OPINION: AbdulRazaq’s Agenda For Kwara Is Clear, Unambiguous, And Futuristic By Rafiu Ajakaye
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has long unveiled his multi-sector agenda for the people of Kwara State. He speaks to this agenda every day — and will continue to do so in town hall meetings, off-the-cuff gatherings, e-platforms, and at every opportunity he has to talk to any Kwaran on the street. The Governor will build his re-election bid on his achievements, tangible and intangible, and the plans already being implemented.
With an experienced head on young shoulders, the Governor had come to office on the back of a democratic revolution, which swept away the old order. The last three years of his first tenure recorded pleasantly measurable achievements in public access to qualitative education, healthcare delivery, potable water, agriculture, urban planning, rural development, social safety net, youth engagement and women empowerment, and pro-business policies. Data earlier provided have shown positive growths in several areas (see: _Notes on the Kwara journey; Kwara marches to greater heights — it won’t recede_ ), including improvements and greater efficiency in internal revenue generation. Hard fact: the state revenue agency posted a record-high N10.7bn in the first quarter of 2022. That was the highest IGR for a quarter in the history of the state. This is mainly due to the introduction of new technology and deliberate efforts to widen the tax nets and block leakages without undue burden to the people.
In agric, we have laid bare the journey ahead in the administration’s five-year transformation plan. It is accessible to the reading public (via kwara state government’s website), and has repeatedly been communicated at various fora over the last two years, including on radio and town hall meetings, and is steadily being implemented as resources permit.
Whether in crop or livestock farming, the administration has made its mark as can be seen in the phased investment in new tractors, bulldozers, farm inputs subsidy programmes, and reorganisation of farmers along manageable strata based on verifiable database system. The latter curtails the notorious ‘political farmer syndrome’ and ensures that government’s support get to those who truly need it.
The Governor has also shown lucid understanding of climate change issues and their ramifications for now and the future. It was in this context he has situated the question of the drying water bodies, transhumance, herders-farmers’ clashes, sustainable living, and food security. That explains Kwara’s successful bid and commitment to the AfDB-funded agroprocessing zone — one of the six planned for the whole of Nigeria.
Under the programme, herders will be supported to settle down to a life of sustainable living that not only affords them everything to productively raise their herds in modern way and an even more decent family but also ends the centuries-old confrontations with other economic groups. The gains will be unquantifiable: a more peaceful society; fatter cows with healthier and improved milk yield; a better prospect for food security; and a new frontier for job creation.
That is half the story. The agroprocessing zone entails a lot more. The zone will open a new economic frontier along agric value chains and backward integration with prospects for massive private sector-led job creation for young and old people and general prosperity that in turn reduces crime rates.
Technology is not left out in his plans for the state. The concept of workplace has changed; so must our preparations for the future. Not only has the innovation hub been designed for the urgency of now, the state is implementing what is called the Kwara State Education Transformation Agenda (KWETA), an offshoot of which is KwaraLEARN.
Under KwaraLEARN, every Kwara child in public basic schools is introduced to technology and is taught in a way that guarantees better learning outcome and a brighter future. An important plank of KWETA is the Kwara State Education Trust Fund whose law has since been passed. This officially encourages the private sector and philanthropists to support public education, including adopting schools for infrastructural upgrade and other supports that help the people.
The Trust Fund is built on the reality that government needs all the support it can mobilise to provide qualitative education to the children. While such support is certain to give massive public goodwill to the private sector funders, the law does not invite anyone to impose hidden costs on the people.
On December 13, 2021, the Governor launched a 10-year sustainable development plan (2021-2030) — the third of such Kwara-specific comprehensive plan in the history of the state. The first, a five-year plan, had been unveiled in 1970, while the second ran between 1975 and 1980. A product of wide consultations, it had been drawn by serving and retired bureaucrats and stakeholders with good heads on their shoulders.
