Historically, Kwara state has been blessed with richly vocal, educated and fearless elite who have played a pivotal role in shaping the political landscape of the state, often standing as bulwarks against misgovernance and maladministration.
One remembers with fond memories, the giant contributions of the likes of Lanre Kawu of the Dailytrust fame; Lanre Issa-Onilu of the Thisday fame; the razor sharp pen of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi and how he gave sleepless night to the Sarakis of old still lingers. What about Prof. Faruq Kperogi and Prof. Adesanmi of blessed memory? What of Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, Hon. Yinka Ajia, Miriam Al-Hassan, Oyin-Zubair and Oloriewe Raheem Adedoyin? What about Kunle Oniyangi, and many more of his generation who lent their voices when they were most needed?
All these and more enriched our space with their brilliant interventions on topical issues bedeviling the state. Their voices and actions often served as a check on the excesses of the state government, fostering for decades a culture of responsible governance. They suffered no fools gladly in their writings and they didn’t bother whose ox was gored. But in the face of the current government’s questionable decisions, their conspicuous silence is both puzzling and disheartening.
The AbdulRahman AbdulRazak-led government’s decision to spend a significant portion of the state’s budget on the renovation of Kwara Hotel, coming just after another shabby outing with the controversial Tanke Bridge, has been met with little more than a whisper from these once vocal elites. Their silence in the face of what many view as a misallocation of state resources is both striking and concerning.
This silence does more than just allow a potentially flawed project to proceed; it emboldens a governance style that may prioritize a wasteful venture over more critical developmental and even more profitable needs. The lack of elite intervention is not just a passive act; it sends a message of tacit approval, or at the very least, a reluctance to engage with the state’s pressing issues.
The consequences of this inaction are far-reaching. By not speaking out, the elite of Kwara are inadvertently contributing to a governance culture that could neglect the state’s immediate and future needs for every other thing mundane. Their silence on the Kwara Hotel issue, in particular, raises concerns about the true intent of their former posturings, especially against previous administrations.
The time has come for Kwara’s elite to live up to their legacy of advocacy and responsible leadership. They must rise to challenge the status quo and demand accountability from their government, same way they did in the past. The future of Kwara State, its economic health, and the welfare of its citizens depend largely on the actions (or inactions) of its influential figures.
The silence of Kwara’s elite in the face of questionable governance decisions is a disservice to the state and its people. It is a retreat from their historical role as guardians of public interest. As stewards of the state’s welfare, they must reengage with the issues at hand, lest they be judged harshly by history for their silence in a time when their voices are needed most.
*Alawode Abdulfatah contributes this from Offa, Kwara state. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org*