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Kwara Celebrates And Honours Founding Fathers, Heroes, Achievers

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Kwara State on Friday night honoured a galaxy of its great and the good, deceased or alive, with Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq saying the awards underline his administration’s efforts to promote excellence, hard work, patriotism, inclusion, and sustainable development.

Fidel Info reports that the awards came under various categories, atop of which are the Lifetime Achievements’ Awards and Posthumous Awards that featured some of Kwara’s finest breeds and legends of all time from different walks of life: law, politics, economy, academics, arts and culture, security agencies, trade and commerce, media, and sports, among others.

Winners in some other categories got mouth-watering prizes, including brand-new exotic cars presented to six winners like the overall best teacher, overall best worker in the health sector, best supporting officer in security sector, best para-athlete, and best athlete. Overall Best Student got N500,000, while a few others in some other categories got varying monetary prizes.

The stars of the Lifetime Achievements and Posthumous awards’ categories included Nigeria’s former Chief Justice Alfa Salihu Modibbo Belgore; former head of Nigeria’s secret police General Abdullahi Adangba; Dr. Amuda Aluko; late Chief Josiah Olawoyin; founder of Okin Biscuit and foremost educationist Emmanuel Adesoye; former Senate Leader Olusola Saraki; first lawyer in Northern Nigeria AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho Abdul-Razaq, SAN; living music legend Jayegbade Alao; former Central Bank Governor and Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters Dr. Sarah Alade; the late Ahman Patigi; the late Chief Judge of the Federal High Court Justice Mahmud Babatunde Belgore; the late Governor Mohammed Alabi Lawal; the late Gen. Tunde Idiagbon; late General Abdulkareem Adisa; late Gen. Lasisi Bamigboye; first Professor of Geology in Africa Prof. Mosobalaje Oyawoye; the late former Minister of Health Alhaji Yahya Madawaki Orioko; former Governor Shaaba Lafiagi; former Governor Cornelius Adebayo; winner of an international academic award Prof. Abdulrazaq Abdulmajeed Alaro; founder of Kam Holdings Alhaji Kamoru Ibitoye Yusuf; founder of Al-Hikmah University Alhaji Abdulraheem Oladimeji; former Vice Chancellor of FUT Minna Prof. Suleiman Adeyemi; Prof. David Babalola; former Minister Amina Ndalolo; Ambassador Zara Omar; and the late football legend Rashidi Yekini; amongst many others.

The two categories had at least 50 great recipients honoured for their impacts in Kwara, Nigeria, and the world.

Several of the awardees were present at the maiden stately event, while many others were represented by their children, wives, families, and friends. The Governor personally presented the two major categories, while other dignitaries presented the others amid interludes of short videos featuring the strides of the administration across various sectors, especially health, education, and safety nets for the poor.

The night saw Kwara honour many of its development partners (UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, ActionAid Nigeria, etc), firms and individuals, who have done so well for themselves and for the state for many years — a category which the First Lady Ambassador Olufolake AbdulRazaq presented.

The Radio Kwara, long known for its quality broadcast and its being a longstanding legacy of the state, won the medal in the media category that had the NTA and TVC as contestants.

The award ceremony had quality attendance. The hall was filled to the brim, with guests ranging from Senators, members of the House of Representatives, judges, cabinet members, royal fathers, captains of industry, members of the diplomatic corps, senior civil servants, security commanders, politicians across the aisles, and many more.

Speaking at the colourful stately event, Governor AbdulRazaq said the calibre of the awardees speaks to the quality of manpower with which the state is blessed.

“On behalf of the government and people of this state, I congratulate all our awardees. The award is our token of appreciation for what you have done and continue to do make Kwara proud. This award is a strategy to promote excellence and patriotism in our state. It is also a dutiful effort to interrogate and put history in proper perspective,” he said.

“Kwara is a land of great people with impressive footprints, dead or alive; so the list of recipients of this award will widen in the next editions, God willing.

“Senior citizens, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this administration represents the collective aspirations of our people for progress, development, equitable governance, and respect for the dignity of the human person. This has guided our steps through the past three and half years. Our programmes, projects, and policies have been conceived to give everyone a fair shot.

“We are as focused on infrastructural and human capital development as we are on giving every segment of our state a fair share of what our resources can afford. We are also building a new political culture that respects self-reliance, industry, and healthy competition.

“Over the past three and half years, we have invested so much to refocus the developmental priorities of our state. This has been tough in the face of global economic challenges. Regardless, we are proud of our strides across sectors. Measured against where we are coming from, indices of human capital development have never been so bright, verifiable, and relatable across Kwara State. Even so, we acknowledge the existing gaps and we are committed to beat our own records.

“We are not perfect. We therefore need you to continue to engage us in good faith so that we can continue to improve.”

In his response to the award, former CJN Alfa Belgore said it was a great moment for him and the state.

“I am indeed proud of what we are witnessing in our state and I really wish to see the Governor at the national level after he completes his second term,” he said, himself narrating his strides as a judge who had risen through the ranks to the zenith at the Nigerian bench.

