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In what has turned out to be a full-blown family feud, Minister of State for Transportation and daughter of the late former Senate leader, Dr. Olusola Saraki has lashed out at the Kwara state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq over last Thursday’s demolition of ‘Ile Arugbo’, the building where her late father had used to host his philanthropic activities.

In a statement on Friday, Gbemisola decried the demolition of the building, an action which she said, would not erase the unprecedented humanitarian work done by her late father who was the Waziri of Ilorin while alive.

Gbemisola, who is also an APC chieftain in Kwara State, in the statement said, “I condemn in totality the actions taken on Thursday 2nd January 2020 by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq, especially unleashing terror and mayhem on innocent defenseless aged women simply exercising their right to peacefully protest.

He also decried the role played by the Police in the demolition, asking the Inspector General of Police to call the Commissioner of Police in Kwara State to order “and not to be a willing tool in the hand of people out on personal vendetta.”

“I call upon the Inspector General of Police to call the State Commissioner of Police to order – using security agencies and live ammunition to settle political and personal scores is not what the Buhari Administration is about.”

“At 3:00am Thursday 2nd of January 2020, the Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, gave orders to the Police to open fire on aged women, at the contested welfare home, popularly known as “Ile Arugbo” (Home for Aged), owned by my father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki.

“As a staunch and loyal member of APC, I have kept quiet to date on the happenings in my state, Kwara State. I had done this for a number of reasons, including trying to keep my head when all about me are losing theirs. But all in all, I had kept quiet, as being a loyal member and supporter of the party. I did not want to get into any squabble with the Governor despite so many provocations.

“Again, as a loyal and dedicated daughter of my father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, whom I hold in very high esteem, I did not want to express my opinion on the propriety of the Governor’s recent political actions as it would be seen as biased because the late Waziri was my father.”

Gbemi Saraki said she had to speak now, given the turn of events and the violent nature of the Governor’s position, adding, “There might have been some elements within my party, APC, who wanted to change the ‘Otoge’ narrative of the 2019 elections to be about the Sarakis, and not about what it was – the removal of a failing PDP Administration.

 

“But clearly by some recent steps taken, especially with Thursday’s actions, Kwara State APC must be careful not to allow a few elements with their own agenda, other than governance, to turn their personal vendetta into the official position of APC in the state. They must not be allowed to hijack the narrative of what our party stands for.”

“That is why it is important that my silence is not misconstrued as tacit approval or support for the actions taken by the Governor,” she said, adding that she “chose to refrain from commenting on the onset of this land saga and did so for three reasons: I believed that this was a matter that would go through the rightful forum and due process to ascertain and establish my father’s legal rights or otherwise.

“My family, individually and/or collectively, have never derived and continue not to derive any commercial benefit from that piece of land. At the end of the day, what is on that land is nothing – no block of flats that the family is getting rent from; no office building, no factory, or any other commercial venture. Just a bungalow where the old women gather and get their basic needs attended to.

“Nonetheless, were my father alive today, surely, he would have been saddened to see bulldozers in Ile Arugbo. However, I am comforted by the knowledge that my father’s good work and his respect, support and love for the aged, which was sadly lacking in the Governor’s activities of Thursday, simply cannot be erased by demolishing a bungalow. When it comes down to it, Ile Arugbo is a piece of bare land that holds symbolic value of what my father stood for – humanitarianism, and that doesn’t start nor end with a building.”

“I do not want my silence to be misconstrued, as mischief makers have used that silence to attribute false statements allegedly made by me.

“The level of force and violence that the Governor chose to adopt was totally unwarranted. What resistance to protest justifies firing live ammunition and tear gassing old women? Even my own personal home was not left out of the attack as numerous empty bullet shell casings and dispersed tear gas cannisters were found inside my home.

“I feel that at this point not only as a child of the late Waziri but as a member of the APC, I need to speak. I do so not only as a daughter but as a member of the party, to ensure that those thousands of members of APC who are Sarakites that supported the Otoge Movement are not alienated. In addition, I do so to ensure that the resounding victory that APC enjoyed in Kwara is not short-lived or diminished.”

