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OPINION: KWARA: Of gutter journalism and open facts - Dr Ibrahim Alabi

Date: 2018-01-15


The clock keeps ticking and the time continues to decimate. It's gradually occupying prominent pages on newspaper and social media space. The electoral umpire has made definite pronouncement on its schedule. 2019 elections are here. Expectedly, a number of pundits have been active, especially in the social media, postulating, speculating, and some times, concluding on results of the yet to be conducted elections.

This is the time for inuendoes. It is the time for rumour mongers and haters. It is also the time for propagandists. While some of those comments can be forgiven, especially when they appear on social media space because of intellectual, political and economic levels of the actors, I found it an aberrant, at least in an ideal situation, when such intellectual ineptitude and professional incompetence are displaced by supposed mirror of society, the journalists.

After reading a piece in Daily Trust "Will Ahmed Make It to Senate in 2019? Ē it got me second-guessing the writer's state of mind. Every paragraph proves beyond pity that a journalist, who, by training and skill, should be a repository of fact-tested knowledge and incontrovertible evidence, can decent so sheepishly into the arena.

Indeed, nothing better points to the times than Romoke Ahmedís, the writer, veneer of ignorance and lack of depth both of which combined to expose her little understanding of the subject matter she elected to discuss. One only wished a little legwork was put to the story or that the right questions were asked as opposed to illusion and mental permutations regarding the subject matter, which apparently, is way beyond her remit.

Over the years, articles like Romoke's, lacking in logic and clearly, a product of armchair journalism, are usually left to whittle down but for the unsuspecting reader, who might mistake its engraved mischief for reality. This is why this response has become expedient so as to totally separate the fiction that it is, from the realities on ground, as well as, assist Romoke and her ilks, who readily jump on issues without investigating or making a teeny effort as common with intelligent journalists.

First, as a direct response to Romoke's poser: Will Ahmed makes it to the Senate in 2019? Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed of Kwara State, while he seems engrossed in his efforts to fulfil all of his electioneering promises and break new grounds, qualifies to vie for a senate seat, if he so wishes and stands miles above everyone, and, that is, if requirements include, but not limited to visionary leadership, positive contributions to immediate constituency and state at large.

While no one stops Romoke from holding her own opinion, it tantamount to insult to assume that everyone is blind and mad just because one person chose to run out naked. For the discerning, Romoke's piece clearly showed her disdain and mindless bias to the point of describing the decade-long working system in Kwara State as the "so-called political structure and system that many APC stakeholders believe has been working for them," in her highly skewed piece. Obviously, no journalist worth her onions can be so sheepish in showing partisanship. Yet, while this unprofessional behaviour could be ignored, how would one understand her poor knowledge, especially, about the glue-to-wood relationship existing between the Senate President and former governor of Kwara State, Dr Bukola Saraki and his successor, Dr Abdulfatai Ahmed, to want to deliberately create an imaginary feud between them. But what can slothfulness not do?

While it is premature to discuss who qualifies or does not qualify to run for Kwara South Senatorial District seat or where the governor set his mind, it needs no explanation fact that the governor would not have won a Second Term with a landslide if he did not acquit himself during his First Term of four years. For the first time in the political history of the state, the ruling party recorded 100% success in the 2015 elections that ushered in Dr Ahmed's tenure.

Interestingly, the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kwara State has laid down modalities for producing flagbearers in all elections and should not be a matter of dispute, particularly as Dr Ahmed has not declared interest in contesting for a Senate seat or any other.

Ridiculous though but understandable, Romoke tried without luck to belly clear pointers to a paid piper in the garb of a writer, by making spurious insinuations of a subsisting feud between Dr Saraki and the governor. While this baseless claim exists only in Romokeís pitiably warped world, it smacks of ignoble descent to second-guess the popularity of Dr Ahmed in his constituency. Kwara South Senatorial District, let alone entire Kwara State.

