Why Gov AbdulRazaq Won’t Return in 2023 — Kwara SDP Chieftain
By Kaosara Olayemi Oladimeji
Alhaji Khaleel Bolaji is a legal practitioner, a famous politician and the Director General of Social Democratic Party, SDP Gubernatorial Campaign Council in Kwara State. In this this interview with selected journalists in Ilorin, Bolaji speaks about the strength of his party and why Governor Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman might not return for a second term in office.
You are one of the proponents of ‘O to ge’ movement that brought in incumbent Kwara State governor, why do you want him out this time?
I never wanted Abdulrazaq to be a governor because I know he lacks the capacity to govern the state. Before his election, I was in PDP and I didn’t campaign for him. But 80% of the people that brought Abdulrazaq to power are no more with him. They’re now in SDP. And aside that, majority of the electorates who supported him in 2019 don’t want him again because he hasn’t done anything tangible. That is to tell you how bad the regime of the APC government in Kwara State. President Buhari has commissioned projects in many states but he has not commissioned anything in Kwara state. All the projects he initiated are ongoing. Governor Abdulrazaq uses four years to initiate projects and he has not finished anyone. Is that a governor that deserves second term? God forbids bad thing.
What exactly was the aspiration and expectation in 2019 that were said to have been dashed by the incumbent governor?
The problem is lack of capacity. Abdulrazaq has no capacity to be a governor. He didn’t have the knowledge to govern the state. You can’t give what you don’t have. The governor doesn’t have what it takes to govern the state. Don’t forget that the process that threw him up as the APC Candidate was faulty. He was not the choice of the majority. He emerged mysteriously as a candidate. But I’m sure God is taking Kwarans to somewhere. God knew Abdulrazaq was not good for us. He must have put him there so that when next we see a performing governor, we will appreciate him.
Why is it that majority of kwarans especially in Ilorin who were shouting O to ge against Saraki dynasty before 2019 election are now calling for the removal of Abdulrazaq’s government?
I have said it. There was no dividend of democracy under Abdulrazaq government. He disappointed many of his supporters and he will pay for it. Kwrans haven’t witnessed any democratic growth under this APC regime. The expectation was truly high in 2019 but the governor messed up the struggle. The APC government is bad but we are not going back to worse era of PDP and that is why we provide SDP as the credible alternative.
Why did you consider SDP as a credible alternative?
Of course over 80% of the people that wanted change and supported Abdulrazaq against Saraki are in SDP. PDP is outdated and APC is a disappointment hence SDP is a better alternative. And we have our projects. We have plans on how to develop the state. Our projects on health, education, transportation, job creation are well spelt out. Our party knows what we want to do.
How do you mean?
Within one year of our administration we would have achieved many of them. We will hit the ground running as soon as we were elected. We know the problem and we have the blueprint to solve the problem. We will form our cabinet within three months and not like Abdulrazaq who find it difficult to form cabinet after one year of assuming office. And when he finally formed his cabinet none of the champions who campaigned for him were consulted in forming his government. Abdulrazaq derailed totally when he started bringing his girlfriends and NYSC members who lack experience to man sensitive positions. Is that a normal human being?
Are you nursing any fear over the power of incumbent?
Not at all. We have done it before and we will do it again. Removing incumbent governor is not strange, it has happened in many states including Osun in recent time. Democracy has grown and people are more aware than before. I’m pretty sure that by God’s grace Abdulrazaq will not come back again. This is because Kwarans have made up their minds. People have rejected him. Majority of Kwarans are seriously yearning for a real change in Kwara State. Even those who are working for him are just there because of what they’re eating. Honestly they won’t vote for him.
What feelings are you getting from people as the campaign commences?
Success. People are happy and they are promising to vote for SDP. Our slogan is ‘credible alternative’. Of course, there are about 18 political parties but the most credible is SDP. We have a plan that Abdulrazaq failed to execute. Abdulrazaq rules like an emperor. He believes only in his wisdom. He ruined the party and the government, making mockery of the people that brought him to power. But he has been rejected and his days are numbered in government.
What can you say about the Kwara gubernatorial candidate of SDP?
The popular adage says ‘show me your friend and I will tell you the type of person you are. Our Gubernatorial candidate, Hakeem Oldimeji Lawal is a replica of his father. You see, I contested against his father, late Mohammed Alabi Lawal in 1999 and when his father won, I supported him. He ran an open government and his four years reign was so fantastic in Kwara that people wish was alive today and continue the good work he was doing then.
Specifically, why are you supporting him?
Hakeem Lawal is a very brilliant, talented and a humble young man. He has the energy and the resources to be a governor. He is able and capable. His humility is second to known. He will run an all-inclusive government. He will make consultation and collective decision his watchword and that is the type of leadership we want in Kwara and not like an emperor that dictates every single acts of government. The young man is fair, he believes in what he says and he won’t promise what he cannot do. Since we embarked on this SDP journey, he has not made any decision without consulting the party leaders. That is the best way to have development.
There are four gubernatorial candidates from Kwara Central, do you see this as a challenge?
Not at all. Kwarans and in particular people of Kwara Central have weighed the options and realized that Hakeem Lawal is the best among them. Most of the people in YPP and NNPP fell out from APC and they are not our enemy. We are in talk with some of them and I believe most of them will later join us. There are three candidates from the central apart from Abdulrazaq who is on the way out already because, I’m sure he won’t come back for a second term. Abdulrazaq has no credibility and the only one with tested credibility is Hakeem Lawal.