For some party candidates in Nigeria, the six-week extension in the 2015 general election dates given by the Professor Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has become a blessing in disguise. Before now, for different reasons, they had kicked against any form of election postponement.
One of the beneficiaries of such “blessings” is Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State, who doubles as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as he is making maximum use of the six-week election dates shift.
The vocal governor who served in the immediate-past administration as commissioner for Finance and later Economic Development, had ensured that the projects left behind saw the light of the day while new ones were put on ground so as to bring a new lease of life to the good people of Kwara State.
When Ahmed became the state’s executive governor on May 29, 2011, and going by the antecedent of the administration he succeeded, not a few political watchers believed that Ahmed would work his heart out to sustain and consolidate the legacies of the old administration under Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki who is now a senator and also initiate more developmental projects capable of adding more values to the socio-economic and political growth of the state.
His continuity mission in Kwara has brought a lot of impacts to the development of the state since his assumption of office by ensuring that all the projects left behind by Senator Bukola Saraki were completed as part of efforts at developing the state.
His ongoing campaign tour of the three senatorial districts, has given him the opportunity to showcase his laudable achievements in the areas of education, health, rural integration, youths and women empowerment.
On his scorecard presented to an ecstatic crowd in his Kwara South District, Ahmed had this to say: “Under Shared Prosperity, our administration has implemented several life-transforming programmes such as the innovative Kwara Bridge Empowerment Scheme (KWABES), under which the government has employed 5000 youths including 2000 civil servants. The expanded empowerment scheme, QuickWin, has seen the engagement of 5200 youths in the first phase with 8200 youths targeted for empowerment in 2014. So far, 10, 200 youths have been employed by the government in the last three years.”
A further peep into the score sheet also revealed that, Governor Ahmed’s administration has empowered 50,000 small business owners, 100 transporters and 47 artisan groups that have benefitted from the N1b in micro-credit disbursed under the Kwara Entrepreneurship Scheme since 2012. Even, the government has also empowered State Association of Marketers whose members are currently accessing another N100 million in micro credit.
To underscore the importance attached by his administration to civil servants, Governor Ahmed facilitated N3 billion in car loans to civil servants, especially teachers. This is on top of the welfare packages such as training and retraining, and provision of affordable housing and office accommodation implemented by the state government.
In the education sector, groundbreaking educational reforms have been up-scaled 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 and supply of free notebooks to secondary school students.
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 and modernized Ilorin, Offa, Omu-Aran, Share and Kaiama General Hospitals to state-of-the-arts hospitals. The Community Health Insurance Scheme, under 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.
Towards meeting its target of ensuring connecting all communities in the state to electricity supply, Governor Ahmed administration’s rural and urban electrification project has seen 400 communities connected to the national grid. Ilorin, the state capital, is especially more beautiful at nights, thanks to urban street light project that has been extended to several major streets in the Ilorin metropolis.
In the road sector, the state government has implemented the highly applauded Operation No Potholes launched in 2011 to ensure all gullies in the state are repaired to ensure proper maintenance. Under the state urban and rural road project, majority of inherited roads have been completed while 38 road projects started by the administration are at various levels of completion.
These include 28 inherited road projects covering a length of 256.127kms. Eighty per cent of these, covering 204.8 kilometers have been completed. The remaining 17 are on-going across the state. Eight new asphalted roads completed while 30 are on-going, half of which will be completed soon. Forty-one rural/feeder roads with a total length of 287km have been completed while 81km are on-going.
To achieve its target of ensuring access to clean water within 500-meter radius, the state government has rehabilitated 17 waterworks across the state, sunk about 400 boreholes, and is on the verge of completing the Ilorin Water Reticulation Project, which will connected pipe water to all homes in the metropolis.
However, it will be noted here that, these giant strides in the delivery of dividends of democracy to the doorsteps of the people of the state in the last three and a half years have endeared him to all the places visited during the various rallies embarked upon by the leadership of the APC in the state led by Senator Bukola Saraki and supported by the DG of the Mandate 2015 campaign organisation and Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. Razak Atunwa.