Transforming Kwara through Shared Prosperity

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Hammed Shittu writes about the efforts of the current administration under Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed to ensure better development in Kwara state through continuity in legacy projects for economic and shared prosperity

The present administration of governor Abdulfatah Ahmed assumed office on May 29, 2011 after successful completion of second term in office of former governor of the state and now senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki under the platform of “legacy continues”.

Upon assumption of office, the administration put in place strategies on ground as encapsulated in the legacy agenda of the administration to ensure the completion of all the inherited projects of the former administration of former governor Saraki.

It also began fashioning out new projects that would go a long way in bringing government closer to the grassroots and also accelerating the socio-economic and political agenda of the Kwarans.

Legacy Continued
Governor Ahmed was the brain behind the Saraki administration in the articulation of all its economic policies, having served as commissioner for Finance for almost six and half years and later commissioner for Economic Development and Planning.

These executive positions helped to prepare him for the herculean task of leading the state into economic and shared prosperity as coined by his administration.

During his first tenure in office, Ahmed ensured the completion of all the inherited projects of the former administration in the areas of roads, education, health and other social infrastructure spread around the nooks and cranny of the state of Harmony.

Completed Roads
During the period, the completion of all legacy roads within the state took place. Among such roads were Ibrahim Sulu Gambari road, Afon- Eiyenkorin, Ola-Olu- Offa garage, Offa township, Afon road, Chikanda- Kosubosu and Ero omo- Kilanko- Offa garage. All these affected roads covered over 234km roads in the state.
Also, after completion of these affected roads, Ahmed’s government embarked on operation no- pothole within the state capital and this led to the rehabilitation of all the bad roads that were damaged by rainfall to be repaired during the year under review.

Positive Projects
The administration also created an employment generation platform called Kwara state bridge empowerment scheme popularly known as KWABES.

Under this, many unemployed graduates in the state were made to do a one-year scheme and after the scheme, some of them were absorbed into the state public service. Around 4,000 unemployed graduates in the state were thus given full employment during the period.

While this was on, the administration embarked on rehabilitation of five existing General Hospitals in Ilorin, Share, Offa, Kaima and Omuaran with state-of-art facilities, thus ensuring that health care delivery reaches the doorsteps of the people of the state, with lesser infant mortality among the children of the state.
The administration also embarked on the construction of new roads across the three senatorial district of the state. In the education sector, Ahmed constructed modern day school buildings while teachers’ welfare received major attention.

It also lived up to expectation in the area of ensuring the protection of lives and property through purchase of security vehicles to the state police command while transport owners like National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association (RTEAN) also received the administration’s support by making available buses at low interest rate to them.
Women and youths empowerment were not left out as they were given soft loans to start businesses and this has reduced social vices among the people of the state.

Core Priorities
Ahmed’s works in the first term in office between 2011 and 2015 were mainly on the completion of all uncompleted projects left behind by former governor Saraki.
However, new ones were also embarked upon in the determination to ensure that the dividends of democracy get to the rural populace across the 16 local government councils of the state.

However, upon resumption in office for second term in office on May 29, 2015, the administration set the ball rolling with the commitment to add more values towards the socio economic growth of the state.

It also put in place a well-articulated internally generated revenue outfit to harness revenue base for the overall growth of the state and this has largely solved the problems of dwindling federal allocations coming to the state.
The gesture helped the state to establish a new improved revenue generating agent called Kwara Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) and the establishment of the agency has improved the revenue base of the state, which has led to the revenue collection of over N17 billion since its inception in the state.

Infrastructure Fund
Following this development, a new platform of making use of the revenue generation was designed with the theme Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund (IF- K).

IF-K is a contributory scheme designed to pool funds for high value infrastructure projects. Under the IF-K scheme, all ongoing and new developmental projects above N300 million will be funded to completion.
Among the objectives of creating IF-K is to ensure that project contractors are paid on time to deliver completed projects, thereby erasing the era of abandoned projects.

IF-K is being financed through an initial N5 billion seed fund, and a N500 million monthly contribution from the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

The Development Fund is being managed by a reputable investment company, “Investment One”, as a way of insulating the funds from political control and also to ensure accountability.

