Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq
By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin
SINCE his assumption of office as Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has brought renewed passion to public office, first by hitting the ground running and then by beginning the systematic clean-up of the rot that he encountered on the ground. These have in no small measure repositioned the ‘State of Harmony’, enabling it to reclaim its lost glory among the ‘Northern Stars’, even as the actions have begun to yield massive dividends in the roughly four years that AbdulRazaq has led the state.
Indeed, before things went awry, and in the years leading to his assumption of office, there was Tate & Lyle, Matchco; the Jebba Paper Mill; Bacita Sugar Company; Kwara Breweries, and even Kwara Textile, among others. In the days of glory of Kwara, these were working at their maximum capacities, attracting buyers and sellers from the North and South, who found Kwara a gateway and a crucial commercial centre. But like a bad dream, the economic downturn gradually crept in and all the companies went under, turning Kwara State into a civil service state, meaning that the government relied heavily on federal allocations to survive. It was in this deplorable situation that Governor AbdulRazaq inherited the state on May 28, 2019, when he assumed office. But today, better days are here.
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The governor’s Commissioner for Youth Development, Bode George Towoju, disclosed that the prosperous industrial and commercial development of Kwara is back, thanks to the current administration. For instance, the multi-million naira garment factory initiated by AbdulRazaq is ready and awaits commissioning. This is just one of his many other capital projects. Towoju said: “I can tell you authoritatively that what needs to be done in the garment factory is just cleaning, that is all. The factory has already been equipped with industrial machines and materials that will make its operations seamless and efficient.
The factory is made up of the production section, embroidery section, cutting section and other sections which have been equipped with sophisticated machines, such as lock stitch sewing machines, pneumatic cuff and collar pressing, turning and trimming machines, cover stitch and over-lock sewing machines. The Kwara State garment factory will be the largest in West Africa upon completion and delivery. No fewer than 20,000 workers would be employed by the garment factory by the time the project takes off.”
The commissioner also named the Visual Arts Centre, another capital project of Governor AbdulRazaq which he said was a software centre for every actor, not only in Nigeria, but also in Africa. “What we are bringing in there is second to none in Africa. It comprises dubbing, graphic animation, and lots of other things. The pre- and post-production of films will be done at the visual centre, as well as the practical village, which is also 75 per cent completed and will be commissioned soon. Most of the equipment are already on the ground. We just need to start fixing them,” he added.
The commissioner identified the Innovation Hub Centre as another capital project, noting that this was another monumental project of the administration that would change the course of the destiny of Kwara youths for good by making them self-reliant and nipping poverty in the bud among the teeming youths in the state. He said the project was also nearing completion and will soon be commissioned. Furthermore, he listed Nocha FM in Okuta, Baruten Local Government Area, as another project that is ready for commissioning.
In the area of water provision, since his 100 days in office, Governor AbdulRazaq has given a marching order that water should return to public taps in Kwara State. And this has been accomplished even as new pipes have been laid for more residents in the state to enjoy public water. Residents of Igbaja, one of the ancient towns in the state, located in the Ifelodun local government area of the state, which hasn’t had public water for 21 years, are now savouring the good performance of the current administration. Women, who make up the larger percentage, have also made their commitment to support Governor AbdulRazaq based on the unprecedented attention he has given them. Today, as approved by the state assembly, the current administration has begun the implementation of the Gender Composition Law, which stipulates that not less than 35 per cent of women must be given appointments by successive administrations.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs, who was recently redeployed to the Ministry of Water Resources, Hajia Riskatullahi Mopelola Abdulmaliq-Bashir, told journalists that the law has opened the political space in the area of appointments for women. According to her, this has now scaled up the level of representation of women in political appointments to a minimum of 35 per cent and a maximum of 65 pe rcent. “This implies that no government will come to this state and close the door that the current administration has opened for women. Kwara women are not ingrates, they’ll vote for the re-election of Governor AbdulRazaq,” she stressed. In the areas of roads and infrastructure, huge impacts are being made, as the N2.4bn Tunde Idiagbon flyover bridge along the Tanke/Unilorin axis also initiated by the current administration, will be ready for use in January 2023.
Kwara State Commissioner for Works, Engr. Rotimi Iliasu, gave this assurance during an on-site assessment visit to the project site in Ilorin, the state capital. It was observed that the contractor handling the project has redoubled efforts towards meeting the December deadline set for the completion of the project. This development has made residents of the Tanke area heave a sigh of relief over the pace of work on the flyover designed to ease traffic gridlock on the ever busy Tanke/Unilorin road. “ I can tell Kwarans that the Tanke/Unilorin flyover project will be ready for use by January, by the special grace of God. The contractor has until the end of December to hand over the project to the state government. “The contractor and his team are working day and night to deliver the project on schedule,” Iliasu stated.
In the area of health, the current administration has rehabilitated all the government hospitals across the three senatorial districts in the state and also recruited more staff, including doctors, pharmacists, and others, towards ensuring improved and better healthcare services to the residents. Hundreds of small scale business operators also got the attention of Governor AbdulRazaq under its Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) as no fewer than 490 small enterprise operators recently received varying amounts of non-interest loans to grow their enterprises. KWASSIP had been established to positively impact the lives of the poor, the vulnerable, the unemployed and those at the bottom of the financial pyramid who have no access to funding.
AbdulRazaq in his remark said his administration will continue to implement policies and programmes that will make Kwara a better place to live, invest, and work. “This is another success story and a boost for small scale businesses in the state. “Our administration will not relent in making Kwara State a better place to live and invest,” he said. AbdulRazaq also congratulated the finalists of the third series of the scheme and said the programme could become a quarterly affair to accommodate more beneficiaries. “KWAPRENEUR is one of the much poverty alleviating activities of KWASSIP. It is one of the ways to provide funding for small businesses, lubricate the economy, and reduce poverty. We are simply trying to give everyone a fair shot and a sense of belonging within available resources,” he added.
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