The AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq Administration has achieved tremendously in creating enabling environment for all indigenes of Kwara State to actualize their individual dreams, the Special Adviser on Strategy to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Alhaji Saadu Salahu has said.
While highlighting the vision and mission of the administration during a press interview with The Herald On Sunday, weekend, the governor’s aide said the vision of the government is to ensure a state that adhere strictly to the principles of transparency, accountability, due process and good governance among other factors that drives development.
He said as a visionary and rare democrat, Governor AbdulRazaq strongly believes in the sovereignty of power residing in the people and not in an individual, hence, he ensures collective responsibility by seeking for the participation of all Kwarans in the tasks of developing the state and making it the pride of well meaning indigenes of the state of harmony.
According to him, the governor and all his appointees see’s their privileged position in government as a sacred responsibility to value and sustain the trust and confidence of the electorates who brought them into power.
” The vision is that which is carrying everybody along in transforming the state, economically, socially and technologically, to be able to compete favourably with front line states in Nigeria and to also ensure that the citizens of Kwara State are able to raise their heads to compete with their fellow human beings in any parts of the country and even in the world,” Salahu said.
He emphasized that the priority of the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq Government is to ensure the welfare of civil servants through regular payment of workers’ salary, promotion as at when due, creation of enabling environment and general wellbeing of civil servants in the state.
The Special Adviser noted that the administration also has an overwhelming priority for Education, Health, Agriculture, Human Capital Development, Infrastructural Provision and overall Development of the state, including social and economy prosperity among others. He said the efforts of government in transforming the state is largely reflecting, as people kept on applauding the giant strides of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
He went memory lane to recall the ugly condition of Kwara State, prior to the advent of the AbdulRazaq’s Administration, ” we came in to find the state in a pitiable situation, indeed in a state of comatose, total collapse, where the system had completely broken down. One would recall when civil servants were owe salary, running into about two years. State, Local Government and Colleges of Education staff were not paid, leaving them in abject poverty and suffering.
” There was no infrastructure, it was on zero level. The Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board had been blacklisted because the administration in the state as at then failed to pay counterparts funding, meaning that the leadership was not caring for the future of the children and prosperity of the state.
” The same thing happened in the health sector, the past government abandoned the health sector, as counterparts fund was not paid for a long period of time. Kwara State had the worst indices in Polio eradication, as at the time the present administration came in 2019. The same wrought applied to virtually all the sectors of the state economy as at then .”
He said in reordering the sad condition of the state, for quality transformation and prosperity, Governor AbdulRazaq was in a reasonable hurry to revive the state and turned focus on progress path to make the system work efficiently and effectively in the interest of the people.
” The AbdulRazaq government then focused on how to restore human dignity in the human being of the state, because a civil servant who failed to get his or her salary paid, you have definitely withdraw the dignity in such state worker. Such civil servant would have been turned to a beggar, and that was the situation we met,” he explained.
According to the governor’s aide, the perfectionist administration of Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on assumption of duty, set a vision and priority to make sure that no civil servant is owe a month salary,” three years down the life of the administration, the governor maintained that priority at the state, local government levels and others, inspite of the various economic challenges that confronted Nigeria and the world.”
Alhaji Salahu said inspite of the Covid – 19 pandemic that ravaged global economy, as well as the first and second economy recession that Nigeria went through and of which Kwara State had its own share of the agony, the state government under the leadership of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has ensured prompt and regular payment of salary to all categories of civil servants in the state.
The Special Adviser observed that such priority is crucial to the wellbeing of the state, explaining, ” because when you have a state like Kwara that is called civil service state, when you have incommensurable industries, the only money that circulates to all segments of the society, including the urban and rural people of the state, whether to the higher, middle or lower class, is salary.
” Regular payment of salary is crucial to the survival of the people, as an average civil servant might have not less than seven dependants on him or her. So when salary is paid such civil servant will be able to take care of himself and his dependants.
” Also, consistency in payment of salary ensures the survival and wellbeing of the state, as through prompt payment of salary of workers, about Four Billion Naira would have been released into the economy of the state on monthly basis. With that, economy and commercial activities would have been favourably activated.”
Aware of such important benefits of salary payment, he said the governor accorded the welfare of workers the deserved priority since he assumed the leadership of the state in May, 2019, by making sure that no civil servant is owed salary.
” Since the civil servants constitutes the engine room of government, there is need to make them happy, they must be made to always be in high morale for government to be able to deliver on its mandate and promise to the people,” Salaudeen explained the rationale behind government decision.
He said the governor’s perfect interest in the civil servants, made him implemented the #30,000 new minimum wage for workers, as well as effected various promotions for all levels of workers in the state.
