NIGERIA @ 60: KWADEF SALUTES KWARANS, CALLS FOR PEOPLE-CENTERED GOVERNANCE
The Kwara Development Foundation, KWADEF has congratulated Nigerians, especially indigenes and residents of Kwara State on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence from colonial rule and urged the governor to make his administration people-centric.
The group in a statement signed by its President, Dr. Kolawole Afolabi, and Publicity Secretary, Oluwasegun Abifarin recalled that “Kwara state is a child of history and destiny; and like Nigeria, the development journey of the state has been tortuous. From one regime to another, the song has been the same and the alienated and abandoned people have been crying for succor.”
The group, therefore, calls for a paradigm shift and a reset of the development template of the state to make the people the center of governance and make ‘independence’ meaningful to the Kwarans.
It added that the reset should range from institutional reforms and reconstruction, infrastructural development, human capacity building, social welfare, and policy reforms to another socio-economic, cultural, scientific, and administrative repositioning.
Specifically, the group lamented that the industrial glory of the state as epitomized by industrial heritage such as Kwara Textiles, Tate and Lyle, Jebba Paper Mill, Bacita Sugar Company, Kwara Breweries, Ijagbo; Okin Foam and Okin Biscuits, Offa; Kwara Paper Converters Limited, Erin-file; United Match Company among others, have become a sad history.
In recent times, however, it noted a number of companies have chosen Kwara as the place to build their brands and grow their businesses. Some of these companies include Dangote Flour Mills, Olam Nigeria, and Tuyil Pharmaceuticals.
To sustain the revival, KWADEF maintained that agriculture and agro-business should be made to be more attractive to the youths in terms of incentives and support.
Since the State has a favorable climate, a substantial cultivable area, and good soil to support agriculture, livestock, and inland fishing, a deliberate program of mechanized agriculture should also be geared towards the processing of agricultural produce through the value chains will provide gainful employment to many citizens. “Kwara can make many millionaires out of many farmers by maximizing the geographical location,” it said.
KWADEF added that with stringent planning and investment drives, over 500,000 hectares could come under grain cultivation, and raise profitability. Investments must include the provision of silos and elevators along the rail corridor, all of which could help transform Kwara into a major agro-based trading bloc.
Kwadef maintained that It is worthy to note that the collective will, courage, and determination of Kwarans, irrespective of class or religion propelled the Otoge movement which eventually transformed into an unstoppable force that uprooted the ‘enemies’ and gave victory to the people at the 2019 polls.
“We equally recalled that at his inauguration speech on the 25th of May, 2019, Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrasazaq acknowledged the fact that there is so much to be done. Nothing can be farther from this truth,” the group said.
According to KWADEF, the truth was evident that the current administration inherited a state with abysmal records on all fronts. For example, people of Baruten often have to visit the neighboring Benin Republic to access medical care. Public trust in government was at its lowest.
“It gladdened our heart when the Governor stated that his “goal in Office is not to lament over the sad past; but rather to build confidence that a better future is possible. In the last fifteen months, we are glad to note that some progress has been made,” KWADEF said.