By Demola Akinyemi
Ilorin…To keen watchers of kwara politics, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has undoubtedly brought strange but positive dimensions to governance since he assumed office on May 29,2019.
Those who walk on the streets of kwara state now know that, unlike the situations in the previous administrations, the narratives have indeed changed.National Youth Games: 1699 athletes arrive Ilorin from 11 states(Opens in a new browser tab)
The people are now heaving a sigh of relief and so the expectations to recover the lost grounds are therefore on a very high propensity.
While developmental work has been in progress across the nooks and crannies of the state, many wondered the shape his cabinet will take. Expectations were high.
When it was finally announced it surprised all including the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC). There are many who see it as a pleasant surprise considering the flurry of young minds although some agitations may not be ruled out.
At the last count, women folks got more share than their men counterparts on the cabinet list, the first in the chequered political history of kwara state.
AbdulRazaq had on Tuesday released an additional six-person commissioner-nominees’ list, with five more women added to what has now gone down in history as Nigeria’s most gender-friendly government cabinet.
The latest list, which reflects the state’s demography, means that Kwara now has nine women (56.25%) and seven men (43.75%) commissioner-nominees who included top bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, educators, professionals and grassroots politicians.
Kwara has 16 local government areas.
The latest nominees are Afolabi-Oshatimehin Adenike Harriet (Ifelodun); Ahmad Fatima Bisola (Ilorin West); Aremu Bose Deborah (Irepodun); Oyedun Juliana Funke (Isin); Oyeyemi Olasumbo Florence (Oke Ero); and Suleiman Rotimi Iliasu (Moro).
The full list came five months after the governor apologised and pledged to compensate for women’s loss at the general election in which 100% of the elective positions went to men, according to a statement by Rafiu Ajakaye, the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary.
The list was unveiled at the Kwara State House of Assembly where Speaker Yakubu Danladi said the screening of the nominees would begin next Tuesday, October 29.
AbdulRazaq had initially released a four-woman list which was followed a few weeks ago by another list of six men.
An entrepreneur and renowned community development advocate, 38-year-old Harriet who hails from Okeayo/Ora community in Ifelodun local government area of the state is one of the nominees young but full of experience.
She was an officer at Surveillance Department of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) Abuja between 2007 and 2011 and was until the appointment the Chief Operating Officer of M&P Micro Credit Scheme. Harriet, a strong member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has contributed immensely to her community’s development, including the ongoing relocation of Ora Community Grammar School, construction of the AWUA bridge that connects her local government to Isin local government.
Harriet, a Christian, is an alumnus of the University of Ilorin, Kwara State Polytechnic and Abadina College of the University of Ibadan.
Fatima Bisola, who holds a postgraduate Diploma in Education from Usman Dan Fodiyo University, graduated from the Department of English of the University of Ilorin in 2011. She attended Federal Government Girl’s College Omu Aran.Kwara Gov., Tinubu, Balarabe, others for 19th Olawoyin’s memorial lecture(Opens in a new browser tab)
The 30-year-old nominee is currently an employee of the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), attached to the Sheikh AbdulSalam Junior Secondary School, Ilorin.
The nominee is an author of two publications: Aesthetics of Africanism in Camara Laye’s African Child and Radiance of the King and Effect of Mother Tongue Interference in Spoken English.
Deborah, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from University of Ado-Ekiti, currently teaches at the ECWA Secondary School Omu Aran.
The 45-year-old nominee has taught for over 10 years. She is a leader of the Irewolu Cooperative Society which facilitates women’s access to small loans and credit as part of the community’s efforts to empower women in small scale businesses.
Funke, 57, holds a Bachelor of Education (Guidance and Counselling) from University of Ado-Ekiti and Nigeria Certificate of Education from Kwara State College of Education Ilorin (Integrated Science).
She worked at the Kwara SUBEB as School Support Officer (SSO) between 1980 and 2015 where she retired as a Deputy Director.
Funke, a chieftain of the ruling APC, was Organising Secretary of APC Women Elders’ Forum and Secretary of the Kwara State chapter of the Women Teachers Association of Nigeria.
Florence, 31, holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Education and Master of Science in Industrial Chemistry. She is an alumnus of the University of Ilorin and National Teachers’ Institute Kaduna.
She was until her appointment the Administrative Manager and Public Relations Officer at Roemichs International School Ilorin. She also worked at Dabco Nigeria Limited Ilorin.
Florence is a member of the ruling APC who participated in the party’s electoral campaigns. She has always been a political activist in her locality where she has acted as female youths leader and canvasser.
Rotimi, a 38-year-old political and community development campaigner, was until his appointment the Energy Development Coordinator for the BUA International Limited where he was Projects Coordinator at the conglomerate’s multi million dollar Lafiagi Sugar Company.
He was between 2013 and 2015 the Manager, Gas and Power Package at Bua Edo Cement, a subsidiary of the Bua Group in Edo State. He was also Energy Development Coordinator of Epe Power Generation Limited, another subsidiary of the BUA Group.
Rotimi is an alumnus of the Newcastle University, United Kingdom, where he bagged a Post Graduate Diploma in Pipeline Engineering in 2009. He read Mechanical Engineering at the University of Ilorin where he graduated in 2006. He is a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).
A scion of an influential political family from Moro local government, he has expertise and interests in Agriculture, Plant Mechanics, People Development, Supply Chain Management, and Workshop Efficiency, among others.
Ajakaye had said that no woman was elected in Kwara in the national elections.
“This, in all honesty and good conscience, clearly doesn’t reflect the demography of Kwara State. The Governor felt the women folk deserved to be compensated. He, as a leader, repeatedly apologised to them and pledged to compensate them for that in the formation of the state cabinet.Unilorin VC explains how luck saved him from pure water business(Opens in a new browser tab)
“So, what you have seen is a fulfillment of that commitment, and that again shows that the Governor is a perfect gentleman who honours his words. That of course is a good pointer to his attitude to his electoral promises to the larger population. It is a pointer to a greater Kwara where everyone matters.
“Besides, such inclusion and empowerment of women is in line with global trend of giving voice to women and other disadvantaged groups in the society. And it is a pleasant challenge to womenfolk and the youths to again prove their worth to the naysayers. It is an excellent case of respect for gender parity in our society.”