According to him, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq did not only ensure the comfortability of civil servants, as he was equally committed to the general wellbeing of the populace through provision of meaningful infrastructures and poverty alleviation programmes for the benefits of all Kwarans and residents of the state.
He said,” the populace, those that constitutes the electorate, who are not civil servants also have a fare share of dividends of democracy. The governor had priorities this, to the extent that no any place in the 193 wards in kwara State that you will not see infrastructures that the governor had done on display.”
In furtherance of the AbdulRazaq’s Administration drive for development and progress of the state, Salahu said the administration had rehabilitate and constructed impressive number of urban and rural roads across the state, in addition to renovation and construction of over 600 schools in all parts of the state.
He said the administration had also ensured quality teaching and learning in the various schools through the creation of conducive and enabling environment, with effective educational enhancement facilities for the benefits of the present and future generations of Kwarans.
For full realization and sustainability of government mission on education, the Special Adviser said government saw the need to recruit more teachers for the various schools and not less than 5000 competent and capable teachers, including 50 first – class graduates were employed to keep the schools running efficiently and effectively.
He said the teacher’s recruitment exercise which ensured proper screening and merit driven strategy, devoid of sentiments, also enhances and serves as youth employment generation drive of the state government.
On poverty reduction, as well as capacity building for women and youth , he said the governor on assumption of office, he established a scheme, known as Kwara State Social Investment Programme which accommodates virtually four categories of beneficiaries, including the aged, market women, young entrepreneurs, as well as women and youth empowerment.
He said under the scheme, elderly women are given an appreciable amount of money to ensure their good upkeep and maintenance, while market women are given good amount of money, known as Traders Moni, to improve their businesses, adding that Kwarans were the largest beneficiaries of the ‘Traders Moni’, as over 20,000 traders benefitted from the scheme in Kwara State.
According to him, many young entrepreneurs in the state have also been provided with cash flow, inform of grants, to enhance their business and ensure their wellbeing, while women and youth in the state have equally benefitted from the various skills acquisition and capacity building programmes.
He also disclosed that government is presently building an ultra – modern Information, Communication Technology ( ICT ) HUB to benefit youth in the state, explaining that,” the project which is part of the innovation vision of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, is fashioned towards unlocking unlimited opportunities for the younger generation. I believed that when completed, it will provide job for thousands of youth.”
According to Salahu, to ensure efficiency of the ICT HUB when completed, government has planned for it partnership with the Kwara State University ( KWASU ) Manlete to create digital economy platform for the benefit of the people.
Salahu expressed believe that the International Conference Centre under construction will also add value to the development strides of the administration, when fully completed.
He said Governor AbdulRazaq’s all inclusive governance has ensures mass participation of youth and women in the administration of the state, disclosing that the decision of the governor to have involved high number of women in the business of governing the state had won him global recognition and commendations.
” Not only that Kwara State is the only state in Nigeria that has broken the Beigin Plan of Action on Gender Parity, it is the only one that is celebrated globally for having about 52 per cent women in the state cabinet. The governor, no doubt, has sufficiently encouraged women and younger people in the task of building a new and prosperous Kwara State.
” The all inclusiveness principle of the administration has given more youth and women the rare privilege to fully participate in governance. Governor AbdulRazaq is sufficiently bringing youth and women to leadership positions in the state.
” Unlike in the past years when youth were used as political thugs and women were kept under the sun before they can feed. This government does not tolerate such bad culture of enslavement of the people, rather it cares for the welfare of the people and ensures that youth and women constitutes the cabinet and other relevant political offices. I think this impressive feat should be considered as part of significant achievements of the AbdulRazaq’s Government,” he said.
On development of the agriculture sector, the governor’s aide said the governor had ensured agricultural development through practical and meaningful revolution in the sector by good funding and ensuring massive participation of farmers through provision of various incentives by the government.
On health sector reform, the Special Adviser on Strategy to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, said the administration had revived the health care delivery system in Kwara State through remodelling of hospitals, provision of medical equipment and facilities, in addition to employment of quality categories of health workers who were deployed to the various health centers and hospitals across the state.
He said over two million people have so far benefitted from the Maleria rollback back programme of the state government, even as its joined the rest of the world to make sure that no single case of Polio in Kwara.
He said aside from the overwhelming expansion of the state’s Health Insurance Scheme which recently accommodated over 20,000 newly registered beneficiaries, the administration had invested over Two Billion Naira to have established a modern Center for Cancer Treatment at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital for the health benefit of the people.
” The government has not only put in place effective and efficient health system, indeed it has been able to revive and advance all the sectors of Kwara economy. I believed the development will ensure sustainability and progress of the state,” he said.
