Dissecting Ahmed's Scorecard In Kwara
KWARA State appears different in the countdown to the governorship election, as the scene dominated for over three decades by the late political stalwart, Dr. Olusola Saraki, seems rowdy, with people of other political interests flexing muscles over the control of the state.
Most importantly is the struggle for the control of the soul of Ahmadu Bello Way Government House in Ilorin, now occupied by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, who is seeking re-election under the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But Ahmed’s second term dream is only
realisable if he wins the election against his stiffest opposition, Mr. Simeon Ajibola of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The governor’s scorecards would be the much-needed fillip that would boost his bid.
Already, Senator Bukola Saraki, the new leader of the state’s politics after the demise of his father, has touted Ajibola and other members of the opposition in the state as “minority noise makers,” who have nothing to offer the state, politically, socially or economically.
But Chairman of the state PDP, Chief Iyiola Oyedepo, countered, describing the APC-led administration in the state as “the government of one man to the exclusion of others.”
The atmosphere is fully charged, as political rallies in some cases are being turned into theatre of wars, where political thugs freely use guns, cudgel and other dangerous weapons.
Besides, this violent attitude has led to the damage of over 50 vehicles belonging to the PDP and APC and their supporters.
However, if development is the measure of good governance, then Ahmed’s performance could be described as remarkable as the sixth executive governor of Kwara.
From roads, education, agriculture, energy and health to youth empowerment and SME promotion, the governor has made governance meaningful by delivering its benefits to the people.
His Senior Special Assistant on Media, Dr. Muideen Akorede said the governor’s achievements were enough factors that would endear him to the majority of voters in the state.
Akorede said: “Under Shared Prosperity, Ahmed has implemented several life-transforming programmes, such as the innovative Kwara Bridge Empowerment Scheme (KWABES), under which the government has employed 5,000 youths, including 2000 civil servants.
“The expanded Empowerment Scheme, QuickWin, has seen the engagement of 5,200 youths in the first phase, with 8200 youths targeted for empowerment in last year.
“So far, 10, 200 youths have been employed by the government in the last three years.
“Besides, it has empowered 50,000 small business owners, 100 transporters and 47 artisan groups that have benefitted from the N1b in micro-credit disbursed under the Kwara Entrepreneurship Scheme since 2012.
“Also empowered is the Kwara State Association of Marketers, whose members are currently accessing another N100m in micro-credit.”
His Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Abdulwahab Oba, said to underscore the importance government attaches to civil servants in the state, the governor facilitated N3b in car loans to them, especially teachers of public owned primary and post-primary schools.
Oba added: “This is on top of the welfare packages, such as training and retraining, and provision of affordable housing and office accommodation implemented by the government.”
In the education sector, the commissioner in charge, Mr. Saka Onimago, noted that groundbreaking educational reforms have been up-scaled and infrastructure enhanced with the construction and rehabilitation of about 400 classrooms at primary and pos- primary school levels.
There was also the introduction of free education at the senior secondary school level and supply of free notebooks to secondary school students.
Onimago stated: “The jewel in the education sector’s crown, the International Vocational Centre in Ajasse-Ipo, is affiliated with City and Guilds of London and poised to fill middle level manpower gaps, while establishing Kwara State as the hub for vocational skills in the sub-region.”
But Ajibola has promised to give Kwarans “true free education, not something you must broadcast before people will acknowledge it, if voted to power.”
Commissioner for Health, Mr. Kayode Issa, disclosed that the government has supplied drugs and equipment to 13 general hospitals and 43 primary health centers, as well as remodeled and modernised the Ilorin, Offa, Omu-Aran, Share and Kaiama General Hospitals.
Besides, Issa noted that the Community Health Insurance Scheme, under which enrollees receive year round healthcare for a paltry sum of N500, has been extended to 80, 000 beneficiaries and “has been adjudged as one of the most successful by the United Nations (UN).”
