An Open Letter to the Governor-Elect of Kwara State
Dear Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq,
Let me begin by congratulating you upon sweeping the polls at the just concluded gubernatorial election in Kwara State. It is a rare feat I must admit. Verily, your name has been written in gold and will go down in the annals as the David of Kwara State. You defeated a big masquerade. You fell a supposedly invincible political dynasty. You broke a jinx. You birthed a new dawn in our native land. Who does all these except an enigma that you are?
Before the gubernatorial election, I had personally predicted, considering the voting behavior of our people during the presidential and NASS elections, that victory is yours. Albeit voting behavior is a complex phenomenon which cannot be easily predicted in most cases as many factors influence it, the handwriting in the case of Kwara State was clear on the wall. What it was saying is obvious: Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (O to ge) will sweep the polls.
As an aside: As a political sociologist in the making, I loathe a situation whereby the APC will take all the seats in the state assembly. I had always argued that the state assembly be peopled by lawmakers of different political parties even if the seats would not be evenly shared. This is because a viable opposition is a fundamental aspect of democracy. The outcomes of the elections have however proved me wrong. In all cases, democracy wins. At least there would be no room for complaint as two arms of the government are solely in the hands of the APC.
Our incoming governor, it is important that you note that you conquered not because you were the best among your equals. If educational background and political experience were to be considered, it is clear that Hon. Abdulrazaq Atunwa is far ahead of you. On the flipside, if performance were to be considered, I believe Comrade Issa Aremu can fare better than you. This however does not in any way connote that you too cannot perform. In essence, what accounted for your victory is the will of God. So, thank him and rule to please him. There is another thing that amounted to your success: the support of the masses. Thus, as you step in as the governor of dear state, it is important that you also rule to please the people. The masses rather than few political elites are to be served.
I am not in any way saying that you shouldn’t pay back those political stalwarts that abetted your victory; but in case their interests clash with that of the masses, the latter’s should prevail. The masses ushered you in; the political elites alone cannot do it. The result of the election speaks volumes to the fact that sovereignty resides with the people. It was the masses’ revolution and not the APC’s.
Let me also hint you sir if you will not consider it an affront that you are surrounded by an array of political investors. In essence, you should know how to play your game if you want to sustain your popularity with the people. We know some politicos and personas chanting “O to ge” with you today who destroyed and battered Kwara State alongside Saraki yesterday. Though they might have turned a new leaf necessitating giving them the benefit of doubt, it is important you be skeptical with them if you don’t want them to ruin your Administration. We know some of them who ran away from Saraki because they were not given the political platforms they wanted. These people are mere political investors, and they can be dangerous too. So, know how you play your game with them if you don’t want to be in Saraki’s shoe in the coming years.
Your Excellency, the fall of Saraki and the gale of defections that rocked his party, the PDP, should serve as an avenue for you to learn and not to gloat. No one associates with failure or a loser. This is why the masses must constitute the first item on your scale of preference. If you lose popularity with the people as a result of not living up to expectations, before the twinkle of an eye, your political associates will scamper for greener pasture. These political investors are after their selfish interests. So, look before you leap.
Your Excellency, I must also confess to you that there are an array of social problems staring Kwara in the face. But I believe God will see you through. Should we talk of the debt we are plagued with as a state? Or the innumerable roads in the state that are in deplorable conditions? How about the shambolic state of our hospitals? How about the eroding quality of our schools? How about the challenge of meagre industries? How about the mediocrists that dot the civil service? How about the twin challenges of cultism and burglary? How about the moribund state of the agricultural sector? How about environmental problems? Ad infinitum. I think of these numberless social problems bedeviling Kwara State and I am afraid.
Your Excellency, Governance is, of course, not an easy task as our people deem it to be. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Will the people bear with you in restoring sanity to the system? How do you want to balance the equation between physical infrastructure and stomach infrastructure? How do you strike the balance between felt needs and ideal needs? All these require that you recruit the best hands in your cabinet. They are there in academia. They are also there in one corner of their homes. Do not politicize the making of your cabinet. There are better ways you can reward the political elites that gave you the platform on which you rode to power. But definitely not at the expense of dear state!
Your Excellency, let me tell you what Martin Sheen taught me about politics. He wrote and I quote: “Future generations are not going to ask us what political party we were in; they are going to ask us what we did to the situation when the glaciers were melting.” There are people in the opposition (not necessarily the PDP only) that can perform extraordinarily. Comb for them and engage them since we are all after the betterment of our state. It’s not time to play the politics of division. See yourself more as a public officer than a party man. It is better to lose a second term ambition than to soil your name and lose popularity all in the name of satiating the interests of some selfish party gladiators and members. Good name, they say, is better than riches.
Thank you for your time Your Excellency. I wish you best of luck. May your tenure be a turning point in the history of Kwara State. Do expect my accolades when you deserve it. On the contrary, do expect me to take the “Obasanjo-mode” if need be (I may not be able to write up to 16 pages though). In the end, let me assure you of my highest regards.
Abdullah is of the better-by-far University of Ilorin. Reach him via 08090637356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.