By Abdullah Abdulganiy

Tomorrow, May 29, 2024, it would have been one year Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq was sworn in to lead our state for a second term.

Within this period, AbdulRazaq has consolidated on the people-oriented and purposeful governance he was popular with in his first tenure. It’s been so far so good despite the unyielding efforts of opposition forces in the annihilated Saraki camp to distract him with their usual propaganda and mischief.

AbdulRazaq’s ability to remain focused and unbowed in delivering the dividends of democracy to the people is a gold standard for leadership and statecraft.

Within the last one year or so, Governor AbdulRazaq has shown he still remains responsible and sensitive to the feelings and plights of the people. The policy pronouncements of the Federal Government on petrol subsidy and foreign exchange, no doubt, affected the livelihoods of the people. It is however documented that Governor AbdulRazaq came through for his people on many fronts within the limited resources of the state. In fact, he was exemplary for his colleagues in designing and implementing a subnational response to the new reality.

Civil servants get a cash award of N10,000 to support their transport to work monthly, even when a staggered work schedule of 3 days only in a week has been introduced. This, of course, does not prevent them from getting their regular salaries, timely and consistently like it has always happened in the first tenure. Salary payment was practically considered a favour in the era before AbdulRazaq. Funny percentages, late payment and even non-payment were the order of the day.

As part of the state’s response, the government directed the implementation of 100% CONMESS and CONHESS for medical doctors and other health workers. The Governor similarly approved a one-off cash support of N10,000 for indigenous students across public tertiary institutions in the country. That’s even as he directed the deployment of buses at different stations to ease the movement of students at various intervals.

I recall there were also phases of distribution of food palliative to vulnerable members of the state. On the other hand, with KWASSIP, the Governor approved grants, relief funds and social safety nets for non-civil servants to cope with the shocks occasioned by the period. People and businesses got up to N50,000 irrespective of party affiliation. The fourth edition of the all-important Kwapreneur programme also took place within the period under review. No less than 360 startups got between N250,000 and N3 million as non-interest loans to boost their businesses or start one.

All these are a demonstration of sensitivity to the plights of the people by the government. Indeed, more can still be done and is still being done. AbdulRazaq has shown a commitment to paying the under-negotiation new minimum wage once the process is finalised by the Federal Government.

Amid all the ‘rogbodiyan’, the Governor had rolled out several infrastructural projects, including in road development, that will change the face of the capital city and transform the entire state.

For instance, the reconstruction of the Wahab-Folawiyo (Unity) within this one year of his second tenure is the talk-of-the-town for its quality and timely delivery. The major artery road whose history began in 1976 now has its lifespan renewed after outliving it due to decades of heavy use. The construction of the 130km Kosubosu-Kaiama-Bode Saadu Road, 83km Lafiagi-Shonga-Bacita Road, 32km Okuta-Gwanara-Bukoro Road, 49km Offa-Ojoku-Afon-Eiyenkorin Road, has also received a major boost as contractors have been mobilised to site with at least N40bn, according to the Commissioner for Works and Transport Abdulquawiy Olododo at a press conference late last year. He explained that it was a major gain from some recent policy initiatives of the Federal Government which Governor AbdulRazaq has been following up closely with.

All these road projects including the ones lined up under RAAMP and those just recently approved by the state executive council in May 2024 across the three senatorial districts will have huge impact on the socioeconomic growth of our state. They will connect communities to one another, lessen travel time for commuters and generally open up the state’s economy.

It was also during this one year that over 70 internal roads in the state, with majority in the state capital, were rehabilitated. The roads include but not limited to Sawmill Garage, Taiwo-Surulere, Sefura Junction, Irra Road, Ita Merin-OGS Road.

There is steady advancement in the groundwork being done to establish the Kwara State University Teaching Hospital (KWASUTH), the Kwara State University of Education, and the Ilorin Smart City. All these innovative legacy projects came to the fore during this first year of Governor AbdulRazaq’s second term in office. When all these fine ideas are completed, they will elevate the status and rating of Kwara in the comity of states in Nigeria.

Major investments in agric, mining and health have also been attracted to the state. The groundbreaking ceremony for the ASR Cancer Treatment Centre in Ilorin happened last year. A major cashew processing plant Annie Glidden Commodities Nig. Ltd has commenced operations at Eiyenkorin, providing job opportunities for scores of Kwarans. Just recently, our state also welcomed the ER-KANG Mining Nigeria Company Limited in Asa, a firm that will be operating in the solid minerals sector. This is our evidence that the enabling and friendly business environment created by Governor AbdulRazaq is paying off.

From all these illustrations, one thing is clear. The first year of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s second term in office has been a consolidation of his people-oriented and purposeful governance. Our decision to renew his mandate at the polls in 2023 was not in vain. Our state could not afford a retrogressive dynasty that prefers to grease the palm of a honcho to investing in the state and people for growth and shared prosperity.

Abdulganiy writes from Ilorin, the state capital