As the Governor remarked at its launch, the blueprint is anchored on four core pillars: governance and institutional reforms; economic development; social development; and infrastructural development. The plan is estimated to gulp N4.7tr between now and 2030 — a long-term investment he said is necessary for sustainable growth with funding windows from private and public sources.
It is a plan that speaks to everything needed to build a modern state and chart the path to collective prosperity: good infrastructure, youths and women empowerment; support for farmers and food security; small and medium scale enterprises, creativity, tourism and arts; and leveraging technology and innovation for improved revenue generation, mass employment, good healthcare system, and sustainable living in 21st century.
An offshoot of the blueprint is the Ilorin City Master Plan, the second of such since 1970s for the capital city. Covering an area of 2,000 kilometre square and drawn largely from stakeholders’ inputs, the 20-year master plan provides professional insights into how the city will be organised in the areas of public transport and utilities, waste management, water and drainage system, education, health, climate change management and green areas, job opportunities, agriculture, and future expansion of the city as its population grows.
The Governor has said such plans are in the pipeline for Offa/Oyun, Igbomina, Patigi/Edu, and Baruten axes of the state. This is the path to sustainable future.
With signature projects like Sugar Film Factory, Visual Arts Centre, Innovation Hub, Garment Factory, Ilorin International Conference Centre, and support for small businesses, it is clear Kwara is boldly registering itself back to national consciousness. The vision is supported by many big road projects in the north, south, and central which connect important parts of the state. Add those to the imposing General Tunde Idiagbon Bridge — a soon-to-emerge cynosure which will serve as Kwara’s version of the beautiful Ikoyi Bridge, decongest traffic into University of Ilorin, and ease the traffic for Ilorin of the future.
The whole idea is to improve the business outlook of Kwara State, raise its competitiveness among its peers, create fertile grounds for sustainable growth and employment, and improve the living standards of the people.
The above, and more, shows a clear, sure-footed and implementable vision the Governor has for the state and its people. He will continue to speak to not just this vision and its implementation strategies, but importantly to his bold footprints in every part of Kwara State, especially in basic amenities, education, infrastructure, expanding economic base, support for the poor and elderly, gender inclusion policy, and many projects of now and the future.
These are things that speak for AbdulRazaq and are readily available for public assessment ahead of the polls. When campaign opens in the next few weeks, the Governor will prefer to (as he did in 2019) move from one community to the other, in city centres and in far-flung agrarian settlements, at night and in day time, to seek people’s mandate. If he isn’t on fancy platforms beset by cameras, he definitely means no harm or disrespect. It is because he is elsewhere on the road inspecting ongoing projects or talking to the electorate and community leaders.
• Ajakaye is CPS to the Governor of Kwara State
APC SAK: On March 18, Our Vote Should Be For AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq- Qudus Adelodun
Just like the February 25th election is now history, March 18, the new date of the gubernatorial and state assembly elections, is also around the corner and would also become history in the nick of time. One significant thing however is that we cannot afford to get it wrong in our dear state, Kwara. Citizens must vote right and vote wisely.
The March 18th poll is a choice between maladministration and good governance. Never must we allow darkness to triumph over light! Any mistake could cost us a whole lot; something fatal than we had experienced in the past. That’s why for me, I choose AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Mr. Capacity) over the assemblage of desperate and disgruntled politicians.
Kwarans, we must never forget where we came from. Four years ago, we liberated ourselves from the hands of desperate, arrogant and self-serving politicians who had arrogated our state and all its resources to themselves. They had no regard for human dignity. They failed in governance and administration.
We must never forget that we came from an era where civil servants did not get their salaries and entitlements as and when due. We must never forget that we came from an era where senior citizens who are retirees did not get their pensions and gratuities. We must never forget that we came from a regime where the water question could not be tackled head-on and our people were at the mercy of tankers to access something as basic as water. We must never forget we came from a regime that was rocked with all kinds of financial scandals, misappropriation, lack of value for money and widespread corrupt practices that drew our state several years back. It was under this same era that UBEC grant worth billions of naira was diverted, taking our basic education many years backwards.
