Kwara State and the Dunkirk of governance: An imperative exegesis

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By Basheer Luqman Olarewaju

Almost every society is made up of economic, political, cultural, social, religious, and professional groups. The activities of these groups are often managed in an institutionalized system, in which three main organs are prominent in most modern societies. The three organs, known in Kwara State, as in many places are legislature, executive, and judiciary; and they are in charge of formulating policies, implementing such policies and rendering advice as well as relevant suggestions, and adjudicating as well as interpreting for reconciliation in cases of conflicts respectively. Although societies vary as to how these important organs operate, it is common, especially in democracies, for them to have distinct spheres of operations, so as not to concentrate all powers in a single institution or individual.

However, as this does not imply acrimony as these arms of government and other relevant agencies, which operate in between, primarily exist for the good of all; the state’s affairs had been in a single dynasty where “Oga so pe” (The Leader said) was the common slogan to share sensitive positions irregardless of the beneficiary’s capacity. This, amongst other problems, was deeper malaise seen by Kwarans which later birth the “O To Ge” (enough is enough) administration.

Without doubt, Kwara State, before the masses drubbed the self-preoccupied dynasty so badly that it was basically no contest in the 2019 general election, stood in between exhibiting attributes of state collapse and state failure. Potable water had become raindrop in the drought. There was a real dearth in acheiving quality education while infrastructures across the state had regaled moribundity. Primary Health Care centres housed all kinds of animals rather being a safe haven to bedridden patients. Yes, the claim of not to have done anything good should be unentertained but amongst the heavy blows received by good people of Kwara was half-pay remuneration to our civil servants. The more reason Kwarans asked for a government that should be people centered.

Recently, there has been a recurrent and sustained argument that the state, unlike most of its counterparts created by General Yakubu Gowon in 1967, examples: Kaduna, Kano, Lagos and Benue/Plateau; in the country, underperformed due to lack of state capacity to deal with the contemporary complexities of governance. The previous self-loving administrations militated against the promotion of public good and effective service delivery in the state of harmony. Sadly, governance and political leadership in kwara State had been driven by self-interest and other primordial considerations, which take priority over that of the public. The state has failed in four major areas: promotion of the rule of law, welfarism of civil servants, equity and equality in sharing dividends of democracy, and provision of responsible, responsive, and visionary leadership. Indeed, the nature and characters of our political leadership explained the state incapacity for effective governance.

Truly, the nature of the state, the public institutions through which legitimate power is exercised, experienced and enforced, is apropos to the study of politics in any state. Therefore, the issue of state capacity is central to understanding the Kwaran socioeconomic malaise. This administration led by Governor AbdulRazaq draws our attention to the inherent challenges of state maintenance in weak societies and offers noticeable, frightening and Heart-touching decadence to states’ incapacity, especially during the era of “Oga so pe”.

Of high sensitivity is her identification of structural and contextual variables that enhance the vulnerability of most parts of state like Baruteen, Kaima, Ilorin, Ifelodun and what have you. This administration has examined the state’s sociopolitical and economic realities and attributed its failures to state’s historical heritage: history of self-serving and weak political leadership, corruption, deceitfulness and cruelty in silencing the dissenters. There is no controversy about the series of symptoms of state failure and state collapse in KWARA STATE; the point of debate remains the extent of state’s incapacity displayed by the state.

If not the birth of “O To Ge” administration, Kwara State would have been wallowing in severe maladministration where it would be confronted by sociopolitical instability, high degree of corruption, mass hostility to the “public,” and poor economic management — all these and many would continue to display the attributes of a state in danger zone. One should ask, why successive governments after Rear Admiral Muhammed Alabi Lawal, lacked the political will to initiate or sustain policy or structural transformation, or to embark on sound economic reform to reposition the state for greatness?! They had no idea of the true meaning of “Amandla – Awethu” (Power To The People).

A Kwara that works for all understands that, no matter the upsurge of globalization and the prospects of rebuilding the state, the expectation is for the incumbent government to take a decisive role in economic transformation, growth, and development and jettison every act that is inimical to improved livelihood as well as socioeconomic and political development of the state of harmony. With the inherited weakness of the state and its ineffectiveness, it has become challenging to eradicate impoverishment, engage in infrastructural development, and stem the tides of security challenge, which have the potency to derail the state’s moderate political development.

Drawing from this, the government of Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq presupposes a power structure with its own hierarchical categories, incorporating the economic, social, cultural, and political tensions within the state, and thus spreading out an inherent dynamism which absorbs the ebbs and flows of pressures toward ensuring peaceful and effective solutions to existential problems confronting the state and its people.

This administration remain steadfast in her stance that the government of a democracy is accountable to the people. It has the responsibility to fulfill its end of the social contract, while public officials (political office holders and civil servants) are social servants; they serve society and the population. The government embraces the responsibility to ensure equality and promote fundamental human rights.

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