For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Ahmed enjoys a warm and highly-cordial relationship with Dr Saraki whom he regards as political leader and respects having drawn the developmental roadmap for todayís modern Kwara. Therefore, the veiled attempt to create problems where there is none as portrayed in Romokeís cocktail of lies ties in with a long-standing desire nursed by those frustrated by the fact that Governor Ahmed and Dr. Bukola Saraki remain very close as opposed to what obtains in other states. Interestingly, like all poorly executed hatchet job, Romoke and her faceless drummers forgot too quick that Saraki and Ahmedís relationship dates back several decades before they joined forces together to fight the enemies of Kwara. It is this age-long and mutual respect for each other that has sustained their relationship and helped set up counselling channels on matters of state by Saraki, not just as a former governor of the state, but also as a major stakeholder in Kwara State and, indeed, Nigeria.

Following in the footsteps of Saraki, who started the journey in infrastructure development in Kwara State, Governor Ahmed in the last four years, has established himself as a people-oriented leader by gradually, but steadily fulfilling all his electioneering campaign promises, as well as, deepening continuity by completing and sustaining inherited projects and breaking new grounds since getting re-elected.

Standing truth head down, Romoke conveniently ignored the fact that though Saraki started quite a number of projects, Governor Ahmed completed all inherited projects such as the International Aviation College, Ilorin, Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre, as well as major road projects like the Zango Akerebiata road, Ganmo-Afon road, Offa-Irra road, Lafiagi Township road, and so many others too numerous to mention in this restricted space.

Not done yet, despite the apparent paucity of funds in the country, the state currently has hundreds of kilometres of on-going road projects at various stages of completion, including but not limited to Geri Alimi Diamond Underpass, Dualisation of Zango-UITH road, Airport-Egbejila road, Ilorin, Share-Oke Ode road, Construction of Arandun-Rore-Aran-Orin-Ipetu road, and a host of other on-going road projects across the state.

From road to health sector and general state development, Dr Ahmed has so written his name in bold letters that everyone can see. It is no secret that the Ahmed administration not only rehabilitated but also remodeled General Hospitals in Ilorin, Offa, Share, Omu-Aran and Kaiama, as well as supplied equipment to so many other hospitals across the state, in addition to expanding access to affordable health care by extending the inherited Community Health Insurance Scheme from three to ten local governments.For the first time, the governor is introducing a subsidized health insurance scheme across the state through the Kwara State Health Insurance Agency. The education sector equally witnessed a surge of activity as hundreds of classrooms were rehabilitated at the basic and secondary levels, while education has been made free through the abolition of tuition fees at the Senior Secondary school level.

Only recently, the governor commissioned the new Engineering Complex at the state-owned Kwara State University with new campuses and colleges are currently under construction at Ilesha-Baruba, Osi and in Ilorin. Instructively, the acclaimed International Vocational, Technical and Entrepreneurship College, established by the administration, has been flagged off by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who recommended the model for adoption by other states in the country. Today, similar strides have been replicated by the Ahmed administration in the energy sector with 400 communities across the state connected to the national electricity grid or supplied with electricity transformers, including the innovative solar-powered street light project, Light Up Kwara, which has enhanced the aesthetics of Ilorin, the state capital and boosted economy through a vibrant night life.

In the last five years, the administration's determination to provide portable water has seen no fewer than 17 waterworks rehabilitated across the state. Currently, the inherited Ilorin Water Reticulation Project, which will expand water supply across the capital, has been upscaled by the Ahmed administration and is nearing completion. But Dr Ahmed is still on course.

These, no doubt, are eloquent testimonies to how the administration has impacted on the people and state, but would probably count for nothing for a lazy journalist, who would rather stay in the comfort of her room to spew lies and try to force it down everybody's throat. Yet, thankfully, not everyone is fooled, for, as they say, pregnancy is never hidden. And, so can no one deny fact that Governor Ahmed has touched lives and positively impacted on the state since he became Kwara governor five years ago which have combined to him awards within and outside the country.


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