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Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has begun a new round of direct interface with the people of the state, with the Governor and top administration’s officials speaking to the specific strides of the government, explaining its various programmes, projects and polices, and taking questions and observations from the people.
The engagements form parts of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)’s campaign efforts ahead of the 2023 general election.
At a town hall meeting held in Offa on Thursday, the Governor said there are solid footprints of his administration in every part of the state — whether in education, road infrastructure, water, health, employments, gender inclusion and youth engagement, safety nets for the poor, and economic projects designed to grow the state.
Occupied by royalties, academics, community leaders, marketers, artisans, and the hoi polloi alike, the town hall was attended by thousands of people as the O.D.U Hall and its precincts were filled to the brim. The event was broadcast live on Kwara Tv, Radio Kwara, and a few other radio stations and online platforms to reach a wider audience.
Some of dignitaries at the event included the Kwara South Senator Lola Ashiru; House of Assembly members Hon. Gbenga Yusuf and Hon. Razaq Owolabi; cabinet members; former State High Court Judge Hon. Justice Raheem Orilonise; TIC Chairmen Offa and Oyun LGs Hon. Thomas Jare Oladotun and Dr. Waheed Olaitan Ibrahim; representative of Olofa of Offa Chief Yinusa Oyeyemi; National Vice Chairman Offa Descendants Union (ODU) Alhaji Lateef Bello; Chief Imam Offa Sheikh Muyideen Hussein; Offa CAN Chairman Apostle S.A Akinremi; APC leaders and stalwarts.
The Governor, whose speech came after top officials had taken turns to reel out the government’s achievements, reassured the people of Offa and Oyun local government areas that the administration will continue to prioritise the welfare of the people, including residents of the area.
He commended the roles the Ibolos had played to install the present administration, and how they continue to be its pilar of support, asking them to sustain that for greater results in the future.
“I have listened carefully to the presentations of our team and the requests from the Offa community. We will certainly do more to continue to serve you. From day one, Offa people stood and continue to stand with this government. I thank you for your vote in the last elections. We pray and encourage you to sustain that support for us,” he said.
AbdulRazaq, who reiterated the level of decay the administration inherited, and the extent it has gone in fixing the sectoral problems, urged the populace to be patient with the government as it improves their access to basic infrastructure.
He said the government has made provision in the next year’s budget to broaden investment in local industry, especially on cashew processing where the Offa community has a comparative advantage.
“The challenges are great but they are not insurmountable. We have come a long way to steadily transform Kwara. When we came on board in 2019, there was a total collapse of systems in the State, whether in Education, basic health, water, and many others. But you will bear with us as we gradually tackle these problems, because long time neglect cannot just be covered under three and a half years,” he said.
“We will continue to invest in local industries especially where we have comparative advantages. For instance, in Kwara South, we need to focus more on cashew processing. That is what the government wants to invest in strongly with our next budget to make sure that we attract other investment partners and also invest as a State.
“In terms of infrastructure, we are truly gradually opening up Kwara South with road projects and we will continue to expand them and even do more especially with the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP).”
The Governor promised to fast-track work on the Offa/Ikotun road project; will soon commence the upgrade of Offa township stadium; and intervene on the challenge of waste management system.
“Offa township stadium, we are serious about that. We will make sure work commences as soon as possible. It is a gradual step. We will also see how we can accommodate volleyball, for which Offa is globally known for. We’ve also noted the request on the Owode/Ojoku road. On waste disposal and compactor, as you know, that is a duty of the local government but with the challenges they are having we have to step in to make sure the environment is clean,” he added.
He congratulated the Offa Volleyball Club for being the National League Champion, and the Offa Football team for their excellent display in the recent outing.
AbdulRazaq assured marketers in Owode Market of the government’s assistance in resolving their challenges, and commended the complementary efforts of the House of Rep member (Offa/Oyun/Ifelodun) Hon. Ismail Tijani in the Market.
He expressed appreciation for the warmth reception accorded to him and his team.
“One is glad to be in Offa today and see the excitement of Offa compatriots, and we appreciate your acceptance of this administration,” the Governor added.
Senator Lola Ashiru, for his part, said Offa/Oyun people are conversant with the good works of the Governor in the town, and are willing to repay such with their overwhelming vote in the 2023 poll.
TIC Chairman, Offa, Hon. Jare Oladotun, said the people of Offa are extremely happy with the number of capital projects across Offa township, saying AbdulRazaq is commendably pursuing growth and development in the state.
State Commissioner for Water Resources, Hon. Femi Agbaje, recalled that Offa last had access to public water at least eight years before the Governor was elected, saying the administration has now restored access to public water in the town, while approving upgrade of the water facilities in in Ojoku, Erin-Ile, and Ira.
Chairman of State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prof. Raheem Sheu Adaramaja, said not less than 286 indigenes of Offa benefitted from the teaching appointments of the state government in 2021, while several schools have been renovated in the town along with the KwaraLearn initiative.
State Commissioner for Communications Bode Towoju said 1724 aged people in Offa and 544 traders benefitted from Owo Arugbo and Owo Isowo under the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP), while at least four persons benefited from the recently disbursed Kwapreneur 2.0 grants in the state.
Representative of the Olofa of Offa Chief Yinusa Oyeyemi said they were happy to host the Governor and acknowledged his outstanding performance in office, calling him an action Governor.
While thanking AbdulRazaq for prioritising the welfare of the people of Offa, Oyeyemi requested the government to help to expedite actions on the payment of compensation to residents who are affected by the construction of Offa bypass road, which is under construction by the Federal Government.
He also sought the upgrade of the Offa township stadium to meet the best standard like in the State Capital.
“We are happy that you are performing well to our benefit. As humans, we can only ask for more. And we are confident that our requests will be looked into. We pray God to continue to be your guide and grant you success,” he said.
Chief Imam of Offa Sheikh Muhyideen Hussein commended the Governor for his humanness, his support for the weak, his many good works, adding: “We are here to honour your good works because we truly feel you are genuine in your kindness, humility, and support for everyone, especially our community.”
Offa Descendants Union (ODU) Vice President Alhaji Tajudeen Bello commended the administration for its many strides but called for deployment of road traffic officers and waste disposal facilities to Offa.
Iyaloja of Offa, Alhaja Idiat Yusuf Ige, acknowledged that the Owode market the town have benefited from the administration and said AbdulRazaq deserves some commendations for appointing many young Offa people into his administration.
She urged the government to do more for the marketers, especially in the area of sanitation facilities and abattoirs to promote better hygiene in market .
PHOTO CAPTION: L-R: Otunba Bode Oyedepo Deway; Commissioner for Communication Hon. Olabode Towoju; Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq; Senator Lola Ashiru; and Alhaji Abdulraheem Adedoyin; during Town Hall meeting, in Offa, Kwara State