Belgore said: “There are so many things happening, but what is happening that has pleased me too much for this state (Kwara) is Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. His family has served this state so much, and I kept on wondering what all of them would become. When they said the next gubernatorial candidate would come from the family (AbdulRazaq’s), that I knew very well since 1955, I was very happy.

“I voted for him (the Governor). And when it was announced that he won the election and became the Governor I was equally happy. And I do pray for him and will continue to pray to almighty God to lead him right for the whole country to benefit from him. When he finishes the second term in office, I pray he will come to Abuja to be the head of state, because he comes from a family that has always served Nigeria well and he is doing very well. May you continue to succeed, and may Kwara and Nigeria grow very strongly.”

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
December 24, 2022

Governance

Governor AbdulRazaq Set To Commission Highest Number Of Modern Glass Squash Courts In West Africa

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Kwara State government is set to unveil 10 modern glass squash courts at the state’s stadium complex in Ilorin.

Fidel Info reports that according to the chairman of Kwara State Sports Commission, Bola Magaji, the modern arenas, which are the highest number situated in one location in Nigeria and West Africa, are currently being constructed by the state government to continue improving the standard of the sport in the state.

He noted that Kwara State, which has produced stars in squash and also dominated the sport across Nigeria in recent times, needed to upgrade its facilities and other sports arenas at the state stadium to meet modern athletics demands.

He added that Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is focusing on transforming Kwara State to Nigeria’s hub of sports.

“The two courts initially at the stadium have been renovated and the government is adding eight more courts that would accommodate singles and doubles events. It will be ready for use very soon.

“This facility has not been seen at the moment in any state in Nigeria and West Africa. Kwara State is known for outstanding performance in squash. Most of our athletes were used by other states at the 2022 National Sports Festival at Asaba, which shows the state’s commitment to the sport.”

Magaji, a former national squash champion, said that apart from the squash courts, other facilities at the Ilorin Stadium are being renovated to help athletes hone their skills in an organised environment.

“We have 32 active sports in Kwara State and all facilities to make athletes excel is being put in place.

“The state government is also working hard to prepare the basketball team for continental engagements… we are not leaving out the welfare of players and coaches of Kwara United F.C, who are currently playing in the NPFL,” he said.

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Governance

Ex-President Obasanjo Lauds Governor AbdulRazaq Over Youth Inclusion In Governance

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Former Nigerian President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has commended Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq over his policy of including and engaging youths in governance.

Fidel Info reports that the former President said he is extremely proud of developments in the state under Governor AbdulRazaq as he gets many testimonies from different quarters on his efforts and strides.

He made these comments during a chat with the Governor when he was received to the state at the Ilorin International Airport over the weekend.

Chief Obasanjo had visited the state to attend the wedding ceremony between the children of popular businessman Alhaji Kamarudeen Yusuf (KAMWIRE) and Alhaji Adelodun Oba Adebayo SAN.

The ceremony which was also graced by the Governor had many other prominent dignitaries in the country in attendance, including Chief of Staff to the President Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Minister of Mines and Steel Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite; Emir of Kano Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, Olofa of Offa Oba Muftau Muhammed Gbadamosi; top businessman Alhaji Aliko Dangote; among others.

Governor AbdulRazaq has earned recognition for youth and women inclusion in government. His cabinet is peopled mostly by youths and women in what has never been witnessed in the state in the past.

Kwara currently holds the record of having the youngest commissioner in the whole of Nigeria. The state has produced two youngest commissioners under Governor AbdulRazaq.

In his remarks, Chief Obasanjo said, “I am proud and happy about the great testimonies that come from Kwara State. I have followed and observed your passion for youth inclusion in governance. It is very commendable because it is a way of securing the future of our country.

“These young people are being exposed to governance and administration at the early part of their lives. They will surely contribute their quota to national development through the experience they have gathered over the years.

“I hear a lot of positive stories about Kwara State under your administration. I follow the developmental strides, particularly the transformation and revolution you are bringing to the agricultural sector. I commend all these efforts. You are doing so well and I wish you success at the forthcoming polls.”

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RE: NG-CARES Fund: Kwara State Government Sets the Record Straight

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The attention of the Kwara State Government has been drawn to some false and malicious claims by some opposition elements that the administration of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq siphoned over 20 Million Dollars NG-CARES Fund targeted at empowering more than three thousand small and medium scale businesses in Kwara State. This claim, which is a laughable copycat effort seen in some other states, is nothing but a theatrical display that is totally false. The agenda of these fake news purveyors is to misinform the public, malign, and smear the reputation of the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq-led government, which has invested resources and efforts into social safety programmes in Kwara State.

Fidel Info reports that this rejoinder therefore sets the record straight while offering the characters behind the malicious claims an opportunity to be properly informed on the concept, implementation, and achievements of the NG-CARES Programme in Kwara State.

