Industrial Revolution – How Gov AbdulRazaq Restored the Lost Glory of Kwara
Kwara state, in North-central Nigeria, was in its heyday known as one of the most industrialised states in Nigeria, given the high concentration of many factories there, many of them at their heights boasting of thousands of workers in their employment.
But today, majority of those companies,owned either by the state government, federal and even private individuals have crashed like packs of cards because of wrong federal government policies that predated Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration era and even the growing harsh economic conditions.
Kwara state of harmony as at today is practically,a civil service state,a direct opposite of what it was in the 70s.
By dint of hard work,those good old times are back here again according to the vision of Governor AbdulRazaq when he assumed office in 2019.
The companies namely: Visual Arts Centre, Garment Factory, Innovation Hubb, Sheabutter Processing Factory, Suga Film Factory,Gbugbu International market among others according to governor’s Special Adviser on Media Alh Bashir Adigun while speaking in an interview would have commenced operations at maximum capacity by the year 2027 when the governor would have ended his second term .
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Other key projects along this divide, aside the ongoing massive infrastructure development in the state include the revamped Flower Garden Recreation center,at GRA ilorin, Table Tennis Arena , Industrial Park (Phase 1)The Intensive Care Unit,Eye Care Unit at General Hospital ilorin, Gbugbu International market (Phase 1)and new Wards also at the General Hospital in ilorin.
Also included are: Dental Clinic at General Hospital, ilorin,New Jebba Waterworks,Notia FM 88.9(First ever Radio Station in Kwara North)and the New Kakakin FM on 91.7
“Some of these projects are tactically to rescucitate the dead infrastructures we have in the state ,it’s a deliberate attempt to revamp them .”said Adigun.
Speaking on the essence of the projects Adigun also said:”Kwara is known as a Civil service state,all you have here is people working in government ministries ,if you’re not doing that maybe you’re into private businesses buying and selling, trading .
“That’s what we have,most of the factories that we have in kwara state in the 60s and 70s are all gone They are either sold or gone into comatose.
“But when this governor came he saw that this is not how to govern a state,you should leave something for your people instead of these rural migration when people leave Kwara and go to Lagos and Abuja to look for jobs, he believed that such people can stay back with their families and live happily in Kwara that was why he decided to establish some of these factories .”
Speaking on stages of completion of the projects,he said:”Most of these projects are complet, the ones that are not completed are nearing completion, they’re just putting finishing touches .”
He added that:”The Governor is not given to showing off,we believe that commissioning the projects would be a distraction , though i’m not saying that the Governor would not commission them.
“He has done it for the people and the people are giving testimonies .We know the kind of funds that is out into commissioning projects alone and he’s not interested in that.”
The governor’s Media aide particularly said that:” All the governor is interested in is to put these projects in place for this generation and the generations to come to benefit from them.”
“I can tell you for free that all these projects would fully come on stream before the end of this administration.”he said.
He however advised the investors that :”Kwara is open for business we have the best environment for business,so they should all come and invest in kwara.And for the people of Kwara to believe in this administration, especially our governor who means well for the people.”
He said that:”The Governor is setting a strong footing for Kwara,not only for my generation but for generations to come .
“He believes that Kwara can be more than what it is if given the right incentive to work and the right leadership too .”
Speaking on the volume of jobs to be created,he said:”I won’t be able to tell you the specific figures in terms of employment these projects would generate,but they would be in thousands,don’t forget that these projects we are talking about are value chains.”
On what structures the government has put in place to ensure sustainability and continuity of these projects,he said:”Let me tell you that the governor has set a pace by putting the young people Infront in places of leadership and I’m sure that young Kwarans, young Nigerians would not let things that are meant for their future be destroyed by anybody .He has set up a strong structure and he’s going to hand it over to the next generation to hold,that much I can assure you.”
Also shedding more light on the projects,Commissioner for Communications Mrs Bola Olukoju speaking in an interview said that the reason behind the massive industrialisation of the state,by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq with was to move the state from that of Civil service to Economic Hubb .
Olukoju while explaining the lineup projects said of Kwara Garment Factory that: ,”it is the biggest garment factory in West Africa and it’s part of the initiative of the governor to drive the social economy in the state. It will start its operations in the first quarter of the year.
“It has about 470 sewing machines and cut about 10,000 Polo Shirts in an 8 hour shift and has undergone commissioning to make sure all machines are working and also expected to create 2000 direct jobs.”she said .
She also mentioned the Sheabutter Processing Plant that is established in Kwara North because of the abundance of the raw materials in the place than any other part of the state.
“Also, the Shea Butter processing plant, is in Kaiama local government , we all know kaiama has the best Shea butter in kwara state and we are trying to make it international standard in terms of processing, improving hygiene and also create a chain around kwara north.”She said.
