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Kwara marks May 29 amid historic project launches

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  • Gov AbdulRazaq unveils new Ilorin master plan, 20,000-hectare smart city prototype
  • Commissions CNG station, hails President Tinubu
  • Flags off distribution of 16,000 textbooks across basic schools
  • Flower Garden opened for public use

May 29, 2024 saw a cocktail of activities of far-reaching socioeconomic impacts for Kwara as the state government launched different projects to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.

The day opened with the commissioning of the 4.7km Yebumot-Adeta Roundabout and Adeta-Oloje roads, which the Governor named after two elder statesmen from the capital city — retired Major General Mohammed Abdullahi Adangba and prominent scholar Sheikh Yahya Murtadha Agodi.

The road commissioning was followed by a walk around the newly developed Flower Garden — currently the largest green space in Kwara purposely made for outdoor recreational activities, promotion of work-life balance, and protection of mother nature in the capital city.

The Governor walked the lawn of the garden in the company of the First Lady Amb. Olufolake Abdulrazaq, federal and state lawmakers, cabinet members, and dignitaries from within and outside of the state, including the managing director of NEPZA Dr. Olufemi Ogunyemi.

As AbdulRazaq did that in Ilorin, Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi was in the northern senatorial district to commission the Jebba waterworks, ending the community’s longstanding thirst for state-owned clean water source.

At the banquet hall in Ilorin, creme de la creme from Kwara and beyond joined AbdulRazaq to unveil the Ilorin City Master Plan, the second ever blueprint since the creation of the state in 1967, as well as the talk-of-the-town 20,000-hectare Ilorin Smart City project.

AbdulRazaq said the idea is targeted at making the capital city habitable, eco-friendly, and compliant with the rules that govern urban planning.

He said the Ilorin City Master Plan has been designed to guide a sustainable living of the people for the next 40 years, while the Smart City is an innovative response of the administration to the multi-dimensional challenges of urban living.

“Today, we are adding another cornerstone to the foundation laid over 48 years ago by the founding fathers of Kwara State, who designed the first master plan for Ilorin. But this is not so much about etching a foundation for the sake of it,” he said this at the launch.

“This is about making our capital city habitable, compliant with the rules that govern urban planning in the age of climate crisis, and bequeathing a legacy for those coming after us.

“As of this morning, the United Nations World Population Prospects put Ilorin as the third most populous metro area in the entire northern Nigeria, preceded only by Kaduna and Kano in the ascending order. Ilorin, according to this data, has had a population growth rate of between 2.53% in 2020 and 3.3% in 2024.”

AbdulRazaq said the new master plan is justified by the population growth that he said poses a great social threat without proper architectural designs.

“While the Ilorin City Master Plan has been designed to guide how we live sustainably for the next 40 years, the Smart City is our innovative response to the multidimensional challenges of urban living that now confront Ilorin, including congestion and the associated pressures it brings on the existing infrastructure,” he said.

“Designed to host 540,000 residents, the Smart City is a nine residential district city that is built in compliance with the United Nations prescriptions for urban living.”

The first phase of this ambitious project covers 11,000 hectares with an estimated N1.72tr funding requirements from public private investments between now (2024) and 2027, the Governor said.

Governor Abdulrazaq also launched a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station in Ilorin, adjudged by the Presidential CNG Initiative (PCNGi) as the first in the region.

He added: “The launching of this CNG station is the direct benefit of the fuel subsidy removal of last year. That policy shift meant a national decision to adopt a cleaner and cheaper energy source for a sustainable future.”

He added that it will translate to conversion of at least 20 state government vehicles to CNG-powered engines in this test run.

Some of the dignitaries that attended the marathon events included National and State parliamentarians; cabinet members; royalties; party chieftains led by the State APC Chairman Prince Sunday Fagbemi; religious leaders led by Chief Imam Ilorin Sheikh Muhammad Bashir; Zanna of Ilorin and Chairman Yolas Consultancy, Engr Lanre Sagaya; President, Ilorin Emirate Descendants’ Progressive Union (IEDPU) Alhaji Abdulmumin Abdulmalik; academics; technocrats; security commanders; and leaders of the business community among others.

Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Segun Ogunsola, for his part, said the Ilorin City Master plan is necessitated by rising population, assuring the people that the project will take care of critical aspects such as tourism, healthcare, education, recreation, and flood control.

Engr Sagaya, in his goodwill message, commended the Governor for embarking on a master plan that will enhance the physical development and environmental beauty of Ilorin City.

He recalled the discourse he once had with AbdulRazaq centring on the need to have a new Ilorin master plan to meet the status of a modern town.

“I thank your Excellency for embarking on all these laudable projects, which are not only beautifying the city, but also critical to solving the traffic situation at critical intersections and junctions in the town,” he said.

Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on the state Geographic Information Service (Kw-GiS) Abdulmutalib Shittu, spoke on the efforts of the Ilorin Master plan committee that was set up four years ago to provide a framework for the implementation, and vouched for the capacity of Dar Al-Handasah Consultant Ltd to deliver the project.

At the CNG launch, Programme Director of the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas initiative (PiCNG), Engr Michael Oluwagbemiga, commended the Governor for supporting the Presidential initiative, right from the onset and his great understanding of the benefits in the adoption of gas.

The Governor, meanwhile, flagged off the distribution of 16,000 textbooks across basic schools in the state.

He mentioned how the administration took Kwara out of the UBEC blacklist, paid the backlog of counterpart funds from 2013 to 2019, and again from 2019 to 2023, making Kwara up to date in that regard.

He said the administration has fixed thousands of classrooms across the three senatorial districts, recruited 4,701 teachers, and implemented a tech-based programme that has improved learning outcomes in the state.

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Gov AbdulRazaq Announces Minor Cabinet Reshuffle

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Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has effected a minor cabinet reshuffle involving four commissioners.

Those affected are the Commissioner for Social Development Hon. Afolashade Justina, who moves to Women Affairs; and the Commissioner for Women Affairs Hon. Bosede Olaitan Buraimoh who switches to Social Development.

Hon. Commissioner for Youth Development Nafisat Buge moves to the Ministry of Environment, whose Commissioner Hon. Shehu Ndanusa Usman moves to the Ministry of Youth Development.

The cabinet reshuffle takes immediate effect.

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Kwara Gov excited as Nigerian Army launches CBT Centre in Igbaja

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  • Gov hails Army’s support for internal security, seeks respect for security agencies
  • Army Chief lauds Gov’s support in Kwara, North Central • Gov attends Igbaja Day, now Taiyese of Irese Land

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Thursday advocated more appreciation for the sacrifices of the security agencies, including the Nigerian Army.

He said the military has played important roles to support civilian authorities at all times, including at a time when the country was under intense pressure from hostile non-state actors.

The Governor spoke in Igbaja, Ifelodun LG of the state, at the commissioning of a Computer Based Testing (CBT) center, a special intervention project of the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), Lieutenant General T. A. Lagbaja.

The project was executed by Major General Adelokun Eyitayo, a serving military officer and native of Igbaja Land, who also launched his three books, titled: ‘Life of Prince Daud and Spirituality; Tears for Suni and Titi; and The Boy on the Highland’.

“This Computer Centre means a lot for the socioeconomic growth of this community. Not only does it nudge members of the community towards acquisition of necessary skills for this age; it opens up new frontiers of socioeconomic benefits for Igbaja and communities around it,” the Governor said.

“I am also fascinated by the spirit behind this project. It is timely and necessary. The need for better military-civil relations cannot be over-emphasized. Recent developments in our country again suggest a need to deepen citizens’ appreciation of the sacrifices that our security forces make to keep us safe, stabilise the fabric of our society, and ward off every threat against the Nigerian state.

