In this piece UMAR BAYO ABDULWAHAB writes on the agitation for appointive positions in Kwara state and expectations of the masses.
Perhaps, what appears to be the major headache for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) administration of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq of kwara state and the political class for now is the issue of appointments.
Investigation by Blueprint shows that various interest groups, communities, individuals, associations, family members and the political class from within and outside the state have commenced intense lobby for appointments into one positions or the order.
The governor has only announced four appointments which came after long suspense and expectations from the people. They include the chief of staff, Alhaji Aminu Adisa Logun, secretary to the state government, Alhaji Maman Jibril and his chief press secretary, Mallam Rafiu Ajakeye.
Prior to that announcement, the governor had declared that the new APC government in the state might not achieve equity in the sharing of appointive positions but will be fair to all parts of the state.
According to him, his administration would strive to be fair to all and compensate those hitherto neglected..
He dropped the hint few hours after his inauguration at a meeting with leaders of thought and elders of the state in Ilorin.
He said there is less that 150 appointive positions to be shared which he said would not meet the yearnings of the people.
Women demand 50% share
As this issue comes to the front burner, women in state have asked the governor to compensate them with 50% of all government appointments.
They made this call during a summit organised by a pro-democracy group, Kwara Must Change (Women Wing).
In a pre communique release by its leader, Dr Mopelola AbdulMalik, she quoted participants at the event, which cut across both formal and informal sector as saying, “Women have already been short changed in the elective positions.
“We have been denied the opportunity to claim our 35% affirmative action as recommended by the United Nations during the election and to correct that error, women should be given 50% of all appointments in the administration of our incoming governor.”
The women hurriedly released the communiqué less than 24 hours to the inauguration of the Abdulrazaq’s government to press home their demands probably thinking that the governor will announce his appointments shortly after inauguration so that appropriate steps can be taken to reflect this position.
Kwara North harps on equity
Similarly, the people of Kwara North senatorial districts at different fora had also insisted that there must be equity in the sharing of appointive positions in the state. To that extent, they demanded for post of the speaker, SSG and ministerial slot. They argued that they deserved those positions since the governor is from kwara Central while the south has gotten the position of deputy governor.
But the governor while speaking at the forum with stakeholders said, ‘‘It will be difficult to achieve equity but we will try to achieve equity, we will be fair to all and it will be all inclusive.’’
All hopes not lostEven when some believed that the only way to be relevant and compensated for their contributions to the success of the otoge struggle is to get an appointment in the new government, the governor assured that his administration would create wealth through enterprises so that the state would be a better place for all to live in.
‘‘Our main focus has to be on enterprise, we have to get our IGR to N5 billon monthly without increasing taxation; already, our people over taxed,’’ the governor said.
Kwara must change kicks
Amidst agitation for appointments, the pro-democracy group, Kwara Must Change has called on the leadership of APC in the state to thread softly on what it described as ‘exclusionist rhetoric being constantly echoed and re-echoed in stake holder meetings and even in public domain.
The group also urged the party leadership and various caucuses to desist from tearing the party apart under whatever guise for the purpose of advancing personal interests.
In a special release by its convener, Abdulrazaq Hamzat, the group said it has been watching with keen interest how some stakeholders in the party has been attempting to coerce the state governor to toe the narrow path of segregation in making appointments.
According to Hamzat, ‘‘These stakeholders have been working tirelessly to arrogate to themselves the credit of Kwara liberation struggle against the clearly communicated position of the executive governor of Kwara state, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq who has severally stated that all freedom loving people of kwara state owned the victory and deserve to be so recognised.’’
He cautioned that the exclusionist rhetoric of some party leadership will not do the party any good and it urged them to have a unity- based world view and be accommodating of all those who made Kwara freedom possible.
According to Hamzat, ‘‘All freedom loving Kwarans who voted, canvassed people, supported with materials or contributed in one way or the other are qualified to be recognised and deserved to be so rewarded with good ggovernanc because without their contribution, the party will not be in government today.
“And if these people are deemed to be worthy of contributing to the process of achieving good governance in the state, they should be given opportunity to do so without any form of harassment.”
In Kwara, examples abound of some individuals who worked for freedom in the state. They include Abiodun Baba who was illegally arrested, detained and charged to court for criticising the then ruling government. Another is Ahmed Buhari of Cabal Must Go who was kidnapped at the state high court, molested and dehumanised.
Hamzat also maintained that at a time when it was unimaginable to do so, the group also spearheaded the attempted recall of the former Senate president, adding that those actions were being undertaken without the financial backing of any party or godfathers.
He also said, “Similar effort by another group, Kwara South Unity Forum, who not only attempted to recall Kwara South senator, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, but they actually collected some signatures before the attempted recall was foiled.”
Recalling some of the advocacies that opened the eyes of many in the state, Hamzat said the advocacy about the death of a civil servant, Biodun Bashir in Oyun local government, who committed suicide due to lack of salary by the then Kwara state government, made a great impact on the people.
He also recalled the advocacy about the people of Baruten local government who were already claiming Benin Republic due to lack of basic services in the area.
Hamzat recalled further an agitation by those he described as the ‘courageous’ youths of Lafiagi, who confronted a former senator in Lafiagi in 2017 who didn’t contribute any less to the success of Kwara freedom, adding that the victims who lost their lives in that struggle were yet to get justice.
Additionally, Hamzat recalled the formation and subsequent activities of Kwara Rescue Alliance, an amalgamation of over 70 youth groups from the 16 local government areas which, according to him, played a positive role in the otoge struggle.
‘’These determined individuals and groups formed the largest independent movement that made Kwara liberation possible and the earlier the party comes to term with this fact, the better for all,” he said.
He stated further that although Kwara Must Change is of the view that caucuses are the inherent ingredients in politics and governance, they must neither be allowed to dictate the pace of governmental activities nor determine who gets what and how. It is better to allow the best hand to get the best job by putting a square peg in a square hole.
The group therefore urged the party and all stakeholders to spread their arms wide open and see all and sundry as theirs, rather than promote exclusionism and segregation.It urged the APC to support the governor to appoint whoever he deems fit from all parts of the state.