She noted that governments, she said, has the right to acquire properties even compulsorily. But she said this can be done  without  resorting to unprovoked violent attacks in the dead of night. “It is especially disrespectful to me personally, as a member of the APC since 2015, who welcomed and supported those who only joined us a couple of months to the elections, which includes the Governor himself, that my position as a member of the party was not given any consideration and/or regard when approaching this issue.

“Furthermore, given how well and how long I have personally known the Governor beyond Kwara State, so much so that I have always regarded him as one of my older brothers. Even in the political arena, over the years, we have known each other as political opponents and allies and I have always accorded him respect which he has not accorded me.

“As one of the APC leaders in the State, I have consulted broadly and have also sent messages appealing to party members not to be provoked by this unwarranted assault on my late father. I do this with all sense of responsibility so that party cohesion and unity is not undermined by arbitrariness to rush into an attempt to settle perceived old generational family political scores. Revenge cannot be a policy thrust of governance.

“I am also using this opportunity to appeal to our teeming supporters to remain calm and poised and maintain peace in the face of unwarranted provocation. ‘Allah Bring about ease after difficulty’Q 65 vrs 7.

“We must stand up against vindictive politics, driven by envy, motivated by jealousy and practiced without integrity. Honour should be our code.”

 

 The All Progressives Congress (APC) has descended on the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over its recent diatribe on President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance.

A release signed by the party's Publicity Secretary Mallam Lanre Onilu, said President Muhammadu Buhari administration has put a lot of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members out of their illegitimate job of looting the country, but not the fictitious 40 million Nigerians being bandied by the PDP.

According to APC, “For 16 years, several leaders of the PDP were having a bazaar over our commonwealth, in their reckless and senseless race to produce world’s highest number of billionaires whose only enterprise was stealing from the public purse.

"During this period of calamitous heist, thousands of PDP members also held Nigeria by the throat, in an unpatriotic race to help themselves to our collective resources. The entire public sector in collaboration with willing players from the private sector was neck-deep in fleecing the treasury".

"At a period of surplus, when crude oil price rose to as much as $140, successive PDP governments supervised a massive scrambling for cheap money. Alongside the fuel subsidy racket, diversion of counter-insurgency funds to PDP leaders and cronies, they awarded roads, railways, power plants, airport terminals, dredging of waterways, bridges, and many other projects that Nigeria badly needed, yet delivered nothing. The projects were mere decoy and conduits for looting the treasury.

https://midlandpost.com/administrator/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&layout=edit&id=4256#With billions of dollars stolen, the APC government inherited a decrepit country from PDP".

"In the last five years, the President Buhari-led APC government has not only been putting these looters out of jobs, we are relentlessly working to recover our country’s stolen resources from them. We are glad that Nigerians are seeing positive results of the current administration's efforts. Hundreds of looters are being prosecuted, assets illegally acquired and unexplainable wealth are being recovered, while a number of them are spending time in jail. Many more will be on their way to jail soon. A number of them are on the run and we are collaborating with the international community to bring them to justice".

"Meanwhile, as we put the PDP looters out of jobs, we are creating the environment and other support structures for creating legitimate jobs. The outcomes are evident in the construction, manufacturing and agricultural sectors despite the fact that the country is earning far less than what was earned under the PDP"

The APC averred that jobs are being created in many productive sectors and security agencies employing more personnel to create jobs and to bolster their capacity to secure lives and property.

Just as much, the statement says, “the year 2020 promises much more in massive infrastructure, solid minerals, oil and gas, and industrialization”.

 

 

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has called on community heads to continue to update government on the happenings in their domains and advice on how it can further deliver democracy dividends to the people.

The Governor, who met with the Alanguas (community heads) from across the Ilorin Emirate restated his support and respect for the leaders of the traditional institutions. He said, “As our fathers, you know better what affects our communities”.

 He explained that his administration’s steps so far make clear and put a lie to campaign-season’s rumour that he was going to remove certain heads of the communities if elected.

 “Our priority is to move this state forward. We need your support and your advice from time to time and we shall continue to meet with you at regular intervals” He said.

 He commended the traditional heads for their huge turnout assuring that communities would enjoy his support while the administration’s priorities would include education, health, water and road.

