I have seen Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq speaks on the development policies of his administration for more than 3 hours, without looking at any book or script. 

Like a Hafiz, who had memorized all of the Quran, the Kwara State governor was pouring out his mind in such a clearly articulated manner, like he had planned out Kwara development all of his life.

The interesting part of the presentation was that, the governor wasn’t talking to a group of world leaders or some high-level political and business executives, he was just talking to some random young people, who had expressed sufficient interest in knowing the direction of his administration and he made it a duty to put them in the picture. 

From his head, he drew out the map of Kwara State, with adequate labelling of the areas in discussion to paint some graphical representations, connecting one town to the other, and showing how he intended to link about 4 local government areas together, for the upliftment of commercial activities in the state. I later learnt that this was in line with the governor’s quest to shift Kwara State away from being a civil servant state, to a state driven by industry and technology.

Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq didn’t only talked about linking Kwara State together for intra state economic activities, he also located on his drawn map, the links with nearby states and explained why federal government would have to be drawn into the plan, to handle their own part of the responsibilities. 

Typical of a strategist, who can see the end before the beginning, Governor Abdulrahman explained how he intends to persuade the federal government to share in his big vision of not only providing water through  irrigation and connecting Kwara to other neighboring states, but also to create a one line drive, from far away Ivory Coast to Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital, in taking full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

The governor also noted that, Nigeria must be ready to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and Kwara State is going to be playing a frontline role in that process, being a border state with Benin Republic, through Kwara North, in Baruten Local government area. 

In this 3 hours discussion, Governor Abdulrahman did not only talked about creating a whole new modern economic market in Kwara North, he also mapped a space for what he then described as a mega cattle village, which would allow Kwara State to be center for massive economic activities, not only servicing the cattle needs of North Central or Nigeria, but also open to other African countries. 

Let me confess that this event didn’t happen yesterday or this year, it happened some months ago, not long after the administration came on board, precisely around July 2019 and when one carefully observe the development in the state ever since, one can see clearly, the gradual manifestation of this grand plan to set Kwara on the path of prosperity.

For a governor, who inherited a state without economy, a state ran as a private enterprise of an individual for 2 decades, especially when the state is used as a cash cow to service the ego and over bloated life style of the men of yesterday, it is necessary that reconstruction should be the focus and that is why the first budget pushed forward by the government is tagged reconstruction budget. 

What we had before is like a building without foundation and no matter how much efforts is put into sustaining it, it would eventually collapse.

The Kwara State governor is taking the long and difficult route of reconstruction, which would certainly attracts some kinds of criticism. 

In the 2020 budget for example, being the first budget of this administration, we can see the priority of industry and technology. We can see priority in social spending that would stimulate the economy. We can also see welfarism vis -a-vis health and education. This is apart from the over 150 road projects, either ongoing, about to commence or completed, some of which are construction, rehabilitation or turn around maintenance. All of these would add value to the viability of the state.

But like every bold action, it may take a little while to appreciate his commitment, but sooner or later, even the blind will not deny the manifestation of a sustainable development.

From being a cash cow that is used to service personal life style of the men of yesterday, the first budget of Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is making attempt to set Kwara’s foot on the path of industrial and skilled based development

Afterall, how much can the state really do without creating sources for alternative revenue, when more than 70% of its federal allocation are used to pay salaries, which would also increase very soon with the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage? This is apart from the fact that, all 100% local government federal allocations are used to pay salaries, which would also increase with the implementation of N30,000 minimum wage. 

The question is, how will the local government meet up the payment of minimum wage, when their federal allocation is not even enough to cater for that?

Of course, many would say, what about the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and the answer is very simple, if federal allocation would not be enough to pay ordinary salary of workers, who are less than 2% of the population, how much really can the current IGR do, if alternative sources of revenue are not opened? 

And assuming that the IGR can be used to compliment federal allocation to pay minimum wage, what then would be used for development and to cater for the remaining 98% of the population? This is why the government is taking full advantages of counter funding opportunities, in addition to creating enterprising opportunities.

Finally and as you may have observed, Kwara State doesn’t have a state development plan. I mean, how can a state really develop without a state development plan? 

You cannot just erect buildings under the guise of infrastructure, there should be a clear-cut direction for development both in short and long term, human and capital, assets and liquidity. But this has been missing in the state of harmony for decades. 

Thankfully, it is understood that the current government is already working towards it and we hope that this would give birth to a new developmental approach.

 Abdulrazaq Hamzat is the Convener of Kwara Must Change

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