By Tunde Mohammed
The atmosphere is pregnant with unfinished matters. The Kwara question combines subsisting ethnic politics with the question of mass poverty and underdevelopment. It is really not a happy combination. There is also this urban demographic of human squalor and deprivation existing side by side with magical opulence. It has never been like this. Even after its creation in 1967, those who helped to develop modern Kwara showed better common sense. After them, gone forever is the visionary impetus of its founding fathers. What we experience now is that if it is not another fancy policy pronouncement, it is another wasteful spending and elephant projects meant to free resources.
The ruling All Progressive Congress administration in the state was right from the beginning never able to master the engineering sense to run a state as a modern state. However a consensus appeared to have been reached that under the present leadership of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, Kwara will continue to fumble and wobble.
The urge and sense for achieving a better ending requires first a sense of history. It takes a reflective leader to spur the resolve against a states’ existential challenges. Alarmingly, what the state has been grappling with is not just a case of broken promises or even the malevolence of a divisive and sectional administration, but the all-round incompetence by a government improperly staffed and poorly equipped to deliver good, modern and progressive governance.
As I have often noted, the political template operated by the country has obviously led to the election of wrong persons into office. And in Kwara, unless something more urgent and drastic is done to stop the emergence of another megalomaniacal candidate in the coming elections. This is why Kwarans should begin to ask themselves the fundamental questions of democracy which is still foolishly not been done. Politics has not only been delegitimized with massive popular bypass in the state, politics also is in urgent need of renewal and the state itself in more urgent need of constant reconfiguration which renews faith and self-confidence of the people.
Perhaps the essential point to stress here is that we lose heavily when we turn away due attention from the real problems that ails the state to focus on inanities such as comparing the present and past administrations. It has not been and can never be helpful to the cause of unity and development. Until very recently, I found it hard to believe that even as clueless as they are, the administrations of both Senator Bukola Saraki and Abdul-fatah Ahmed were even able to do something tangible. So every government whether good or bad must do something. It is the effort to build something on the emptiness left that become more important.
Peeing deeply, Kwara’s economy presently reflects the absence of a coherent and engaging economic policy. The state economy overall is in other words devoid of coherence and consistency. To the government, there are no innovative ways of financing projects other than contracting loans and most of the projects embarked upon are islands to themselves. In running the state economy like a state economy, the government has become crippled, disorderly and quite incapable of lifting the people from poverty. The result is that the on-going alienation has increased.
Indeed since 2019 when it came to power, the government has been unable to meet its employment generation goals. It is not certain that the governor has ever done the hard introspection needed to appreciate the reasons for the distrust the people have for his administration. It is now safe to admit that modern development has its unique discontents. I rest here for Babatunde Asholu.
TUNDE, A GEM GONE TOO SOON
I join in mourning the premature departure of our younger friend. It is not easy for an elder person to be publicly grieving over the passing of a younger man. I really have been in denial. But it was Tunde Bakare’s (the Olorombo of Idi-Orombo), moving tribute on the Tabloid platform that finally jolted me out of pained inertia. Tunde Ashaolu departed in a sad circumstances, in an atmosphere of puzzling uncertainties.
Tunde as I use to know him was a man of profound Christian faith which he carried with grace and sedate equanimity. By the time he was said to have breath his last about a fortnight ago, Tunde had already passed into a legend. He knew what it means to excel against all odds. The outpouring of grief, the solemn regrets and the public adulations are an eloquent testimony to the fact that he will continue to live in the hearts of his friends, political associates, family and among those who also know him.
Ironically, we understand death only after it has placed its hands on someone we love. The sorrow we feel when we lose a loved one is the price we pay to have had them in our lives. But life itself is stronger than death. Even though it cannot stop death from happening, no matter how hard it tried, it cannot separate the people from love. It cannot take away memory either. So when someone you love like Tunde Ashaolu becomes a memory, such memory becomes a treasure.
In classical poetry, we describe the demise of those like him as ‘an aborted greatness’. May the Almighty take his noble soul into a blissful repose.