 The Chairman of Alanguas and Mogajis Forum in Ilorin Emirate and Alangua of Ile Apa, Alhaji Yusuf Salihu who spoke for the chiefs, affirmed the confidence of the traditional heads in the present leadership in the state, pledging their support for AbdulRazaq on his mission to serve the people.

 

 

By Gbolahan Balogun

 The events happened in quick succession. Oluwaseun Fakorede, a 27 year old graduate of Civil Engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife from Ibarapa was announced as a commissioner nominee in Oyo State. By the appointment, Oluwaseun emerged as the youngest commissioner in Nigeria.

But his reign was momentary. Few days later, Joana Nnazua Kolo came on the radar as the new queen in government, as Kwara State House of Assembly received her name as a commissioner-nominee from Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq. Joana is the delectable 26 years old Youth Corper who had recently graduated from the department of Library and Information Science, Kwara State University.

 Both Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and his counterpart in Kwara State, Abdulrasaq won accolades for giving added hope to the teaming Nigerian youths, who are still celebrating their success in scuttling the age dominance orientation of political leaders in Nigeria.

 For over three years, the youth had been in running battle with the political class through the globally acclaimed #NotTooYoungToRun campaign, until President Muhammed Buhari signed the bill into law on May 31, 2018.

 Soon after the bill’s passage, the #NotTooYoungToRun conveners addressed a press conference where they declared that it marked “the beginning of a new era” in Nigerian politics. They argued that the reform would promote democratic development, deepen inter-generational dialogue and learning. They also emphasized the positive impact on the political rights of young people, pointing out that youth under the age of 35 formed 65% of the population and 53% of registered voters.

 To them, the politicians who supported the passage of the bill have demonstrated “unparalleled belief in youth leadership and inclusive politics” and “putting Nigeria on the global map as a country fully invested in meeting the needs of its youth”.

 But they also advised the political class, “If you want the youth’s vote, take active steps within your political parties to support the emergence of more young candidates”

 The appointment of youthful Oluwaseun and Joana as commissioners may not be in the mode of popular political participation through elections, but Nigerians, especially the youths are trooping to social media to give plaudits to Oyo and Kwara state governors, for satisfying the yearnings and aspirations of youths.

 A particular youth, Kayode Afolabi wrote “Governor Seyi Makinde appoints a 27yrs old young man into his exco. Good decision from him. Hope the young man won’t disappoint the youths, He should work hard so other governors will see a reason to bring more youths onboard”

 In Kwara State, an utterly gratified KWASU alumni association issued a press statement immediately after Kolo’s nomination. “The leadership of Kwara State University Alumni Association wishes to congratulate Miss Joana Nnazua Kolo as the Hon. Commissioner Nominee from Edu Local Government.

 We feel humbled and delighted to see a member of this association occupying leadership position. It is our firm belief that you will use this opportunity to showcase the KWASU in you. We advise that you remain focused, committed, and unperturbed as the challenges involved in the discharge of your duties will make you strong.

 “Kwara State University is a World Class University known for our uniqueness in terms of academic excellence, entrepreneurship, community development and the ability to work under pressure.

 “It is also worthy to appreciate the pragmatic Governor of Kwara, Alh. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for his drive in ensuring youths inclusiveness in government.

 His Excellency has shown leadership sagacity and administrative dexterity by making visible the unimaginable. We also implore His Excellency to keep the good work going as we await more of this privilege.

 On this note, we wish to reiterate our unflinching support and gusto to Miss Joana Nnazua Kolo, the Commissioner Nominee from Edu Local Government.

 The statement was signed by Aliyu Uthman Abdulkadir, the national president.

 But it is apparent that the Not-too-Young-to-Run conquest is becoming a pyrrhic victory for Nigerian youths, as the odds against their participation in governance is becoming more glaring, given the opposition by the political class.

 Soon after Fakorede’s nomination, the media was awash of the placards-carrying politicians trying to stifle his screening and confirmation at the Oyo State House of Assembly. According to media reports, the grouse against his nomination was not only on the fact of his age but some members and leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alleged that his father had ceased to be their member.

 Of course, the youths were in solidarity with one of their own. The pro-Fakorede demonstrators, made of students and representatives of student associations, squared up to them, insisting that Fakorede has the capacity to deliver and represent the youth in Governor Seyi Makinde’s cabinet.

