Festive ambience permeates the ancient city of Ilorin, the Kwara seat of government. A first-time traveller to the north central state would be forgiven for thinking he arrived in the middle of citywide carnival. Yet there is no festival going on, nor is any important personality in the state marking any landmark occasion.
Rather, the cause of happiness among the masses and elites is the emergence of a new government in the state. One free from the accumulated stains of generations of dynastic influence. Everyone has found in the new governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq a beloved leader in whom they are well pleased.
Wherever one turns, the tune of optimism is invariably palpable. The citizens could finally taste freedom from the stifling yoke of godfatherism and they are determined to celebrate their deliverance irrespective of whoever is offended by their jubilation. The newly-installed governments aren’t left out of the new mindset. They have vowed to repay the voters for the confidence reposed in them at the polls.
As you read this, the new governor and his kitchen cabinet are hard at work picking the best commissioners for each portfolio. There is an expectation that the chosen ones will quickly get to work delivering the dividends of democracy to the people. Core frameworks and guiding policies are already in place awaiting implementation. From all indications, the new APC government will be, for once, a government of the people and for the people.
Meanwhile, a few people who feasted large while the state groaned under the imperial yoke of the Saraki clan have become pariahs and outcasts. The former senate president Bukola Saraki whom many thought would immediately return to the state to rebuild his broken political base seems uninterested in fighting more political battles for now. As a result many of the Saraki foot soldiers have overnight become orphans without direction.
Meanwhile, despite being on seat for just a few days, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has already become a star. Everywhere he goes he is mobbed by jubilant and expectant citizens who sing his praises and their trust in him to the high heavens. He’s the symbol of the new dawn they never thought they would see. Coupled with his easygoing nature which makes him very much approachable, leader and followers became an easy match made in heaven.