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OPINION: AbdulRazaq’s Agenda For Kwara Is Clear, Unambiguous, And Futuristic By Rafiu Ajakaye

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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

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2023: A PDP Governor Will Destroy Kwara Education Again – Abdulqaudri Mahmud

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Towards the end of former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed’s eight years in office, he offered some of his party members teaching jobs into TESCOM and UBEC without proper recruitment exercise. When Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq came on board, he asked that proper recruitment exercise should be done for the ‘sunset’ teachers and others. The governor engaged NUT, experts and independent bodies to conduct the exercise and they recorded the most transparent and fairest recruitment exercise in the history of Kwara state with the most qualified applicants securing the teaching jobs without influence.

Fidel Info reports that the screening committee found out that about 2,414 among the ‘sunset’ teachers didn’t deserve to be a teacher. While some of them failed woefully in the simple tests given to them, some do not have certificates and other eligibility requirements. These were the ‘olodo rabatas’ of the Saraki dynasty Ahmed and the Kwara PDP planted in our classrooms to teach our children rubbish and what they don’t know. All thanks to AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for doing the needful. Otherwise, the unprecedented achievements our education recorded in the space of three years wouldn’t have been possible.

However, the Kwara Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate Alhaji Shuaibu Abdullahi Yaman in his desperation to triumph in the forthcoming gubernatorial election said he would reinstate the ‘sunset’ teachers if elected. People like Yaman are narcissistic. Inasmuch as their stomachs are have been fed, they don’t care about those who are hungry. Because Yaman is desperately in need of the two thousand four hundred and fourteen ‘sunset’ teachers’ votes, the disaster their reinstatement will bring upon our education doesn’t concern him. May yaman yaman not happen to Kwara.

With this, Abdullahi Yaman has hinted Kwarans whom he’s aspiring to govern that he’ll operate a mediocre and incompetent government. The worst governor Kwara state ever had since its creation was Abdulfatah Ahmed, and Mr Yaman said he would uphold his legacies. Any candidate that means well for the state wouldn’t say he would continue the legacies of Megida. So, it’s safe to say Alhaji Shuaibu Abdullahi Yaman who will never be the governor of Kwara state doesn’t mean well for Kwara and Kwarans.

Alhaji Shuaibu Abdullahi Yaman’s claim that he would continue the legacies of Abdulfatah Ahmed has vindicated me. I recall a piece I wrote a few weeks ago with the title “A Governor Abdullahi Yaman Won’t Pay Civil Servants’ Salaries”. When the piece got to his idle media team, they call me all sorts of names with their dry pen. Now that their principal has said he would uphold Ahmed’s legacies which nonpayment is part of, I hope they’ll come out of their hidings and come up with some texts of apology.

Dear Alhaji Shuaibu Abdullahi Yaman, Kwarans don’t need a governor that will destroy their education system by reinstating the ‘sunset’ teachers that experts had concluded that they’re not competent to pass knowledge to our children. What Kwarans want is a governor that will give the best brains teaching jobs, facelift the structure of schools and compensate the teachers who are offering our children quality education. Governor AbdulRazaq is already doing all of these and I can assure you that Kwarans will re-elect him to continue the good job.

If Mr. Shuaibu Abdullahi Yaman really cares for the layoff ‘sunset’ teachers and believes that they deserve to be a teacher in contrary to the judgment of the experts who put them into tests, he should build primary and secondary schools outside Kwara state and employ them.

Abdulqaudri Mahmud writes from Ilorin East LGA, Zango Ward, Ilorin Kwara state

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PDP’s Yaman Abdullahi Will Reverse Our Gains In Kwara – Qudus Adelodun

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When I said Yaman Abdullahi the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kwara State is bereft of ideas and has no plans for the socioeconomic development and progress of our state, some attack rottweilers were unleashed on me, trying to fall on themselves in a bid to hurl insults.

The man Yaman was reported some few days ago to have said that he would implement the minimum wage of N30,000. One then wonders where he has been all the while. What an absent-minded guber aspirant! Or was he trying to be mischievous? The dynasty he ran to in a bid to satisfy his inordinate ambition never implemented the minimum wage when they were in power. That was even asking for too much because salary payment which is the basic never got the required attention. Civil servants were owed for months. They were paid geri-gedi salaries.

They were awarded fraudulent promotions (promotions without cash-backing). It was this current administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq that came and did the needful.

Governor AbdulRazaq has never defaulted in the payment of civil servants. Salary payment has been consistent, timely and up-to-date. Again, he approved the N30,000 minimum wage Yaman Abdullahi in his trance is saying he wants to implement. As it is now, no civil servant earns below N30,000 in Kwara State.

How many states are paying the new minimum wage in the whole of the federation considering the global economic and financial challenge? But Governor AbdulRazaq through sheer fiscal discipline has been managing the situation. He in fact implemented consequential adjustment too. Some states were paying the minimum wage but had since rescinded.

