By Oyewale Oyelola
Kwara State Governor, Alhaji AbdulFatai Ahmed since his inauguration has displayed high sense of creativity and forthrightness by innovating ways that would bring meaningful and sustainable development to the state of harmony.
Governor Ahmed has shown his vast knowledge of policies making by prioritizing projects that would bring economic development, social development and environmental protection for present and future generations of Kwarans and residents.
Sustainable development is the organiziing principle for meeting human development goals while at the same time sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and socieety depend.
Therefore, a good leader will not only think about meeting the present needs of the people but devise means to improve on their standard of living and create avenue where resources will continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural systems.
The resourceful governor due to decrease in monthly federation allocation to the state introduced many policies and programs to make the state viable now and emerge stronger in future.
The chief of the policy was the establishment of Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) in June 2015. Kwara State government under the leadership of Governor Ahmed set-up KW-IRS to increase Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state by blocking leakages and other sharp practices associated with previous revenue collection channels.
Furthermore, KW-IRS does not only collect revenues but also assist the state government to achieve specific economic and social policies, and stimulate voluntary compliance to ensure maximum representation of the populace in the executive decision making.
Evidently, the revenue service is living up to expectation by increasing Kwara state IGR from less than N500million monthly to over N2billion within two years of establishment.
Speaking on the success story of KW-IRS, the Executive Chairman of KW-IRS, Dr Awodun disclosed that the service generated as IGR in the state for 2015 was N7.2 billion and that was an average of N600 million monthly and N17.4 billion, so moving from N7.2 billion to N17.4billion particularly in a year of recession.
Gov Ahmed in his bid to properly utilize fund generated by KW-IRS for the benefit of people of the state, launched Infrastructure Development Fund ‘InfraFund Kwara’, (IF-K) in 2016 to fast track the development of every part in Kwara state.
The governor initiated IF-K to address estimated N225 billion deficit value of infrastructure across all the 16 local government areas and spanning all sectors. “Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund, I-FK a body saddled with the responsibility of coordinating infrastructural developments in the State. The state has earmarked savings of N500million every month into the fund to be provided by the Kwara Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS).” He said.
Apparently, KW-IRS is pushing N500million to IF-K monthly aside from supporting salary payment of workers in the state due to the constant shortfalls in federal allocation
Findings revealed that the State government has released about N10billion to 36 contractors handling ongoing and new projects across the State about various projects across the State despite the current economic challenges.
The lofty idea of Governor Ahmed fondly called Maigida has turned Kwara state to construction sites as work is going on simultaneously in ongoing projects which include Geri-Alimi Diamond underpass, KWASU campus in Ilesha-Baruba and Ekiti, KWASU Post-Graduate School in Ilorin, dualisation of Michael Imodu-Ganmo road, dualisation of Kulende-UITH-Oke Ose road among other projects across the state.
Kwara state is not in the league of states tagged ‘salary paying” government, as the economic recession in the country has limited some states to only pay workers’ salaries and neglected infrastructural development which is critical index to measure good governance.
Similarly, Governor Ahmed led administration has also set up Asphalt Company to address and ease maintenance and construction of roads in the state. The governor while commissioning the project said the plant will create jobs, boost revenue generation, as it will be leased out to contractors and other users within and outside Kwara, stressing that the plant has been tested and found to be of the highest quality.
Education sector is not left out in the sustainable development drive of current administration in state of harmony, as all state owned tertiary institutions have been reengineered and repositioned to offer quality education services to students without unnecessary interruption of academic activities. The institutions are now self-reliant and self sufficient, this have put to rest industrial disputes across the tertiary institutions in the state.
In agriculture, Alhaji Ahmed introduced Off-takers Demand Driven Agriculture (ODDA) scheme to revamp the agricultural sector in the State by securing and clearing 2500 hectares of land for development of Farm Estate in different parts of the State for farming activities. About 1000 farmers have been empowered and settled on the estate farms across the state.
The indelible imprints of Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed are visible in all sectors of the state. Although some of the innovations of the visionary and focus leader might not bring immediate gains to the populace but the achievements and foundation he is laying for modernization of Kwara State of harmony will be a reference point for future generations.