Unveiling Kwara’s Next Cabinet Members, by Rafiu Ajakaye
Kwara State House of Assembly on Monday read the list of cabinet nominees forwarded to it by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, followed by its approval of another request of the Governor to appoint 10 special advisers.
The list is a powerful blend of young and middleagers, high-achieving entrepreneurs, academics, professionals, and grassroots politicians with fine records — all coming from a rainbow of communities and progressive interests aligned to the dream of the Governor.
The 18-person list comprises nine males and females apiece, besting the state’s affirmative action law that prescribes a minimum of 35% representation for either of the genders in government positions.
At least four members of the recently dissolved cabinet made their comebacks (thus far), offering the new entrants an ample room to learn the rope in public service and leadership from old and experienced hands.
The new faces include 28-year-old Damilola Yusuf, a business strategist and investment expert, who holds a bachelor of science in International Business from Dundee University (Scotland) and an advanced diploma in Business from the London School of Business and Finance.
A former board member of the Harmony Holdings Ltd, Damilola has worked with KPMG Lagos and LehmanBrown CPA Co in Hong Kong, among others. She is a nominee from Isin local government.
Another star of the incoming cabinet is Mrs Toyosi Thomas, who was the immediate past Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Nongovernmental Affairs.
The cerebral Mrs Thomas comes to the cabinet with at least 20 years of cognate experience in social development, business advisory and financial management. She holds a bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from black Ivy League Howard University, Washington D.C., USA, graduating magna cum laude honours (distinction). Also an indigene of Isin, Mrs. Thomas has master’s in Business Administration and holds a certificate in Financial Management from Johns Hopkins University, Carey Business School, United States.
Dr. Amina Ahmed el-Imam, university teacher and public intellectual, is another name to watch out for.
A nominee from Offa, el-Imam is a celebrated academic who teaches microbiology at the University of Ilorin, with over 50 publications to her credit in local and international journals.
An alumnus of the Ahmadu Bello University from which she bagged her first two degrees, she also holds a PhD degree in Life Sciences from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.
El-Imam is a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, United States. In honour of her scholarship, she’s a recipient of Nigeria’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) Academic Scholarship.
El-Imam is renowned for her public speaking prowess and incisiveness, often making her the go-to person for book reviews.
A native of Ilorin West, Hauwa Nuru is another nominee to behold.
An alumnus of the Harvard Business School and Manchester Business School, she is a Fellow of the Certified National Accountant and Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, member, Cost Management of Nigeria, and member of the Institute of Budget Management and Administration.
Hauwa holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; MBA from ABU, Zaria; Masterclass Business Management & Leadership, London Graduate School. Hauwa is a doctor of Business Administration, which she received from Commonwealth University.
Bola Olukoju, another female nominee who hails from Irepodun, is a well-recommended communications specialist with vast experience in public relations, broadcasting, and grassroots advocacy.
Olukoju bagged her first degree in Land Survey from Ahmadu Bello University — after which she underwent tutoring in communications.
Her clientele included several local and international brands. Olukoju is currently the director of communications for KwaraLEARN, a flagship education initiative of the AbdulRazaq administration which boosts education outcomes for children.
She is a member of the International Press Institute, among others.
A graduate of University of Ilorin, Afolashade Justina Opeyemi is tipped to represent Ekiti local government in the new cabinet.
She is a serial entrepreneur, community leader, and a grassroots mobilizer who served as Special Assistant to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals.
Mary Ronke Arinde, who holds a PhD. degree in educational management, is the nominee from Oke Ero.
She comes well-recommended for her public service records, having served as Director Schools and Colleges at the Kwara State Teaching Service Commission from where she retired.
Arinde is currently a council member at the Kwara State University Malete.
One of the new entrants is Segun Ogunshola, a UK-trained expert in social construction and urban development. Ogunshola, a scion of the Ogunshola of Ifelodun and a holder of doctoral degree in Architecture and Urban Development from Nottingham Trent University UK, comes to the job with a combination of rich political, professional and academic pedigrees.
Dr. Ogunshola worked as a lead training consultant and lecturer across the UK before joining the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) as a Senior Project Manager overseeing Engineering and Technical Services.
He holds a bachelor of technology from Federal University of Technology Minna and Master’s in Architecture from University of Lincoln, United Kingdom. He is a member of many professional bodies in Nigeria and abroad.
Another is Abdulganiyu Abdulazeez, a nominee from Asa local government, who is an electrician and electronics engineer with 15 years of cognate experience as telecommunications specialist.
A member of COREN and a Health, Safety and Environment professional, Abdulazeez holds a postgraduate diploma in electronics telecommunications from Ahmadu Bello University and Higher National Diploma in Electrical and Electronics from the Federal Polytechnic Offa.
Shehu Ndanusa, immediate past Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Water Resources, is the nominee from Edu local government.
He is a graduate of Kwara State Polytechnic. Ndanusa is a grassroots mobiliser and community development advocate with at least three decades of experience as a commercial farmer.
Abubakar Abdullahi Bata, 48, is a former chairman of Kaiama local government area.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Ahmadu Bello University. He was a professional teacher who rose to become the chairman of the local chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers in Kaiama. He is respected for his community service.
The cabinet is to also comprise many old heads on young shoulders as well as battle-tested generals who have been there before.
Immediate past Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Senior Ibrahim Sulyman is on the list, proudly occupying one of the two slots for Ilorin West.
A law graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, he is a barrister and solicitor of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was until his stint at the Justice Ministry the Commissioner for Tertiary Education. He stands out for his many qualities as a disciplinarian with a knack for hard work and excellence.
Next to him is Mrs Olaitan Buraimoh, who was the commissioner for special duties in the last cabinet. She hails from Oyun local government, and is armed with good education and years of experience as a bureaucrat in the Kwara State civil service.
Abdulquawiy Abdulganiyu Olododo, from Ilorin East, is hardly a greenhorn. Trained at the Kwara State University and Metropolitan School of Business and Management, United Kingdom, Olododo qualifies to be called a government insider who has at various times been technical assistant to the Governor on agriculture and general manager of the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP).
Olododo is a top-flight agribusiness and social investment professional.
28-year-old Usman Yinusa Lade is another youngster to look forward to in the new cabinet.
A graduate of Computer Science from Kwara State Polytechnic and tourism enthusiast, Lade is a vibrant youth leader, new media content creator, and IT entrepreneur.
Lade, an eponymous name for his district in Patigi local government, is the convener of the Kwara Progressive Media Organisation, a new media and grassroots platform that mobilized for the success of the All Progressives Congress at the polls.
Leading the pack of the generals is the former commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs Sabi Kora Aliyu, who represents Baruten Local Government.
Aliyu, a prince and former local government chairman, is an experienced politician with a good education to back his passion for community development.
One other veteran in the mix is Hon. John Bello, the nominee from Moro local government area, who was the Deputy House Leader of the 9th Assembly in Kwara State. Experienced, calm, and affable, John Bello, a trained mathematician, is a grassroot politician and a bridge builder in his heterogeneous community.
Another general of the new cabinet, a female, is Hajia Sa’adatu Modibbo Kawu, who is a veteran of the last dispensation.
An educationist and community development advocate, Hajia Modibbo was at various times the Commissioner for Tertiary Education and then Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development where she earned her stripes with her hands-on approach to public service. She represents Ilorin South.
• Rafiu Ajakaye is Chief Press Secretary to the Governor