Kwara LG: Contemptuous leadership and reinvention of the ‘bad old ways’
By Ibrahim Sheriff (Gold)
For over a week now, rumor has been rife about the appointment of transition implementation committee (TIC) Chairmen, Secretaries and Supervisors for the sixteen local government of Kara state, by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, to oversee the affairs of the respective local governments.
The tenure of the suspended local government Chairmen elapsed in November, 2020, almost 18months after their suspension over financial misappropriation. Leaving local government administration at the mercy of Directors of Personnel Management (DPMs), hitherto appointed by the Governor.
I have restrained myself from commenting on the TIC constitution for some reasons. One, is the possibility of denial of same by the government, notwithstanding several pictures of some of the appointees displaying their offer letters, as there is no official communication from the government to that effect, till date. Two, is the fact that the purported constitution of TIC for local governments is anything but legal. I was of the opinion that the government was only accused of the illegality but convinced otherwise, having noticed graveyard silence from the government over the matter. Which of course, implies admittance.
The silence of the government over such critical matter that affects grassroots development and the mandate of Kwarans, who has the exclusive prerogative of determining who leads them at the local governments is to say the least, contemptuous.
Maybe Governor AbdulRazaq is ashamed of the illegality that he is shy to tell it to our faces. But anyways, we’ve been informed of TIC appointment through the customary means of communication by this government, which analysts have described as ‘black market’.
Obviously, the Governor knew his destination and his handling of issues bothering on local governments speaks to that. In August 2019, Gov. AbdulRazaq requested the dissolution of three statutory commissions; the Kwara State Civil Service Commission, Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWASIEC) and the State Assembly Service Commission. Of the three, two were reconstituted, leaving KWASIEC. Observers say he was yet to do so because of a litigation by members of the dissolved KWASIEC, but we didn’t recall any court injunction against the constitution of the Commission. This simply implies His Excellency was unwilling to conduct LG elections, abinitio.
Immediately after the APC gubernatorial primaries, when our Rebirth movement hosted Gov. AbdulRazaq, who was then the picked gubernatorial candidate for Kwara State at the Rebirth House. I was one of the three persons delegated to talk. I recall emphasizing the three cardinal principles that guides the Rebirth ideology; Integrity, Competence and Compassion, urging him to ensure his administration is guided by these principles, as I was optimistic of victory at the poll. Understanding that the absence of these elements are what Kwarans rejected and not the face of the people of yesteryears.
Disappointedly, the ‘rumored’ TIC appointment is anything close to alignment with these cardinal principles of integrity, competence and compassion. Its illegality and some of the named persons with wanting characters ripped it of being integrity based, competence did not obviously dictate majority of the appointments but political correctness and no compassionate government will so treat the people with such level of contempt, that will leave them sheaving facts about their own government from pools of rumors.
For a state that desires aggressive grassroots development, our concerns for local governments administration must be sincere. Our local governments are almost paralyzed, it is our onus to ensure people with innovative developmental ideas, selected through real competitive process and who shall be held accountable to the people fill that vacuum. As it stands today, the TIC have no pact with Kwarans, but to the Governor in whatever done in that capacity. By the appointment of TICs, Gov. AbdulRazaq simply usurped the political franchise of the entire people of Kwara state.
A deep comprehension of the appointment letters issued to the local government TIC speaks to the fact that they were not also picked based on their abilities to lead, but “loyalty”. A part of the letter reads; “This appointment is based on the excellent report of your loyalty, steadfastness and favourable disposition to the course of this Administration. It is my expectation that you will bring all these sterling qualities to bear on your assignment in a way that this Administration’s desire to take Kwara State to greater heights will be realized.”
What are the sterling qualities; loyalty, steadfastness and favorable disposition to the administration? Those who aided the anomalies of yesteryears were also loyal to wrong courses, they were steadfast in pursuing self serving ambitions and favorably disposed to all of the systemic rots of the past. Their loyalty to the then administration doesn’t equate loyalty to Kwarans and Kwara State, which should be the ultimate. It is unfortunate, if ability to deliver, notwithstanding the illegality of their appointment, is not the reason they were considered, then we are yet to depart our dark ages.
The letter further stated, “The appointment is a public trust. Therefore it is hoped that you will justify the confidence reposed in you in the discharge of your responsibilities.” In the real sense of it however, the appointment is not a public trust, as the Kwara public never entrusted anyone the leadership of our local governments yet. It is their reserve to choose who to entrust and distrust. The Governor should be wary and desist from abusing the trust reposed in him by Kwarans, HE should pave way for duly and democratically elected council Chairmen.
If Kwarans were to entrust people with their local government mandates, I am sure Patigi people would not repose confidence in a man reportedly indicted by the Kwara State House of Assembly for diverting fertilizers meant for farmers in 2009 and consequently sacked by the then Gov. Bukola Saraki upon Assembly resolution. Gov. AbdulRazaq should therefore not equate his personal confidence in some of these people with questionable characters with public confidence, but allow Kwarans to make their own choice of who to trust through the ballot.
He must be reminded that trust is reposed and withdrawn through the ballot and other legal means and never through a clandestine and hush tone illegal appointment, that’s nothing but a rape of the constitution and another glaring fact of contempt for the people, especially the grassroot.
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