Before transition into a people’s government, through the otoge political revolution in 2019, the only thing most people outside the state of harmony knows about the state is its political godfatherism.
Fortunately for Kwara, things are changing and the state’s national profile is taking a new look.
In this past months, I have been traveling around the country, from Kogi, to Lagos, to Abuja.
As you all know, we have been accostom to the popular saying that the world is a global village, but nothing reinforces such claim and brought it close to home like the experiences I had traveling around the country lately.
It all started in Lagos, while in midsts of Nigerians from different parts of the country. A conversation about the current state of affairs in the nation began and soon after, the conversation was narrowed down to the issue of lawmakers in the country.
To my greatest surprise, one of the individuals in the gathering made reference to the Legislative Watch Assessment Report, produced by Grand Plan in partnership with Kwara Must Change, which was piloted here in Kwara State.
When I first heard reference being made to this report, it was kind of surprising because the person making this reference is from Kano and I was surprised that a project done in Kwara State could have such impression on somebody from far away Kano. So, while asking questions to probe what this individual really know about Legislative Watch, the other individual who came from Nasarawa State jumped in and also spoke glowingly about Legislative Watch and the impact it made in their state.
According to him, the project was trending in Nasarawa for weeks.
When I said it’s just a Kwara report, both individuals strongly disagreed. That project is beyond Kwara, it is a report like no other and it’s impact was felt all across the federation. They concluded.
While these conversation were taking place, they never knew I had anything to do with the report. So, it was a shocking moment for them, when I said that we did the project and that I was the lead researcher. They went berserk in excitement, looking at me strangely and affectionately and I began to feel excitedly scared for myself.
It was at this point that I thought of bringing up conversation about the national perspective of Nigerians about Kwara State and the current administration in the state.
Even when you know the truth, sometimes, it is always good to aggregate opinion of independent third parties that are not connected to the players or affected by their prejudice.
Fortunately, all of the people in this gathering have nothing but praise for the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq led administration in Kwara State. Some of them even compared his activities to that of their own state and concluded that Kwara State is at the forefront in governance.
This encounter spurred my interest in wanting to have a real feedback about national perspective of Nigerians on Kwara State.
So, I decided to make a delibrate random survey anywhere I go about Kwara State.
In Lagos State, I asked 15 people about their perspective of the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq led administration in Kwara State.
While 3 of them do not have any real opinion because of limited information, 10 of them spoke about the state in glowing terms. The remaining 2 were critical of the state due to the ongoing dispute between the ruling party.
Although, out of the two individuals critical of Kwara State because of the ongoing dispute between Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, one praised the governor for taming the minister, noting that he belongs to the same constituency with the minister in Lagos and they have also been looking for ways to deal with him.
In Kogi State, it was positive feedback all through for Kwara State, amongst the 5 individuals sampled.
Furthermore, at the federal capital territory in Abuja, Kwara State is seen as one of the top 3 performing state in the country.
Amongst the 20 individuals sampled, only 3 were critical of the government in relation to it’s ongoing dispute with information minister and the opposition leader, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
While 17 individuals spoke positively about the government and its performance, 3 individuals think the situation with the opposition leader, Dr Bukola Saraki could have been handled with more diplomacy. They also think the dispute with Alhaji Lai Muhammed was unnecessary. However, when they were provided with context to both issues, they seems to understand it better.
In all, Kwara State is now a state of interest for many across the federation and whatever happens here makes alot of impact in other states.
The administration of Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is also seen as a leading light in terms of governance and we must encourage the government to continue to improve on its chosen path until the state get to its promise land.
While it is always good to criticise government projects and policies, such criticism should seek to add value to governance, not diminish it. Valid criticism doesn’t hurt anyone, it strengthen us all and make good governance a reality, not a dream.
Abdulrazaq Hamzat writes from Abuja, Nigeria