Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is building a new economy around his understanding of the geography and demography of Kwara State, especially on how to properly engage young people, put money in things that interest them and could help their talents, and refocus the economy to suit the situation of the state.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor Rafiu Ajakaye said this in Ilorin on Thursday, 20 July, 2023, at the 37th Media Parliament of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kwara State Council.
He also said the Governor is investing heavily in human capital development and critical sectors to make the state economically viable, self-sufficient, reduce poverty and boost quality of life.
“In all of these, there is a reality we must all live with: not only is our demography changing at a fast rate in favour of young people, the government has never been designed to provide jobs for everyone. Many young people are now looking beyond the traditional 9-5 job cycle. Except as a last resort, and for want of better opportunities, many now dream to be their own bosses or to find their feet in the private sector. While many want to invest in their own businesses, a horde of them are leaning towards the opportunities offered by new technology, arts and entertainment,” he said.
Ajakaye, who spoke on the topic “Unleashing Kwara Economic Potentials: AbdulRazaq’s Magic Wand for the Next Four Years”, explained that the government has invested in road infrastructure to lessen travel time, ease movement of goods, people, and services, improve productivity, and boost quality of life.
“The Governor has prioritized spendings on infrastructural renewal and expansion within the metropolis and other areas, as support for small and medium scale enterprises, creative industries, entertainment, tourism and conferencing, arts and culture, innovation and technology, trade, agro processing, and human capital development. This will create direct jobs, reduce poverty, and lessen crime rates.”
According to him, investments in road and other social infrastructures and services may not be measured by what economists call return on investments, which are quantifiable in naira and kobo, but the benefits of having them and the consequences of not having them on businesses and human existence.
“For instance, only residents and travelers along Osi-Obbo Aiyegunle, Ilesha Baruba to Gwanara, Yebumot-Adeta, and Adeta Roundabout to Pakata Roundabout, to mention a few, can tell the life-changing impacts of these projects on businesses, transporters and the people of the area. There are more than three dozens of such major roads either completed or ongoing in different parts of the state,” Ajakaye said.
The CPS said the administration’s success between 2019 and 2023 in stabilizing things across many sectors like education, health sector, rural access to basic amenities, and civil service, accounts for it gaining public trust, and assists in steadily unfolding its economic direction for the state.
He said the ready-to-take off garment factory will, for a start, be sewing ready-made clothes on an industrial scale with corresponding benefits to the state, adding it will create at least 2,000 direct jobs along its different value chains.
He also said the administration has chosen to complete Osi and Ilesha Baruba campuses of Kwara State University, because the campuses will cause rapid socioeconomic development in Kwara South and Kwara North, adding that the phase 1 of the project is now more than 80% completed.
“Visual Arts Centre is not a facility without a ready-made market. Kwara has bred some of the finest talents in the creative industry, and it is a no-brainer that the government will have beneficial partnerships with the movers and shakers of the industry.
“A corollary to that is the Sugar Factory Film Studio, which is another big movie production facility sited in the old Tate and Lyle building, hence the name sugar factory film studio. These facilities — visual arts centre and the sugar factory film studio — will help to promote related courses offered at the Kwara State University and other institutions, thereby creating a unique link between the gown and the market. The sugar film factory is 85% completed.
are not just an extension of the school.
“This administration has chosen to complete the Osi and Ilesha Baruba campuses of Kwara State University (KWASU) because these campuses will cause rapid socioeconomic development in Kwara South and Kwara North. From less than 35% in 2019, the Phase 1 of Osi campus is now more than 80% completed. Once these schools welcome students and lecturers, it will be one of the best strategies to drive economic and physical developments to the two axes. Jobs will be created, and properties will become more viable. Wherever a school exists, a whole gamut of ancillary economic activities also spring up. Private individuals will build hostels, people will sell things for the well-being of the new population, and a lot of service providers will migrate to the area. In all of these, the people benefit,” he said.
He added: “The intention of the Governor, a great lover of nature, is to refocus how we live and work for a sustainable future. This is what the Kwara State Master Plan seeks to achieve. Under the first phase, which is the 20-year Ilorin City Master Plan, at least three satellite towns are to emerge from Ilorin, each carefully designed to allow for sustainable living and rapid development. These cities are to respect the limits already imposed by climate change, thereby preventing avoidable loss of lives and properties.
“It may also interest you that the much-talked about Industrial Park (Phase 1) is now being constructed on the Ilorin-Eiyenkorin- Ogbomoso Highway. At 48% work level for its preliminary works, it spans over 20 hectares of land, with huge economic potential. It will be a standalone community on its own, comprising its own schools, hospitals, malls, police station, warehouses, shops, and other facilities. This in itself will generate thousands of jobs for our people, and help to spread economic prosperity. Another industrial park is planned for Kwara South, and talks are still ongoing in that regard.
“In Kaiama, the administration is constructing a sheanut processing factory which harnesses the potentials of the local community in sheanut. It is known in local Batonu language as Nogbe Kure, roughly meaning ‘shea by she’. This factory will employ hundreds of workers, mostly from the local community, and will overtime spur improved economic activities. Barring any unforeseen delays, the sheanut processing factory will be delivered in the last quarter of this year.”
He equally said over 200,000 people of the state have benefitted from the state Social Investment programme (KWASSIP) schemes that he noted reduces the propensity for fraud, “as every applicant and beneficiary has a unique financial identity.”
“In a report presented to the Governor on March 14, 2022, a research team of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji, Kaduna State, said KWASSIP could lift up to 500,000 low-income people out of extreme poverty in the next five years.”
Ajakaye urged the people of Kwara State to continue their support for the Governor, and thanked media personnel for their continued trust in government and how they are professional in the discharge of their duties.
“To the media, I say to you that we truly cherish your fairness. I bid you to walk with us in good faith, as you always do, while Kwara journeys to a new level of economic prosperity anchored on productive engagements of its people and every stakeholder, including the organized private sector,” he concluded.
The event was well attended by some media executives and dozens of NUJ members across the state council and several chapels of the union, including the Chairman Ahmed Abdullateef; state Chairman National League of Veteran Journalists (NALVEJ) Kwara State branch, Alhaji Tunde Akanbi; former NUJ Chairman Kwara State Biodun Abdulkareem; Chairperson for NAWOJ, Mrs Bola Ipinlaye; Elder Wole Adedeji; Alhaji Abdullahi Olesin; among others.
Kwara NUJ Chairman, Ahmed Abdullateef, said while many states go cap in hand to obtain their monthly allocations from the federation, Kwara state can boast with what it has to better the lots of the citizenry.
“If the state government could muster the courage and the willpower to grow the state economy through agriculture, tech, arts, beyond the routine lip service, Kwara will become a pace-setter in terms of employment for an army of unemployed youth,” he said.
He called on the state government to work assiduously for Kwara to be listed among the fastest growing economically states in the federation.
Chairman, National League of Veteran Journalists (NALVEJ) Kwara State branch, Alhaji Tunde Akanbi, in his remarks, said an average Nigerian is badly affected by the fuel hike, and appealed to President Tinubu to quickly come up with programmes to cushion the impacts.
He thanked Ajakaye for honoring the invitation, and for how he always identifies with journalists in the state.