By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State has assured thousands of defectors from opposition political parties into the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC of fairness and equal treatment. Governor AbdulRazak gave the assurance on Thursday in Ilorin, the state capital while welcoming defectors from Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Social Democratic Party, SDP, African Democratic Congress, ADC, and others
The defectors who were led by dozens of their party chieftains attested to the impressive performance of Governor AbdulRazaq’s administration in education, healthcare, workers’ welfare, rural-urban infrastructural development, women and youth empowerment, and safety nets for the poor and the vulnerable. Of note was water crisis that has lasted for decades in the state. Water is running in parts of the state now.
The new party members were received by the governor alongside several top government officials and party chieftains including Kwara APC chairman, Sunday Fagbemi and Director General of the APC Campaign Council, Alhaji Yahaya Seriki, among others.
Governor AbdulRazaq in his remarks threw a jibe at the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state describing the party as truly shameless for comparing its 16 years with his three years plus in office and for lying to Kwarans that they constructed the Post Office Flyover Bridge in Ilorin, which the then federal government funded.
His words: “We welcome all the decampees and appreciate you for your conviction and your trust in our party. We are going to work together to achieve success. We will treat you all fairly as members of our party. As you can see, PDP is now empty. They only deploy social media to feign popularity.
“They came up with a slogan – ‘O Suwa’ (We are fed up). They are truly shameless for comparing their 16 years to our three and a half years in office. They boast of constructing a fly over bridge at the post office. They are liars. They never told Kwarans that the Federal government funded the project.
“The same thing applies to Ilesha Baruba – Chikanda road construction and the Airport. We are building huge projects with our own money as an administration while delivering basic amenities to our people, including workers’ welfare. We cannot entrust the future of our state to those who once ruined a bank.
“They will destroy our state, if we make that mistake. Let them know that you’re not tired of good government and steady spread of infrastructure across the state,” the Governor told the mammoth crowd.”
AbdulRazaq also mentioned some of his administration’s scorecards across sectors and enjoined the participants to remain resolute to deliver the State for APC at the polls.
Party chieftains among the defectors included former Deputy Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly under PDP, Hon. Mathew Okedare; former Commissioner for Tertiary Education under PDP, Mr Abdullahi Alikinla; former Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology Engr Musa Yeketi; Personal Assistant to the former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on Political Affairs, (PAPOL) Alhaji Hassan Gegele; PDP Women Leader in Ifelodun LG, Adenike Ayilara; former Special Assistant to Senator Bukola Saraki on Domestic Hon. Bolakale Ajanaku; Otunba Olabode Oyedepo popularly called Bode Deway; SDP House of Assembly aspirant from Offa Mr. Ahmed Akorede; PDP House of Rep aspirant for Asa/Ilorin West Hon. Ahmed Bayero; YPP Vice Chairman in Asa Hamzat Dolapo; Abu Jimoh Plumber; Bola Afolayan from Ekiti LG and Alhaji Abdullahi Sarumi, among others.
On his part, APC chairman in the state, Fagbemi said Kwarans have all seen the huge gap between the past and present administrations in terms of inclusive growth and good governance, and have vowed never to allow the State to go backward. He said the comeback bid of PDP was evil and targeted at denying the citizens what they are already enjoying under AbdulRazaq, restating the government’s scorecards across sectors.
Director General of Kwara APC Campaign Council Alhaji Yahaya Seriki urged members of the party to remain determined to work for the success of the party. “This is a party for everyone. We all own Kwara together and we must reward Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for his hard work, dedication and exemplary leadership. Kwarans are not tired of measurable progress and development they see under this government. We will all come out en masse to campaign for the victory of APC,” he said.
Decampees then took turns to explain why they left their parties to embrace APC, describing Governor AbdulRazaq as an architect of a new Kwara.
Former Deputy Speaker, House of Assembly Hon. Mathew Okedare, who also decamped, said they never knew that they were in darkness under the PDP-led administration until recently, attesting that Governor AbdulRazaq has demonstrated the capacity to lead. Engr. Yeketi said what the present administration has achieved within three and a half years were enough to prove that AbdulRazaq means well for the State.
How Governor AbdulRazaq solved 55-year-old water crisis in Kwara
Meanwhile, on his assumption of office, Governor AbdulRazaq met the water sector in a mess as the residents were suffering for lack of water. When he visited the ministry of water resources therefore, he gave a marching order that there should be constant water supply to some areas in Ilorin and all other parts of the state within 100 days. He tasked the ministry and the concerned consultants to get all the dams working, pledging to give them the necessary support as he threatened to wield the big stick if the ministry did not deliver on his directive.
