By Abdullah Abdulganiy
Gentle. Calm. Soft-spoken. Shrewd. Intelligent. These, among other sterling qualities, are what describe the man at the helm of affairs in Kwara State at present. He’s never given to blackmail or rumor mongering. He allows facts to speak for themselves.
Many of his traducers have taken his quietude for weakness, and they continue to draw huge political capital from it. Some of us the onlookers are always baffled when we hear calumny campaigns masked as facts or “exclusives”, just to tarnish his hard-earned reputation.
Such was the case when news started flying around, of two commissioners embroiled in heated exchange of words a couple of days ago. Of course, the news was very genuine. But most of our colleagues in the media, both mainstream and new, added “sugar” to it wilfully.
Perhaps, what added fuel to the fire was the reservation on the part of the commissioners in question who have brought disrepute to the present administration over an avoidable clash that could even have been solved in a gentlemanly manner.
While one of them remained taciturn all through, allowing rumors to continue to fly, the other only came out to dismiss the news of physical combat without adverting to the substance of the matter: the alleged diversion of 300 million naira belonging to the local government. They allowed this untruth to endure, and it was becoming the truth.
The undoing of the commissioners was that they failed to understand that criminal silence in the face of huge allegations like this only goes a long way to confirm them. I must also state at this juncture that Governor AbdulRazaq also came late in putting light to the matter. But it eventually turned out to be not too late to mend.
For some days, his traducers, especially the faceless members of the opposition spread across Facebook, Whatsapp, Nairaland and their main headquarters: Opera News, have, in their typical nature of latching at every slightest opportunity to score political points, filled the media space with unintelligent write-ups about the LG funds.
So baffled was I that after waiting for some days without clarifications on the part of the government, I had to raise the issue in my recent opinion-editorial in The Ravens of Monday, 13th of July, 2020. Thankfully, like I demanded, the governor has taken a bold step to put paid to all the reckless insinuations out there.
His traducers are now very ashamed, just like they were in the case of the “alleged” bullet proof car, popularized by the same medium shamefully. Never mind, everything is always “alleged” in mischievous mediums. In one fell swoop, the rumor mongers went back to their shells. The loud-mouthed ones who have no scintilla of shame among them continue to bring up dim-witted justifications.
What more could a man have done to clear his name? Governor AbdulRazaq called on the anti-graft agency in charge of such matters as financial misappropriations, diversion of public funds, looting, and so forth to investigate the allegation, and come out with its findings. He also promised to set up an independent panel to probe the issue, and above all vowed that any public official found wanting shall face the music.
This is another added feather to the suffusedly decorated cap of the governor. He has further restored his trust in the minds of the public. My advise is that going forward the governor should not allow lies to fly for so long like this before reacting. When lies travel far, they may become the truth for many of the unsuspecting public.
Again, the commissioners in question should have provided their own accounts of the incident, but they failed. They allowed lies of diversion to fester, just like one of them has not been putting the records straight on her alleged resignation. The truth can however not be covered for so long. It’s just a matter of time!
I also want to correct an impression here, coming from some overzealous public officials and their vuvuzelas. There is nothing wrong in calling out the governor to make public clarifications on issues like this that can go a long way in making a nonsense of his personality like some of us have done. Thus, they need to be cautious in the choice of their language when speaking to the public.
In any case, citizens have the right to hold their leaders accountable. The man only dies in people that keep silent in the face of issues like this. Similarly, we expect the likes of Saraki, Ahmed, loud-mouthed Atunwa, and their cohorts who have a litany of corruption allegations hanging on their necks to willingly submit themselves to the EFCC, rather than playing hide and seek game.
Kwara of our dream is possible!
Abdullah is a sociologist and writer. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @halarho123.