24 September 2018

Nigeria: Late Brigadier David Bamigboye - Farewell to Statesmanship

Mni — The pioneer military governor of Kwara State, Brigadier General David Bamigboye died in Lagos on Friday 21 September 2018 after a brief illness, at the age of 78. He was born on December 7, 1940. The late General David Bamigboye was the first Military Governor of Kwara State from May 1967 to July 1975, after the state was created among other first generation 11 states from the old defunct three regions of North, East and South of Nigeria.

He undoubtedly laid a solid foundation for Kwara State with sustainable signature achievements which made Kwara state one of the fast growing states in the 70s. Witness these; Kwara Polytechnic, Herald Newspaper, Kwara Hotel, Kwara State Secretariat, Kwara State Government House, numerous public secondary schools, food security for the state and many state General Hospitals. The pioneer governor also offered Scholarships to Kwara students in higher institutions. In 1968 he created the Kwara State Ministry of Education, with a department to handle Scholarship/Bursary matters. He matched a promise with prompt fulfillment.

For instance, in 1971 he announced a decision to establish the Kwara State Polytechnic, which came into existence in 1972. In December 1972 he opened the new premises of Ola-Olu Hospital with accommodation for thirty-five beds. He built and sustained unity in Kwara state. His era in governance "produced many outstanding leaders, scholars, civil servants, jurists, professionals, entrepreneurs and many great Kwarans in various fields".

Late Brig. General Bamigboye helped to build a developmentalist Kwara State which today, suffers huge development deficits due to bad governance. His era marked statesmanship as distinct from the current personalization and privatization of governance with attendant mass poverty and well having of the ruling elite. The best way to honour the late pioneer governor for the good people of Kwara state to reinvent statesmanship.

As I indicated in my condolence message as the Labour Party Kwara state gubernatorial candidate the demise of Brigadier General on the eve of a critical transitional election in Kwara state was "a divine reminder" of "an era of selfless statesmanship", I call on all aspirants for public offices in Kwara state to learn from the bold positive imprints of the former military governor. Even though I was never an enthusiast of military leadership in general, however the point cannot be overstated that there was once a developing Kwara state that was a pride of all Kwarans under General Bamgboye compared to the present stagnant underdeveloped Kwara state that is an embarrassment to all Kwarans.

The 2019 gubernatorial election offers a unique historic opportunity to reclaim our dear state and enthrone selflessness, statesmanship, entrepreneurship, compassion, managing diversity, equality, inclusiveness, sense of justice and fairness and prosperity for all. Kwara state urgently needs state- led development of Bamigboye era. Kwara embarked on bold Development through Kwara State First Development Plan (1970 - 75) was set within the context of the country's second National Development Plan (1970 - 1975). Later there was the Second Kwara State Development Plan (1975 - 1980). The plans laid solid foundations for accelerated economic growth, increased productivity in agriculture providing favourable climate for industrial development and improving the quality of life of the people through the provision of necessary infrastructure.

In the 70s, Kwara state with productivity and enterprise of Kwara farmers was food secured. Indeed Kwara used to produce eagle rice exported to other states of the Federation. Kwara State as it was in past must support hundreds of thousands of Kwara farmers not few absentee foreign farmers whose products are not on daily menu of most Kwarans and Nigerians. Investment charity must start with our hard working people just as it was during Bamigboye.

It is unacceptable that Kwara today miserably ranks 28th on the ranking of states by GDP beaten to it by even newest states like, Imo, Edo and Oyo states. Kwara should return to the path of productivity through re-industrialisation and mass decent jobs. At creation, Kwara was the fastest growing state. The best tribute to late Military governor is for Kwara state to return to development planning and impress on the federal government within the Council of States to improve on national planning and national vision within the context of Africa Union (AU) 2063. Industries shoukd be revived with mass decent jobs. Kwara must once again become investment/job destination. I join other compatriots to pray that Almighty God grant Late Brigadier David Bamigboye eternal rest.


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