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Nigeria At 60: The Kwara State Story Since 1967

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Nigeria is 60 years old as an independent nation and 106 years old since the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914. Kwara State, the state of my birth is much younger as it was created on 27th May, 1967. In 53 years, Kwara State, has, as an expression goes, seen it all-the good, the bad and occasionally, the ugly. In those 53 years, twenty gentlemen, either as Military Governors/ Administrators or democratically elected governors have administered the State.

Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq was elected as the 7th Civilian Governor of Kwara State in the last national elections in the country under the auspices of the “O To Ge” Movement.

May I emphasize that the fundamental focus of the present administration in the State, since inception, has been to rebuild Kwara. This is borne out of the understanding that Kwara is like a Phoenix. After sixteen years of misrule and tyranny, the rebuilding task could not have been so easy but for the resilience and steadfastness of the man at the helm of affairs-AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq who kept his words.

Most of the key sectors of the economy were in coma when the present administration came on board. There were no substantial projects to showcase for the huge resources the successive governments had claimed to have committed in the past. Roads were in deplorable condition, schools were a shadow of themselves because you either see many with leaking roofs, bad toilets or dilapidated buildings. What about the health sector? Our hospitals were lacking basic things, thereby hindered from meeting the public health needs. Workers of Colleges of Education were also on strike for accumulated backlog of salaries and other benefits. The Civil Service was on the verge of losing its focus and glory because there was no running cost to enliven government activities across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), with attendant decline in productivity. Yes, we had long perceived this stinking odour even before seeking the people’s mandate. We are only shocked at the magnitude of the rot inherited-far above our expectations.

Ladies and gentlemen, despite these challenges, we remained resolute and undeterred. The first step we took as a government, which is fast yielding good results today, was to pay some counterpart funds to donor agencies that licensed any interested State to access grants. We paid N282 Million Naira counterpart fund in favour of the Global fund and partners for us to turnaround the fortune of our health sector. In effect, we were able to take delivery of 2.3 Million insecticide nets to combat malaria and created 5000 ad-hoc jobs for the citizens. It availed us the opportunity to get World Bank/Federal Government funds to cater for pregnant and nursing women and children so that cases of maternal mortality and other basic health challenges would come to pass. At least, 2500 people got themselves treated for malaria under the government’s medical outreach programme alone.

Other benefits the State has reaped from the fund it sowed include the fixing of some of our Primary Health Care facilities, renovation of 37 Primary Health Centres to promote access to quality healthcare services. Not long ago, the State Health Insurance Scheme was also launched. This is aimed at providing affordable medical care and enhancing medical service delivery.

Lucky enough, Kwara is gifted with a Leader that never underestimated the value of education. This, Governor AbdulRazaq had demonstrated, when he successfully got Kwara re-admitted to the National Universal Basic Education Board (NUBEC), after a 5-year ban/blacklist for failure of the past government to pay the State’s due up to date. This had not come up miraculously. He had to settle the precondition sum of N450 Million Naira to redeem our eligibility for not less than N7 Billion Naira grant from the Federal Government.

Adenike Harriet Afolabi- Oshatimehin
Honourable Commissioner
Ministry of Communications
Kwara State

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