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Yaman Abdullahi: Offering Kwara fresh breath of air

BY Afolabi Gambari

Safe for only Nigerians who are history-minded, not many would readily remember that Kwara State was created on May 1, 1967 – interestingly the same day as Rivers and Lagos states were created. It is quite doubted if many Kwarans today even remember that their dear state is just two months shy of clocking 56 years.

While it would be fair to say that the location of Kwara State would hardly make it rival Rivers and Lagos in terms of prominence, it has to also be said that poor governance had contributed largely to the low rate of development that Kwara State has witnessed in the more than five decades of its existence, despite being no so less richer in mineral resources, as compared to Rivers and Lagos states. Specifically, Kwara State has been bereft of even development, a situation that has led some parts of the state to develop at the expense of other parts.

It is in the light of above that the coming of Alhaji Shuaibu Yaman Abdullahi as the Kwara State gubernatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 18 election has become vital in the life of the state. Not a few would easily recall that the 64-year-old Abdullahi was a prominent figure among the planners and executioners of the “O to gee” movement that brought to power the incumbent Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq in 2019. Not a few also expected that the new dawn in the political life of Kwara State would endure in genuine progress and meaningful development. However, it was soon discovered that the “O to gee” movement was merely to help Abdulrazaq to achieve his personal ambition and nothing more.

Consultations that characterised the 2019 election towards final victory stopped suddenly. So was interaction among key stakeholders. In fact, the governor became aloof amidst evisceration of the powers of the state House of Assembly as well as the cabinet. It became a one-man show where no one else mattered any more.


Propaganda soon took over dissemination of information as the state drifted to rising debt profile. At this time a year ago, Kwara State’s debt from its creation in 1967 to 2022 stood at over N140billion.

But curiously, over 50 per cent of the debt has been accumulated in less than four years of the administration of Governor Abdulrazaq. This, without doubt, has stifled development across the state, in addition to the even infrastructural development and absence of meaningful jobs for the teeming youths.

There has also been unprecedented penchant for ignoring due process in the award of contracts, a situation that pushed transparency and accountability to the background in embarrassing fashion.


Abdullahi weighed his options deeply after seeing his efforts at putting Kwara State on an elevated platform go down the drain, no thanks to Abdulrazaq’s aversion for consultations and unrelenting quest to shut out dissenting voices, as well as governance by vengeance rather than reconciliation. He defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to pitch his tent with the PDP, convinced that he has what is required to re-direct Kwara State towards the path of genuine progress and development.

It is trite that although development across Kwara State has not been top notch in the last three decades, compared to the aforementioned Lagos and Rivers states, Kwara north has been mostly at the receiving end of the underdevelopment. In fact, a recent finding revealed that the underdevelopment in the area has taken a huge toll on human lives as road infrastructure has remained so dreadful as to completely cut some communities from accessing other communities.

Abdullahi is well aware of this situation with great concern, especially in his capacity as the National President, Edu Progressive Association. But although he is a native of Ankurifun Shonga in the Shonga Emirate of Edu Local Government Area of the north, he insists he as much as seeks justice for the north of Kwara State that has suffered neglect for decades in the same way that he seeks development for all parts of the state, believing that development cannot be complete in any state if a part is developed and another part is underdeveloped.

His quest for wealth creation through the vast human and material resources in the state, as well as revenue generation (with himself as a Federal Commissioner, Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission since 2019 to date), is his biggest motivation to contest for the governor’s seat in this looming election.


Where others see failure, Abdullahi sees only success, unfazed by the arduous task of reintegrating with the PDP in Kwara State, although reports also said he has blended well with the party’s former house of assembly members, women groups, youth groups and other associations after due consultations with them and this has boosted his confidence towards being successful at the poll.

He has prepared himself adequately for the task he has saddled himself with. As Chairman, Agromatrix Nigeria Limited which he established in 1989 with head office in Kaduna State, he recruited more than 50 persons as well as trained and empowered more than 30 others who are now successful business owners in many fields.

Previously, he had joined SCOA & SCOAGRIC, a private company in Lagos in 1980 as Trainee Manager, rising to become the Branch Manager and then Commercial Manager onward becoming the Deputy General Manager before he resigned voluntarily in 1988.

He was on the Nigeria Railway Board twice from 2006 to 2007 and 2008 to 2011, during which he also served as Chairman of the Nigeria Railway Reform Implementation Committee from 2006 to 2007.

He has also been Director, Kwara State Investment Company from 1988 to 1992 and Kwara State Grains Production Company from 1991 to 1992, after which he was appointed Director at Kwara State-owned Trade Bank from 1992 to 1999. He is currently a Director at Media Trust Limited, publisher of Daily Trust newspaper to earn his corporate badge.

As the best graduating student in the department of Business Administration at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979, Abdullahi, after his national youth service in July 1980, had a short stint at the Ministry of External Affairs in Lagos where he worked in the Economic Relations Department as Assistant Secretary and participated in the Nigeria-Guinea joint venture on bauxite development.


Abdullahi plans to bring all of this foregoing experience to bear on good governance that has been lacking in Kwara State if he becomes governor after the March 18 election. Specifically, he says his government would not be the “spending government” but one which generates revenue for economic expansion. In addition to aiming at making impact of development felt by all parts of the state, he also lists security, civil service reform that leads to productivity among government workers, youth employment and empowerment as his priorities. In his words: “I see all these as achievable because I would employ integrity, sincerity, honesty and transparency to maximum effect.”

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