Under IF-K, contractors are paid by the State government on a quarterly basis. The implication is that contractors do not have to be mobilised before they commence projects since they are guaranteed payment at different milestones of the project; thereby giving no room for abandoned projects.

Since its establishment, the government has released over N7 billion to contractors handling various road projects across the State. The ongoing construction of Geri-Alimi split diamond Underpass is among the projects being funded under the IF-K.

Others are construction of KWASU campuses in Ekiti and Ilesha-Baruba, KWASU Post-Graduate School in Ilorin, dualisation of UITH – Sango road, new State Secretariat renovation of Indoor sport hall of the Kwara State stadium, Light Up Kwara Project (LUK), commercial hub centre along Fate road, Ilorin, Ilorin water reticulation project, provision of drugs to hospitals and clinics.

The administration under the second term review also embarked on the construction of new roads like 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, Share-Oke Ode (lot 2), Kishi-Kaiama

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, Anilelerin road, Offa, dualisation of Kulende -Oyun-UITHC-Oke-Ose road,

Also included are the operation Light-up Kwara and completion and equipping of Ajase-Ipo International Vocational centre. All the roads mentioned have been completed.

Official Obligation
Speaking on the journey so far in the past seven years, the governor said despite lean resources, his administration had modestly fulfilled its campaign promises to the people of the State.

Governor Ahmed however, said he would have loved to do more if the revenue accrued to the state is improved.
He said he ran for office on a platform of ‘continuity’ and that in line with this, his government had completed all the projects inherited from the previous administration.

Ahmed listed some of the inherited but completed projects to include Ganmo/Afon road, Gambari road, Ilorin, International Aviation College, Harmony Advanced Diagnostics Centre, and Lafiagi township road, among others.
The governor explained that if he had chosen not to complete these inherited projects and instead started his administration’s projects, huge resources would have been wasted; thus denying Kwarans the benefits of the projects.

He added that his administration had also initiated and completed numerous projects across all sectors in different parts of the state, noting that several other projects are currently ongoing.

Ahmed revealed that some of the projects his administration initiated and completed are KWASU Engineering complex, renovation of five General hospitals, IVTEC, Ajase Ipo, rehabilitation of Ejiba road, Ilorin, Oloro palace road, Oro, Rore-Ipetu-Arandun road, construction of Oko Bridge-Oro Ago, construction of Erin-Ile- Ilemona road, Ogbondoroko township road and several others.

Others are rehabilitation of the Anilelerin Agun-Ita-Erin road, Offa, construction/rehabilitation of Fate R/about-Agric R/about, Ilorin, construction of Tsaragi Batakpan road, construction of Obbo-Ile Isapa road, etc, Royal News reports.

He also highlighted some ongoing projects to include Geri-Alimi Diamond underpass, dualisation of Sango-UITH road, ultra-modern modern Secretariat for civil servants, repositioning of the state-owned media houses, two KWASU campuses in Osi and Ilesha-Baruba and a Post-Graduate school in Ilorin e.t.c.

Ahmed assured that all ongoing projects would be completed before the expiration of his tenure, stressing that the funding of the projects has been guaranteed by the IF-K.

He also said the Ilorin water project was on course and just nearing completion, adding that the government has expensed over N8billion on the project which would be completed to bring new lease of life to the residents of the state. The government has also rehabilitated all the 17 existing water works so as bring water to the residents of the state.

The administration has also excelled in agricultural sector as all rural roads leading to the state capital especially the targeted market were opened up to assist the farmers to take their agricultural produce to the market thus boosting economic development in the state.

Great Expectations
By and large, with just one year left for the administration of governor Ahmed in office, the expectation of the residents of the state is that the administration would be able to finish the ongoing Under-Pass road located at Geri Alimi and the Zango -University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital – Poly road so as to reduce the traffic flow within the state capital.

And with the pronouncement of Ahmed that he had fulfilled all his electoral promises to Kwarans, it beholds on him to let them come to fruition as a way of leaving an indelible mark in the political history of the state. Time will tell.