By Bashir Adigun
It’s been two years of glory, two years of steady progress and a clear departure from the inglorious past.
The Administration of Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq assumed office at a time the people of the state were in despair. It was a time when civil servants in both state and local governments were owed salaries for several months.
Some civil servants became beggers on the streets and motor parks because they were not credit worthy in the markets and grocery stores.
Some women, badly affected in the service, did the unthinkable for survival while some men became commercial Motor cyclists and farm labourers.
The three Colleges of Education were not spared. Workers were owed up to Fifteen months salaries and they went on protracted strikes, bringing shame to a state that was once a pride of the nation.
The Universal Basic Education Commission blacklisted Kwara because the State did not pay its counterpart fund.
Public Schools- primary and secondary- were eyesore. They were dilapidated as a result of lack of maintenance by the past administrations.
Development Partners! Unicef, WHO, Global fund and others left the state because the state government failed to fulfil its obligation. It was a time Kwara was rated as one of the worst hit by poliomyelitis.
The Nigeria Airforce and Navy revoked their MOU with the Kwara Aviation College on training of their personnel because the government failed to honour the agreement.
Roads in the state capital, major towns and rural communities were left unattended.
All these mismanagement and neglect were going on at a time most states received bail out and when there were huge federal allocations. it was at the time a barrel of crude oil was selling above $100 in the international market.
Our exemplary Governor, His Excellency, Mallam AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq, came to office and took the bull by the horns. Salaries of civil servants in both state and local governments were cleared.
All the salaries of workers in the three Colleges of Education were paid.
The administration has paid about N16Billion in Pensions and N3Billion in Gratuities for civil service retirees.
The process of injecting fresh blood into the civil service is also on going.
The Governor, on assumption of office, also paid the UBEC counterpart fund and the state government has been able to draw about N7 Billion from UBEC for the resuscitation of the collapsed education sector. And this has reflected in the massive renovation of schools and recruitment of over 4,000 teachers in the state.
The development Partners in the health sector are also returning, having realized that there is a new dawn in the state.
At the moment, Kwara state can be described as a construction site going by the numbers of road constructions and repairs going on across the state.
The Governor was also concerned with standard of living of residents in the state especially the aged and the teeming unemployed youths. He introduced the Kwara State Social Investments programmes KWASIP, Kwapreneur and Kwarafarm, thus replicating Federal Government programs with deeper state impact and flavour.
He has also been a champion of gender affirmative action, thus setting a record of the largest number of female appointees into the executive cabinet of sub nationals .
The Governor also has big plans for youths with the on-going construction of an Info Tech Innovation Hub and Visual Arts Center ;Coupled with the continuous Information Technology training sessions for Kwara youths , these initiatives will enhance the capacity of Kwara youths to secure jobs placements in the highly
competitive markets within and outside the country.
Infrastructure wise, there are many road constructions in every local government in the state. This will no doubt stem rural-urban migration and open up the state for Investments whilst giving farmers easy access to markets .
Already, BUA has taken advantage of ease of doing business in the state and is working at a frenetic pace to deliver on its multi-million dollar Sugar complex ethanol plants in Lafiaji, Edu local Government Area of the state. We anticipate the employment of thousands of Kwara youths through this massive investment.
The relative peace and security in Kwara coupled with the determination to ensure the ease of doing business is already yielding results through the enhanced internal revenue results recently recorded. The anticipated doubling of the number of airlines and frequency to Ilorin within a fortnight today is evidence of the impact of the new Administration.
There’s no doubt that Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq has put Kwara on a strong footing by rebuilding the basic foundations of a modern Kwara . He refuses to be distracted by politics and focuses primarily on governance in his determination to restore the lost glory of the state.
