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OPINION…Nigeria @ 60: The story of Kwara State since 1967




OPINION...Nigeria @ 60: The story of Kwara State since 1967


By Adenike Harriet Afolabi- Oshatimehin

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, my home state is much younger as it was created on 27th May, 1967. In the last 53 years, Kwara State, has ironically seen it all; the good, the bad and occasionally, the ugly. In the past years, 20 gentlemen, either as Military Governors/ Administrators or democratically elected governors have since administered the State of Harmony.

Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq was elected as the 7th Civilian Governor of Kwara State during the 2019 general elections on the platform of the All Progressives Congress,  (APC) with the popular ‘O To Ge’ political mantra.

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 16 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, His Excellency, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq who kept to his campaign promises.

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 that successive governments had claimed to have committed in the past.

Roads were in deplorable conditions, 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 working tools, thereby hindered from meeting the public health needs.

Workers of Colleges of Education were also on strike over accumulated backlog of salaries and other emoluments. 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.

OPINION...Nigeria @ 60: The story of Kwara State since 1967

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 the sum of N282 million as counterpart fund in favour of Global fund in order to enable us turnaround the fortunes of our health sector.

In addition, we were able to take delivery of 2.3 million insecticide nets to combat malaria and created 5,000 ad-hoc jobs for the citizens. This availed us the opportunity of getting 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.

Fortunately, Kwara is gifted with a leader that never underestimate the value of education. The governor has demonstrated this by ensuring the re-admittance of the state into the National Universal Basic Education Board (NUBEC), after five years of 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 pre-condition sum of N450million to redeem our eligibility for not less than N7 Billion grant from the federal government. With these among many other sterling achievements, the Kwara story and narratives have changed. Our amiable governor is working and the state is better for it. Happy 60th Independence Anniversary Celebrations to Nigerians and Congratulations to the People’s Governor.

Adenike Harriet Afolabi- Oshatimehin is the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Communications Kwara State.

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