By Mumini Abdulkareem
Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, yesterday, officially returned to his duties as the Chief Executive Officer of the state, ending days of speculation on his whereabout since last week.
The Governor was surprisingly absent from the Eid-el-Kabir prayer at the Ilorin central Eid ground on Sunday and was also conspicuously missing during the second edition of the Ilorin Grand Durbar held on Monday – two very important ceremonies that highlight the social-religious significance of the Ilorin Emirate.
The Chief of Staff, Dr Aminu Logun represented the Governor at the religious event which is characterised by two supererogatory prayers and the slaughtering of ram by the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Sheikh Muhammed Bashir.
The issue has polarised top indigenes of the state with insinuation that the Governor allegedly went into hiding during the period for yet to be disclosed political reasons.
While the period of the Eid lasted, some of his apologists who were awaiting news that the governor prayed in one of the remote areas in Ilorin, were disappointed as he was not sighted in any of the numerous Eid grounds across the state.
Abdulrazaq’s absence had raised serious concern in the polity with many commentators especially on several social media platforms in the state questioning the rationale behind his sudden disappearance especially after he observed Juma’at prayer in Ilorin last Friday.
The Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi represented Governor Abdulrazaq at the 2019 Durbar ceremony and also received the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari during the traditional homage to the Governor at the Government House known as Bareke.
However, the Governor’s media aide, Rafiu Ajakaye could not be reached last night to respond to the queries raised by this reporter about his principal’s whereabout during the festive period.
Some of the queries are; “why was the Governor absent from the Eid and Durbar ceremonies?” “Was he on official or private assignment and if yes, was there a proper handing over to the Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi”, including his reaction to unconfirmed online reports alleging that the Governor was in the UK while the celebration lasted.
But a top government source who spoke on the issue confirmed that the Governor has returned to his duty yesterday, adding that he was not in the state during the Eid-el kabir festival.
“He was on another assignment during the Eid period; as I speak with you now (Wednesday), he is in office attending to official assignments”, the source who declined having his name in print because he was not authorised to speak officially on the matter, added.
However, it could not be confirmed whether the ‘assignment’ the Governor attended outside the state was in official or private capacity.
Since his resumption in office on Wednesday, Abdulrazaq has not provided any explanation on the issue as to his ‘shocking’ absence at the two crucial ceremonies.
Some of the comments the action generated on some whatsApp groups online are as follows:
“AA (The Governor) can choose to pray anywhere”, “Show us where he prayed”, “he’s my Governor, the number one citizen of my state, where’s he?”, “he’s somewhere on earth, “he can decide to pray anywhere”, “We aren’t disputing this (he prayed Eid), Show a damn picture of where he prayed in Kwara State or mention the mosque”, “Kwarans should be asking where their Governor was today (Sunday), he’s the governor and we should know why he didn’t appear”, “dial his line (to ask him)”, “It is not compulsory he prays at the big mosque”, “his picture used to surface every now and then reporting his location but this sudden disappearance is questionable”, “Your Governor is a wonder man, he can do what you never expected him to do, not going to big Eid should not be a surprise” and “AA fit don go pray with some less privileged fa”
Others include “The Governor should have shared the merriment of the days with the people”, “Not that he has flouted any rule. It doesn’t mean he’s loved less by his people”, “It’s not a must he attends both Eid prayers and Durbar – they’re not under his mandate”, “Our new governor denied the people the opportunity to identify with him” and “what’s chasing the Governor or who’s chasing the Governor”, among others.