Travelogue: Beyond social media ratings.

If you are a Kwaran but have never been to Kpada, Yikpata, or National Museum, Esie among other remote communities in the state, you may not be able to understand what level of rural development Kwara has undergone in the last one year. Especially if you wait on the ratings by a few people on social media. One may be misled to believe life starts and ends on the pages of a few platforms where they hold sway. While I agree social media is a veritable avenue for feedback, the rising manipulative tendencies can’t be discounted. This explains why a group of people with smartphones in Ilorin would be approbating and reprobating for the people of Lafiagi, Oloru, Gwanara some never visited and who do not even know them.

This was one of the lessons I learned from the three-day fact-finding trip. From Patigi, where I was visiting the second time since the electioneering to Kpada, the reality was different. I saw the good people of Patigi watching and cheering the road workers as they gave the erstwhile decrepit Emir’s road a new look. While I was on the bike for over one hour to access Kpada, I kept wondering what impacts were to the people. After inspecting the renovated health care centre and the ongoing Patigi-Kpada road, I did ask some of them their priorities. They only mentioned more roads and schools while expressing gratitude. They didn’t say the government officials should come from them or that one politician’s ego should be massaged.

We used one leg to branch Yikpata, the (in) famous state NYSC camp the government refurbished and provided facilities. It was a sight to behold. While I gazed at the majesty, I remembered how it was and I cringed. The memory evoked similar feelings of deja vu as the Adewole Baseball Park. It is pleasing that both are no longer emblems of ruins. Okuta was my next point of call! Yes, Okuta! The rehabilitation of the Government Day Secondary School, Okuta pleases the good people. I remember one time during electioneering how they passionately demanded it.

I am sure a couple of my friends remember the trip sponsored by Senator Ashiru which made us go to Esie museum. The decrepit road, we agreed, was a major turnoff for its development. I am sure some of these friends would be pleased today that the road has been fixed. I am buoyed to emphasise that 36 of such roads have been attended to across the state. If I didn’t visit all I was at Sango-Akerebiata and Alagbado roads. These were record-breaking death traps called roads in the past.

I noticed that the rehabilitation and remodelling of Centre Igboro court didn’t get enough attention. Much like the provision of a 300-capacity ICT centre in the College of Health, Offa, and the free and fair disbursement of bursary and scholarship for the indigenous students. These are some of the things Governor AbdulRazaq is getting accolades today.

Let me digress a bit here. So many persons have asked why I don’t share in the criticism of the government like in the past. I hope they’d pick the answers here. First, I didn’t write the articles I did for playing sake. Only the one I wrote on FOI hasn’t yielded positively yet. So, what is my grouse with a performing governor? I have a belief it is a matter of time before the house makes us happy as regards that, too. So a lot of noise here and there are not for me. Democracy– to trivialise it– is always about the doers and the talkers. They, however, interchange positions easily. So I wish today’s talkers more mojo. I am most certain posterity will judge accordingly.

When we were clamouring for change, I felt we listed youths’ recognition as one of those things we craved. Now that I look at it, it gives me joy that over 60% of AbdulRazaq’s appointees are youthful. It, however, beats the imagination why a few egotistical persons would find some of them not useful because they don’t belong to their camp. I have always wanted to ask: is there anything else to the obsession? It must have been about some of them all along. Not for the state’s progress!

I met with some local contractors, too. They are not whining and rapping. They beam with pride and joy for the patronage they get so far. They have 31 public schools to renovate. They are constructing and renovating roads. They don’t seek contracts in the nights and become agents of perfidy in the day. They are men and not boys seeking mileage but socio-economic prosperity.

I often shuddered how insincere and mischievous people can be when they don’t get favours. Kwara, in recent times, provides abundant instances. It appears the new wave of intellectualism is bland noise making and ego- tripping discourse on social media. All one has to do is being able to be members of a few platforms and can barely string words together, and he is the face of democracy and champion of Nigerian Independence. How funny! But a government supporter instantly becomes an enemy or a fallen comrade for not sharing in their bile. They should rather push for the Hypocrisy bill on time alongside the FOI.

But instead of pretending not to hear them again, I’d keep bursting some bubbles. My ears are full and here is one such intervention. I was at the heart of Kwara South, North and a part of Central and the people are not perturbed. They only want roads, schools, hospitals, and the basic healthcare system which they are now getting. They don’t know the comrades for the show, the activists for party supremacy, and the feudal hirelings of any politicians. They don’t fill any survey but listen to the radio. Our people know the government paying salaries promptly and the governor who gave them water. The students know the ones who paid their bursaries. By the way, did you see the NAKSS statement? They weren’t grading on hearsay but reality!

On Kwara media spaces where activists of convenience govern if you write for the government, you are a sycophant. But if you criticise blandly and ramble sentimental analysis, only Wole Soyinka is more intelligent. How so bad can the renegades be! Thank God I don’t live on social media and don’t feed on their junk. Not many people will be fooled again. We know activism is not looking for faults but averting and correcting mistakes. I know participation in politics and governance is not a game of talks but actions. This is where ENETSUD is slightly different. Thank God Kwara people know what is right and won’t be misled by a few restless hustlers. They know the feelings of impact, wealth, of peace, and progress by progressive leadership. And I don’t see them stoning this governor or making him the caricature of failure.

By the way, no one will stop anyone from airing his views. The media is a market place. Blackmailing, propaganda is what is not befitting the supposed change agents. I know no matter how much noise is, it can never equate impact! The impact is on Kwara streets and the noise can stay on social media. Life is beyond social media ratings

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