Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, at the weekend met with a rich crop of Kwara Professionals resident in Lagos, debriefing them on the journey since 2019, the measurable strides of his administration across different sectors, and his vision for the state when re-elected in the 2023 ballot.
The briefing was a continuation of the Governor’s multi-prong stakeholders’ engagements that peaked a few months ago with town hall and village square meetings held in different parts of the state and broadcast live on the revamped state-owned television and radio station and other private media platforms.
Quoting facts and figures from the past and present, the Governor said the administration met a collapsed basic education sector while the Colleges of Education were all down owing to nonpayment of salaries and lack of accreditation.
He said the administration has been able to turn things around in the area of infrastructural and human resource development, welfare for workers, and the introduction of technology to give the Kwara child a headstart in life.
The Governor said the introduction of KwaraLEARN programme has raised school enrollment by at least 45% and boosted numeracy and literacy skills in the first phase that comprised just four local governments, adding that the programme now operates in 11 local government areas and would extend to the rest of the state later this year.
He also spoke about how the administration has improved healthcare delivery at the primary and secondary levels and won the confidence of different development partners like UNICEF, while its investments in the sector have earned the state university an accreditation to run medicine programme with medical school billed to take off at the Ilorin General Hospital.
AbdulRazaq said the state no longer tops the national table in open defecation as it did before in 2019, while Kwara now posts great indices in maternal health care and hospital attendance.
He said the administration has revamped many of the dead waterworks which were largely built during the Sardauna years, and built two new ones to improve water supply in the state, including in the capital city where tanker was once the source of public water supply.
“We have been deliberate in spreading development, and we are glad that our people have a better sense of ownership of their state today than ever before. What we have done is to stabilise Kwara for growth and development,” he said.
“We have many road projects across the state. We have designed a sustainable development plan, an agricultural master plan, and a new master plan for our capital city, and we are designing for other parts of the state. We are planning different industrial parks, including one at Eiyenkorin, another in Kwara South, and an agroprocessing factory in Kwara North,” he said, adding that the administration’s economic expansion efforts such as support for small scale enterprises are fast making Kwara a new hub.
The Governor also spoke about his many road projects across the state, including a plan to construct the road that links Agbamu to Ila Orangun to boost economic growth in that axis.
He said the state is attracting different positive attention and investments, including an upcoming $50m Olam project for which some lands are being allocated and a share of the $10bn renewable energy project to be funded by the US government.
The Governor, who took time to respond to questions from the professionals, also spoke about the herders-farmers’ issue and a need to address it as a solution to food security and national cohesion, the status of Shonga Farm, the garment factory of the administration, IV-TEC, and tourism potentials of the state.
AbdulRazaq also urged the Kwara professionals to support the candidature of APC’s Bola Tinubu, who he said will clearly favour Kwara in infrastructural development and other dividends of democracy.
The professionals took turns to commend the Governor’s developmental strides in the state, with many of them mentioning different areas they have felt his work back home, including the interventions in the remotest corners of the state like Onila community in Irepodun.
“It is profound indeed that your government pays good attention to basic needs of the people, including in Onila. We are very proud of that,” Mr.
Emmanuel Oyebanji SAN told the Governor, urging him to do a lot more.
Professor Bayo Oladipo, the dean of the faculty of Education at the University of Lagos, said he was impressed by the governor’s focus on the development of the education sector, especially the employment of qualified teachers.
He charged the Governor to pay more attention to the Colleges of Education to ensure that they deliver on their core mandate of training quality teachers.
“We have no regret at all that we supported you in 2019. We are glad about what you have achieved with the little resources. People talk about the modest change here and there,” Mr. Bayo Atoyebi, a lawyer and entrepreneur, said.
Otunba Ademola Adedoyin, a
PR expert, said the Governor’s briefing was quite comprehensive, clear, and enlightening as it touched on the situation in 2019, the strides and challenges of the administration, and his roadmap for the future.
The stakeholders’ engagement was attended by Senators: Sadiq Umar, Kwara North; and
Lola Ashiru, Kwara South; House of Representatives members: Tunji Olawuyi Ajuloopin and Tijani Ismail; APC Senatorial Candidate for Kwara Central Senatorial District, Turaki Salihu Mustapha; APC House of Representatives candidate for Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency, Mukhtar Shagaya; APC House of Representatives Candidate for Ilorin East/South Federal Constituency, Ahmed Yinka Aluko; APC House of Representatives Candidate for Edu/Patigi Federal Constituency, Ahmed Saba; APC chieftain, Alhaji Raheem Adedoyin; Alhaji Olanrewaju Ajiboye; Senior People Advisor (West Africa) at the British Council, Anthony Oyeyiola; PR Executive Bola Olukoju; Company Secretary at Eko Hotels and Suite, Chief Samuel Alabi; General Manager of Kwara State Television, Mr. Michaels Olatunde Oyeyiola; Daily Trust’s top reporter Abdullateef Aliyu; and legal practitioner Alhaji Tajudeen Adedoyin; among others.