Speaking on the future aspiration of the administration, after three years down the line, the Special Adviser said despite the straight fact that Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq had achieved tremendously for Kwara State, he is still very much in a hurry to do more for the people, as he aspires to consolidate on the various and huge success recorded.
” We are all happy and grateful to God that now kwara is being celebrated all over, for progress made in the last three years of the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq Administration. However, the governor is still not relenting, he is still in a hurry to do more, he wants to make sure that he consolidate on his achievements for the state, interns of improvement in education, health, agriculture, infrastructure, poverty alleviation, youth and women empowerment among others.
” As we go into the last year of the first tenure, the governor wants to make sure that his administration consolidate on the previous achievements and work more to further satisfy the yearnings of the people. I am very sure that the administration will continue to meet the aspirations of Kwarans now and during the second term,” the governor’s aide assured.
Asked to share his thought about the major achievements of the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq Administration, Salahu said the government most accomplishments is the adoption of the tenets of good governance, built on principle of rule of law.
The Special Adviser observed that the governor has allowed his administration to be driven and guided by rule of law, that is the hallmark of democratic government, which include justice, fairness, equity, transparency and accountability.
He said, contrary to the lack of culture of good governance, as exhibited by the past government in the state, the AbdulRazaq’s Administration made sure that all actions of government are guided by rule of law.
” The problem and rot of the last administration in the state, is because of lack of culture of transparency, accountability and due process. The past government failed to prioritize justice, fairness and equity which are fundamentals of democracy and good governance. Leadership must be concerned with the wellbeing of the people and not promotion of poverty and impunity, as experienced under the past government in Kwara State.
” So the major achievements of the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq Administration that the people appreciates overwhelmingly, is it’s culture of rule of law, transparency, accountability, due process, inclusiveness and selflessness,” he explained.
Salahu said for instance, in furtherance of the administration’s prudence, its invited an accountability based Non – Governmental – Organization ( NGO ) , Enetsud to probe all government’s transactions.
He described the governor as a foremost revolutionary leader for embracing transparency and accountability, adding that such laudable precedence has never happened anywhere in Nigeria.
He recommended the innovation, value of open administration and selflessness as driven by the Kwara State Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to other governors and leaders in various positions of authority, at all levels of governance in Nigeria.
While appreciating Kwarans from all backgrounds for their overwhelming support and confidence reposed in the government of Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the Special Adviser assured that the governor would continue to work harder to satisfy the yearnings and agitations of the people by driving kwara to the greatest height of meaningful development.
He observed that the emergence of AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq Administration was providence that responded to the prayers of the masses and well meaning Kwarans. He therefore enjoined the people of the state to continue to assist Governor AbdulRazaq in the tasks of consolidating on the achievements, for Kwara to remain among the best three governed state in Nigeria.
Alhaji Salahu urged the electorate to support the second term bid of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in office by ensuring his victory in the forthcoming 2023 gubernatorial election in the state, assuring that his re – election will afford him the opportunity of achievements’ consolidation , so that the future shall continue to be better for the state, the younger generation and unborn children.
The governor’s aide further appreciated traditional rulers, the political class, Kwarans in diaspora, youth, women and other stakeholders in the state for declaring their support for the governor, saying that there is no vacancy for any other person , as the present occupier of Government House is doing pretty fine for the state.
He observed that Kwarans will not accept retrogression, as they cannot afford to go back to the dark days of the past government in the state, when bad governance impunity, poverty and degradation was made a culture of administration.
APC, Indivisible Family
While responding to the question of perceived rancour within the ruling party, All Progressive Party ( APC ) in the state, Salahu said though kwara APC still remain one indivisible family, but it is normal in party politics to disagree and agree because people compete among themselves for different positions.
” I can assure you that kwara APC remain a family. Though there may be one or two members that might have grievances, but I must let you know that Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is a large hearted leader whose door is open widely for reconciliation.
” The governor has continue to work towards bringing more people into the APC family. He is such a leader who does not feel happy losing a single follower or any member of the APC family in the state.
” I can assure you that Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq would continue to work and make his door open for any aggrieved member to come back. Because coming back is best for them. Because the prevailing atmosphere, as regards the overwhelming support of the people, it is very sure that APC will win in the 2023 general elections, not only in Kwara State, but even at the national level and across Nigeria.
” So whatever disagreement anybody conceived, they should endeavour to resolve it. The governor does not believe in things that can put us apart, he believes that we can seat on a round table to resolve our differences.
” I can assure you that the governor has put in place formidable strategy that he does not lose any member of APC family, rather he has his doors open, even to welcome more new people to join the party’s family in the state. And by the grace of God, 2023 will be a work over for APC in Kwara State and in Nigeria,” the Special Adviser expressed certainty.