Education is a fundamental driver of societal development. Since the beginning of the century, recognition of this has driven many societies to pursue the Development Goals of achieving universal primary education and eradicating gender disparities at all levels of education by 2030. This has contributed to considerable progress in expanding educational opportunities and attainment worldwide. But there is much more to be done. As it stands, Kwara State Government has embraced a fight against poor educational outcomes and inefficient education systems that is eliciting deep concern.
In most communities of the state, it saddens to have records of how primary schools fail to provide students with appropriate cognitive skills like numeracy, literacy, problem-solving ability and general scientific knowledge. Alas, inadequate education at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, including technical and vocational education and training, that is leaving students unequipped to meet the job market’s changing demands and struggling with a mismatch between the skills that employers seek and those that workers have is set to be buried.
In the nearest future of Kwara, new information and communication technologies are expected to stimulate the expansion of multi-sectorial opportunities and to improve their qualities at the state, national and global level, by offering a variety of innovative learning channels. Thence, completion and equipping of Ilorin Innovation hub would create new skill acquisition and more jobs for the youth in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Kwara State. In fact, the ability to use new technologies to build borderless networks among citizens can offer opportunities for youth in low-income rank to learn from teachers in advanced countries – and vice versa.
In our quest to charge the Government to be upright and responsible in discharging her official duties, the common enchantment from the Citizens is, “If our leaders have faith in the system they lead and manage, there is no way they would seek medical attention abroad. For them to continuously travel abroad for medical care is an indictment on their performance as leaders. Yes, we agree that people have choice to go where they want to go with their own money, but not with public funds. If you have to go with public funds then, you are wrong and what that tells us is that we have not given prior attention to the health system as a whole to the extent it deserves. And that is why we are rated very low in terms of health care delivery”.
The executive governor of Kwara State, His Excellency, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in his visionary capacity Identified that there is need for better investment in Kwara’s health system, especially in human resources, drugs and modern equipment and infrastructure, and also to create a system whereby anybody can have access to quality health care. This cannot be solely achieved without having to invest largely in the sector and so, we need to do better with financing and better health insurance.
Likewise, there are many reasons to invest in agriculture: it is a low-risk investment that keeps pace with inflation and increases in value over the long-term, it is a tangible asset that provides benefit to the community, and it can diversify the economy of the state. Investing in agriculture may not provide immediate returns, but over the long-term, it can pay off greatly. Agriculture is a veritable tools for economic recovery. It engenders better living standard and ensures food security. Agriculture will improve food security and provide jobs.
Agriculture is one sector that can really turn things around in this state and the government of Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is not ready to be paying any lip service to it. The government has been creating a new awareness about the potential of this sector and its diverse opportunities. In recent months, there has been a re-orientation programme where youths were taught to see agriculture as business that can create agro-billionaires.
It has been said that Nigeria’s economic prospects would be among the world’s best by 2025, and Kwara (a state with about 65-per cent young population) has a lot to contribute to make this a reality. Kwara does not only need the Federal allocation or/and Internal Generating Revenue but also the world to help improve its economic challenges considering its young population advantage.
Perhaps, as the State Government is encouraging diversification, it is also planning more in youths and women through entrepreneurship with the help of the ₦35b bond. Essentially, the government borrows so that it can enable higher spending without having to increase taxes. The Government believes that to develop the state, we need to start by empowering our women in the rural communities and our teaming talented youthful population with entrepreneurial dreams — invest more in youths and make them central to policy-making and governance.
The imperative is clear. Mallam AbdulRazaq led-administration commits to enhancing the quality of education and reduce the education gap by increasing school resources, improving the efficiency of educational institutions, restructuring the health sector, bringing tourism and digital economy to stay, and seizing the opportunities afforded by technological innovation on industrial park and textile production. All of this will serve to enrich human capital, which is essential to boosting productivity and incomes.
Dear Kwarans, if such efforts are designed specifically to ensure equal opportunities for all, regardless of gender or wealth, political class or beliefs, they will be a boom and not bane to the state economy, while promoting social cohesion at the national level. When it comes to improving education, healthcare facility, infrastructures, innovations and welfare of the citizens, to Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq led-administration, there really is no downside.