In the same vein and towards meeting its target of providing all communities in the state with electricity, the administration’s rural and urban electrification project has seen 400 communities connected to the national grid.
According to Akorede: “Ilorin, the state capital, is especially more beautiful at night, thanks to the urban streetlight project that has been extended to several major streets in the metropolis.”
Dr. Amuda Kannike, Commissioner for Works, said the government has dutifully implemented the ‘Operation No Potholes’ launched in 2011 to ensure all gullies in the state are repaired and to engender proper road maintenance culture.
Kannike said: “Under the project, majority of inherited roads have been completed, while 38 road projects started by the administration are at various levels of completion.
“These include 28 inherited projects covering a length of 256.127 kilometres. About 80 per cent of these, covering 204.8 kilometres, have been complete. The remaining 17 are ongoing across the state.
“Eight new asphalted roads are completed, while 30 are ongoing, half of which will be completed soon. Not less than 41 rural/feeder roads, with a total length of 287 kilometres, have been completed, while 81km are ongoing.”
To achieve its target of ensuring access to clean water within 500-meter radius, the CPS said the state government has rehabilitated 17 waterworks across the state, sunk about 400 boreholes, “and is at the verge of completing the Ilorin Water Reticulation Project, which will pipe water to all homes in the metropolis.”
He added, “the aim of the current administration in the road sector is to complete all inherited projects and establish new ones, especially since it is convinced that good roads will bring success to other sectors of the economy.
“To start with, the state government embarked on massive rehabilitation of roads and construction of new ones. Governor Ahmed, who believes in continuity, completed most of the roads he inherited from his predecessor, Senator Bukola Saraki, and others are still ongoing. The priority given to roads shows that the sector is one of the cardinal points of the agenda of his administration.
“For example, of the 38 new asphalted roads started by current administration, 28 of these roads have been completed so far. These include Ejiba Road, Ilorin, Olaolu-CBN Quarters, Stadium Road, Ayedun-Ilale Road, Kulende-Oyun Bridge, Share Township Road, Fate Road Around/Agric, Oke-Ode Share Road, Oke-Andi-Obafemi Taoheed, Oro-Ijomu Oro Road. Inherited and completed roads include Gamo-Afon Road, Lafiagi Township Road, Ahmadu Bello Road, Ilorin, Zango-Akerebiata Road, and Offa-Ira Road. In addition, rural/feeder roads with a total length of 287km have been completed while 81km are on-going.
“Today, there is marked improvement in vehicular movement in many towns and villages in the state. And, an investment friendly environment such as this has brought forth an increase in investments into the state.”
Speaking more on the health sector, Akorede opined, “from the inception of the present administration, a tremendous transformation has been recorded in the Health Sector in Kwara State under the able Leadership of Governor Ahmed. One of the major thrusts of his administration is the provision of quality and affordable health care for the people and he has not failed in that.
“Some of the revolutionary steps taken include provision of free malaria treatment for children under five and pregnant women; distribution of 30,000 units of Mama kits and 30,000 personal health record books for improved safe motherhood activities. Also, thirty midwives were trained on Life Saving Skills (LSS) to reduce maternal death while there has been an increment of health workers salary with payment of 50 per cent CONHESS. All these and others have placed Kwara ahead of its contemporaries.”
Other strides in health care delivery and services according to Akorede include: the comprehensive rehabilitation and successful completion of 5 General Hospitals spread across the three Senatorial Districts of the State.
He noted, “The completion of state-of-the-art Harmony Advanced Medical Diagnostic Centre, Ilorin, to boost diagnosis and specialised medical investigations. Construction/upgrading of 15 Cottage Hospitals/Comprehensive Health centres spread across the three Senatorial Districts of the state.
160 free surgeries of various forms of Vesico-Vaginal Fistulae (VVF) in collaboration with Engender Health Organization at Sobi Specialist Hospital.
“ Various Medical Missions where free surgical operations and treatment of various ailments were performed in collaboration with Kwara State Association of Nigeria in North America (KSANG), Rotary International and Moses Lake Foundation.
