By Oluwasegun Adebisi.
If there is anything Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has demonstrated in the close to two years that he has held sway as governor of Kwara State, it is his woeful incompetence but exceptional capacity for deception, grand hypocrisy and cheap symbolism. The governor has not only reduced governance to a faux show of humility in that State, he has displayed his near-perfect mastery of the art of deploying deceit to mask his incompetence and, ultimately, exploit the people.
On the day of his inauguration as Kwara State governor, the people, who had expected to hear the policy direction of the new administration, were instead treated to a peurile show of a ‘humble governor’ driving himself. And so it happened that while other newly elected governors across Nigeria were unveiling their vision and putting their agenda in the public domain, what was being discussed in Kwara on that day was how the new chief executive drove himself to inauguration venue, and how that proved his down-to-earth nature and humility.
Encouraged by the ecstatic manner with which the Kwara public received that ‘stunt’, the governor’s media handlers pressed further. Not long after the inauguration, the public was again inundated with pictures and videos of the governor carrying his backpack into a commercial plane, again to show his faux humility. The photos were widely promoted to ensure they made the greatest impression on the people. Of course the objective was attained, for there was a viral video showing the governor being showcased for his humility somewhere in New York. But following the euphoria generated by that ‘airport stunt,’ how many more pictures or videos of the governor carrying his backpack has anyone seen? I doubt if the governor ever travelled in a commercial plane since that time.
The staple act of governance in Kwara State today is showmanship, decorated with heavy dose of perception management. Abdulrazaq believes all that Kwara people wants to see is a governor with no air around him, someone who comes down to their level and mixes freely with them. The governor has, therefore, convinced himself that all he needs to do in order to sustain whatever support he still enjoys is to keep up the make-believe that has endear him to the people and to continue to project that image he believes has held everyone in spellbound.
To sustain the public perception he’s trying to build about himself as an ‘ordinary governor’ who mixes freely with the ‘ordinary people’, Abdulrazaq has busied himself thinking of what next display would wow Kwarans, and this has obviously occupied his attention much more than any lofty display of competence or leadership. From playing table tennis around Ilorin township, to his alleged nocturnal self-drive to Suya joint; the governor has concentrated exclusively on satisfying his cravings for photo-ops and orchestrated PR.
The bar has become so low in the governance of Kwara that a governor using a cutlass to cut grass in 2020 even necessitated a press release from the Chief Press Secretary, with accompanying sponsored media reports. That is beyond ridiculous! I doubt that any governor with clarity and policy direction will be concerned about tokenism and pulling stunts like this ridiculous one just to prove a point!
One is forced to ask if this governor is even busy at all, considering the amount of time he has for frivolities. Well, the answer is obvious, he is only concerned with using symbolism and cheap gestures like the aforementioned ones to keep Kwara people grounded and conflate the issues.
Since the beginning of his administration, Abdulrasaq has gone unrelenting with his tirade on previous governments in Kwara State. He went after many officials of the previous government accusing them of diversion, fraud among others, but the other day his rebellious former commissioner for local government affairs, Aisha Ahman Pategi who has now resigned by the way, accused the state government led by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of diverting 300million monthly from the state coffers, the money I understand is meant for local governments in Kwara State.
Recently, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq has been described in the least word as a fraud, scam, hypocrite and other such adjectives by those perceptive enough to see through the antics of the governor. He has now been demystified as someone who will stop at nothing to play to emotion and public sentiment, sparing little thought for doing the actual work for which he was elected.
After almost two years that the people of Kwara State voted for governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, the people are poorer than they were in 2019. There is more misery and hunger in the State, primary healthcare is as good as dead, the schools are in complete disrepair, there is no roadmap for agriculture, more people are out of jobs, companies have retrenched, everything is in near total collapse.
It’s hightime someone tells the grasscutting governor of Kwara State to get busy and stop these mischiefs and photo-ops, because that is not what the people of that beautiful State wants to see. And, certainly, it cannot be the reason he was voted into office.
*Adebisi, a public affairs analyst, writes from Offa, Kwara State.
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