If impact is the measure of good governance, then Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has excelled since becoming the sixth Executive Governor of Kwara State in 2011. From roads, education, agriculture, energy and health to youth empowerment and SME promotion, His Excellency, Dr. Ahmed has made governance meaningful by delivering its benefits to the people.
Banker, chemist and politician, Governor Ahmed brings to his job an inspiring vision of Kwara State, passion for high performance and a strong determination to create new opportunities for prosperity. Moreover, in demonstrating the benefits of continuity, the Senior Advocate of Teachers has strengthened hope in representative democracy and in governance.
Under Shared Prosperity, Governor Ahmed has implemented several life-transforming programmes such as the innovative Kwara Bridge Empowerment Scheme, KWABES, under which the government has employed 5,000 youths including 2,000 civil servants. The expanded Empowerment Scheme, QuickWin, has seen the engagement of 5,200 youths in the first phase with a total of 8200 youths targeted for empowerment in 2014. Also empowered are 41,000 small business owners, 100 transporters and 47 artisan groups that have benefitted from the N640 million in micro-credit disbursed under the Kwara Entrepreneurship Scheme since 2012.
In the education sector, ground-breaking educational reforms have been upscaled and infrastructure enhanced with construction and rehabilitation of 400 classrooms at primary and secondary school levels, and the introduction of free education at senior secondary school levels. The jewel in the education sector’s crown, the International Vocational Centre, Ajasse-Ipo, is affiliated with City and Guilds of London and poised to fill middle-level manpower gaps while establishing Kwara State as the hub for vocational skills in the sub-region.
In the health sector, government has supplied drugs and equipment to 13 general hospitals and 43 primary health centres as well as remodeled Ilorin, Offa, Omu-Aran, Share and Kaiama General Hospitals to state-of-the-art hospitals. The Community Health Insurance Scheme, through which enrollees receive year round healthcare for N500, has been extended to 80,000 beneficiaries and has been adjudged as one of the most successful by the United Nations.
To achieve its target of ensuring access to clean water within 500-metre radius, the state government has rehabilitated 17 waterworks spread across the state, sunk about 400 boreholes and it is on the verge of completing the Ilorin Water Reticulation Project, which will bring pipe-borne water to all homes in the metropolis.
For these laudable policies and programmes, Governor Ahmed has won recognition from several quarters. These include Global Excellence Award for Best Governor in Northern Nigeria (2011); City People’s Best Governor, North Central 2011; African Leadership Magazine’s Outstanding Agricultural Development Icon of the Year 2011; BusinessDay Best Governor in Agriculture 2013; City People Best Governor in Youth Empowerment 2013; NUT Best Governor in Education 2013, and HOG Governor of the Year 2013. We present an overview of performance in the key sectors.
The aim of the current administration in the road sector is to complete all inherited projects and establish new ones, especially since it is convinced that good roads will bring success to other sectors of the economy.
To start with, the state government embarked on massive rehabilitation of roads and construction of new ones. Governor Ahmed, who believes in continuity, completed most of the roads he inherited from his predecessor, Senator Bukola Saraki, and others are still ongoing. The priority given to roads shows that the sector is one of the cardinal points of the agenda of his administration. For example, of the thirty eight new asphalted roads started by current administration, twenty eight of these roads have been completed so far. These include Ejiba Road, Ilorin, Olaolu-CBN Quarters, Stadium Road, Ayedun-Ilale Road, Kulende-Oyun Bridge, Share Township Road, Fate Road Around/Agric, Oke-Ode Share Road, Oke-Andi-Obafemi Taoheed, Oro-Ijomu Oro Road. Inherited and completed roads include Gamo-Afon Road, Lafiagi Township Road, Ahmadu Bello Road, Ilorin, Zango-Akerebiata Road, and Offa-Ira Road. In addition, rural/feeder roads with a total length of 287km have been completed while 81km are on-going.
Today, there is marked improvement in vehicular movement in many towns and villages in the state. And, an investment friendly environment such as this has brought forth an increase in investments into the state.
Overview of Completed and Ongoing Road Projects:
1) Completion of Mustapha-Aberi Road
2) Rehabilitation of roads linking Umar Audi/Joseph Ogbeha Road, GRA, Ilorin
3) Rehabilitation of roads leading to Kamaldeen University, Ogidi
4) Rehabilitation of Kaiama General Hospital Road
5) Construction of road linking Opomalu and Isale Maliki Ilorin
6) Construction of Abdulsalam Alao Street, Gaa-Akanbi, Ilorin
7) Renovation/renewal of Roundabouts in Ilorin metropolis
8) Construction of collapsed Oko Bridge
9) Erin-Ile–Ilemona Road
10) Construction of Omu-Aran Township Landmark University Road, Irepodun LGA
11) Construction of Ekuru-Koro Road, Ekiti LGA
12) Construction of Aiyedun–Ilale Road, Ilorin
From the inception of the present administration, a tremendous transformation has been recorded in the Health Sector in Kwara State under the able Leadership of Governor Ahmed. One of the major thrust of his administration is the provision of quality and affordable health care for the people and he has not failed in that. Some of the revolutionary steps taken include provision of free malaria treatment for children under five and pregnant women; distribution of 30,000 units of Mama kits and 30,000 personal health record books for improved safe motherhood activities. Also, thirty midwives were trained on Life Saving Skills (LSS) to reduce maternal death while there has been an increment of health workers salary with payment of 50 per cent CONHESS. All these and others have placed Kwara ahead of its contemporaries.
