocking the party in the state, they said solution is in sight, noting that the caretaker committee put in place by the party’s national body is for a period of six months that would lapse in June 2021, after which they would have the opportunity to elect true representatives for the party in the state.
Attempts to personalise the Otoge mantra which brought the party to power in 2019 by some people was roundly condemned and described as myopic, saying “it is our people’s battles, not anyone’s initiative.”
Governor AbdulRazaq, they said, “remains a man of the people and he stands tall as a man of honour among the majority of our party members in the state, in spite of the unfair demarketing campaign launched against his administration by some of these party chieftains and their co-travelers in the opposition. This is not by chance. Not only has the Governor demystified the office of Governor with his uncommon humility, simplicity, and prudence, he has redefined the story of our state in many positive ways. Whether in health, education, road, or water, the Governor has touched lives in many ways never seen before. He has strategically taken governance to the people such that there is no electoral Ward in the state that cannot point to one or two things that they have benefited in just 18 months of his administration.
“The Governor is changing the story of Kwara in various sectors: education, health, empowering the people among others. Today, Kwara is also a model state on the continent in youths and women inclusion in government.
“Why then would anyone from his own party go against him? The only explanation is that such persons are not interested in development but in their own hidden agenda which is at variance with the Otoge mantra.”