“Establishment of full scale tuberculosis and other chest- related disease centre in Sobi Specialist Hospital.
Upgrading of the Family Planning Centre at Children Specialist Hospital Centre, Igboro.
“ Distribution of Blood Bank to 21 Hospitals and presentation of Medical Equipment to Children’s Specialist Hospital Centre, Igboro Ilorin.
Distribution of medical equipment to all Government Hospitals in the State during the first 100 days of this administration. Distribution of MDG equipment to 12 General Hospitals and 43 primary health care centers across the state.
“Extension of Community-Based Health insurance scheme to cover three senatorial districts of Kwara State.
Commissioning of a new School of Nursing at Oke-Ode to address the shortage of Nurses. Mobile Clinic project and free eye surgery In Baruten LGA and other LGAs in Kwara State by LEAH Foundation. Provision of free drugs for patients in Baruten LGA and other LGAs by LEAH Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. The establishment of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency to bring Primary Health Care under one Roof in the state.”
In the words of Idris Garuba, the state’s Commissioner for Water Resources from an alleged epileptic situation in 2003, water supply in the state has been on a steady improvement and considerable achievement had been attained since the inception of this administration in 2011.
Besides Garuba noted that the quality of water supplies has experienced a quantum leap while accessibility gap has been reduced from about 3000m to 700m.
He said, “between 2011 and now, the present administration has been able to improve the quality of production to meet with the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard. Daily production has also improved. For example, Asa Dam waterworks production, the largest dam in the state has increased from 4mgpd to 25.5mgpd, and has continued to be sustained since expansion.”
Lending his voice to the issue of water supply, the state’s Commissioner for Information Tunji Morohunfoye said, “Although government is striving to attain WHO standard of 120 litres per person per day, accessibility gap has also been further reduced to about 700m and gradually narrowing down towards the state government policy target of 500m. About 400 boreholes in the motorised and hand-pump category have been drilled. The distribution across the three senatorial districts is carefully done to achieve equitable spread, except of course where the dry aquifers predominate.
“Some of the undertakings in the water sector include the second phase of Ilorin Metropolis Reticulation project, remodeling of 17 waterworks across the state and the provision of boreholes across the state on a monthly basis, subject to established need.”
Speaking on the quality of education, Akorede said it remained the kernel of the policies of Ahmed.
Akorede added, “He has been supporting schools with infrastructure, books, qualified teachers,” just as he said that the quality of instructions and curriculum are equally germane.
For Raheem Adedoyin, the Special Adviser on Communications to the Governor, huge government effort in the education sector has produced a conducive environment for learning leading to noticeable improvement in overall performances.
Adedoyin added, “these include rehabilitation and upgrading of the Kwara State Education Resource Centre, Ilorin, establishment of City and Guilds-affiliated International Vocational Centre, Ajasse-Ipo, upgrading of Thirty-Three schools from Junior Secondary Schools to Senior Secondary Schools across the state, payment of Senior Secondary School Students for NECO registration fees in pursuance of the Free Education Policy in the State and establishment of 12 new Nomadic Schools in six Local Government Areas, (LGAs).
“Others are renovation of 400 classrooms across the State to improve School infrastructures and renovation of classrooms, hostels and administrative block of School for Special Needs, Ilorin.
“In addition, 200 Science teachers and Laboratory assistants were trained on laboratory procedures for ‘Effective Science Teaching and Practical’ while another 200 have been engaged by the teaching service commission.”
Although the achievement looked enormous within the last four years of Ahmed’s administration, Oyedepo believed that the PDP if given a chance to form the next government in the state would “do better and put the state on the right socio, political and economic pedestal.”
As the two leading candidates await the much important day, eligible voters will however have to make the decisive choice, exercising their franchise during the polls to decide on who eventually becomes the occupant of the Ahmmadu Bello Way at the end of the political exercise.
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