Kwara state will be 50 years old in May this year ln Shaa Allah. Time indeed is cruel and miserly. It ticks and gives the impression that it is standing still. Those who understood the logic of time, its essence and its inordinately desirous movement take the opportunity offered by time to do great things not only for themselves but also for their society. Such people do not lay claim to saintly but perform supererogatory actions.
Chief Sunday Bolorunduro Awoniyi, Chief Aderibigbe, Chief Josiah Sunday Olawoyin, Chief S. B. Daniyan, Amuda Gobir, Ahman Patigi, Abubakar Attahiru Madaki Lafiagi and a host of others who fought for the creation of Kwara state are all great men full of energy and passion with special upbringing either by way of culture or religion and who demonstrated their commitment and desire to lead their society out of darkness to the frontiers of modernity and civilisation. They are great men, vibrant with fire in their eyes and iron in their belly. They never seek dominion over others neither was their demand for their own state driven by personal, selfish interest or greed. They desired a state of their own in that pre-modern times. A state which they and their children yet unborn can be proud to lay claim to. They maintained cohesion in their struggle and did not allow the issue of ethnic sentiments instead their commitment stirred the spirit in the people and this cemented the already existing internal cooperation which also served the founding fathers the required tonic. But there was more to their demand. There was something beyond life that was worth aiming at – and that was immortality. That was the heritage they envisioned for us because they were not the sort of human beings who go in search of miracles where hard work and intelligent strategising matters.
The eventual creation of Kwara state on 27th of May, 1967, provoked expectations heightening to a level where the people felt that whatever development might accompany this birth would not only be exemplary but pace setting as most of the founding fathers formed the bulk of the technocrats that preside the affairs of Northern Nigeria. So for Kwara’s development to be holistic, integrative and redemptive there must be the need for sacrifices on the part of all and such was how the task for the building of Kwara of their dream commenced.
Fifty years on, we not only pretend to appreciate the efforts of these great men but have also wickedly refused to acknowledge and recognise their heroism. Today, Kwara at 50, is about to be celebrated with fanfare by those who perhaps were not born or were still suckling from their mothers breast at the time of its creation. These are the people who preside over the affairs of Kwara today but have chosen to recreate Kwara from a state of hope to a state of hopelessness.
How have we remembered these great men who laid a solid foundation for our future? No, it was not possible for us to remember them because of our treachery and wickedness. History never lies but its tellers often do. Whether we refuse to immortalise or appreciate them, Kwara’s history would remain incomplete without complete and undiluted reference to them. Besides, how many among these men have their names tagged to any popular street in the state capital? How have we immortalised these men? The familiar names we see on our streets sign posts are of those people who contributed nothing to Kwara or those who led Kwara to its present status.
To further show the degree at which things have fallen, Kwara’s pioneer military governor, General David Lasisi Bamigboye who himself built on the successes of the state’s founding fathers by laying the foundation for the state’s most enduring legacies – Government House, Kwara Polytechnic, Kwara Hotel, Radio Kwara, The Herald newspaper, Midland Stores and established hospitals in each of the local council areas then, does not have one street named after him in the state capital. That our government can choose to consign all the good works of these great men into the dustbin of history not only shows how morally fractured we are but also exposed the manner our brains are wrongly and strangely wired.
If there is any truism in the maxim that the youths of today are leaders of tomorrow, that maxim can never sit well in Kwara topography. Kwara’s great fortunes began to dwindle the moment the’ young boys’ took over control of Kwara’s leadership. But whether we liked it or not, Kwara government along with Senator Bukola Saraki who took the state to relegation will celebrate the states anniversary. They two would never agree that such lavish celebration lacks the urgency of now.
It is indeed an occasion that calls for a sober reflection. If at 50 we are still dumb, deaf and blind too bad for us and worst for Kwara.
As I write, I understand the state government has set up a 30-man committee to set the tone for the anniversary. For these gentlemen, their task had already been made simple. With nothing on ground and with all the states bequeathed legacies sold, ‘strangulated and suffocated’ to death, what is left to be showcased. They would, as it had been, chart falsehood and serve as conduit for another colossal waste.
But the government will still go ahead and celebrate.
Senator Saraki will join in celebrating his contribution to the failure of Kwara.
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed will also display his incompetence. He will address us both on the radio and television. He will tell us about the significance of this anniversary as if we do not know. He will also tell us about democracy and what has happened to democracy in Kwara the last 15 years. He will point to the roads that lead to nowhere and he will point to projects of his predecessor. We shall hear inspiring pronouncement as if something wonderful. Yet if one were to reach out to take hold of all he would say, it would have disappeared like mist. And he would also forget that Gossamer words cannot withstand the hard grip of reality.
On the other hand, none of them would tell us why and how Kwara got to this sorry state because that is how they both want it to be. They would also not talk about the decadence in our infrastructure. They would not give us real reasons for the failure in both their education, health and agricultural policies and even the failure of good governance. They would not give answers as to why most of our bequeathed legacies in Kwara, Lagos, Abuja and other places are no more neither would they even say sorry to us for their rascality, ineptitude, wasted time and their squandering of our common patrimony.
Again, both Senator Saraki and Governor Ahmed would make speeches outside of the soap box. But had such speeches and remarks been given years before their supervision of the death of our legacies, we probably would welcome such as visionary. That such speeches and remarks are going to come after the upheaval means it is given out of time and akin to the narrative of an unsuccessful player who displays his most daring moves after the game ending whistle has sounded.
For those founding fathers that are either living or dead, both Senator Saraki and Governor Ahmed will only make scanty references to them. They would falsify the past but elevate the present because they would prefer these great men don’t take the shine off them. They would lay emphasis on our ‘robust cheeks’ and the treacherous smiles they have caused us all to wear. They would blame the nation’s current recession for our travails but how have we fared before now and what did they both do to relieve us.
From North to South and from South to Central, a trip on the streets of these places points to something different. If one looked at the faces of people in the market, one does not see the countenance of robust growth. One is only faced with the reality of the grimace of a rolling despondence. The damage to our peoples psyche and fabric has been overwhelming. There is despair and despondency. An eerie disorientation has settled while victims applaud their victimisers in a startling display of what can be referred to as ‘powerlessness syndrome’.
However we must celebrate Kwara even if there is nothing to show for our 50 years as a state. We must celebrate our survival over evil. We must celebrate the spirit that has bonded us together as one people for 50 years. We must also celebrate the gift of good health which has enabled us to experience rulers whose reign provided succour to the barren and others whose reign offered the people hard nuts to crack.
Happy anniversary Kwara!
In our eyes, our vision will ripen and break into a new dawn.
Author: Alh Tunde Mohammed llorin kw st
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