From LAYI OLANREWAJU,Ilorin
All Progressives Congress presidential aspirant Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on Tuesday said Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State has excelled and put the state on the path of good and steady recovery just within three years of the Otoge administration.
“We have seen it now that AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has excelled and put your state on the path of good recovery. You have seen it yourself. You are receiving your salaries as and when due. I have heard testimonies from market women and others about his good work. A governor that cannot afford to pay salaries is not worthy to lead any group,” Tinubu told Kwara APC delegates at the state’s banquet hall in Ilorin.
“We are going to continue to work together. Never will Kwara State slide (back) to the hands of the termites. Never again.”
Asiwaju had earlier received a thundering applause, a standing ovation, and voice endorsements of his bid, after the Governor spoke extensively about his outstanding roles in the Otoge campaign and then introduced him to the delegates ahead of the presidential primaries.
Speaking to the AbdulRazaq’s strides in basic education, health and rural-urban development, Asiwaju applauded AbdulRazaq for committing himself to the course of humanity.
“For a governor who three years ago was his own person, what we have seen is enough testimony of his good job. He committed himself to humanity and public good,” he said.
The presidential aspirant said he is better prepared to chart the path of success and prosperity for Nigerians, promising to use education and social welfare as effective weapons against poverty in the country.
“We are coming up with a lot of programmes, just make me your president. I know better how to do it. I can chart the path to success. I can navigate the road to prosperity. I can make the way for your education. I can mentor the children for successful future. I believe in it because education is the greatest weapon against poverty. I am standing before you because of good education,” he said, his speech interspersed by applause from the audience.
“I thank you for this uproar and smooth endorsement. I thank you. May God not put you to shame.”
The former Lagos governor said AbdulRazaq has earned the right to win another term in office and would be fully supported for the bid.
Asiwaju said whatever grievances among some party chieftains would be resolved, adding that disagreements are a key element of party politics and can always be managed.
“I will intervene, those who are aggrieved should reunite with the party. We will calm the fraying nerves. They should remain with the party and work with Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for a second term. For the coming election, we are re-electing Governor AbdulRazaq. So, we will settle the differences,” he said.
Asiwaju was accompanied on the campaign trail by an army of battle-tested politicians, serving and former parliamentarians, technocrats, and his media top guns, including former Borno Governor Kashim Shettima and former TETFUND chief Prof Sulaiman Bogoro.
Governor AbdulRazaq had earlier led a powerful delegation of the state government and APC generals in the state to welcome the APC leader from the airport — after which their long motorcade meandered through the highway lined by seas of admirers to the palace of the Emir of Ilorin Dr Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, where they paid royal homage, and then to the banquet hall where they were greeted to a carnevalesque atmosphere.
“First of all, let me thank Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. He has not been to Kwara since our election. The last time he was in Kwara was during the 2019 campaign. This is the first time since then and I believe we haven’t thanked him enough for his roles in helping us take power in this state,” AbdulRazaq said, his speech punctuated by cheers from the large support base.
“They say one good turn deserves another. What did he do? It wasn’t about money. It was about logistics and strategy with night meetings in Abuja in his guest house, and elsewhere, to make sure we succeed in our task…Asiwaju, we thank you once again. We are very grateful.
“When we took over it was something else we saw. I know some people that are parading themselves as presidential aspirants today in another party. They left a big mess in this state throughout all the sectors. Is it education? I will repeat this so they understand where we are coming from. Since 2013, the state was banned from accessing UBEC funds because of mismanagement of funds by previous administration. That means before we came in for seven years they could not access UBEC funding and there was no significant investment in the education sector.”
He said the administration has breathed life back to the education, water and health sectors with significant improvements already recorded, citing how Kwara will now represent Nigeria at the Netherlands later this year and the improved health indices in the state.