He said, “We have a mandate to deliver water to our people and within the next 100 days that should be done. For a start, I want to see constant water supply in specific areas of Ilorin, it may be Ilorin East, South or West.
“Don’t keep talking. We want action. Our people want water. No part of Ilorin or anywhere in this state do people have water. Raise a memo to state what the problems are and what is needed to fix them. People are tired of empty talk.
“We have to solve the problems now. Forget the big word reticulation, let’s fix the problem. We need immediate memo on what the problems are and we will give you all the support. We need to think out of the box. I’m serious about having water in our homes within 100 days. We have the mandate to deliver water to our people,” the governor said.
Within a few days after the governor’s marching order, some residents of Ilorin who had hitherto complained of lack of access to public water heaved a sigh of relief.
Commissioner for Water Resources, Hon Abdulwahab Femi Agbaje in an interview with Saturday Vanguard said, “when we came on board, we met a situation that was not palatable. The first thing we noticed was that apart from the electrical operation of our water works, the staff at the Water Corporation were on strike for almost three months before we came on board and the moment we came, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazak intervened.
“He had meetings with the management team of the water Corporation and looked into some of the things they raised and he positively yielded to some of their demands and they went back to work.
“After then, we discovered that virtually all the water works were having problems’ and since then the government ensured that most of these water works started functioning”.
He also disclosed that the government has rehabilitated 14 water works in Igbaja, Agbamu, Oro AgÍ, Rore,Offa, Oyun and others, stressing that,that of Oke Onigbin was in progress.
He said, “we also initiated and built two water works. We have one at Dumaji, we have one at Jebba. That of Dumaji is functioning now, it is complete and the people of the community are enjoying it now. That of Jebba is about 80 percent complete, in fact hopefully, it is going to be delivered to us this month as promised by the contractor handling the Jebba water works. And not only that, we extended public water coverage to many places which were not enjoying water before the coming on board of this administration”, he added.
The Commissioner further spoke about the interventions from PEWASH to complement the efforts of the government. “It is Partnership on Expanded Water Sanitation and Hygiene. This is an arrangement between state government and federal government. The state government will bring a counterpart fund, the actual amount that is being provided, the federal government will add the same. We have done that last year where we picked four local governments to do the pilot scheme and we selected Asa Moro, Offa and Edu local governments.
“Under this arrangement, the state dug 24 boreholes in each of the local governments. This year we have commenced a project of getting another six local governments too to enjoy this benefit. So these are what we are doing in term of PEWASH arrangement. There’s water in Ilorin now and there’s water in so many other local governments. The feedback is very good, that is, the people that are feeling this services, they are getting back to us to commend the government”, he added.
In terms of the challenges, the Commissioner said, “in some areas, we have power problems and in these areas, no matter how the situation of the water work is, if there’s no power, there’s virtually nothing we can do. And it may not be easy for the government to be providing diesel. If government wants to provide diesel for every community, you know what that will amount to. Definitely in those areas, particularly the northern parts of Kwara where we have serious challenge in terms of power supply, these services have not been that felt because of this problem. And apart from that, during raining season, we have a lot of challenges, there was flood and some of our equipment were swept away including the electricity poles as well as some of the pipelines.”
He added, “We have a similar experience in Igbaja too. The Igbaja water works was working well, but when the place was over flooded, it affected our equipment. These are some of the challenges. Apart from that, the feedback we are getting from people is fantastic even though there are still complaints which is quite normal.
“Now, If you look around, you will see that you cannot compare what we have now with the past experience so I think the governor has justified his being in government in terms of water provision to the people of the state.”
Confirming the development, a resident of Adewole area in Ilorin, Alh Azeez Adebayo said, for the first time in several years, he now had water regularly running from his taps on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
According to the Octogenarian, “We have no worries about water supply in my house and others around here for sometime now, particularly since the current administration came on board. Before now, what we normally experienced was water just dropping once in several months to the extent that we stopped relying on public water. We contributed money for tankers to supply us water.
“But that has been a thing of the past for sometime now. The water supply has been regular three times in a week,and we give kudos to the governor for his efforts that have given us this comfort”.
Outside of the state capital, residents of Olofa Way and Erinle way in Offa and Oyun local government areas of Kwara state and residents in Oro-Ago, Igbaja, Oro, Ijomu Oro and other neighbouring towns in Kwara South also expressed satisfaction at the improvement of supply of public water by the present administration.