The Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed, relaxes by working out at the gym, writes Ademola Adeyemo
In his two years of steering the affairs of Kwara State, Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed, like some of his peers, has suddenly taken to some physical changes which tell of the challenges that come with the office. What with the palpable strands of grey hair scattered all over him? That, of course, is indicative of stress and fatigue involved in the delivery of promises to the people of Kwara.
But a smart Ahmed has devised a means of surviving the stress challenge: adhering to routine engagement in physical exercises after spending hours tending to official engagements. The Governor has simply keyed into the saying: all works and no play puts a man’s health at great risk.
As a result, he has continued to keep fit in order to remain healthy and be able to continue to serve the people of the state at optimum capacity.
Outside official engagements or real time politics, Ahmed retires to the gym with his trainer where he spends hours secreting the glands of stress and becomes re-invigorated for the next challenge. Indeed, after this, he also finds it interesting visiting some of his cabinet members and other well wishers to catch up on issues.
“My day usually starts at 5.00am when I wake up to observe prayers and I may be officially engaged till 2.00am except for weekends when I get time to relax by a workout at the gym with my trainer and after this, share happy times with my wife and children during which I listen to them and understand their needs and thereafter have a light breakfast.
“My days usually speed with a flurry of official engagements, meetings, courtesy visits, briefings and paper works. It is hectic but deeply satisfying. Sometimes, I have to be reminded it is lunch time though I usually break for prayers,” he said.
The Governor confessed that he cherishes the most, time spent with his family and for obvious reasons. “I treasure these periods because they make you focus on what is important in life and thank God for giving me a wonderful family. My family is also my reality check, a constant reminder to always do the best for the people, the real reasons we are here.
“Then, I also like to be in the gym for a more relaxing workout like swimming, playing table tennis or snooker. In addition, on weekends, I play football with my friends and some cabinet members; otherwise, I just watch them play.
“I am also a voracious reader. Reading expands my horizon. It is why I fully support Her Excellency, my wife's Book Reading Club because reading keeps the mind active and enriches one's worldview. I, especially, like historical books, religious and spiritual texts, biographies, political treatises and business books. Always, I retire to bed with a book.
“Most times, an urgent file is also nearby because governance is a-24-hour engagement. But the knowledge that one is imparting positively on people's life makes it all worthwhile,” he stated
Ahmed, the 19th executive governor of Kwara State, brings to the position composite experience in the academia, banking and public sectors. Given this rich tapestry of experience and high-quality training, his compelling focus on performance and unwavering desire to develop the state since assuming office are palpable.
In his nine years of public service, including the eight as commissioner in the state, the Governor’s track record of achievements has further established him as an expert in public sector fiscal policy, strategic development planning and optimal utilisation of resources.
Born on December 29, 1963 in Share, Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, Ahmed’s stint in governance started in 2003 when, on the back of a successful banking career, he was appointed Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development in the Senator Bukola Saraki administration.
As commissioner, Ahmed actualised the computerisation of the Treasury to reduce incidences of fraud, particularly on staff salary. He also ensured prudent management of state resources which twice earned government excellent rating by the Fitch Rating International.
Fondly called "Magida" by political admirers, Ahmed was challenged by the track record of his predecessor, Saraki, and determined to live up to billings; he started by completing the projects left behind by Saraki as well as initiate new ones to the awe of the Kwara people.
Despite sustaining the legacy of excellence in areas like education, roads development, provision of portable water, health improvement, youths employment, poverty alleviation and economic growth among others, Ahmed has never lost sight of the need to unwind in order to become more productive.