“Over the last two decades, the military has played very important roles to support civilian authorities at all times, including at a time when our country came under intense pressure from hostile non-state actors.”

AbdulRazaq commended the Federal Government and the Chief of Army Staff for establishing the CBT centre that he said will aid skill acquisition and boost socioeconomic growth of the area.

“We therefore cannot thank the federal government and our military enough. We must appreciate and honour members of our security forces, including military personnel deployed in internal operations and during emergencies, and cease all attacks on them,” he added.

The commissioning attracted various dignitaries, including the CoAS Lieutenant General T. A. Lagbaja, who was represented by Maj Gen Obinna Onubogu; the Elese of Igbajaland Oba Ahmed Awuni Arepo III; and Igbaja CBT Project Executor Major General Adelokun Eyitayo; among others.

Lagbaja, for his part, said the execution of the project further affirms the transformational drive of the Nigerian Army towards achieving its constitutional responsibility through a non-kinetic line of operations.

The Army Chief thanked Governor AbdulRazaq and the people of the state for their continued support for the operations of the Nigerian Army.

“The Nigerian Army has received tremendous support from your government. It is also gladdening to note that we have enjoyed cordial working relationships with you over the years, and your support has contributed immensely to our operational success within the state and the entire North Central region,” he said.

Maj Gen. Eyitayo thanked CoAS for the approval of the project and his unwavering support for its delivery.

He also appreciated the Governor for directing the purchase and supply of his three books for the use of students of public secondary schools in the state.

The Governor, meanwhile, attended the 2024 Igbaja Day celebration, where he urged the people of Igbaja to continue to recognise the rich cultural heritage and diversity that makes the community to be unique.

He congratulated the Elese of Igbaja, the Jagunmolu of Igbaja and founder of Al-hikmah University Chief Oladimeji Igbaja, and all sons and daughters of Igbaja community on the celebration, requesting them to continue to unite for accelerated growth.

“Let us embrace and celebrate our diversity, and continue to build bridges of understanding and empathy,” the Governor said.

“As you are aware, our administration has embarked on various projects that touched the lives of everyone across the state, including Igbajaland. We will continue to do more to improve the lives of our people.”

Chief Oladimeji, who was excited by the Governor’s culture of arriving early for events, praised AbdulRazaq for time management, and how the administration has executed many laudable programmes and projects in the town and elsewhere.

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Africa needs to be competitive, says Chike-Obi, Fidelity Bank’s Chairman

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Africa needs to be competitive and efficient in its area of strength, according to Mustafa Chike-Obi, the Chairman of Fidelity Bank, who spoke with CNBC Africa’s Kenneth Igbomor on the sidelines of the AFREXIMBANK Annual meetings in Nassau, the Bahamas.

Chike-Obi emphasized the importance of focused and sharp leadership in harnessing the continent’s strengths to achieve prosperity. He highlighted the need for Africa to identify areas of competitive advantage in producing goods and services efficiently to unlock its full potential.

He pointed out that success stories in areas like sports demonstrate Africa’s potential when leveraging advantages. However, he stressed the crucial role of collaboration and seamless interaction among African nations and regions for sustainable development.

The chairman urged for enhanced integration to facilitate the movement of goods and services across the continent, emphasizing the necessity to work collectively towards common goals.

Chike-Obi also addressed the importance of prioritizing Africa’s strengths, such as power supply, through cohesive policies and agreements to drive economic growth. He emphasized the need for coordinated banking policies to promote financial integration within Africa and with external partners, emphasizing the significance of streamlined banking services and transactions.

The Chairman highlighted the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a significant opportunity for economic advancement but called for more practical implementation to ensure its effectiveness. He underscored the importance of execution in translating policies into tangible outcomes for the African people.

Reflecting on the annual meetings and the discussions on trade and investment, Chike-Obi reiterated the critical importance of collaboration for Africa’s progress, emphasizing that unity and concerted efforts are essential for realizing the continent’s potential.

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