2. The idea of NG-CARES came around May 2020 during the lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of Covid-19 in Nigeria. The NG-CARES is a two-year emergency response intervention designed by the World Bank and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to assist the 36 States and FCT cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives and livelihood of the poor and the vulnerable. The core objective of the programme is to “expand access to livelihood support and food security services, and grants for vulnerable households and firms”.

3. The NG-CARES Programme is a state-budgeted intervention with support from the World Bank through a credit facility in the sum of $750 Million USD, with each participating State eligible to access an equal amount of $20 Million USD, depending on the results achieved. It is imperative to also educate the general public that the NG-CARES Programme is a Programme for Result (PforR), as opposed to the usual Independent Project Financing (IPF) approach adopted by the World Bank. This is a novel financing instrument developed by the World Bank that links the disbursement of funds directly to the achievement of specific programme results. It is also important to state that while the programme is a grant to beneficiaries, it is a credit facility to the State Governments.

To this effect, a Subsidiary Loan Agreement (SLA) was entered into by the State government with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning on 30th August 2021. The programme was declared effective by the World Bank on 28th September 2021.

4. The NG-CARES Programme is being implemented in Kwara State by the following Delivery Platforms: the State Cash Transfer Unit (SCTU); Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW); Kwara State Community and Social Development Agency (KWCSDA), Kwara State FADAMA Coordinating Office; and Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP). The Kwara State CARES Coordinating Unit (SCCU) in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development provides institutional support to the implementing units.

5.  As a participating State, Kwara State, like other States, was expected to meet the eligibility criteria set by the World Bank. In the end, the State was eligible for a DLI advance of N900 Million, which was released in March 2022. Thus far, the total sum of N1,418,314,964 has been expended on the NG-CARES Programme in Kwara State, out of which only N900,000,000 was provided by the World Bank. The sum of N518,314,964 was provided by the State Government towards implementing the Programme.

6. It is apt to state at this point that being a programme designed by the World Bank, the NG-CARES Programme is being implemented in strict adherence to the domesticated Operations Manual of the Programme. The Kwara State CARES Operations Manual was cleared by the World Bank. Being a Programme For Result, any State that implements the programme outside of the dictate of the Operations Manual is at risk of forfeiting the reimbursement from the World Bank.

7. For the programme, Kwara State subscribed to 8 of the 11 programmes designed by the World Bank. The following are the results achieved so far by the Kwara State government under the implementing agencies:

S/N Implementing Agencies Achievement

1 State Cash Transfer Unit (SCTU) 1690 Beneficiaries receiving N20,000 Bi-Monthly

2. Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW) 1025 Youths Engaged in Social Service receiving N10,000 Monthly.

3 Kwara State Community and Social Development Agency (KWCSDA) 35 Micro-Projects has been executed in 9 Local Governments in areas of health, water and sanitation.

4.  Kwara State FADAMA Coordinating Office 6561 Farmers have benefitted from agric inputs and assets across the 16 LGAs of the State.

5. Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) 688 Small and Micro Businesses across the 16 LGAs supported with an operational grant in the range of N200,000 and N700,000.

8. The allegation by some opposition elements that the actual amount designed by the Federal Government was N3.2 Million or N3.5 million (as they variously claimed in self-contradiction) to MSMEs is false and concocted misinformation. This is nothing but a figment of their imagination. This falls under Result Area 3 being implemented by the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) which supported a total number of 688 Small and Micro Businesses with operational grants size of between N200,000.00 and N700,000.00 in the 16 Local Government Areas of the State. This is in tandem with the World Bank approved NG-CARES Operations Manual. This is contrary to the false claims  that businesses were given peanuts of N15,000.00 each.

9. In addition, the NG-CARES Programme embraced transparency right from the application processes to the disbursement in collaboration with the Bank of Industry.

KWASSIP deployed an online portal where interested businesses provided documents and records of their businesses, while the Bank of Industry (BOI) was mandated with scrutinising their documents and disbursing to the eligible businesses. Through different news media, interested members of the public were adequately sensitized to register their businesses through the portal. The choice of BOI was to ensure that every application was treated based on their merit. All of the 688 businesses selected as first batch of beneficiaries were based on meeting the required eligibility criteria as stipulated in the Kwara State CARES Operations Manual.

10. At this juncture, it is germane to state that as one of the best-performing States, Kwara State was chosen by the World Bank for a Technical Support Mission to help other participating States learn from the modus operandi of the NG-CARES Programme in Kwara State.

11. Finally, we would like to enjoin members of the public to ignore the mischief being peddled by these opposition elements on the programme. The unfounded claim is an attempt to mislead the public as well as distract the good works of His Excellency Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, especially in the area of social safety investment. The first assessment by the Independent Verification Agents appointed by the World Bank was just recently concluded. Thereafter, the state government is expected to be reimbursed of its resources already invested into the programme in line with the verifications by the IVA.

However, the state government would not allow itself to be distracted by the noise of the mischief-makers in NG-CARES implementation since the programme implementation is expected to continue after the reimbursement.

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