Dr Afeez Abolore Alabi is the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Land Matters to Ogun State Governor, Prince (Dr) Dapo Abiodun. In this interview with ACTING EDITOR, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM, the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, who is an indigene of Iponrin, Ilorin East Local Government Area of Kwara State, appraised Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq’s one year performance, the forthcoming local government election and his appointment in Ogun State among other issues of interest. Excerpts;
What is an Ilorin man doing in Ogun state government cabinet?
As fate would have it, I would say my appointment in Ogun State came as a divine. This is as a result of hard work, dedication and commitment to whatever one is doing in life, and this would serve as an encouragement to young ones to see that whatever you are doing, irrespective of whoever is looking after you, there is always reward at the end of the day. Make sure that you put in your best and with God on your path, I believe one day, that lofty reward would come your way. This very position I am today with the Ogun State Government is of God Almighty. During the process of this appointment, I was interviewed. And at the interview session, I never at a point denied the fact that I am from a particular village called Iponrin in Kwara State. Another thing I also want to point out is that whatever will be will be in your life regardless of whatever anybody has to say. But I will commend Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun and the entire cabinet for this.
Last month, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State marked one year in office. Is there anything that has been done differently?
I give glory to God on what Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has been able to achieve in the last 365 days in Kwara in the areas of youth empowerment and development and infrastructure. Engagement of youth in the administration is something very significant and he has encouraged them to come on board to exhibit the leadership skills to impact the administration. He has been able to manage the state resources doing pretty well in terms of physical infrastructure development. Just recently, he brought two water projects into my Osin Constituency under Ilorin East Local Government Area, which we celebrated and well appreciated. From what I have seen, he has not even started at all. He is focused, well determined and he is an achiever and coming years will be more cheering.
In terms of youth engagement, don’t you think it is premature for this generational change approach in leadership of the state?
For me, I think the prime time is here. For somebody like Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to have a leadership style towards that direction, I believe he knows what he is doing and I want to believe he knows what he wants for his administration to work. The era of I give you an appointment just to man a particular office has gone. This is the time to test what our youth are up to. The approach of Governor AbdulRazaq to have a generational change in leadership is not peculiar to him, this is what is obtainable in South Western States and even in the North. I hope the youth of the current generation would not disappoint whoever that appointed them into offices. The State House of Assembly for instance has a youth as Speaker and a host of them like that. That is not to say we should not give credit to the elders in terms of their experience and exposure.
You are far away in Ogun State. If you are called upon to come and serve in Kwara State, will you oblige?
Hmmm! I first of all, give all praises to God Almighty for the journey of my life thus far. I blessed Him for the knowledge, wisdom, understanding and opportunities He has created for me to positively impact lives including my present position as Senior Special Assistant to Prince Dapo Abiodun, the Governor of Ogun State. Whatever is the level of wealth of experience, exposure and other great qualities anyone may possess, the most important thing is that how well he/she has been able to use/apply them to contribute or add values to the people around and the society at large. By the grace of God and knowing fully well that there is no place like home, I will present myself with all God has made of me including the training/experience I am currently undergoing with the Ogun State Government anytime I am called upon to serve at any level of government inasmuch it is my creator’s appointed time.
What is your take on the forthcoming local government election in Kwara State?
The take and the direction of the Almighty God is Supreme. May God Almighty continued to guide all the relevant stakeholders on the proposed local government election
Do you envisage a tight race this time around among contestants?
For the race is not for the swift, nor the battle to the strong neither the bread to the wise, nor riches to the men of understanding nor favor to the men of skill but time and chance happen to them all. God of destiny knows who will emerge at the of the day. As a matter of fact, it is not unto him that runneth but it’s of God that showeth mercy.
How do you think local council administration can really assist government in delivering dividends of democracy to the people?
Despite observed lapses in local administration, local government’s contributions in national development should be acknowledged. It is the tier of the government that we believe is the closest to the people at the grassroots. Among their relevance or importance is to enhance human condition through peoples’ participation or involvement in the determination of various decisions that affects their lives.