The gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Kwara State, Alhaji Hakeem Oladimeji Lawal has been counseled to make the people the center-point of his administration as he hopes to win the 2023 elections.
This was part of the remarks of a former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Samuel Olajide Afolayan (retd.) when the SDP gubernatorial candidate paid a courtesy call on the retired Naval Chief at Osi, Ekiti Local Government Area last Wednesday, as part of the on-going interactive session with stakeholders and community leaders ahead of his political campaign.
Afolayan also explained that Democracy as a government of the people is about the people and should be for the people to guarantee the welfare and happiness of the people.
The retired Naval Chief added that the nexus between politics, economy and security must be well managed for democracy and good governance to thrive.
According to him, politics is about the people, but the economy is nurtured by the people, and there must be peace for the economy to thrive, noting that politics, economy and security all revolve around the people.
Earlier in his meeting with stakeholders in both Oke Ero and Ekiti, Alhaji Lawal unwrapped his blueprint for the socio-economic transformation of the State.
Lawal recalled that “from inception, Kwara State was created based on two principles of comparative advantage: Human Resources and Agriculture. This was what led to the boom when the State provided the major Human Resources to the civil service in Northern Nigeria.”
To secure a solid financial base, the SDP candidate projected a revenue target of about N10 billion from the current a N2 billion Internally Generated Revenue, IGR of the State.
According to him, “what our administration would do is to reduce activities of consultants in revenue generation and motivate staff of Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS). This will help the state accrue more revenue because consultants will take percentage. We will improve staff welfare and reward excellent performance by civil servants.”
He also promised that his Local Government Council reforms will grant some level of financial autonomy to the Local Government administrations and foster a mutually beneficial relationship between the Councils and the State government.
“The emasculation of the Local Government administration has stifled development at the grassroots. Apart from early election, we will release their money to them and equally give them some level of independence to utilize their resource for development of the people. We will also try bridge the disparity between the salary of workers on the same level in the State and the Local Government Councils,” he said.
On education and human capital development, he stated that he will provide a solution for Kwarans on the basis of education. “It means we must revive our Technical Schools and Colleges. As of today, our people can hardly compete when it comes to technical know-how. If you look at the Building Industry for instance, many of the professionals competing there are from places like Republic of Benin, Togo Ghana, etc.
According to him, “my focus is to change the policy on Education, with emphasis on Science and Technology to drive our youths to become global citizens.
On Agriculture, Lawal maintained that the State boasts of many Agriculture Belts, adding that “for instance, we had Rice and Sugar Belts in Patigi, Cotton Belt in Baruten and Cocoa Belt in Irepodun Ekiti, Oke Ero in Kwara South. On the basis of this, we also had forestry in Jebba and Erinle. This was the reason why we had Sugar Company in Bacita, Paper Mill in Jebba and a Paper Converter Company in Erinle.”
He equally promised the sector will be modernized to maximize the full potentials of the sector for greater returns to the farmers in order to make farming attractive to both the old and the young.
The meeting saw him engaging many groups like the League of Imams, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, the Artisans Congress of Nigeria, youth groups, market women and traditional rulers.
“Our discussion today is a covenant between us. The two parties must do their part. When you vote for us, it becomes a debt for us to do our part too. I can assure you that we will deploy Kwara resources for Kwarans and strive to restore the glory of the state.” he said.