How Governor AbdulRazaq is Turning Boys into Men and Making Women’s Voices Heard
By Saeed Tijjani
Kwara politics is taking a great path as Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq continues to prove the naysayers wrong and dispel their doubts by bringing on board rich ideas and policies in order to keep Kwara working for all.
AbdulRazaq’s uncommon achievements can be gauged through his political appointments. He is already creating a niche for himself as a leader who truly understands the yearnings of the people and rewards hard work and loyalty.
While most governors don’t consider youths and women worthy of being appointed into strategic political offices, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is different. He understands the essence of inclusivity by appointing youths and women into strategic positions.
During his first term as governor, he appointed 26-year-old Miss Joana Nnazua Kolo as the Commissioner for Youths and Sports. Kolo became the youngest commissioner in the history of Nigeria. This appointment attracted attention to Kwara State, with many national and global organizations giving accolades to Governor AbdulRazaq.
His cabinet formation also gave women a sense of belonging, a move towards gender balance. This was evident when the governor received the UN’s ‘He-for-She’ award three years ago for his efforts and cabinet picks, which have promoted gender inclusion in the state’s political structure. The award was conferred on him by the then Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen.
The governor made history by appointing the most women-friendly cabinet on the African continent, with at least 50 percent female permanent secretaries in the state and women dominating major ministries and state agencies.
It was clear that the governor meant business when he assented to an Executive Bill mandating the state to have at least 35 percent of women appointees in the state executive council and other classes of political appointments. The law, titled “Political Offices (Gender Composition) Bill 2021,” was arguably the first legislation of its kind in the country. The law sets a minimum requirement for gender representation in public offices.
AbdulRazaq, just a few months into his second term in office, has also achieved a 50% gender balance in his cabinet formation. His recently appointed Commissioners have a 56.25% representation of women, and this has earned him a Lifetime award during the 7th Voice of Women (VOW) Conference and Awards in Abuja.
The Governor received a plaque specifically honoring his historic inclusion of an unprecedentedly high number of women in key leadership positions, including having the highest number of women in the cabinet in the history of Nigeria.
Furthermore, the Governor continues to bring more youth into top portfolios, breaking away from the traditional political history of the State. AbdulRazaq stands out from his peers in an unprecedented manner. He has demonstrated great love and interest in accelerating Nigeria’s compliance with gender action and giving a voice to the voiceless, especially the youth.
The Governor is also not leaving people with disabilities alone (PLWDs). He has given them the opportunity to contribute their quota to governance by appointing them to key political positions as well.
Governor AbdulRazaq is doing his very best for the progress of the state by ensuring that power is shared equally, made visible, and held accountable at all levels.
Initially, many thought that the Governor was making appointments in his first term to secure a second term or for political gains. However, in a shocking turn of events, AbdulRazaq, just a few months before his second inauguration, has appointed more youth, PLWDs, and women than he did in his first term, and he shows no signs of backing down.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum is indeed turning boys into men and giving hope to the common man through political appointments. Evidently, no governor in the history of Kwara State or Nigeria has ever come close to this.
With AbdulRazaq’s style of leadership, the hope of Kwara youths has been reignited. They have now found a leader they can call father, who will never sideline them in crucial moments.
While many may have thought that politicians all have the “use and dump” syndrome, AbdulRazaq’s leadership style is reawakening the spirit of the common people, showing them that not all politicians are the same.
Just like how President Tinubu started years ago in building men, Governor AbdulRazaq is now building more men and women in politics.
His shares of second term appointments again witnessed a 27-year-old Usman Lade as a commissioner. This evidently shows that he is passionate about the inclusiveness of youth and women in political participation. AbdulRazaq has also appointed young individuals as Special Assistants in top portfolios, positions that, before now, were kept as political rewards for older people by some leaders. AbdulRazaq is now breaking barriers consistently and constantly by appointing more young people and bringing them on board, which is different from the norms.
AbdulRazaq has raised Kwara’s ranking and made it a role model for other states. Evidently, Kwara state and AbdulRazaq’s style of leadership deserve to be emulated by all.
His dream to make Kwara work for everyone through making the right decisions and taking bold steps while initiating visible and gigantic projects across strategic locations in the state is undoubted.
Thank you, Your Excellency, for giving young people, women, and persons living with disabilities the opportunity to participate and contribute to the progress of Kwara by appointing them into key positions and important roles.
Saeed Tijjani is the Publisher of 9japarrot. He writes from Oro, Irepodun Local Government.