By Isiaka Mogaji
The incursion of the O’toge movement (Enough is enough) into Kwara politics will continue to remain a reference point in the political history of the State.
Interestingly, the wave in which the movement spread like wildfire across the nooks and crannies of the State remains a mystery. It was so remarkable to the extent that the All Progressives Congress, APC, won all the electoral seats, including the presidential and national assembly seats.
The movement, which reared its ugly head in 2017 in preparedness for the 2019 General Elections was greeted with enthusiasm and fanfare by various strata of society in the State. In achieving the goals of this movement, the actors of the movement were so desperate to the extent of orchestrating a series of campaigns of calumny, especially against the person of former senate president and two-term governor of Kwara State, Dr Bukola Saraki and former governor Abdulfatah Ahmed’s administration.
Despite casting all forms of aspersion against former senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, aimed at subverting his credibility and personage, yet Saraki maintained an uncommon posture of an elder statesman to allow peace to rain in the State.
However, it was never envisaged, even in the slightest degree, that the results of the O’toge movement would be a great disappointment to the vast majority of Kwarans and residents of the State, despite all the struggles that attended the success of the movement.
Many people believed that it would change the narratives of leadership in the State, believing that those behind the movement were doing it for the public good, not knowing that it was designed, essentially for the personal interests of few individuals.
In Kwara today, what is common amongst the teeming populace is hunger, wants and abject poverty. Unlike the era of the People’s Democratic Party in the State, when our women and ladies lived decent life styles. The current spate of hardship in town under the leadership of governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq’s administration is a trajectory. The O’toge crusade, to say the least, has drawn us back as a people on the collective journey of our dear state towards a greater state, hence some of the actors of the movement wisely left the Party to protect the sanctity of their names.
It is no more news that the common man on the streets of Kwara today faces more hardship and deprivation, as more families are finding it very difficult to meet their basic needs of life. This ugly development is cracking the basic foundation of marriages daily.
In recent times, more people are losing their jobs, occasioned by the insolvency of many
small and medium businesses in the State, due to bad economic policies of the APC administration.
It will be recalled that over 400 workers of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) who were employed by the immediate past government of governor Abdulfatah Ahmed were hurriedly sacked or put succinctly, relieved of their appointments by governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s administration. Many of them are family members who have to meet basic needs of their families. All entreaties to the State government by major stakeholders in the State to allow these workers to retain their jobs fell on deaf ears, thereby aggravating the existing fragile level of poverty in the State.
In the last three years, the State has witnessed more involvement of the youths in criminal activities, such as, cyber crimes (yahoo yahoo), cultism, raping, kidnapping and spiritual killings. While it is common knowledge to see married women, divorcees and single ladies roaming the streets either to beg for money to feed themselves and their children or to offer themselves for immoral acts, like sex for money. It has been bad as that under the present administration of APC in Kwara.
For instance, recently, a young woman who happens to be a victim of the SUBEB’s sacked workers, (sunset) whose four years old son fell sick, came to my office and sought for #4500 to buy prescribed drugs. She lamented her ordeals in the hands of three men she had met before getting to my office, explaining that the three men insisted to have canal knowledge of her before they could assist. This is just an example of what many ladies/women are passing through under the APC ruling government in the State.
Similarly, a female graduate who happens to be a daughter of a chieftain of APC in the State was seeing lamenting economic hardship people of the State are passing through. When asked which party she will vote for ? She smiled and said, PDP, adding that no money in town under APC and people are really suffering, unlike when PDP was in government in the State”, she concluded.
The upcoming 2023 General Elections provide another rare opportunity for us to make an informed choice in electing new set of leaders to pilot the affairs of the State and, indeed, our Country. Be wise !
Mogaji, a former Member, Kwara State House of Assembly, writes from Ilorin.