Opinion: A sincere call to my fellow Kwarans. By Abdulwahab Funsho
This is a sincere call to my fellow kwarans to realise and deeply appreciate that the development of our dear state lies in human capital development.
By the strategic history of Kwara State and geographical location, from inception of Nigeria we have always had one son or daughter at the country's helm of affairs and that is what has taken us to this level that we are. Kwara is not Lagos with sea and air connection. We are not Kano that has enjoyed the trans -sahara trade for over a century before the modern age of transportation. Nor are we Rivers state which is bounded by the Atlantic ocean.
We are like such a place like Japan(I'm not comparing us to Japan though, just the geographical location) which is not exceedingly rich in resources but has a high level of human resources.
Since the first republic of the Northern region region we always had one of our citizens at the top and in one way or another they contributed their quota.
Even during the military regimes our state had people in the leadership.
But never in history have we had ?the unique opportunity of being the head of the legislature. Now with Dr. Bukola Saraki as the Senate President and Chairman of the National Assembly it is important for us to support him in order to help ourselves and our state.
It is a shame that some people are working and talking against him. Funding is difficult for all the levels of government for capital projects and pay recurrent expenditure. But you will agree with me that the solution to the travails is nearer than farther.
The simple solution to the problem is what Maigida has embarked on. Live beyond the monthly allocation from the Federal government! One of the problems Kwara state has, in the time past, is over reliance on allocation from the Federal government. At the time of boom, this 'federal allocation' can only pay salaries and almost nothing is left. With the economic crises in Nigeria necessitated by drop in oil revenue, pipeline vandalism and excessive looting by the previous PDP federal government administration, the allocation to states nosedived significantly and that's why not only Kwara but almost all the states in Nigeria can barely pay salaries.
Some universities and other federal government parastatals are also affected by the drop in allocation. This is a verifiable fact. Kwara is the number 33 state in the revenue allocation table but now number 7 in the internally generated revenue chart due to the effort of the government. All thanks to our amiable governor. It was a good news to hear the Director General of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr Tunde Fowler advised states of the federation to come to Kwara and learn how the KWIRS is working and making money.
What this means is that the state can now augment the money it is receiving from the Federation account with IGR. We may not be where we want to be but we are certainly moving forward.
We admire the infrastuctural development in Lagos State but we can barely pay salaries here. Lagos state was assisted and is still being assisted by the Federal Government. Just last year, the FG took a loan of $300m for them. Do you know what that will do to their economy?
Now, we have a Senate President whose influence is bringing the desired development to Kwara state.
In Kaiama, yam flour is sold for N22,000 but N45,000 in Ilorin the state capital just because of bad roads. Now that the Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed administration has decided to fix the road and paid over N500m to contractors for the benefit of our people, the Minister of Works, Power and Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola has disclosed that the federal government shall reimburse Kwara for the investment it is making to construct the road. The success recorded here is due to the fact that we have Dr Bukola Saraki as senate president. Also with his intervention, the Patigi /Egbe road would be fixed while the Ilorin / Omu Aran road has also been awarded together with Afon/Aboto/Oyo state boundary road.
All these help from federal government is due to the presence of Dr Bukola Saraki. Kwara has potential to feed Nigeria with rice and fish, but due to the bad roads and other infrastructure, it can't. Hence, some of this raod is currently in the budget that was recently signed with the influence of the senate president.
We now have more of federal government presence: new classrooms are being built and boreholes are being sunk. Just few weeks ago, the CBN governor Mr Emefiele visited Shonga farm courtesy of the Senate President and N2 billion was promised for the project. We have Lafiagi sugar factory being resurrected, another FG partnership with BUA company that will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs. If Kwara State development is what you are after, you will agree that we are better off with the senate president that we have as none could have been better. When it comes to issue of development it's better to put politics aside and put the love of your people first.
We can listen to the wailing wailers, but with little patience, we'll all have the Kwara of our dreams because we are on course.
God bless Kwara!
God bless Nigeria!