The Commissioner further said that another project, which is the Innovation Hubb is Telecommunications inclined which has already entered into partnership with a renowned telecommunication giant, HIS.
She said:”We are also talking about the innovation hub, we also know that kwara state has involved in partnerships with HIS so as to perfect the innovation hub, and what we want to do now is to foster local talents and global value creation, we all know HIS is a living telecommunications infrastructure provider across Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
“So, with HIS coming in there is going to be a lot of start-ups, accelerator hubs and of course, the Tech Ecosystem in Kwara state is going to improve and a lot of young people will get jobs.”
The Commissioner also recalled the old government site “Flower Garden” recreational centre in GRA ilorin which had been abandoned since ages past but now fully revamped by the current administration.
She said:’ We all know about Flower Garden as well, it is going to be commissioned in the first quarter, the purpose of this is to create an artificial park and it is going to help the eco-tourism in kwara state, to help the people in kwara state to have a good work life balance i.e. a prime recreational destination.”
She added: “Also the Table Tennis Arena is built in the Kwara State Stadium complex, Ilorin ,it is built to international standard, we have a lot of kwarans that are skilled in sports and we are looking for them to compete in the international market, we have it here in kwara state.”
The Commissioner further said of the Industrial park, that:”It is an ongoing massive structure at Eiyenkorin in Asa local government, the Phase 1 occupies 196 hectares of land, it going to have residential, commercial and industrial sessions.
She said that,:” the funding is going to be from bonding which the state government just accessed.We signed an MOU with Nexen Bank, Agro Processing Zones helping us with funding and facilities.
“We have the Dental Eye clinic in the General hospitals as well which is the best in the whole of Northern region after the Eye centre in Kaduna. it is equipped with modern technology meaning you don’t have to travel to get your eyes treated but can be done here in kwara state.”She added.
About the refurbished wards in the general hospital,the Commissioner said that,:” we are trying to make sure that people have access to health care across the state irrespective of the local govt, that’s why we want to fix roads leading to hospitals as well. There is an improved in infrastructure across the state.”
She however said that Gbugbu International market was commissioned last year on the 15th of February, stressing that,” what we want to do is just to give the Gbugbu people a better trading platform around the area, “we are trying to improve sales and commerce in the state through the market.”
Speaking about the Jebba water works, in Moro local government area of the state,the Commissioner said that,”the project has been completed, what we want to do is to fix the water issues around these communities which is the long term aspiration of the governor.”
She also spoke about the two newly established Radio Stations ,Kaakaki FM 91.7 and Notia FM, 90.7.
“This is the first ever Radio station in Kwara North and the coverage is good, it also extend to the border towns of Benin republic, Kaaaki FM is for the youth who have enterpreneural skills, creating contents for the radio stations. Kaakaki FM is in ilorin.”she said.
“The government is interested in moving kwara from a Civil Service state to an Economic Hubb, and we are also going to be doing a lot of international tourism, we are building the International Conference Centre ( ICC )which is going to be ready very soon, we have the Visual Arts Centre which is already completed and will be commissioned first quarter of 2024.”She enthused .
“We also have the Tanke bridge and the upcoming flyover in unity, the government is ready to improve the life of kwarans. We have the Sugar Film factory which is the first of its kind in the northern part of Nigeria. We are pushing Kwara to the international stage in all aspects.” Said the Commissioner.
Former President of National Council of Women Society (NCWS)in the state Alhaja Barakat Atunse in an interview commended the government for giving women and youths due attention in his administration describing it as unprecedented in the annals of history of the state.
She also believed that the projects when fully operational would solve problems of idleness in the state particularly among the youths and by implication reduce criminalities .
“I have no doubt in my mind that history would be kind to Governor AbdulRazaq and it would be a lesson for others to learn from.”she said.
Also the Vice President of Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria in Kwara state Comrade Dada Kolawole though commended Governor AbdulRazaq for the arrays of projects he believed would be beneficial to Kwarans but observed that only Fashion Designers are being integrated by the government among others.
Kolawole who said that his members have also benefitted sponsorship of their wards to study in IVTEC owns by the government added that they have also enjoyed monthly payment of N10,000 money for the aged by the current administration .
He also want the state government to patronise and involve them in the projects that would soon take off .
Kolawole however urged the current administration to establish Electronics Village in ilorin where all Radio Engineers in ilorin would be doing their businesses in one place, stressing that it would boost the economy of Kwara state.
“We once sold the proposal to last administrations but they jettisoned it.There must be a place where all Radionic Engineers would be in one place like it’s happening in Lagos. It would boost the economy of the state in terms of Tax and other revenue collections ,it would also stimulate the economy of Kwara state.”he said
Kaosara Olayemi Oladimeji