Kwarans, we must never forget all these atrocities and scenarios as we approach the gubernatorial and state assembly elections to make an all-important decision. As we go to the polls, we must also bear in mind the landmark transformation and remarkable change that have happened across sectors of the state.
Starting from what was practically ground zero, AbdulRazaq has taken our state to enviable heights. From a state with no functional tractor in 2019, Kwara is now recognised as one of the rice producing states in the country due to his major investments in agriculture and support for farmers. From a state with no functional ambulance in 2019, Kwara was applauded for its exemplary role in managing COVID-19 and is now the state that houses the largest Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the whole of central Nigeria. The state now has ventilators. Our Isolation Centre is renovated and refurbished to a standard taste. Our long-abandoned Oxygen Plant in Sobi is now up and running. All these are results of prudence and capacity.
With the quantum of works this administration has done in the last four years, there is no ward in Kwara State today where it doesn’t have a project. The administration has established bold government presence in all the wards constituting the state. Young people and women are given recognition like never before in the state. The same state where youths were relegated to nothing and/or as ‘good boys’ is now where they get million naira grants to boost their entrepreneurial desires. This stands commendable! And this is the same fashion in which the government has been supporting every segment and demography of the society.
One thing I will never forget to add is the conducive political environment this administration has created. Opposition and dissenting voices are not been silenced or muzzled. It was so bad under the previous regime that opposition elements dare not attend events that the governing personalities attend. Everything has changed. People now have the platforms to ventilate their views without nursing the fear of being chased about by good boys.
The political culture has also changed drastically. Yesterday, you had to practically crawl and genuflect for the hegemons to grow in politics and government. Today, nobody does that. Political offices have been largely demystified. You now have the sense that political office holders are more or less like you, and that you can also be one in the nearest future.
Kwarans, we must never forget. We must allow the consolidation of this transformative foundation that has already been laid. On Saturday, March 18, we should all come out en masse to vote Mr. Capacity AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. He is the man who has shown capacity where others failed woefully.
Adelodun writes from Oro, Kwara State
March 11: Dear Kwarans, Let Us Do Four More With AbdulRazaq By Abdulquadri Mahmud
A few weeks before the presidential and national assembly elections, I was very optimistic that my fellow Kwarans would vote for the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) because of the unprecedented achievements the state has recorded under the party. And as God would have it, they did. They voted APC from top to bottom. Their action no doubt shows that they are progressives and do not want any party (PDP) that will reverse their gains over the last three years. It also shows that they do not want a Saraki dynasty that will take them back to the era of geri-gedi and all sorts of maladministration.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Kwarans for choosing to be progressives. Also, I want them to know that there is no chaff in all the candidates they elected. They’ll represent us well at the national level and fulfill their campaign promises.
However, Kwarans should know that our dear state will not be fully progressive if we fail to re-elect Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq whose achievements in the last three years have brought Kwara back on track. The governor has done well for us and the best way to compensate him for his good intentions towards us and our dear state is to come out en masse on March 11 to cast our votes for him. Among all the candidates vying for the post, AbdulRazaq is the only candidate who means well for Kwara.
AbdulRazaq was tested and he delivered. He comforted Kwarans and recorded the achievements his predecessors could not record in their 16 years of misruling and looting Kwara state. Bukola Saraki and his stooge Abdul Fatah Ahmed had almost sold Kwara on Jumia before AbdulRazaq came on board. They had sold many properties belonging to the state government. Despite this, they did not pay civil servants salaries. Despite this, they could not fix bad roads and schools whose structures were terrible and posed threats to students.
It was AbdulRazaq’s emergence that brought relief and renewed our hope in Kwara state. All the things that could have benefited Kwarans such as the 30,000 naira minimum wage, provision of potable water, and others, Saraki and Abdul Fatah failed to deliver them. They treated Kwarans like they were not humans while they comforted their party loyalists with the state’s treasury. It was the AbdulRazaq-led administration that changed the story. Today, our people have access to potable water and receive the 30,000 naira minimum wage among others.
