Kwara State Gov’s Three-day Formula
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq deserves medals round his neck for the uncommon wisdom in granting Kwara State workers a temporary relief from the biting effects of the withdrawal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government. While the Federal Government appears to have put the cart before the horse and other state governments sit idle in confusion, AbdulRazaq made a very quick move to cushion the consequences of the increase in the pump price of fuel.
He reduced the working week from five to three days. Leadership is not about moving about in bullet proof vehicles while millions of citizens trek to work and their various places of activity. It does just entail putting on airs as Your Excellency. What makes the difference, no matter how little, is the ability to read the mood of those you govern.
The Kwara State Governor did exactly that. He was not going to bore workers with unending meetings with labour leaders. In just one crucial meeting, this far reaching decision was taken. We can rightly claim that some calm reigns in Kwara over the new fuel price. It is almost impossible for AbdulRazaq to satisfy everyone in Kwara over the obnoxious hike in fuel accountancy.
However, he has shown that the government also has a human face. Those in the private sector may be compelled to follow his footsteps. The Federal Government is still more concerned about meetings and negotiations. There may be celebrations in Abuja over the suspension of the planned strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
The masses are more concerned about good news from the top about immediate measures to make life meaningful. After eight years of the immediate past Muhammadu Buhari regime, Nigerians have seen enough of fuel induced dislocation and are not willing to go through another tortuous journey of economic annihilation. No, not too soon. The bid to remove fuel subsidies is not a new development.
The people have been impoverished enough by previous governments with the propaganda of palliatives. It is sad that the present administration announced the fuel pump price hike before considering the plight of the masses. We are fed daily with news of consultations between Abuja and various stakeholders.
Some state governors have abandoned their responsibilities and are more visible in the Federal Capital Territory. A few former governors have formed the habit of keeping vigil at Aso Villa pretending to be discussing palliatives. They should take some lessons in crisis management from Abdulrazaq, who instead of fixing and rescheduling meetings, took the bold step of announcing his relief package to Kwara State labour leaders.
He did not waste unnecessary time building castles in the air only to dismiss their demands at midnight. Abdulrazaq was ready with a tempting offer. When the Kwara State Head of Service, Susan Oluwole, led the state NLC Chairman, Murtala Olayinka and other powerful union leaders to him, they had useful deliberations after which the three working days deal was sealed.
We are looking at this AbdulRazaq formula especially from the angle that some of our leaders who grew up in poor homes are the ones making life miserable for the people. The Kwara State governor did not know poverty but has chosen not to further impoverish workers. His father, Abdulganiyu Abdulrazaq, was a minister in the First Republic, Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, a commissioner under the military government of David Bamigboye and earned good money, beginning from Zaria, as the first lawyer from the Northern Region.
The governor’s mother was the daughter of a big time cattle dealer and was a prominent politician in Kwara whose daughter also became the first female senator to represent the FCT. A late governor of Ogun and Kwara states respectively, Mohammed Lawal, was married to an Abdulrazaq. Others with similar backgrounds may not understand what it means to be downtrodden and have increased fuel prices tied to the head. Abdulrazaq has shown that he understands the punishment of fuel politics.
He owns First Fuel, an oil company. AbdulRazaq is qualified to be addressed as a ‘Man of the People’. He played football for Kwara State as a boy in 1973; he apparently knows where the shoe pinches. We commend him for rising above rhetoric and grandstanding to get closer to the people. We urge the Federal Government to listen to the masses and do less of camera service. Some of the much publicised consultations mean nothing to the common man if nothing is done immediately to address the choking poverty birthed by subsidy removal.
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