 If there are different shades of opinion on the choice of Governor Abdulrahman and his cabinet, it is more on the proprietary of his appointment of youths and especially, the number of women. It is well on record that he is blazing the trail of meeting the 35 percent affirmative action on women.

 But perhaps, this is also the grouse of the political class against his choice of cabinet members who sees some of his nominees as too youthful and being neophytes in governance. Kolo and another youngster, Fatimah Bisola Ahmed, who also recently graduated from the University of Ilorin, are among those pointedly marked down.

 In spite of the fact that Kolo has been described as a thoroughbred and an astute grassroots mobiliser, opinions are rife that she, and her fellow ‘minors’ are starting from the top and may not be able to cope.  While others are saying that the governor is trivialising the enormous problems that are at hand, others are asking whether he's trying to play out the politicians.

 Many are however of the opinion that the governor knows best, since he has done a rundown on his nominees; that the ladies might spring surprises because they are sure intelligent, etc.

Gov Abdulrahman congratulating Kolo

 Whatever that may be the reason for the strident voice of opposition against the youth flies in the face of global call for more active youth participation in politics and more so on the heels of agitations in various quarters for increase of youth’s participation in the nation’s democratic process at all levels.

 It is especially more so now, as President Buhari’s administration recently threw a challenge to the youth leaders on their participation in governance.

 At the Democracy Youth Roundtable 2019, hosted by The Central Working Committee of the 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians held in Abuja on Thursday May 23rd, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, OSGF, Festus Daudu, urged the youth leaders to come up with useful suggestions to assist the government in policy directions with regard to youth participation in governance.

 Among the invited guests were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Executive Director, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement, Samson Itodo. By the way, YIAGA Africa is the arrowhead of the #NotTooYoungToRun crusaders.

 The SGF said at the occasion, “This gathering could not have come at a better time. There are agitations in various quarters for increase of youth’s participation in the nation’s democratic process at all levels. This in itself is a good development indicating that better days and opportunities are bound for our youth”

 The clarion call for opportunities and need for participatory structures and greater trust between youth and institutions and for greater capacity development have been on the front burner across the globe for some time.

 Report of a survey conducted by the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (UN IANYD) in August 2012 had observed that “a majority of 13,000 respondents expressing their voices from 186 countries highlighted that the main challenges for youth were limited opportunities for effective participation in decision-making processes.

 “With limited opportunities and exposure to meaningfully participate in inclusive decision-making processes, young men and women feel excluded and marginalized in their societies and communities”

 Governor Abdulrahman in his wisdom has taken the bull by the horns in effecting a paradigm shift in the age dominance orientation and preferred attributes of political leaders in Nigeria. He is breaking a longstanding assumptions that the Nigerian youths cannot differentiate their left from their right hands.

 He has also in a way dealt with the Everything-is-up-for-Grabs mentality of the ruling class, the intergenerational injustice, of equity between the young and old.

 While he is unmindful of the controversy that his choice of cabinet members has thrown up he had told his audience at the swearing in ceremony of the commissioners-nominees that the ‘naysayers’ should wait and see.

 However, Dr. Oba Laro, a lecturer in the department of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin, while dissecting the situation observes that the age controversy has its root in our traditional beliefs, where the Governor has in a sense, changed the narratives.

 "The concern being raised about recruitment of young persons into governance is both emotional and logical. Emotional because many who expressed apprehension about their capability to perform are doing so based on the fact that they are used to seeing older persons in governance. The concern is logical because, the arts of governance is a complex one and full intrigues especially in our climes that is riddled with high wired politicking.

 "The wily nature of civil servants that lures and traps a rooky in governance is another dimension. Also, a commissioner as member of the cabinet is seen as ambassador of the constituency he/she comes from. This constitutes another source of pressure and distractions.

 "Within all these dimensions, is the expectation of policy initiative that will lift Kwarans from myriads of challenges inherited by this government. It is within this context that we can understand the concern being expressed about youth in government.

 "While it can be conceded that the youth may not be too young to run, but the running may lack commensurate baggage of experience and emotional stability. The critics have their say, the youth have the field to prove themselves. Time, as the saying goes; will tell.

 As Laro opined, indeed time, the ultimate arbiter, will tell!