Kwara has not rescinded in paying the minimum wage so far. So, when Yaman Abdullahi was talking about the minimum wage, didn’t he check his facts correctly?

More laughably is Yaman Abdullahi telling some of his supporters during one of his recent visits to Kwara North that he is going to build on the legacy of immediate past Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed. I ask, is it the legacy of gerigedi salaries? Is it the legacy of owing civil servants for months? Is it the legacy of diverting UBEC grant? Is it the legacy of not getting value for money like they did with water project? Is it the legacy of leaving our schools and health care facilities like prison yards? Is it the legacy of converting public assets to private use? Is it the legacy of bastardising our media houses? Is it the legacy of abandoning our waterworks? Is it the legacy of not paying contractors and leaving unfinished projects?

What is inspiring about the administration of Abdulfatai Ahmed which some Sarakites are also very disappointed about? They blame their woes on his woeful performance and administration. But Ahmed did not just fail. Not having a mind of his own mind and being a governor that had to receive directive were largely responsible for his failure.

You cannot have two people at the driver’s seat and not expect a mishap to happen. Emperor Bukola Saraki was the man whose words were law. He had the final say. Ahmed must take order from him and not offend. That is the kind of personality Yaman Abdullahi will make. You can see he didn’t get the deserved respect he was supposed to be given during the PDP presidential campaign flag-off in Kwara. Everything was about Bukola Saraki, a man his people also claimed is not on the ballot. So insignificant was Yaman treated that Dino Melaye spokesperson of the campaign council mistook him for another person.

So, what should Kwarans watch for if Yaman Abdullahi mistakenly becomes governor. Just like his PDP colleague in Osun Ademola Adeleke the dancer who has no innovative idea to contribute to governance, Yaman Abdullahi will take us back. He will abolish the minimum wage. He will repeal the law that set up KWASSIP that has benefitted hundreds of thousands of people. KWASSIP is a baby of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. It was established under him as an anti-poverty mechanism where citizens irrespective of their political affiliations have been empowered, even to the tune of millions of naira individually. Yaman Abdullahi will abolish this establishment. He will reverse the promotion of people. Remember the dynasty he dines with never cash-backed promotion.

Yaman Abdullahi will also repeal the gender composition bill that promotes affirmative action, where female must occupy at least 35% of public positions. The dynasty Yaman Abdullahi is wining with does not respect the female folk and the youths. Yaman Abdullahi will pull down the innovation hub, garment factory and the likes. Some of the pundits in their camp are already saying rubbish about these investments that will not only make Kwara a go-to place, but also shore up the revenue base and generate employment opportunities.

Yaman Abdullahi has no progressive idea to paddle Kwara State to the dreamland. Kwarans must never let him reverse the gains we have witnessed under this administration. Poverty rate has reduced from 30.2% in 2019 to 20.4% in 2022. Unemployment rate has reduced from 21.2% in 2019 to 16.5% in 2022.

Kwara moved to 8th position from 19th position in 2019 in terms of fiscal sustainability rating. Over 600 schools have been renovated, rehabilitated and reconstructed in the last three years. About 14 waterworks across the three senatorial districts abandoned under the last administration have been rehabilitated too, with 2 new ones added to the list under this administration. Health care facilities have also been rehabilitated.

Development has been spread across the 16 local government areas of the state in the last three years. This administration has been hugely impactful to the general people of Kwara State. We must never go back!

Qudus Adelodun writes from Oro, Kwara State

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Why Is Saraki’s PDP Behaving Like A Headless Chicken? By Qudus Adelodun

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I didn’t foresee that my home truth will throw Bukola Saraki’s fake boys in disarray. Since I penned my article on how Saraki’s PDP will place Kwara State on Jumia for ridiculous sale after milking its resources dry if they mistakenly get power back in 2023, some of his fake boys have been trying to outdo one another in a contest of sycophancy and disingenuousness.

From the fake Dare Babatunde who I gathered was a high ranking official of the Saraki government but was only hiding under that name as has been his wont overtime, to the rabid Abdulyekeen Mohammed Bashir who also wrote to ‘mark attendance’, his writing devoid of logic and context, and other media bandits of the Saraki dynasty spread across the new media, what unites them all is the behaviour of a headless chicken.

They refused to address the substance of the matter and were just blabbing and throwing insults! Look, people with sound defense won’t use a whole article to insult and rant. So, you guys should face the issues squarely. I’m particularly surprised the fake Dare Babatunde couldn’t be proud enough of the government and principal he served and therefore offer his name in his watery defence. You can’t defend the indefensible.

