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KWARA OTOGE: BETWEEN TIMELY AND HASTY CELEBRATION




By Ibrahim Sheriff (Gold) 

Behold, the narrative of the Harmonious state that has wallowed so long in the status of a personal estate is rewritten, the hitherto acclaimed inherited property of an opportune political entrepreneur is finally reclaimed by the courageous and resolute owners of the entity called Kwara.

The political manifestation in Kwara state can be likened to a weaponless revolution, where a seldom determination was not only echoed but practically exhibited in pursuit and consequent realization of a Kwaran's Kwara. 

Kwara, before this historic turn around is not just referred to as "Saraki state", our common sensibilities have been so insulted that a Kwaran like us doesn't just behave but talks with sheer arrogance like he has us in his pocket like mint of cash in a gambler's pocket. So much that Kwara was reduced to a hand bag given to him by his father. 

Worrisome is the pride of Kwara in the commity of misgoverned and underdeveloped state of the Nigeria federation, from health to education, from commerce and industry to tourism, from agriculture to human capital development, with no one to check the excesses of the overlord of Kwara. 

The supposed state legislators who are supposed to be the voice of the people and ensure fair representation are bunch of cowards and underdogs, bent on saying and doing only what pleases the 'leader', even if at the detriment of their immediate constituency. 

We have just graduated from the grip of gullible political elements who are bent on infecting Kwarans with their political gullibility, they are so mean and desperate that they deployed every destructive machineries against our common values, ideals and social heritage, just to divide us along ethnic and religion lines like they had successfully done in the past. 

Alas, it dawned on them, Kwarans became abreast of the dynamics of their antics and were all voided to the glory of God and benefit of mankind. 

It is however not yet uhuru, we can only at this historic point of our sojourn as a state celebrate Kwarans for saying and acting ENOUGH is ENOUGH! Kwarans have made their voice unequivocally loud and clear that they don't want underdevelopment in all its form again, they have pronounced their quest for an enabling Kwara that guarantees prosperity for all class of Kwarans, they have noised their yearning for a government that truly cares and that they can see as their own servants and not just leaders. 

They are not asking for too much, the best way to celebrate the heroes and heroines of our local democracy as a state is to ensure a break from the unfortunate norms, making sure a Kwara that works for all is felt by them regardless of their sociopolitical or economic status. 

The political triumphant of Kwara state against the unproductive hegemony that held our dear state aback for years can only be credited to Kwarans, whom I refer to as the heroes of our local democracy, politicians are only major stakeholders in the struggle for the future of Kwara state and must continue to acknowledge the undaunted sacrifice of Kwarans across divides. 

We must however not be overwhelmed by the sweet taste of victory that we would refuse to appreciate the joy and fulfilment that comes with sustenance of this hard earned victory of Kwarans, we must ensure all hands are on desk for Kwarans to see the worthiness of the hardly fought and won battle. We have only won the battle, the war is not yet won, and as such, we can be likened to a matriculating student, our congratulations is tentative and it can only be ripe and right enough to finally congratulate and celebrate such students at convocation (if fortunate to graduate, especially with flying colours as no one identifies with failure). 

Recall, that in 2003 after the Late Governor Mohammed Alabi Lawal was defeated by Bukola Saraki, who today is absolutely rejected by Kwarans and dejected, jubilation and celebration rented the air, same as when Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed emerged Kwara state Governor. Can we congratulate the duo today, having won elections to lead us some years ago? 

This narrative should be a strong lesson for all of us, the elected and the electorates that it is not the moment for a tea party yet, we need to set a roadmap for long-run celebration of accomplishment as the election victory should be seen as more of a challenge. 

It is however worrisome that some of us have chose to immodestly party and even celebrate politicians and other notable Kwarans whom are fortunate to be beneficiaries and front liners of the struggle with honorary awards. A move I personality see as misplaced and unripe, if anybody is due to be awarded, then it should be that average Kwaran on the street who staked their lives, jobs, businesses among others in support of the OTOGE movement, with uncertain expectations of a better Kwara that works for all, and the only and best award that can be bestowed on them is working hard to meet their expectations to a considerable level. 

Again,  just like we have some high class political sycophants print and paste campaign poster for Senate Presidency for Senator Bukola Saraki in Ilorin in the wake of National Assembly in-house elections, we are witnessing same clownish trend of 'aspirants' for political appointment commissioning writers to project their political contributions as reasons they should be appointed and a number of others going about hosting material and immaterial people, canvassing for support in pursuit of political appointments.

We are witnessing deliberate attempt to malign, mudslide and mischievously soil personal reputations of perceived threats to getting appointed or assigned responsibility(ies) in the incoming government and I began to wonder if this template can guarantee the aggressive and unprecedented deliverance expected of the incoming government of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. 

It is thus not out of place, to reawaken our common consciousness and open our eyes to the bigger picture, our heroism as advocates and fighters for a better Kwara is yet to come to fruition but under empirical test, it is my hope and believe that we are going to pass this very challenging task but not without congruence of goal and mutuality of interest. 

We must ensure that common interests we prioritized to fight a common cause is reignited to take Kwara to where we envisioned. 

It is not a magic, it is a process that would be driven by the people and once we get those process drivers wrong, the process and the output can never be right. It is my sincere hope that the incoming Governor would relief himself from the daunting burden of leading a state like Kwara by shouldering the burden of diligence in selection of those that would work with him and for Kwara and these selection should not just be based on political compensation but the energy, competence and capacity to deliver must be the prime factors. 
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Ibrahim Sheriff is a Management Science Researcher and Columnist with Fresh Insight Newspaper, he writes from Ilorin

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