The gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP in 2023 election in Kwara State, Alhaji Hakeem Oladimeji Lawal has unwrapped a new blueprint for the socio-economic transformation of the North Central State.
Speaking at the first gubernatorial debate for the governorship candidates in Ilorin on Wednesday, 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 where 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 help the state accrue more revenue because consultants will take percentage. We will improve staff welfare and reward excellent performance by civil servants.”
On the 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.”
The gubernatorial hopeful also promised a better deal for the youths as he intends to give youths 30% stake in his government, explaining that “it won’t just be about number but competence and capacities to handle and deliver on the jobs.”
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.
“We must bring back those great days. We must create Science and Technology Schools. The world is leaving us behind. If we don’t do something now, tomorrow, our children will not be able to compete with their mates. So, we must create Science and Technology Schools.”
The SDP candidate disclosed that his government will give priority to Local Government autonomy and sports development. “The autonomy of Local government would fast track grassroots development and reduce pressure on the state government. We will spread dividends of democracy to grassroots with effective local government administration,” he said.
Lawal, an International Finance Expert and Investment Analyst also projected better days ahead for teachers and civil servants in the State. According to him “in the olden days, we had Teachers Training Colleges. All these are dead now and we have to revive them to be able to produce quality teachers who will develop and train our children for the future.
“If we are creating this, then we must motivate our teachers enough and also address their remunerations. If you ask me to come and work for you, you must give me reasons why I should work and also put in my best.
“Many of our teachers and civil servants, for instance, do not have a home/house they can claim is theirs. And many of them serve between 20 to 30 years and they go into retirement stranded. Why can we not do something for them? They make the most sacrifice for this State”