If I may jolt the memories of these attack dogs, the people of Kwara said O to ge in 2019 because they were tired of the bad, uninspiring, poor, enslaving governance of the Saraki dynasty. They did that in one, loud voice that no elective position went the way of the dynasty. Some of you in fact agreed that if a chicken were presented as a candidate against your people, it will succeed. Does that not tell you how low you went in governance? Why are you struggling to rewrite history now?

You ran a state for 20 years and destroyed all the legacies of our heroes. Your leadership turned Kwarans to a people who had no water to drink. No quality healthcare system to access. Courts were in tatters. Civil servants didn’t get their salaries as and when due. They were also owed for several months. No implementation of minimum wage. Schools were like prison yards. You didn’t make teachers happy. These are basic, basic things. Yet you failed massively on them. I wonder if anyone who has honour will come out to identify with this glaring failure. It’s your history, don’t rewrite it.

The AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq you have targeted your diatribes at has provided water for the people by repairing the dysfunctional waterworks you abandoned for years. And we do not see the sorrowful tankers you used to distribute water about again. He has been timely and up to date in the payment of civil servants. The computers, printers you failed to buy for them to ease their work, he has bought them. He has invested so much in the basic education you collapsed. Over 600 schools have been rehabilitated and reconstructed in less than three years. Teachers get paid as and when due. Quality learning through KwaraLEARN is ongoing at our basic schools. We are already getting the low-hanging fruits with the brilliant and superlative outings of our pupils in external contests. More is to come. We have left the era where pupils are assisted in exams to make up for the failure of the system. Go see the ambulances this government procured for the state and compare it to the nonsense you left behind. You also know that you didn’t leave a single functional tractor across the state, but we now have about 15.

I chuckled when I saw Abdulyekeen defending the peculiar mess of UBEC grant diversion. He said the past administration didn’t divert the fund. He has the onus to explain to us why Kwara was blacklisted for years and they kept mute. Are they working in the interest of Kwarans or against? And more so, if anyone has more reason to go to court, it is Abdulfatai Ahmed whose government has been indicted. Is he not supposed to clear his name considering the weight of the allegation? What dingbats like Abdulyekeen don’t understand is that the people of Kwara can clearly see the difference between the past and the present. No amount of insults or illogicality will rewrite our story here!

So, I also posited that there was no meaningful investment Saraki did throughout his administration. All his vaunted achievements were marred with never-seen-before scam and failure. None of his boys have been able to do the analysis of the financial resources committed into Shonga Farm and the returns on investment Kwara has benefitted from it. In any case, Shonga Farm ended up a failure in the life of their dynasty, just like the dubious Cargo Terminal. Abdulyekeen should tell us where the Trailer Park Saraki promised to do when he wanted to access his bond is. Then, they have been trying to steal the glory of the FG in some projects. KWASU is one of them. You see, don’t be deceived, 90% of the structures at KWASU was funded by the Federal Government. This is the same way they got full payment for the Post Office Flyover they did which the FG was disappointed in its execution. Years later, Governor AbdulRazaq is constructing the Tanke Flyover with nearly close amount they voted for the Post Office Flyover years ago. Who’s the scammer? A well-informed person in the Saraki camp should come out and tell us what Kwara has benefitted as returns on investment from Kwara Mall and why they had to offer more shares to the private partners despite the fact that the state contributed mostly in the project. These are the issues I expect those behaving like headless chickens to address. Did Saraki not procure machine at Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre and refused to pay the contractors, carried over the debt to the administration of Abdulfatai Ahmed and to Governor AbdulRazaq. How can Kwara under Saraki attract billion naira worth of bond to execute investments and there is no record of the returns the state has made in them. It’s just debt, debtand debt everywhere. Abdulfatai Ahmed should also step out to explain how Harmony Holdings’ N4bn capitalisation fund turned to N404 million.

Under Governor AbdulRazaq, statistics are saying poverty rate have reduced, unemployment has reduced. These are results of his committment to the social investment programmes where people had benefitted millions of naira. Kwara has moved places in financial sustainability rating. Kwara was one of the states that attracted FDI in 2021. The number of industries in the state has risen tremendously under AbdulRazaq. Promotions are ongoing with cash-backing. The pensioners the cruel Saraki dynasty refused to pay, this administration has been paying. This administration is also embarking on legacy capital projects that will boost the economy, create job opportunities and bring prosperity to the state. They are unique and one-of-a-kind in the region and nation at large. The Visual Arts Centre is primed to do last mile finishing. Our Eye Centre follows immediately after the one in Kaduna in the whole of the North. The Innovation Hub will be one of the largest in the country. We have the Garment Factory, International Conference Center, Tanke Flyover, Nootia FM, Kakakin FM, Film Studio, Intensive Care Unit. All these achievements and feats in just three years are what is giving the Sarakites migraine. They can never forgive Governor AbdulRazaq for liberating Kwara State.

Adelodun writes from Oro, Kwara State

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