Putting Kwara Education Infrastructure in Proper Perspective By Prof. SHEHU Raheem Adaramaja

Date: 2024-04-09

I write to address the recent disinformation triggered by a recent report in the BBC on the Kankan LGEA School in Asa Local Government Area of Kwara State. I understand that the BBC report was a standalone story, which did not delve into the context of the peculiarity of the Kwara situation as a result of our history. The Honourable Commissioner for Communications Mrs Bola Olukoju has done justice to the story, and it is hoped that the BBC and our other friends in the foreign media are properly guided on the issue and related ones.

One of the biggest issues His Excellency Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq confronted in 2019 is the mismanagement and stealing of education intervention funds during the previous administration.

Upon assuming office in 2019, however, the Governor addressed the mismanagement of funds that led to the official blacklist of the state from accessing UBEC funds for six consecutive years. His Excellency first paid N450m, which was the balance of the 2013 FGN-UBEC/SUBEB Matching grant diverted by Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed led administration, and this led to the lifting of the ban on the state.

After paying matching grants of N7.1bn in 2020, Kwara State received a substantial intervention fund totalling 14.2 billion naira, representing 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. This was utilized for the construction, renovation, and remodelling of facilities/structures across 605 schools, including provision of both teachers and students furniture, WASH facilities, and digital literacy centres across all 16 local. government areas. 33 schools were also fenced to prevent land encroachment and provide safety for our children.

Having said this, it is important to clarify that only 605 schools out of a total of about 2,187 basic schools in the state benefited from the interventions. Definitely, there is still more work to be done, and this point has been made several times.

The tangible results of these interventions are evident in the significant improvements witnessed in the infrastructural improvement of our basic schools throughout Kwara State when compared with the pre-2019 era.

These interventions can be seen in all the 193 wards across the 16 LGAs.

Notwithstanding the above, the government remains committed to steadily addressing the outstanding deficits in the sector. In 2023, Governor Abdulrazaq again fulfilled the state’s counterpart fund obligation for 2020, amounting to 1.4 billion naira, which was allocated for the construction and remodelling of additional 105 classrooms across the state. More teachers and pupils furniture, with WASH facilities( toilets and motorised boreholes with solar panels), were also provided for our schools.

Furthermore, His Excellency has recently approved the payment of 2021-2023 counterpart funds. The implication of this is that infrastructural upgrades will get to more schools soonest. Kankan LGEA School in Asa LGA and many more schools have been captured.

A Governor who has done this much should deservedly be given his flowers because not only did the administration before him fail to commit funds to the sector, but it, in fact, stole the little grants it received from the Federal Government.

We urge members of the public to continue to support the Governor and his administration as he continues to rewrite the story of basic education for posterity.

Adaramaja is Executive chairman, KWARA SUBEB

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