By IBRAHIM Sulyman

When George Orwell wrote a book titled “Animal Farm” which was an allegory of revolution, only those with psychological clarity can relate its relativity to Nigeria, particularly Kwara State and the events that dictate the order of the state after the 2019 elections which brought in Mallam Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman.

Fifteen months down the lane, it’s not too early to evaluate the reality on ground after a successful and historical revolution in the state. In “Animal Farm”, the animals rebelled against their human lord, hoping to create a world where animals can be free, happy and equal. In the end, the rebellion was betrayed and the farm became far worse than it was before the revolution.

The bid to wrestle power from the Saraki(s) has been in existence for as long as they stayed in power before 2019; just like a pig named old Major in Mr. Jone’s Manor Farm in “Animal Farm, it was that particular pig that dreamed about a world where all animals live freely from the tyranny of their human masters. Unfortunately, old Major died after he held a meeting with other animals in the farm. However, the animals were already inspired by his “philosophy of animalism” and plot of rebellion against Mr. Jones. The rebellion was successful and the farm was renamed “Animal Farm”, upon which seven commandment laws emerged- and in which each of the laws was serially broken. Despite the good faith of old Major and the clarity of his idea of revolution, those that took on the difficult job of the revolution betrayed his philosophy and dream. In the end, the farm was renamed “Manor Farm”, where the pig started trading back with humans they ran away from. Having broken extant laws, changed and adjusted some, the animal kingdom became exactly, if not far worse than what they had earlier condemned.

In Kwara, everyone believed in the revolution propounded by the likes of old Major, unfortunately none knew this is not a game of pigs but also of hyenas who can sense their food miles away in addition to being unique in hunting game. Hyenas are not so keen on a fresh kill like the lions, they can consume anything without any side effect because they have a very powerful digestive system that can fight bacteria. In essence, the revolution of Kwara was led by the hyenas-not pigs- and we can only hope that they don’t consume both the living and the dead as struggle for economic space by the dramatis persona escalates. With some measure of claim to honour and dignity in the midst of political animals, it is only assumed that they do not dispense with the honour and dignity.

The journey of this new administration has been rocked by series of scandals ranging from 300 million monthly deductions from local government funds, tractor scam, school renovation scam, patronage of foreign contractors, replacement of project sign posts, lack of transparency and accountability, inflation of government contracts, to non-compliance with the state laws on procurement, including alleged sales of some part of Kwara Hotel and 5 months’ unpaid salaries to the staff.

These among other numerous scandals have indicated the gross misinterpretation of Kwara revolution by the occupants of the government house.
It is important for this administration to know that goodwill is not enough as a driving tool for credible governance in the state, most importantly, people tend to get more furious when they discover that their sensibility is being insulted with the kind of actions this government is taking in responding to the various scandals that have rubbished, in no small measure, the known representatives of their administration. One of the most outstanding steps this government has taken is the constitution of an ostensible crew as a probe panel into the local government funds that went missing. There is only one clear suspicion concerning the embezzled local government funds. It was the urgent reshuffling of the young cabinet by the governor which not unexpectedly raises a lot of questions – an indication that something is terribly wrong. If a letter was written to EFCC concerning the probe, why is there no invitation from the commission to the involved parties? The probe panel is like every probe panel we’ve ever seen in Nigeria, which is usually bereft of decisive conclusions. This same scenario is playing out on Magu’s probe, where everything will end on a desk and is thrown aside while the people are busy and focused on other emerging issues.

The contracts so far awarded were equally not in line with the procurement law of Kwara State with the sole intention of depriving the people the knowledge of the amounts involved. isn’t it amazing that a particular government will be so gifted in defrauding her own people for pecuniary gains – building capital war chest ahead of future elections? The most disappointing is the amount that was quoted for mere renovations of already existing projects. It is incontrovertible that these flagrantly inflated figures for mere renovations can build new standard schools. These are open facts that every Kwaran, regardless of political affiliations, can see. Above 300 million Naira was allegedly awarded for the renovation of Government High School, Ilorin and 250 million Naira for Ilorin Grammar School, respectively. It is regrettable that the real beneficiaries of the revolution are not the people who laboured for it but some certain people who claimed the credit. Everywhere in the world, there is hardly any place revolution has favoured the ordinary people – and interestingly – Kwara is no exception because in the circumstances no one can differentiate the pigs from humans.

The tractor project was a projection by the state government aimed at assisting farmers. This was a commendable initiative until it was busted and the scandals started filtering in. However, their silence proved their guilty conscience and also painted a self – disappointment scenario. Renting a tractor at the same amount a new one can be purchased is disheartening and callous of any government. Invariably, renting a tractor that will eventually be returned to farmers is not true assistance but only indicative of misplaced priority and gross poverty of ideas. Until people started raising eye brow, the government kept mute over the tractor deal and deprived the public of information about it. It is not strange coming from a government that has failed to pass Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill as a means of subverting public opinion on how scarce state resources are being managed.

Beyond the media space, the government needs to take a quick glance at credible public opinions towards it and not count everyone as opposition. People voicing out against suspicious activities of the government should not be seen as trouble makers or “enemy of state”. The government needs to transform from the propagandist they were yesterday and realise they are now the ruling party in the state. It’s easy to blame past administrations. President Buhari did the same in his first term until he ran out of excuses and people clearly saw his incompetence and the fact that he was retarded in ideas.

The reality of the feelers is very paramount and what every government should take serious. In few months away, the idea of the public will move from “they are all the same” to picking the worst devil between the incumbent government and previous ones. Government at all levels owes people explanations. Instead of providing explanations, its agents are choosing to be tyrannical towards the people about how the scarce resources of the state is being distributed and shared. It is true that campaign promises are different from administrative reality, if not why has this government failed to pay the N 30,000 minimum wage, and so far failed to conduct promotion exercises as widely assured before elections? The biggest fraud of the administration is the reduction of IVTEC fee at Ajase-Ipo, the questions should be how many students are in that school compared to KWASU where such was, not only promised, but urgently needed?

While the government still enjoys relative public sympathy though yet hiding under blame game for incompetence and failure of governance, it is important that it retracts its steps. The present administration should not give vent to the growing reservation by the electorate that it (the government) is a mistake and by extension an imminent failure.

Conclusively, we are appealing and imploring the state government to be more transparent and accountable in its official contracts with the good people of Kwara State, rather than giving room for suspicion and raising dust that could be avoided. It is our deepest prayer that Kwara succeeds and grows beyond internet rankings so that true development could be truly felt by the stratified masses.

IBRAHIM, Sulyman
Kwara Advancement Initiative

DISCLAIMER: All views expressed on our opinion page are those of the writer and do not represent the position of NEWS DIARY NG or any of its reporters/editors.

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