Kwara: Beyond The O to ge Tsunami - Green White Green -


Kwara: Beyond The O to ge Tsunami

By Omotayo Ken Suleiman



No matter how much self psyching the long entrenched Saraki hegemony may have mustered leading to this epochal hour, it is the unanimous refrain of pundits across the nation’s information value chain that the cataclysmic outcomes of the February 23 election do not portend any good omens for the beleaguered PDP machine in Kwara’s long awaited governorship battle. As tsunamis go, this fearsome flood – coursing so furiously and ever so implacably across Kwara’s political super highways as well as through the gullies and craters of its much convoluted electoral hot beds – have gathered an unprecedented mudslide of ugly debris, drenching the outgoing senate president and his motley of courtiers in stenchful muddy sludge.

In a life and death battle as the fury of the “O TO GE” fiery flood threatens to drown both leader and led, stately sartorial elegance has yielded to unsightly desperado as the drowning claw valiantly at uncooperative river bank straws, determined to fight the battle of their lives. Yet, even as APC’s conquering troops and “O TO GE”s liberation heroes wait with bated breath for that final killer punch that should hopefully free a much traumatized Kwara from the strangle hold of the opponent’s ignominious reign,  it can only be at the Generals’ peril to approach these final hours with any complacency. 

That’s not to jinx a desperately needed break of a new day. For keen students of electoral dynamics, the momentum that the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq candidacy has gathered, leading to the Buhari landslide of 2 weeks ago, is without prejudice to the quite insane possibility that as complex political labyrinths sometimes resolve, all the fervent hope for an APC win this historic Saturday, and all the potential good for Kwara that resides in that hope, may yet be snuffed out by the electoral capitulation of a non attentive, non reflective flank of the state’s admittedly wearied and flummoxed voting public. If that sounds scary, it perhaps speak to the enormity of the stakes at play.

Senator Bukola Saraki

In a treacherous dispensation, where constantly shifting political fortunes have sustained a comedy of predictive babel, and where a prize fighter with the mercenary heft of the opponent’s principal is fighting a make or mar waterloo, nothing can be taken for granted. Indeed, it has been a recurrent paradigm in this ultra tense political season, that for those idle spectators who are wont to view the fierce battles currently raging in all political theatres as nothing more than gladiators’ blood fests to amuse and entertain, electoral book making has become an enterprise fraught with peculiar risqué. It is a distinctive mark of our national tomfoolery, and of the Nigerian political book maker especially, that such slippery terrain does not seem to have confounded the controversial practitioners of that diabolical vocation whether that be the dapper pentecostal type, the scraggly bearded sea side or mountain top ‘prophet’, the expensively scented marabout’s or just the idle pundit’s prognostic posturing. Across all levels of the current electoral scramble, a thousand midnight baths at the market square do not seem to guarantee desperately coveted ROI on an inordinately expensive undertaking. Nor has exotic dancing prodigy counted for anything in recent political history, as one luckless kokoma dancer in Osun famously discovered. 

Still all persons of goodwill sustain fervent hope that Kwarans will jubilate at the ushering in of a new dawn, come the week of Sunday, 10th of March.

For passionate advocates of sustainable development in Kwara, who are also invariably keen followers and zealous canvassers at this point, of the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq ascendancy, irrespective of political, ethnic or religious persuations, the new hope also calls for deep reflections concerning the aftermath. As the “O TO GE” caravan gets ready for city wide victory dances, in the euphoria of an anticipated and hopefully imminent win, leaders of thought should find cause for pause regarding the enormity of the tasks ahead and the deep leadership imperatives that will have to be in focus should a momentous victory truly transform from perishable glory into an enduring enthronement of governance sustainability for long emasculated Kwara. For when the wild jubilations have died down, there will remain, in all of its stark complexities, the herculean, and predictably, quite lonely leadership burden that this singularly historic candidate must bear from the second he is declared governor elect. 

All key stakeholders must realize that in the very heart of the fiery momentum that is propelling to victory also lies long pent up mass frustration and freshly stoked anticipation and street level expectations that often constitute the seeds of quickly unraveling discontent, and retail level impatience. The hawks that have been so grandly disglorified are often waiting in the wings, freshly strengthened for an encore swoop.

There can be no policy inertia. As grueling as the campain must have been on key stakeholders, there can be no luxury of long recuperation. In a state where poverty level is only a peer or two away from the very bottom of the national rung, in a state where mass youth unemployment has precipitated a frightening security risk and crime rate index, in a state where GDP indicators have remained perennially abysmal, mass restiveness are a disturbing latent sibling of the current giddy embrace of the “O TO GE” movement.

