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Kwara makes history, unveils new Ilorin master plan, others

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May 29, 2024 saw a cocktail of activities of far-reaching socioeconomic impacts for Kwara as the state government launched different projects to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.

The day opened with the commissioning of the 4.7km Yebumot-Adeta Roundabout and Adeta-Oloje roads, which the Governor named after two elder statesmen from the capital city — retired Major General Mohammed Abdullahi Adangba and prominent scholar Sheikh Yahya Murtadha Agodi.

The road commissioning was followed by a walk around the newly developed Flower Garden — currently the largest green space in Kwara purposely made for outdoor recreational activities, promotion of work-life balance, and protection of mother nature in the capital city.

The Governor walked the lawn of the garden in the company of the First Lady Amb. Olufolake Abdulrazaq, federal and state lawmakers, cabinet members, and dignitaries from within and outside of the state, including the managing director of NEPZA Dr. Olufemi Ogunyemi.

As AbdulRazaq did that in Ilorin, Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi was in the northern senatorial district to commission the Jebba waterworks, ending the community’s longstanding thirst for state-owned clean water source.

At the banquet hall in Ilorin, creme de la creme from Kwara and beyond joined AbdulRazaq to unveil the Ilorin City Master Plan, the second ever blueprint since the creation of the state in 1967, as well as the talk-of-the-town 20,000-hectare Ilorin Smart City project.

AbdulRazaq said the idea is targeted at making the capital city habitable, eco-friendly, and compliant with the rules that govern urban planning.

He said the Ilorin City Master Plan has been designed to guide a sustainable living of the people for the next 40 years, while the Smart City is an innovative response of the administration to the multi-dimensional challenges of urban living.

“Today, we are adding another cornerstone to the foundation laid over 48 years ago by the founding fathers of Kwara State, who designed the first master plan for Ilorin. But this is not so much about etching a foundation for the sake of it,” he said this at the launch.

“This is about making our capital city habitable, compliant with the rules that govern urban planning in the age of climate crisis, and bequeathing a legacy for those coming after us.

“As of this morning, the United Nations World Population Prospects put Ilorin as the third most populous metro area in the entire northern Nigeria, preceded only by Kaduna and Kano in the ascending order. Ilorin, according to this data, has had a population growth rate of between 2.53% in 2020 and 3.3% in 2024.”

AbdulRazaq said the new master plan is justified by the population growth that he said poses a great social threat without proper architectural designs.

“While the Ilorin City Master Plan has been designed to guide how we live sustainably for the next 40 years, the Smart City is our innovative response to the multidimensional challenges of urban living that now confront Ilorin, including congestion and the associated pressures it brings on the existing infrastructure,” he said.

“Designed to host 540,000 residents, the Smart City is a nine residential district city that is built in compliance with the United Nations prescriptions for urban living.”

The first phase of this ambitious project covers 11,000 hectares with an estimated N1.72tr funding requirements from public private investments between now (2024) and 2027, the Governor said.

Governor Abdulrazaq also launched a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station in Ilorin, adjudged by the Presidential CNG Initiative (PCNGi) as the first in the region.

He added: “The launching of this CNG station is the direct benefit of the fuel subsidy removal of last year. That policy shift meant a national decision to adopt a cleaner and cheaper energy source for a sustainable future.”

He added that it will translate to conversion of at least 20 state government vehicles to CNG-powered engines in this test run.

Some of the dignitaries that attended the marathon events included National and State parliamentarians; cabinet members; royalties; party chieftains led by the State APC Chairman Prince Sunday Fagbemi; religious leaders led by Chief Imam Ilorin Sheikh Muhammad Bashir; Zanna of Ilorin and Chairman Yolas Consultancy, Engr Lanre Sagaya; President, Ilorin Emirate Descendants’ Progressive Union (IEDPU) Alhaji Abdulmumin Abdulmalik; academics; technocrats; security commanders; and leaders of the business community among others.

Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Segun Ogunsola, for his part, said the Ilorin City Master plan is necessitated by rising population, assuring the people that the project will take care of critical aspects such as tourism, healthcare, education, recreation, and flood control.

Engr Sagaya, in his goodwill message, commended the Governor for embarking on a master plan that will enhance the physical development and environmental beauty of Ilorin City.

He recalled the discourse he once had with AbdulRazaq centring on the need to have a new Ilorin master plan to meet the status of a modern town.

“I thank your Excellency for embarking on all these laudable projects, which are not only beautifying the city, but also critical to solving the traffic situation at critical intersections and junctions in the town,” he said.

Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on the state Geographic Information Service (Kw-GiS) Abdulmutalib Shittu, spoke on the efforts of the Ilorin Master plan committee that was set up four years ago to provide a framework for the implementation, and vouched for the capacity of Dar Al-Handasah Consultant Ltd to deliver the project.

At the CNG launch, Programme Director of the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas initiative (PiCNG), Engr Michael Oluwagbemiga, commended the Governor for supporting the Presidential initiative, right from the onset and his great understanding of the benefits in the adoption of gas.

The Governor, meanwhile, flagged off the distribution of 16,000 textbooks across basic schools in the state.

He mentioned how the administration took Kwara out of the UBEC blacklist, paid the backlog of counterpart funds from 2013 to 2019, and again from 2019 to 2023, making Kwara up to date in that regard.

He said the administration has fixed thousands of classrooms across the three senatorial districts, recruited 4,701 teachers, and implemented a tech-based programme that has improved learning outcomes in the state.

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