Alhaji Bashir Adigun is the Special Adviser on Political Communication to the Kwara State Governor
Kwapreneurs: Repositioning Kwara Youths For Greatness
By Ibraheem Abdullateef
One thing about vision is its power to spark change. It doesn’t matter whether it’s positive or negative. The impacts materialise immediately and strongly. It is the same with lacking a vision. You begin to see the consequences. Swiftly. Fatal. And there is no need for a lecture, I could have given you the Seth Berkeley, Alan Mulally, John Maxwell of the world to buttress my point, instead, we will be speaking to reality. There is no greater definition of vision than what is unfolding right now in Kwara State.
Kwarapreneurs– a non-interest loan scheme for young entrepreneurs in the state represents an ambitious vision of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to raise a new generation of successful young men and women. Anchored by the Kwara State Social Investment Programmes (KWASSIP) office, a minimum of 300 successful applicants will get a loan ranging from N350, 000 to N3, 000, 000, or as their business may require or manage, while also being trained on business growth and management to become sustainably empowered.
Arguably the best ever seen in the state, many patriots have since lauded the initiative critically on the strength of reducing unemployment and fostering economic development. Some have further venerated the repayment scope which includes three-month moratorium and a long twelve-month loan completion plan. The amount of money to be given out to individuals is also singled out. Whereas many could have been covered under the scheme, analysts and development experts agree that having fewer beneficiaries who can be hugely supported and become sustainably empowered is better.
However, that is not all there is to the scheme and could not have been. On the deeper study of the programme, there is an inherent ideology to engineer a social change to youths engagement and empowerment in the country. In the ongoing selection process, 26% of the participants are female. While there is room for improvement, this is clearly an update on what was obtainable. Not only in leadership, young women have never been this encouraged as beneficiaries of government programmes on business in the North Central. It all boils down to the enabling environment. It continues Kwara’s resurgence as the home of opportunities for girlchild in Africa.
The other point in the process is transparency. The prevailing atmosphere of hope and optimism among youths across the state is not trivial. It is the realisation of possibilities in growth and development. Never have Kwara youths been lazy or useless, many years of neglect and lack of vision for growth at the top level accounts for the little progress and seeming pessimism. No one would not doubt himself if he had to constantly fail to survive due to cronyism and subversion of justice in allocation of public resources. On more than three occasions now, the EndSARS crisis; teachers’ recruitment; and bursary disbursement; the AbdulRazaq administration bears the same pattern of fairness. Among other things, Kwapreneur has come to engender public trust in government with its mode of operation. It is one thing that must endure to curb social apathy.
Through Kwapreneurs, Kwara is also leading advocacy for peacebuilding and healing of the nation after the EndSARS protests and all the accompanying social disorder. Identifying the implications of youth restiveness, policy experts have intensified campaigns on the need for equitable distribution of resources as it is vital to harmony. Aside from being the biggest investment in young people’s business since the historic moment, it sits clearly as a scheme genuinely thought out to give everyone a fair platform to show their skills and talent within the available funds so far they are capable. No one could be said to be denied access based on who they are or where they come from. It is particularly inspiring that Agriculture polled the highest in the top five sector distribution with 33. 4% alongside Fashion 10.1%; ICT 6.7%; Commercial/Retail 6.6%; Business Management 4.9%; and others 23.6% of the 7, 203 applicants. The demography bears renewed interest in Agribusiness and ICT by Kwara youths due to the prevalent atmosphere of support and freedom of economic expression and expansion.
In the recent past in the state, the mode and method of empowerment were crude, wasteful, discriminatory, and deliberately limiting. The best practice was handling able-bodied youths sewing and grinding machines, bicycle and tricycle to venture into commercialization without recourse to their knowledge, passion and ambitions. As is characteristic of unsustainable ventures, the materials were usually sold cheaply before they fell back to a messy lane beaten, frustrated, and dejected. With Kwaprenuer cutting a difference with an option for business of choice, youths are being encouraged to explore creativity and innovation to their level best for personal and state development. Such subtle message of reorientation, when viewed critically viz-a-viz the establishment of Ilorin Innovation Hub and the Digital Kwara programme, reveals a big, wide vision to position Kwara as a leading state for self-development and innovation in Digital Media and Technology in near future.