There is a context in which, perhaps, in terms of managerial and entrepreneurial pedigree, no one is more qualified to tackle Kwara’s hydra headed challenges head on than Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. The strategic tension will be how should the fortuitous leader of a people’s uprising, such as this transform from the back slapping, eager to engage, soap box comrade of all ‘political chieftains’ transform into his historically requisitioned role of a focused paradigm shifter leader who now must jettison street level analog thinking and embrace the most disruptive thoughts in the not so collegial incubation furnace, through which alone truly transformative governance impact will be birthed?  How should a governor who was carried shoulder high to Government house on the hysteric adulation of often misguided body of expectations grapple with the all-together justified patronage demands of a huge army of volunteers and an endless sea of political jobbers, without whose irrepressible energies and unquantifiable personal and financial sacrifices, the “O TO GE” train might not have become so turbo charged, and yet have the leadership fortitude and the single minded strategic focus to optimally resource the incredibly complex task of turning Kwara around from the ashes of its hopefully now twilighting pre history to a new model of administrative excellence?

A rigorously thought through strategic architecture, as accessible as it’s holistic, as relatable as it’s integrative and cross cutting, as cognizant of long term imperatives as it is pragmatic in terms of clarity on short term, mass level exigencies, such multi dimensional thinking is perhaps singularly well suited to the leadership propensities of a man who has distinguished himself in the fiery furnace of Nigerian entrepreneurship. 

Abdulrazaq Abdulrhaman: Chief beneficiary of the O to ge rebellion

It is important that a compassion driven regime of rigour be brought to bear on the new governance such that ‘high faluting’ policies (as we say in Nigeria) elaborately documented white elephant ideas that are not rooted in any pragmatic interrogation of Kwara’s extreme urgencies are focusedly eschewed. With a heart for our state’s legions of hurting poor, only truly actionable programmes, thoughtfully articulated and possessing in their core a practicality that at once shifts paradigm and yet delivers tangible, palpable and scalable outcomes that immediately impact, especially this intimidating mass of impoverished and utterly disillusioned youth.

In an emergent regime of shrinking federal allocation, the vagaries of our tragically mono cultural fixation on hydro carbons being the least causative index, the challenge of revenue sustainability vis-à-vis the urgent imperative of redressing an appalling level of infrastructural and human development deficit will sit bang in the center of hard fiscal decisions this governor will have to contend with. Jaded analog Solutioning will not cut it. The IGR architecture has got to resist the seduction of old, shop worn paradigms in which a severely impoverished population is hard tasked to swell the purse of a government in which they only have tenuous faith. An 85% poverty level and near bottom of the pyramid GDP profile does not remotely appear to augur well for the enforcement of a task master tax regime. If the venerable Asiwaju and his equally respected mentees and successors in the Lagos governor’s mansion have succeeded outstandingly in IGR, it is perhaps only because Asiwaju’s strategic acumen succeeded in waking the latent potentials of a long under exploited but nonetheless historically determined commercial/industrial hub and arrow head of Nigeria’s flirtation with neo liberal market economy. 

A basically subsistent economy, steeped in pre historic agronomic practices and now increasingly mediated by challenges of climate change, poor fertility due to leaching, sub par educational development across board, Kwara is hardly the candidate for inspiring IGR projections.

Yet, rigorous focus must be on enthroning market economy management dynamics. This is not at all an advocacy for hard ball Breton Woods kind of prescription that treats urgent need for social protection with levity. Run with integrity, social interventions in themselves are not necessarily inimical to self empowerment sustainability among the masses.

Agriculture, which one is happy to note, has been constantly on the lips of candidate Abdulrazaq, remains singularly an actionable lever for mass lifting of our perennially unemployed youth. While Shoga scale behemoths should be avoided, quasi government owned agro enterprises can not be the way. A youth that is tragically consumed in an opiods epidemic is not nearly sufficiently conscientized into the national project as to be accountable in a public enterprise context. The administration must divine an out of the box scheme that can yet unleash the youth’s entrepreneurial energies while combating the anti farming sensitivities of a lazzie faire generation that has been completely swallowed up in the deceptive city centric vanities of the digital age.

While the governance exigencies to confront this new governor are a legion, one should perhaps caution on key geo strategic issues within the Kwara construct. Having gone around, perhaps no one is more acutely aware of how several key geographies within the state have revealed yawning needs for infrastructural upscaling. The leadership call will be how does an administration with limited resources significantly impact those areas far removed from the state capital while remaining mindful of the strategic centralness of the Ilorin metropolis to the overall development of Kwara.

Ilorin must not, and cannot be abandoned while the administration grapples with impacting other key areas that have suffered neglect over these many years. I am not an Ilorin indigen but basic economic science tells one that Ilorin is not owned by Ilorin indegens alone. All geo political entities within the Kwara common wealth have organic links to Ilorin. It is perhaps to the eternal credit of Ilorin’s traditional hospitality and tolerance that millions who reside here are not natives. A robust deepening of Ilorin’s transformation into a sustainable modern city conducive to healthy and accelerated growth of a modern economy for the benefit of all, cannot and must not be misconstrued as the new governor catering to his own people. Imagine how much prosperity the development of Lagos metro has brought to not only Lagos State indigenes of all localities but even neighboring states as well.

There is work to be done. For “O TO GE” leaders, the victory party cannot be a never ending one. God bless Kwara.

Omotayo Suleiman, a political economist and policy analyst wrote

 And For More Nigerian News Visit GWG.NG

Click to comment


Exit mobile version