By Tunji Moronfoye
My dear Kwarans and specially the residents of Ilorin city. A city knows all over the world for her deep Islamic religious inclination, the jewel between the North and South of Nigeria. The state and city of harmony. As we say in Ilorin, we are the world’s closest city to paradise.
It is with deep foreboding that I script this peice. The metropolitan blitz which I’ve described above has been distorted by trash deposits all over the city, the Emir of Ilorin’s palace by the most beautiful Mosque outside Saudi Arabia is not left out of this horrible menace. Go to Tanke, trash is deposited on the university road median and other places within Tanke, go to Taoheed road off basin there is a huge trash deposit. Go to Zango, there is a massive garbage “mountain” by the new market which has to be evacuated daily or there is going to be a serious health hazard. Go to the interior of Ilorin and you will be shocked beyond believe, various areas have their own huge trash “mountains”.
The question is, how did we get here? The answer is simple, the eight-year regime of Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed as executive governor of the state. When Dr. Bukola Saraki was governor we got various international and national awards for being the cleanest state in Nigeria. He established the clean and green initiative, where women were hired to clean the streets, he also made sure “Roro bins” which were specifically manufactured for Kwara state by ANAMCO were positioned at various strategic places to ease the garbage burden. Dr. Bukola Saraki also bought quite a few vehicles which were designed to evacuate this Roro bins. He was also able to negotiate for landfills we used to bury the trash that was evacuated from Roro bins. The government was informed by the environmental consultants then, that we didn’t sort out our trash and we didn’t generate enough trash to use the trash to generate power in 2010. During his 8-year regime, Dr. Bukola Saraki built a garbage recycling plant in Ganmo. I have had the privilege to visit quite a few countries in my time and nowhere would the government leave something as germane as the environment and garbage unattended to.
Rather unfortunately, when Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed took over in 2011, he subscribed to an elitist idea sold to him due to his own personal interests. He didn’t look at the ramifications of his actions, he removed most Roro bins against my advice, he said he expect to generate “revenue” from trash collection like Lagos state and other “developed” states of the federation. The selected vendors, presented “huge castles in the air” as their facilities, we later found out that they didn’t even own a single compactor. They had to run away when they saw they couldn’t meet up with what was on ground. At that time the Nigeria unemployment level was already hiring home in Kwara state too. The former governor could have looked at the trash recycling plant for employing our youths and generating much needed power. Unfortunately, the former governor, couldn’t rejig the environmental issue after the failed attempt till he left office years later. Of course, he blamed the ministry of environment for the lapses and mounted untold pressure on the subsequent commissioners and staffs without releasing quick and adequate funding for the ministry. The ex-governor Ahmed, never found it germane to invest seriously in any lasting solution for this problem after his massively failed elitist idea. We just dealt with the problem on a day to day basis.
Yes, you may well ask; “Weren’t you a part of that government? You were actually the spokesman at a point”…
The answer to that question is yes, I was! However, the buck doesn’t stop on my table, I can only advice hoping my advice would be considered. If it isn’t considered, I have to follow my directives if I want to stay on the job and remain politically relevant. My town Ira would have lost its most prominent political office holder if I had left, obviously no one would have been appointed to replace me from my darling town Ira.
I now appeal to new Executive Governor of Kwara state His Excellency, Mal. Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq to look for a far reaching solution like that of the former Governor Dr. ‘Bukola Saraki, that brought us fame and great beauty to Kwara state. I beg the new government to also look at the waste recycling plant initiative of the former Governor Dr. ‘Bukola Saraki located in Ganmo. This is Kwara state, our darling state, we must defend and make her better for our future generation.
Please do have a great and most importantly safe week everyone. Cheers…. Moronfoye, a former Commissioner for Information, Kwara State.