STEPHEN OLUFEMI ONI reports on the resolve of the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to use the forthcoming governorship election to prove that the revolution that swept the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) out of power in the state in 2019 was not a fluke
The governorship primary election of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State, which threw up the incumbent governor, AbduRahmam AbdulRazaq as the party’s candidate for the forthcoming 2023 election The governorship primary election of the Kwara state chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has come and gone, with sweet memories though, following the emergence of the incumbent governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq as the party’s flag bearer for the 2023 governorship election in the “State of Harmony.”
Prior to the shadow poll that was held under a lively convivial atmosphere at the Kwara State Banquet Hall, opposite Government House, Ilorin, the state capital, on May 26, there were strident calls and clamour from various groups and quarters within and outside the ruling APC, including women, men, party stakeholders and elders for Governor AbdulRazaq to seek reelection to enable him continue with his good works, which no doubt, has endeared him to the affection of a majority of the people in the state.
So, it therefore did not come as a surprise to political pundits and of course book makers, that no member of the APC in the state indicated interest to contest the party’s ticket with AbdulRazaq, thereby making the state’s governorship primary election a mere formality as the delegates only had to affirm the governor’s candidacy. This was massively done without any dissent except for one or two who wrongly filled their ballot papers, which were declared invalid.
Checks by our correspondent revealed that the scenario that played out at the primary was not unconnected to the sterling performance of Governor AbdulRazaq in all sectors of the economy in the last three years, prompting party stakeholders as well as delegates to come into agreement that he deserves another term to consolidate on the achievements.
This development, resulting to massive vote of confidence, according to the governor, is a reflection of the giant strides of his administration over the last three years. In order to make the governorship primary election valid, the whole process, from the beginning to the end, took place in the presence of representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) led by Shehu Ahmad as well as the Governorship and House of Assembly Primaries’ Committee headed by Prof. Emmmanuel Dandaura and in accordance with the electoral guidelines.
The event was also witnessed by senators, House of Representatives members, state lawmakers, cabinet members, Federal Character Commis sion Chairman, Hajia Fareedah Dankaka, National Assembly aspirants and party leaders, among others. Expectedly, after sorting and counting of votes, Dandaura pronounced AbdulRazaq as validly nominated to run for a second term. He commended the governor’s excellent performance, which he noted could be seen from the declaration of the delegates. Dandaura also commended the credible conduct of the House of Assembly primary election which held simultaneously with that of the governorship.
In his acceptance speech, an elated Governor AbdulRazaq was full of praises for the delegates, party stalwarts and thought leaders across the state, traditional rulers and the people of the state for the confidence reposed in him and for the honour and privilege accorded him to fly the party’s governorship ticket in the 2023 election, saying he didn’t and wouldn’t take their support for granted. He said: “My profound gratitude goes to all of you distinguished delegates, and to the people of Kwara State for this honour.
I also thank all royal fathers, thought leaders, party stalwarts and leaders across Kwara State. I do not take your support for granted. “Between 2019 and now, the trajectory of Kwara State has changed. We have registered a bold presence in the comity of decent and respected states.
We have positive strides and indices in education, health, access to water, improved youths engagement, gender mainstreaming, support for farmers and the vulnerable, and rural development to show for our mandate. Today, no part of Kwara State is left without government presence. “Our politics has also evolved. The destiny of Kwarans is no longer tied to any particular person. That is the bold message from our primaries. Are we perfect? No, we are not.
What is not debatable is the magnitude of progress that Kwara has made over the last three years. We can only beat our own records of achievements. “So, we will campaign on our records of improving the lots of our people and reasserting the leadership position of Kwara State. We will campaign on our records of courageously opening up the democratic space for all. We will campaign on our records of courageously opening up our books for public assessments in our strong belief that perfection belongs to God alone. In doing so, we are steadily improving the old system and achieving more efficiency. “Distinguished delegates, the choice before the people of Kwara State is clear.
2023 is the year to make it clear to the doubting Thomases that the revolution of 2019 was not a fluke. It is the year to reaffirm our decision to reclaim our dignity and have a state that serves everyone equitably. We must therefore keep what is left of our patrimony, and by all democratic means avoid a relapse to the years of the locust.
“Once again, I thank you distinguished delegates, party elders for the confidence reposed in me. I assure you that the interest of the largest majority of our people will continue to be our priority.” In his speech at the occasion, the state chairman of the APC, Prince Sunday Fagbemi, noted that the second term ticket granted Governor AbdulRazaq was a way of appreciating his good work as well ss consolidating the gains of the ‘Otoge’ movement, saying the giant strides of the administration in all sectors had contributed immensely to the success and outcome of the primary.
Fagbemi, therefore, urged APC faithful to ensure a hundred percent vote, not only for the governor but all candidates of the party in the forthcoming polls. The party chairman reminded the delegates, party faithful and the people of the state that the past three years had been a total paradigm shift from what used to be to what was supposed to be, noting that “with the exceptional leadership of the state Governor the state has witnessed unprecedented progress in all facets, including education, infrastructure, public service, health and even governance.”
On why Governor AbdulRazaq won the primary election unopposed, the state’s Commissioner for Communication, Hon. Bode Towoju, said there was no challenge from any party member because the governor has performed excellently well in the last three years and party members resolved that there was no need to change a winning team.
He said: “The fact that he is a performing governor, who is fulfilling the party’s mandate to the people as promised, is a major bonus for him and one that gave him a magnificent edge during the primaries. “Mallam AbdulRazaq has been performing excellently well and the party is solidly behind him going for a second term to further bring his ‘Midas touch’ to the lives of the people and the economy of Kwara State. His impact in basic education sector is one that is felt by all.
Through his able leadership, he brought hope back to education sector and now, our public schools are the better for it. “The payment of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) fund loan, that was owed by previous administration, which he paid off on assuming office, has redeemed Kwara’s long-lost image. Now, our schools are enjoying the many benefits of the UBEC fund.
Our pupils are being made comfortable in classes and no longer having to sit outside for classes, as obtainable in the past. They now have necessary books and educational learning materials. “Mallam AbdulRazaq’s government is known to embrace the development of the state and for the prompt payment of counterpart funds to aid developmental projects by the World Bank. This is evident in our roads, health, conditional cash transfer to the poor and vulnerable, agriculture, and others.
“The party is pleased with how the Governor is placing Kwara State on the radars of international partners and do not forget that he has been bagging the He-for-she awards since he assumed office in 2019. In his government, the women are valued too, as against the past when only the Women Affairs Commissioner’s slot was reserved for women in his cabinet.
“See our good roads, and the quality of health service delivery we are enjoying in Kwara State. Why would anybody want to compete with such a working governor? That is to show you that everybody agrees that this governor is working.” Also speaking on the governorship primary election, the Special Adviser to the governor on Political Communication, Alhaji Bashir Adigun, said: “The outcome of the primary shows that members of the APC and indeed the people of Kwara State are satisfied with the work of Governor AbdulRazaq in the last three years and they want him to continue the good work.
It’s an acceptance of his leadership. “The governor has been clearing the mess left by the previous government and initiated new developmental projects in every part of the state. His policies and programmes have improved the lives of people across the state.”