It was sometime late last year. I was on my way back to Ilorin from one of my frequent trips to Lagos. It was one of those trips when I voted for the wiser option of dropping my car and go by public transport to avoid the stress of navigating through the consuming labyrinth of traffic jam that has come to define the Lagos-Ibadan -Ilorin route.
I had boarded a Toyota Siena car at the Ojota motor park, along with five other passengers. I sat at the front seat with the driver. Three men occupied the next seat behind while the remaining two passengers took the last seat. At Ogbomoso three passengers disembarked. As the vehicle continued on the last lap of the journey, the two passengers sitting behind me fell into conversation. Their discussion went from little gist to personal introductions and socio-political issues.
As we drove into the Oyo-Kwara state boundary, one asked where the other resides in Ilorin. The one being addressed said he stays in GRA.
.”And where do you work?” asked the former.
“I work with the EFCC”, replied the later.
“That makes it very convenient for you”, said the former.
The EFCC chap nodded in agreement. The questioning chap went on to inform his gist mate that he has a some friends at the Ilorin EFCC command. He mentioned some names which included senior officers. Having established a kind of familiarity, the conversation took a friendlier, more confidential note. Issues of corruption and the EFCC onslaught against it came up and the EFCC operative became enthusiastic.
Since they were the only ones at the back, the duo discussed freely and openly. I leaned slightly backward and pretended to be dosing while straining my ears to flow with the conversation.
From the issue of corruption ravaging Nigeria, attention gradually shifted to Kwara. The EFCC operative’s gist mate expressed admiration over the success the anti-corruption commission had recorded in Kwara and wondered what prompted the setting up of the Kwara state command.
“Yes, we have recorded a huge success here in Kwara”, the operative replied and added to my amazement “but the unfortunate thing is that, the corruption battle here is geared more towards Saraki than any other thing.”
I could not believe my ears! My eyes flew open from the dozing pretence. I cast a furtive look at the driver beside me to know whether he heard what has just been said and his reaction to it. But the man was in his own world of motion, totally oblivious of what was being discussed.
The operative went on, “Although the Acting Chairman (Magu) came out to publicly denied that the Ilorin command was set up to fight Saraki, nothing was further from the truth. We are not only doing everything to nail him, we are also going after all his men. The arrest, detention and investigation of Demola Banu, the former commissioner for finance is one of such cases”.
“But, I think Banu was Fatai Ahmed’s commissioner”, the operative’s gist mate interjected.
“He was Saraki’s man. From our findings, he reports to Saraki. That’s why we arrested him” said the operative.
“But this Saraki self, the guy really dealt with Kwara o”, said the gist mate.
“Well, contrary to the widely held belief and the vicious corruption propaganda launched against him, I can tell you for free that we have not established any act of corruption against him. Personally, I believe the man is just a victim of political persecution. That’s all. But then that’s my personal opinion “, the operative submitted.
“Well, coming from you, I believe its true “, the gist mate returned.
By this time our bus was approaching Eyenkorin and the two chaps changed the topic and went on to exchange addresses. I adjusted to normal sitting position and at Geri-Alimi I disembarked while the operative and his gist mate moved on to, I guess, Sawmill, the bus’ final stop.
Governor Abdulrasaq’s Pearly Pair
Fame is a vapour, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character. — Horace Greeley.
Men of good character abound, but are rare to find. A paradox, isn’t it? But when we find them, I believe we should celebrate them. This is because they not only make the difference, they brighten our worlds already darkened by miasma of evil and wickedness. I found these rare beings in the administration of Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq of Kwara state. They are not politicians who were appointed for electoral compensation, but top breed professionals who command respect in the world of medicine, their chosen calling, and whose services were sought for a healthier state and people. They are two. One is Abubakar Olayiwola Ayinla, easily the leading Ophthalmologist in Kwara and one of the most respected in Nigeria. Ayinla was appointed Permanent Secretary, state ministry of health. Those who know Ayinla and those who had been his patients talk about his uncommon humility, compassion, selflessness and honesty. According to them, Ayinla treats all that come across him with respect. He shows genuine interest in the well-being of his patients and will go exra-mile to get them healed with pecuniary gain the least of his considerations. It is these positive character traits he has brought to the health ministry. Whoever recommended Ayinla for this appointment has done this administration and indeed state and people of Kwara a great service.
The other appointee is Dr Ahmed Bola Abudlkadir, a respected Orthopaedic Surgeon. Ahmed was appointed Chief Medical Director of the state General Hospital in April from the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) where he was one of the leading medical personnel. Like Ayinla, Ahmed was humility personified, in addition to his hard work, honesty and compassion for his patients and all that come across him. Those close enough to Ahmed said he is driven by the passion to halt the spate of avoidable loss of lives in our public hospitals. This revolutionary drive is what he is bringing to the general hospital which emergency ward is notorious for its negligence. No doubt the appointment of these two is a blessing to healthcare delivery in Kwara state.
Four deaths too many
It was a dark week, alright. One of the darkest the state of harmony has passed through. It was a week of death, of funerals and mourning. Four deaths in four days! That was the lot of Kwara state last week. First to answer the final call was Dr Femi Ogunshola, former kwara state commissioner for education and immediate past Federal Character Commissioner (FCC). Ogunshola’s sudden death came as a great shock to many. He was said to have to have had a work out on Thursday morning. When he got home, he complained of not feeling fine. He died shortly after at Abuja hospital.
On Friday, it was the turn of Alhaji Ibrahim Dan- Boy, a popular sports enthusiast and retired showbiz promoter. In his heyday, Dan-Boy was the ultimate showbiz impresario. No artiste staged a successful show in Ilorin without Dan-Boy’s rare promotional skill input. And the beneficiaries of his magical spins cut across musical genres. Talk of the likes of Juju maestro, king Sunny Ade, Sakara music legend, Yusuf Olatunji (Baba Legba), Apala music legends Haruna Ishola and Ayinla Omowura, Fuji creator, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and host of others. During his time, he wined and dined with the high and mighty in the society. Yusuf Olatunji actually did a special album in his honour which remains evergreen till date. I had a very warm relationship with him and I’m going to miss him so much. May Allah SWT grant him eternal rest and make Aljanah his permanent abode.
On Saturday, it was the turn of the Northern Nigeria’s first lawyer and illustrious son of Ilorin, Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho Abdulrasaq, the father of the Kwara state governor. He passed away quietly in his sleep on Saturday morning. The Mutawali of Ilorin was many things to many people. A colossus, a titan and an Icon. May Allah SWT bless him with Aljanah fridaus.
Also called to the great beyond was Alhaja Sidikatu Kannike, mother of former commissioner for Works and ex member Federal House of Representatives, Ho. Abubakar Amuda Kannike. May Allah SWT grant mama eternal rest.