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Reflections On Leadership Dynamics In Kwara State And Niger State, By Umar Idrisu

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Reflections On Leadership Dynamics In Kwara State And Niger State, By Umar Idrisu

The absence of genuine inclusivity in leadership further underscores the political climate in Kwara

If I had been born before 1984, the presence of my grandmother would have significantly influenced my upbringing, strengthening my connection to my original state, Kwara. However, her passing led to our permanent relocation to Abuja, shifting our affiliation from our ancestral roots in Lafiagi to Bida and our new residential city, Abuja. It’s noteworthy that our roots trace back to Bida after our foreparents left Kastina.

Fortunately, during festive periods, my principled uncle ensures our return to our hometown, Lafiagi, for celebrations, and we seize the opportunity to spend quality time in Ilorin, the capital city.

While pursuing my undergraduate degree at the University of Abuja and my first MSc at FUTH Minna, I delved into researching our ties to Niger State. These findings likely contributed to my profound affection for both Kwara and Niger States, particularly Kwara North and Bida. I eagerly anticipate the realization of the State of Edu someday.

Although my overall interest in politics remains minimal, I closely monitor the political landscapes of Kwara and Niger States. As the 2019 elections approached, my attention towards Kwara Politics intensified, particularly captivated by the Otoge movement. Initially skeptical about its potential to end the Saraki Dynasty, I grew increasingly optimistic as the elections neared, ultimately witnessing the emergence of Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as Kwara State’s Executive Governor, marking a significant shift in the state’s political trajectory.

However, Abdulrahman’s governance commenced with tepidity, marked by the appointment of cabinet members that tested public patience; many lacked adequate qualifications and capacity. This was succeeded by internal strife within the ruling party, prompting the departure of some political figures. Notably, the former NBC Chairman, Hon. Bolarinwa, and other influential figures spearheaded a movement, aligning with parties like SDP and NNPP, challenging the governor’s authority. Despite initially employing a divide-and-conquer strategy, the governor eventually sought reconciliation with his adversaries, except for the late Governor Lawal’s son, who remained defiant and stayed in the SDP.

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Following his reelection, the governor reverted to marginalizing some stakeholders within the party, leaving them disillusioned. The absence of genuine inclusivity in leadership further underscores the political climate in Kwara State, motivating me to articulate these observations.

Recently, on Sunday, March 17th, disturbing news surfaced regarding the Niger State Governor, Baago, allegedly providing Prado Jeeps to House of Representatives members and Land Cruiser Jeeps to Senators and Ministers from the state. Given my informal acquaintance with the Representative from Bida/Gbako, I exploited that to clarify the authenticity of the report.

Engaging with Hon. Saidu Musa was enlightening as he guided me through a comprehensive discussion on inclusive governance, highlighting strategies for maximizing performance and efficiency under Governor Bago’s leadership for the social and economic development of the state.

Reflecting on Governor Bago’s political and leadership journey, Hon. Saidu emphasized the Governor’s astute leadership skills derived from his legislative experiences and strong community ties. He stressed the importance of innovation for contemporary leaders and the critical role of human resource management in achieving success as reflected in the leadership style of Gov. Bago.

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Acknowledging Governor Bago as the foremost citizen and party leader in the state, Saidu emphasized the Governor’s commitment to aligning stakeholders’ interests with the state’s development goals. He outlined the Governor’s detailed plan for sustainable development and listed his achievements, particularly in security and economic sectors, including agricultural development.

Furthermore, Saidu underscored the Governor’s significance of collaboration with other tiers of government, especially National Assembly members, highlighting his support through the distribution of vehicles and engagement in developmental initiatives like advocating for the 13% derivation fund to Nigeria State for hydrocarbon exchange.

He described Governor Baago’s proactive leadership, exemplified by his advocacy for the state’s entitlements, demonstrating his commitment to good governance and support for representatives’ roles in Abuja. Additionally, his ongoing support through palliative measures further illustrates his dedication to the welfare of Niger State constituents.

He thereby submitted that the distribution of Prado Jeeps for the HoR members and Land Cruisers for the Senators isn’t a waste of state resources but to enhance credible representations and performances of the legislators. We (NASS members) are critical stakeholders in the state, and our performances will complement the giant strides and achievements of the Governor in the state. This support will enhance our movement in the state given the size of the landmass and the inherent challenges on the road. We don’t have excuses not to perform.

Reflecting on the dynamics of leadership in my home state, Kwara State, and the pivotal role of the Governor in shaping its social and economic landscape and exploiting effective synergy with the major stakeholders left me disheartened.

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I vividly remember the strained relationship between Governor Mall. Abdulrahaman and certain National Assembly members during the Governor’s first tenure, resulting in the resignation of some appointees of the Governor. There seemed to be a lack of synergy and mutual support between the Governor and the legislators, with each party pursuing its agenda without collaboration.

Unfortunately, the situation hasn’t improved much, as rumors persist of a brewing conflict between the Governor, two senators, and three House of Representatives members from Kwara State. Such discord could hamper the state’s development prospects, as peace is essential for progress. Despite being the leader of the state and the ruling party, the Governor appears to be distant from the central role expected of him. The reason for his recent moves was when he met with the Minister of Works along with three members of the National Assembly. It’s a tradition for every state Governor to support his National Assembly members using the executive influence at the federal executive but unfortunately, Governor Abdulrahman isn’t playing the role.

Political maneuvering seems to overshadow governance, with attention increasingly focused on the 2027 elections and the selection of a successor, rather than on effective governance. Let us hope that the people of Kwara State will not repeat the mistakes of the past and prioritize stability and progress beyond 2027.

Umar Idrisu writes from Abuja
[email protected]

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