By; ADEDAYO SAID
No doubt, the loud resonance of the O TO GE revolution which ended the era of misrule, misappropriation, bad governance and diversion of public funds which had hitherto hindered any meaningful development in Kwara state, was premised on the thirst for a better Kwara.
Political watchers who are conversant with the history of Kwara, especially her journey from a domineering dynasty to self-actualization, have described the emergence of AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq as a blessing for Kwara and Kwarans. This is due, largely, to the milestone achievement recorded in the first 365days of the present administration despite the glaring paucity of funds coupled with four months unabated and grueling battle against the novel COVID-19 pandemic.
While Governor AbdulRazaq and his team are working round the clock to better improve the well-being of Kwarans and his wife, Dr. Mrs. Olufolake AbdulRazaq is also working round the clock with her Ajike Peoples Support to put smiles on the faces of the people and impact lives positively as her own way of supporting her husband in his onerous task of achieving a better Kwara where justice and fairness reigns.
In her quest of supporting her husband, Dr. AbdulRazaq, a career diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seems to align with the thought of the great poet, Murial Strode who says: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Since the inception of the present administration in the state on May 29, 2019, the Kwara First Lady has been taking bold steps to improve the wellbeing of Kwarans, especially the vulnerable groups. She has been striving to give youths the needed opportunity to excel in their careers, she is introducing sustainable empowerment for women so as to reduce poverty, create jobs and wealth in the state.
The First Lady, who just like her darling husband who demystified the office of Governor with simplicity and humility, has redefined the Office of the First Lady which used to be the headquarters of frivolous activities without meaningful impact on the people. Instead of creating a platform for unending praise singing groups, Dr. Olufolake AbdulRazaq established the Ajike People Support Centre to raise consciousness and purposeful actions on issues affecting the survival, protection, participation and development of women, youths and children (in particular) and humanity in general.
It is on record that not less than 2500 women have been empowered by the Ajike People’s Support Group through the First Lady’s Skilled Acquisition Programme.
The women who were drawn from all the 16 Local Government Areas of Kwara State were trained on various vocations like the making of liquid soap, air fresheners, hair cream, leather bags, cake baking, make up training, tailoring, tie and dye, and head tie among others.
Advocacies against gender-based violence Since the inception of this progressive administration in the state, Dr. AbdulRazaq has taken it upon herself to wage an uncompromising war against gender based violence in the society and this led to why she personally held a road walk in commemoration of the campaign against gender based violence on 30th of November, 2019 in Ilorin, Kwara State.That walk was a bold statement that she would take no prisoners in her war against every form of gender-based violence in the state.
To prove her point, Her Excellency made a case for Aliya, a 4-year-old victim who was allegedly defiled by a 51-year-old man, Baba Salama, in Ilorin, Kwara State. She gave the security agencies involved the necessary support towards the prosecution of the case to a very logical conclusion so as to serve as a deterrent to others with similar evil tendencies.
Aliyah is now in the custody of her mother. The State through the office of the First Lady and the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development are looking at ways to support the development of her wellbeing and education in due course. Healthcare
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s swift actions on health issues in the state have ensured that the people enjoyed better healthcare, especially his response to polio immunization in the state, payment of counterpart healthcare funds and many other amiable steps.
On her part, Dr. AbdulRazaq is also working round the clock to ensure that Kwarans live healthy this was why she honored the invitation of the Mayor of Brent, Ernest Ezeajughi to have tea in the Mayor’s parlour, where she also met with the Chief Executive of Brent Council as well as the Deputy Leader.
Her Excellency’s discussion among other several issues discussed with the Mayor was centred around collaboration on public awareness and eradication of sickle cell disease in Kwara State. More importantly, Dr. Abdulrazaq’s initiative, the Ajike People’s Support Centre is aimed at contributing to the reduction of maternal and infant mortality and supporting the youth and children.
In recognition of the efforts of the Kwara State First Lady towards the Advocacy/war against Tuberculosis in the state, she was made Tuberculousis champion at an investiture alongside other First Ladies by Dr. Mrs. Aisha Buhari during a Peer Review meeting at the State House Abuja on the 9th December 2019.COVID-19 pandemic In commemoration of the World Health Day held on the 7th of April 2020, the Kwara state First Lady donated personal protective equipment to hospitals across the state. This was done in her understanding of the need for healthcare workers to be well protected during this time of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Indeed, she has played her part in the fight against the pandemic in the state.
The protective consumables which include sanitizers, face masks, toilet soaps, and hand gloves where donated to Infectious Disease Treatment Centres at the Sobi Specialist Hospital, Alagbado, the General hospital Ilorin, Offa General Hospital, Omu-Aran General Hospital, Kaiama General Hospital and Patigi General Hospital.
Similarly, the First Lady of Kwara state, Dr. Mrs. Olufolake AbdulRazaq also donated food items to Olohunda Psychiatric Home and the Kwara state Children Reception Centre, Pipeline area during this period as a way of cushioning the effects of the lockdown on these vulnerable homes.She also donated N100,000 to the Kwara Ladies Football Club as part of palliatives to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Dr. Olufolake Abdulrazaq has been on the fore front in the campaign for the need to engage youths and children in sporting activities which is aimed at keeping them off the streets and tackling drug abuse and other social vices. With this in focus, Her Excellency has been a great pillar of support to the Little League Federation of Nigeria since the inception of this administration. She is the president of the Little League District 03 and through her office has been a supporting pillar to the Little League Federation. And for the first time in the history of Baseball and Softball in Kwara State coaching clinic and training workshop was held in the three senatorial districts of the State.
Speaking on the impact of this laudable program, a British-South African baseball expert and major League consultant, Mr. David Gribenow expressed his appreciation to the first lady when he affirmed that the turnaround on the baseball court is topnotch and the state is ready to host National and International tournaments.
Certainly, Dr. AbdulRazaq’s contributions to the local sports in the state is immeasurable since the inception of the Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq administration in the state.
Therefore, as we now celebrate June 12 as the real democracy day in Nigeria, it’s safe to say Kwara now has a caring mother who is not using the office of the First Lady to enrich herself or friends but is using the office as a platform for career development for the youths and women of the state and a boardroom for intellectuals to birth ideas towards building a better and virile Kwara which will be a safe haven for the less privileged and vulnerable in Kwara.
Said is a Public Affairs Analyst and social commentator, he writes from Ilorin