To continue unraveling the progress, growth, and developments we see today in all parts of our dear Kwara, we must ensure AbdulRazaq’s victory at the polls on March 11. That’s the only way to prevent Saraki and his hungry boys from coming back to loot our treasury. The Saraki dynasty has nothing to offer other than misery, suffering, and poverty. That’s why we must do everything legal to prevent the dynasty from raping Kwara again.
Dear Kwarans, “let’s march to victory and progress”. Let’s do four more with a trustworthy, receptive, and responsive AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. He remains the best man for the job. Kwarans do not need someone who will be waiting for his greedy and merciless leader’s directive before he can attend to their needs. What Kwarans need is someone who has the wherewithal to run her affairs and that person is Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq!
Abdulqaudri Mahmud writes from Ilorin East LGA, Zango Ward, Ilorin Kwara state
Why Kwarans Shouldn’t Fall For Saraki’s New Gimmick- Abdulqaudri Mahmud
When Bukola Saraki realized that his several propaganda to pit Kwarans against Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s performing government didn’t work, he directed all his followers to start begging Kwarans to vote for the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar if they can’t vote for the party’s governorship candidate, Abdullahi Yaman. He said the former’s victory was more important than the latter’s. The former Senate President didn’t just say this, he has discovered that well-meaning Kwarans are in full support of AbdulRazaq’s second-term bid.
However, Kwarans should be very careful and shouldn’t fall for Saraki’s new gimmick. Even though Saraki has failed to tell his followers why he prefers Atiku’s victory to Yaman’s, some of us know his reason. Saraki knows that Yaman can’t win AbdulRazaq at the polls, therefore, if Atiku wins he is going to help him claim either by force or by raping the court. Currently, Saraki’s boys have been meeting unsuspecting Kwarans and begging them to vote for Atiku if they can’t vote for Yaman. That’s why you will barely see them campaign for Yaman in the last few weeks.
This essayist urges Kwarans not to fall for Saraki’s evil plans against them and the progressive state. The steady development and unprecedented achievements of the present administration have been giving Saraki and his retrogressive camp a serious headache and they are sad that Governor AbdulRazaq is doing what they couldn’t do for the people in their 16 years of governance in Kwara state.
From Saraki’s campaign rallies and his very recent interview on Sobi FM, it is glaring that he does not mean well for Kwara state and Kwarans. Saraki said the AbdulRazaq-led government had failed. If I may ask him, a government that pays salaries and promotes workers has failed? A government that repairs roads and renovates schools has failed? A government that provides potable water for its people has failed? A government that provides good teaching materials and introduced KwaraLEARN has failed? A government that creates jobs and pays the 30,000 minimum wages has failed?
Saraki is a sadist and he doesn’t mean well for Kwara state. His return will be a disaster for our dear state. May Saraki not happen to us again. If not for the Otoge movement in 2019, it is only God that knows where Kwara would have been by now. Bukola and his protege Abdulfatah Ahmed crumbled the state. Workers were owed months’ salaries, no potable water for the people, the structures of schools were terrible as students studied under the trees, no learning materials in classrooms, pensions, and gratuities were not paid, and hospitals were not hospitable. These are what Saraki calls achievements that AbulRazaq has not replicated which made him a failure, according to Saraki.
The Otoge movement gave us a brilliant, smart, and progressive AbdulRazaq. In all the areas Saraki and Abdulfatah had failed, AbdulRazaq has done well in the areas. Therefore, dear Kwarans, the 2023 presidential election and national assembly elections are this Saturday, February 25, let’s cast our votes for all the APC’s candidates and most importantly, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It’s our massive votes for Tinubu and other candidates that can stall Saraki’s evil plots against us and our dear state.
Abdulqaudri Mahmud writes from Ilorin East LGA, Zango Ward, Ilorin Kwara state
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