Kwaprenuers is equally the right scheme to promote values like honesty, dignity of labour, and industry. This is hugely invaluable at a time many young people are foraying into internet frauds to make ends meet. To localise the implications, it was a lack of regard for these socio-cultural values that left the state broken and insecure at many times in history. For instance, at the belly of the spate of hooliganism and electoral violence including the famous Offa robbery that cost 33 previous lives are inherent executive support for rascality. The height of it was that they were paid more than could be imagined, including being sponsored on Hajj and vacation at the expense of public interest. If history is meant to be studied, what Kwaprenuers emphasises to the populace is that a state is designed after its leaders.
Kwarans, especially the youths, can tell the difference now. On his avowed mission to rebuild the state, AbdulRazaq has clearly proven that youths development is at the centre of it. Nothing makes the whole thing a lot more fascinating than the fact that you do not need to have any special affiliation to benefit. That is the change we voted for.
1000 Yari, Marafa Supporters Dump APC for PDP In Zamfara
Over 1000 All Progressives Congress (APC) Members from Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara State believed to be supporters of former Governor AbdulAziz Yari and Sen. Kabiru Marafa have decamped to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The FidelinfoNews gathered that the decamping members were received by the state PDP Chairman, Alh. Tukur Umar Danfulani, who later presented them to Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle at his residence in Gusau, the state capital.
Leader of the decampees, Comrade Abdullahi Danda Bungudu, said they were at the Governor’s residence to register their support after declaring their defection at the state PDP Secretariat and being officially received by the state Party Chairman.
Comr. Bungudu noted that their defection was inspired by the Governor’s handling of the security situation in the state, and numerous projects embarked on in the space of 2 years since the Governor assumed office.
While responding, Gov. Matawalle ascertained his commitment to development of the state, and also commended the new members for their foresight.
AbdulRazaq To Unite APC Factions With Appointments, Awaits Nominees From Lai Muhammed, Others
The current delay in the announcement of a full cabinet by the Kwara State government since the dissolution of the previous cabinet may not be unconnected to moves by the state Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to ensure adequate representation of camps and factions within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Fidelinfonews sources have indicated that Governor AbdulRazaq had made a request of nominees from the camps of the Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed and a few others, with emphasis on balance of gender and faith.
A party echelon who craved anonymity said “I am aware that the Governor, as part of his move efforts, has personally met with the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed and a few others to request them to send in nominees for the new cabinet. In fact, the need to give Lai and others more presence in the government was a major reason for the dissolution of the cabinet in the first place”.
“Two weeks ago, the Governor came to see the Minister in Abuja and they discussed the cabinet composition. He asked the Minister to bring the names of his nominees, even though he requested that he prefers a mixture of men and women for a balanced cabinet. But the feelers are that the Minister and others fighting the Governor are saying they want the former chairman Basheer Omolaja Bolarinwa to be returned.
“This is a condition they are putting on the ground. The Governor does not appear to be disposed to that. Besides, the request is interpreted even at the APC national secretariat to mean that the Minister wants to have absolute control of the party to the detriment of the Governor and other stakeholders who hardly agree with the Minister.”
Recall that the Governor recently sent a list of 7 commissioner nominees to the state assembly, which had since been approved, as reported by the FidelinfoNews.
Another source from other camps also said “Another challenge is that the nominees being brought forward are all men. I understand that the Governor is saying that, whereas he appointed 56 percent female commissioners before, the lowest he would go is 50 percent apiece and adequate faith representation”.
“The challenge now is that the Governor we know may be forced to return his former cabinet members if the camp of Alhaji Lai Mohammed and others do not come up with their cabinet nominees while insisting that BOB must return. I hope reasons prevail so that the party can move on,” he added.
Efforts to get the reaction of the Governor’s spokesperson and the Information minister proved abortive as at press time.
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