By OlaKunle Adeoba
The new trend in Kwara State among elected political office holders is to appoint their grown up children or sibling into political offices.
This is in spite of the fact that there are many qualified party members who worked strenuously and tirelessly for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to overthrow the adherents of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that have, under different political parties, been in power for 16 unbroken years in the state.
The Governor blazed the trail when in his first set of appointments, he appointed his younger brother as Special Assistant. It is also now known that his other siblings are very visible as the unofficial power brokers in government. Those siblings were responsible for distribution of appointments.
The government ended up appointing people like the wife of the suspended Director-General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), Kawu Modibbo and another lady who is a close friend of his, Aisha Ahmad Pategi, as Commissioners.
The Governor also appointed the son of his friend/associate, Alh. Ilya Ibrahim Moro as commissioner. The same Abdulrazaq has appointed the children of House Representatives member, Gani Cook-Olododo and Prof Oyawoye as Special Assistants.
This predilection for nepotism has percolated down the rank of other elected officials who are members of the ‘O to Ge’ movement.
Almost all the federal legislators from Kwara State now have their children as Legislative Aides, earning salary from the National Assembly
Almost all the federal legislators from Kwara State now have their children as Legislative Aides, earning salary from the National Assembly. Sen. Yahaya Oloriegbe appointed his daughter as Senior Legislative Aide (SLA). Also, Sen. Siddiq appointed his son as SLA. Hon. Yekinni Alajagusi appointed his brother as SLA. Hon. Ajuloopin appointed his son, brother and cousin as legislative aides.
What this trend portends is the gradual conversion of Kwara State into a fiefdom of a group of half-baked aristocrats. A government of the rich and privileged for the rich and privileged.
This is a far cry from the expectations of the people. The APC employed trenchant propaganda against the Saraki group which they claimed has dominated political power in the state and its appurtenances, to the exclusion of others. They claimed that the Saraki dynasty had held on to power as if Kwara was its kingdom and the leader was the life controller.
There were many lies thrown at the Sarakis, including the claim that many of the state resources have been privatized.
An African adage says while lies walk on leg, truth travels by aeroplane. Now, the lies that have been repeatedly thrown around for almost two decades have all collapsed within few months of the Abdulrazaq Administration. It is now clear that Saraki had nothing to do with the resources or funds that are due to Kwara.
This is obvious in that up till now, Kwara State under Abdulrazaq could not break even, fulfill its numerous promises to state workers and inject fund into necessary development projects. If money was actually being diverted to Saraki and the former Senate President is no longer there to collect the money, why is the money not being diverted to development projects?
The fact is that no money from Kwara State Government was going to Saraki who left as Governor in 2011.
Also, the lies that most of the projects or facilities put in place by the Saraki administration which the APC claimed he had bought off have fallen through. The facilities are still owned by Kwara and the government is now making numerous appointments of its cronies and relatives into the boards of these parastatals.
The facilities are also the ones bailing out the people from the current hardship across the nation.
Now, that Abdulrazaq and the ‘O to Ge’ people specialize in appointing only family members into position, people can now see the difference. In 16 years that Saraki and his supporters dominated the government of Kwara, how many sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews of Bukola Saraki were appointed into government positions? How many sons and daughters of people who are not prominent citizens or aristocrats became Governor, Ministers, Commissioners, Federal and State board and parastatals chairmen and members?
There are numerous people in Kwara State origin today who got their break into public service without knowing either late Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki or his son, Bukola. They came into government at different levels and different times because of their competence.
In other words, the Sarakis scouted for the best Kwarans across the globe, no matter the son and daughter of who they are. The group produced a corps of competent Kwarans. And I am sure they have not exhausted the names on the database of qualified, honest and competent Kwarans who necessarily are not related to any big father or brother.
These core professionals and politicians or supporters have been neglected by Abdulrazaq and newly elected officials of Kwara State origin as they create a Corps of Nepotists in Government. This is otherwise called, a “Paddy-Paddy Government”.
And this government of ‘only our siblings and family members’ has deprived the state of the capacity to respond to the current challenges of governance. From security to health to education, infrastructure, youth employment, engagement with the public and even management of the legal and judicial system, the Governor has people who because of their background cannot give him quality and correct advice and service.
The group contains people who genuflect before Abdulrazaq to maintain their positions. The aides now do it the way the Governor wants it not the way it should be done. After all, they are in office because of filial consideration not because of their capacity.
This is a big mistake by Abdulrazaq. And this has set him against many of the ‘O to Ge’ supporters who toiled, lied, campaigned and did many things they ordinarily will not do in order to discredit the past government and put the present one in office. In this tendency to elevate nepotism to an art of governance, the Kwara State Governor and his acolytes in the National Assembly got it wrong. They instituted a change for the worse in Kwara State instead of the change for the better that the people expected.
The people advising Abdulrazaq on his new appointments are making mistakes. They are leading him to jump from one error to a bigger error. His supporters are angry and the people are watching. The relief for the people is that this too shall pass.
Adeoba writes from Ilorin