Other strides in health care delivery and services include:
1) The comprehensive rehabilitation of 5 General Hospitals spread across the three Senatorial Districts of the State, which has been successfully completed.
2) The completion of state-of-the-art Kwara Advanced Medical Diagnostic Centre, Ilorin, to boost diagnosis and specialised medical investigations.
3) Construction/upgrading of 15 Cottage Hospitals/Comprehensive Health centres spread across the three Senatorial Districts of the state.
4) One hundred and sixty free surgeries of various forms of Vesico-Vaginal Fistulae (VVF) in collaboration with Engender Health Organization at Sobi Specialist Hospital.
5) Various Medical Missions where free surgical operations and treatment of various ailments were performed in collaboration with Kwara State Association of Nigeria in North America (KSANG), Rotary International and Moses Lake Foundation.
6) Establishment of full scale tuberculosis and other chest- related disease centre in Sobi Specialist Hospital.
7) Upgrading of the Family Planning Centre at Children Specialist Hospital Centre, Igboro.
8) Distribution of Blood Bank to 21 Hospitals and presentation of Medical Equipment to Children’s Specialist Hospital Centre, Igboro.
9) Distribution of medical equipment to all Government Hospitals in the State during the first 100 days of this administration.
10) Distribution of MDG equipment to 12 General Hospitals and 43 primary health care centers across the state.
11) Extension of Community-Based Health insurance scheme to cover three senatorial districts of Kwara State.
12) Commissioning of a new School of Nursing at Oke-Ode to address the shortage of Nurses.
13) Mobile Clinic project and free eye surgery In Baruten LGA and other LGAs in Kwara State by LEAH Foundation.
14) Provision of free drugs for patients in Baruten LGA and other LGAs by LEAH Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
15) The establishment of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency to bring Primary Health Care under one Roof in the state.
From an epileptic situation in 2003, water supply in the state has been on a steady improvement and considerable achievement had been attained since the inception of this administration in 2011. Also, the quality of supplies has improved, and accessibility gap has been reduced from about 3000m to 700m. Between 2011 and now, the present administration has been able to improve the quality of production to meet with the WHO standard. Daily production has also improved. For example, Asa Dam waterworks production increased from 4mgpd to 25.5mgpd, and has continued to be sustained since expansion.
Although government is striving to attain WHO standard of 120 litres per person per day, accessibility gap has also been further reduced to about 700m and gradually narrowing down towards the state government policy target of 500m. About 400 boreholes in the motorised and hand-pump category have been drilled. The distribution across the three senatorial districts is carefully done to achieve equitable spread, except of course where the dry aquifers predominate.
Some of the undertakings in the water sector include the second phase of Ilorin Metropolis Reticulation project, remodeling of 17 waterworks across the state and the provision of boreholes across the state on a monthly basis, subject to established need.
Beyond accessibility, the quality of education is key and for Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, supporting schools with infrastructure, books, qualified teachers, quality instructions and curriculum is quite important. Huge government effort in the education sector has produced a conducive environment for learning leading to noticeable improvement in overall performances. These include rehabilitation and upgrading of the Kwara State Education Resource Centre, Ilorin, establishment of City and Guilds-affiliated International Vocational Centre, Ajasse-Ipo, upgrading of Thirty-Three schools from Junior Secondary Schools to Senior Secondary Schools across the state, payment of Senior Secondary School Students for NECO registration fees in pursuance of the Free Education Policy in the State and establishment of twelve new Nomadic Schools in six LGs.
Others are renovation of 400 classrooms across the State to improve School infrastructures and renovation of classrooms, hostels and administrative block of School for Special Needs, Ilorin
In addition, 200 Science teachers and Laboratory assistants were trained on laboratory procedures for “Effective Science Teaching and Practical” while another 200 have been engaged by the teaching service commission.
Without doubt, Governor Ahmed’s people-oriented projects – be it in health, water, education, energy or agriculture, solid minerals and tourism – have touched every nook and crannies in Kwara State. Today, the citizens of Kwara drive on smooth, motorable well-lit roads, enjoy flowing potable water in their homes, send their children to schools that provide quality education at no cost and in a conducive environment.. They also have access to hospitals manned by qualified personnel with life-saving drugs and excellent services.
Talk of the dividends of democracy and good governance and Governor Ahmed’s administration readily comes to mind as exemplary.