Following the declaration by the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission of the 16 All Progressives Congress (APC) chairmanship candidates as winners of the last local government election, attention has now shifted to the promises made before the exercise. HEAD POLITICS, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM writes on the issue.
The slogan that they came, saw and conquer best described the situation of the last local government election that was held last Saturday in the state for the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Although, there were some challenges that have formed part of the talking points for the ruling and opposition politicians in the state, the fact remains that the APC swept the entire sixteen local governments in the state, thus replicating another clean sweep for the party after its commanding victory in the 2015 election for the governorship, House of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senatorial elections.
According to the popular Yoruba adage that the journey to and fro the farm is always characterised with different discussion, the campaigns for the exercise is well over now and attention has been shifted to how those saddled with the responsibility of piloting the affairs of their local councils after their yet to be announced swearing in will fare.
During the electioneering and oblivious of the financial situation in the country and state, there were lots of promises from the candidates of the ruling party who were later declared winners by the local electoral umpire. But the fairy tale has now ended and political analysts will try to gauge the performance of the elected council bosses viz-a-viz how they were able to implement their manifestoes to the expectations of the people.
According to the incoming chairperson of Ilorin South, who doubles as the state ALGON boss, Hajia Funmilayo Salau, youth and women empowerment are among the focuses of her administration, adding that she will use the agricultural potentials of her people to the fullest advantage.
“I will empower youth and women and cater for the health care needs of the people. Also, education is very paramount and will be accorded its rightful place during my tenure as I will also operate a robust environmental sanitation policy that will clean up the local government for the improved health and healthy living of the people.
“On the issue of agriculture, we will take agriculture to the grassroots starting from secondary school so that when the students graduate from University, they will be able start on their own. The issue before now has been that when you tell the youth to go back to agriculture, they always have difficulty because it has never been part of their routine like we used to have during the good old secondary school days that everybody was a farmer irrespective of the subject or class and we have Young Farmers Club to complement the concept then. So it was easy to take to farming and become big players in the economy when white collars job was no more forthcoming. But it is no longer so and my administration will revive that golden era for the benefit of the individual, council, state and country at large”.
For the Ilorin West elected council chairperson, Hajia Aminat Romoke Omodara, who played down the seeming animosity between her and the PDP opponent, Comrade Musbaudeen Esinrogunjo, the issue is about willingness and capacity to serve, adding that her tenure will not be use to victimise the political opponent.
‘I’m not going to disappoint my people and all what we promised in the manifestos will be delivered.
“There is no issue with me and my opponent. The only thing is that when they accused you of a thing and you keep quiet about it, it may mean you agree with the allegation. They said I’m not an indigene of Ilorin and I came out to prove them wrong that I’m a ‘son of the soil’ so everybody has the right to express his/her feelings. We don’t need to fight each other. To me, the only party we have here is APC and if I emerged the chairman, I will not neglect other parties because we are one and same indigene of Ilorin. I’m a woman, what a man can do, a woman can do it even better and women care a lot for children, husband, family and we have sympathy.
“My focus will be more on education, security and health, which is wealth and all I have campaigned about is what I have in mind. And I know the state government will back me up”.
On the issue of security and how she is going to explore the limitation of the local government, Omodara said “the federal police work with the state and local government. We are going to work together to beef up security in the local government even while the issue of state police still forms part of the national discussion.
For the incoming chairman for Ekiti Local Government, Comrade Yinka Dallas, he is going to use his experience as a private sector entrepreneur to take the council to another pedestal.
“I am forty years old and my first daughter is in 200-level in University of Ilorin. If I can tutor a child to that stage and up till now, I have never applied for a job and I have been the CEO of my company with seven staff, nobody can say I am too small to manage a local government. For me, I am going to take council administration to a new level of governance and people will understand and feel the impact of council administration in the state.
In Kaiama, the APC newly elected chairman for the council, Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi Bata has assured the people that he is going into the council willing to serve and contribute his quota to the development of his people,” adding that council administration will never be the same under him.
The trend is however the same across the sixteen councils with promises made leading to the election but now the baton had been handed over to them, will the chairmen derail and allow the party to go through another rebranding crisis period.”
The Senate President and leader of the party in the state, Dr Bukola Saraki, while congratulating all the elected party council chairman, called on them and every party member to continue to work and meet the yearning of the people and provide opportunity for others. But this can only come when the new set of council bosses deliver on their promises and that is what the masses are looking forward to.
Already, the traditional rulers, most of who campaigned for them while the electioneering lasted, have started putting them to task also.
The traditional ruler of Kaiama, Alhaji Muazu Omar urged the newly elected chairman on the platform of APC, not to betray the confidence reposed in them by the people.
According to the Olupo of Ajase-Ipo, Oba Sikiru Woleola II, they should be committed to their electoral promises.
In the same vein, the Oloro of Oro, Oba Rafiu Alabi Ajiboye Oyelaran I urged residents of the state to be patient with government at all levels, blaming the economic meltdown for failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to accomplish all its electoral promises.
Oba Oyelaran, urged the council executives to emulate the virtues of prominent sons of the domain in terms of impacting on the masses.
Now that the election is over, the people are seriously looking forward to the fulfilment of all the campaign promises and it is left to be seen how the chairmen use this opportunity to set the ball rolling for the party come 2019.