Hammed Shittu reviews the various initiatives and programmes by the Kwara State government to deliver good governance for socio-economic development of the people of the state
The importance of good governance to the socio economic development of any nation cannot be over emphasised. Apart from the fact that, it would enhance the standard of living of the governed, it would also add values to the socio economic and industrial growth of the entire populace.
In line with this, the administration of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara state who is on his second term in office, in this year’s budget outlined programmes and policies that would be of higher priorities to the good living of the state.
This, the administration viewed, would allow the dividends of democracy get to the people and thereby enhance the socio-economic well-being of the populace especially those in the rural areas.
Among such highlights of the sectoral programme and policies presented by the governor to the state assembly include general public service, agriculture, health, water, roads development, environment and sanitation, education, power supply among others.
Access to Roads
In the area of roads development, the governor awarded the construction of some roads in the state to open up rural areas for economic and industrial development.
Under the year in review, many roads received vital attention as Governor Ahmed approved the release of N2.4 billion to contractors handling different road projects across the State.
Some of the roads include Aduralere-Isalekoko-Ojagboro-Sanu Sheu road, Henry George-Agbo-Oba road, Henry George-Unilorin mini campus road, Ita-Alamu village road, Oloro’s palace road, Share-Oke ode (lot 1), Share-Oke ode (lot 2), and Kishi-Kaiama road.
Others are Egbejila road, Ilorin, Arobadi Magida road in Moro LG, Baboko market road, Ilesha Baruba-Gwanara road, Rore-Ipetu road, construction of three-span bridge in Ilala, Ifelodun LG, and Anilelerin road, Offa.
The administration is also set to embark on a new flyover at Geri Alimi while the dualisation of Michael Imoudu/Ganmo road and Sango/UITH road to decongest traffic along that axis were also prioritised for construction.
To link the state to other states especially Oyo state that shares boundary with Kwara starting from Kisi in Orelope local government council of Oyo state, the state government has prioritised the construction of the 32km Kisi/Kaima road in the state as well as the Ilesha Baruba/Gwanara road this year.
This would help accelerate the economic development of the affected towns, which are agricultural produce areas of both Oyo and Kwara states and this would assist the local farmers to transport their agricultural produce to the nearby markets for sale which will boost the economic growth of the state.
Gains of Education
In the area of education, the building of two new campuses for Kwara State University in Osi and Ilesha Baruba is to be given priority to develop tertiary education in the state.
To improve the quality of education at all levels, government has focused on the infrastructural development of the state’s educational institutions and provide conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning.
Major activities planned for implementation in 2016 include renovation, equipping and furnishing of 30 existing secondary schools across the three senatorial districts of the state, education sector-wide portal development and deployment to track physical infrastructure, teachers’ quality and students’ progress, equipping the International Vocational Technical and Entrepreneurship College (IVTEC) Ajasse-Ipo, construction and equipping of new KWASU College of Agricultural Science in Ilesha-Baruba, Phase I.
Health is Wealth
In the health sector, various programmes and projects had been consolidated during the 2016 fiscal year. In order to ensure universal health coverage, the state government is planning to provide a Health Insurance Scheme for Public Primary School Pupils in the state in partnership with National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Also, the State Community Health Insurance Scheme will be provided with the counterpart fund to aid the upscaling of the scheme in the rural areas. While the state has the lowest HIV prevalence in the country, government has continued to support advocacy programmes to reduce transmission of the deadly disease in the state.
Water for Life
On water supply, the Ilorin water reticulation project will soon be completed to ensure that additional twenty-five per cent of the Ilorin population get adequate water supply.
When the project, which includes the secondary and tertiary reticulation of at least twenty-five locations, is completed, the coverage area of the water distribution network in Ilorin metropolis will be increased by about 25 per cent. Similarly, rehabilitation of some waterworks had been carried out in order to make water available all year round.
In addition, 792 hand pumps and 144 motorised boreholes will be provided to the rural communities across the sixteen Local Government Areas in the state.
To strengthen the water tanker support services as a veritable potable water supply initiative, the state government has concluded plans to procure additional water tankers for the service in the state.
In the transport sector, efforts to streamline governance and bring in more money by increasing revenue sources include the reorganisation of the transport division of Harmony Holdings to improve its efficiency. Kwara Express was wound up and replaced with Harmony Transport Services, which was earlier provided with 42 buses to expand its fleet and improve its operations.
Housing for All
In the housing sector, Governor Ahmed in March laid the foundation for the construction of a 1000-unit housing estate at new GRA, Budo-Osho area in Ilorin. It will comprise 700 three-bedroom flats and 300 two-bedroom flats. The housing scheme is aimed at addressing housing deficit in the State by providing quality and affordable shelters for low and middle class workers.
The governor also performed the groundbreaking of the construction of a landmark ultramodern shopping and office complex, called the Hub. This is the government efforts to develop the housing sector. Gradually, with the new shops that are also coming up around Fate road, the area is becoming a hub.
The commencement of helicopter training at the International Aviation College (IAC), Ilorin in February this year, is yet another remarkable achievement of the Ahmed’s administration in the last one year. The IAC is carrying out the training in partnership with the Nigerian Navy.
Other sectors that the administration had placed major emphasis on in the last one year include agriculture, arts, tourism, culture, rural development, and public service.
A resident of Ilorin, Alhaja Mujidat Bello lauded the efforts of the government in the last one year despite the paucity of funds being accrued from the federation account. She said the government has been able to manage the little resources to add values to the socio well-being of the populace.
She however advised that, the government should intensify efforts to block all wastages and improve the internally generated revenue to assist the government to garner enough funds to provide more developmental programmes for the entire people of the state.
In his submission, Mr. Michael Eso said it was high time the state government moved into other towns and villages apart from Ilorin, the state capital. He also urged the administration to address unemployment rate among youths saying this would go a long way in reducing social vices among the teeming youths.
Basically, the state government needs to inject more money into the economy, stimulate the property and housing sector more, stimulate commerce and attract new investments, generate employment opportunities for the youth and further establish the state as a growing economic hub.
With the display of good governance by the administration through the ongoing implementation of its policies and programmes there is propensity for the investors to come down to the state for businesses, and this would improve its economy in revenue generation and employment opportunities for the unemployed graduates in the state. That is a positive focus.