Lately, there has been attempts by various groups and persuasions to evaluate the eight-year performance of the outgoing administration of Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed. Even the Governor himself was quoted to have scored himself high in a well reported self-evaluation bid.
However, irrespective of which of the views or opinions you are being exposed to, you are likely to agree that, positively or otherwise, Alhaji AbdulFatah Ahmed will not be leaving the State the same way he met it.
In this analysis, Kwara Tabloidís Suraj Ajani takes more than a cursory look at Dr Ahmed's indelible footprints in Kwara and, not surprisingly, scores him high.
It could be due to the collective amentia believed to be plaguing us as a people. It may even be due to mischief or ignorance, but the fact remains that the last eight years that Alhaji AbdulFatah Ahmed has governed Kwara has seen more development, physical and otherwise, than many of us will want to admit.
The reasons for this is not too far to seek. Chief of those reasons is that the Governor and, indeed, his lieutenants fail to mention his real achievements when they talk about what he has done for the State in the past eight years. To them, only achievements that are tangible and come in terms of infrastructure are worthy of mention. This is erroneous. For instance, ask any of those who argue that Maigida (as the Governor is widely Known) has been a blessing to Kwara what he or she thinks are his real achievements, the fellow is most likely to start naming items like the major road projects the Governor has undertaken. Such projects include the soon to be commissioned Geri Alimi Diamond Underpass, the Sha'are - Oke Ode Road, Anilelerin township Road in Offa, Arandun-Rore-Ipetu Road, the Oloro township Road, Oke Rimi Road in downtown Oro, the Adualere-Isale Koko Road in Ilorin, among many other such projects.
However, without prejudice to the essence behind these projects, those lieutenants of Maigida who insist on naming them and exclude the intangible Maigida footprints are, perhaps inadvertently, responsible for the confusion that exists as to the living legend status Maigida's performance has secretly bestowed upon him.
For instance, many would have expected that what the Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed administration achieved by putting Kwara State on a strong economic platform with KWIRS which grew the Stateís IGR from a meagre N500Million to a whopping N2Billion monthly within a year should top his list of achievements. After all, it is on the strength of this that Kwara has become one of Nigeriaís most sustainable states!
Similarly, the foundation laid through yet another intangible achievement of Alhaji Ahmed called Infrastructure Fund Kwara or IF-K, has put the State in a better position to implement high-value road, education, and other projects.
In the area of healthcare delivery, it is on record that the Ahmed administration successfully expanded the award-winning community health insurance scheme from three to 11 LGAs. Amazingly, the administration also initiated an ambitious State-wide health insurance scheme. Arguably, the scheme ran into some teething problem. Records, however, show that all it requires to attain perfection is just a little fine-tuning by the next administration.
Beyond the glitz and glamour associated with the imposing structure on the premises of the now famous International Vocational Center (IVTEC) strategically located at Ajase-Ipo, there is the barely veiled fact that Kwara, under Governor Ahmedís watch, has silently become an emerging hub for vocational skills acquisition. Even those who criticize the project have never denied the fact that teaching and learning of world class standards are being safely delivered to up and coming Kwarans at the Centre.
Still along the line of Governor Ahmed's landmark achievements in the area of human capital development, there is no gainsaying the fact that Kwara Stateís informal sector is now thriving with the injection of N3.4 Billion to over 70,000 SMEs in the State government. By simply injecting such a huge sum after strict supervision and painstaking meticulous process, the administration was able to subtly create thousands of indirect jobs with beneficiaries scattered across the three senatorial zones of the State!
Along the same line, the Ahmed administration also boosted agricultural enterprise through the innovative Offtakers Demand Driven Agriculture (ODDA) Scheme through which the newly formed Kwara Agro Mall facilitated Anchor Borrowers' as well as other facilities for local farmers in their thousands.
Even in the area of providing white or blue collar jobs for the youths, the administration scored major points through a combination of bridge empowerment schemes, training programs and direct employment, including the recent employment of 1850 Teachers. Again, this is unprecedented.
Still talking sustainable empowerment, seldom is it mentioned when discussing Maigida's achievements that his administration created the environment for the emergence of new employment generating investments such as the wave-making BUA Sugar Factory and the budding Crown Hill University just to mention a few.
In the area of infrastructure provision and beyond the several Roads he has successfully done to completion, Governor Ahmedís indelible marks are everywhere.
Take the much-applauded Light Up Kwara (LUK) street lights project as one example. Through it, Solar Farm Tunnel technology, the first and only one of its kind, were built in Kwara. Not only has the project illuminated hitherto dark spots in Kwara, it has also added to the aesthetic beauty of the city of Ilorin.
In the same vein, the Ahmed administration added to the beauty of Ilorin by constructing the KWASU Engineering complex as well as the School of Business and Governance of the institution. By so doing, not only has the Governor added to the beauty of Ilorin, he has also assisted in boosting access to tertiary education just as he did with the ongoing satellite campuses at Osi and Ilesha Baruba.
Instructively, the main essence of Governor Ahmedí s 'legacy continues' administration was that he brought all ongoing projects he inherited in 2011 to completion. That has effectively put an end to the era of abandoned projects in Kwara State. By so doing, Ahmed ensured the payment of inherited contractor debts. It is the peopleís hope that never shall we return to that era. Needless to say, Governor Ahmed remodelled and modernized Ilorin, Offa, Share, Omu-Aran, and Offa General Hospitals. This was one of the first projects he embarked upon when he came into office in 2011.
Those who know are thanking Governor Ahmed for the greater peace and security he brought to Kwara in the last eight years. No doubt, stability, greater harmony, much freedom of speech and from all perceivable hindrances have been the hallmark of his administration. This, along with his strict adherence and compliance to court rulings are a plus for the administration.
As such, it is easy to see why, even without his say so, the conducive working environment Ahmed created for the Stateís Civil Servants and the rest of us has being palpable. The predicable result which we all can, without malice, attest to is the prompt salary payment, regular training, welfare packages such as car loans that the State workforce enjoyed under him.