Make the masses your strength — Naval Officer advises Kwara SDP Guber candidate

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Social Democratic Party (SDP) gubernatorial candidate in Kwara state, Alhaji Hakeem Oladimeji Lawal, has been advised by former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Samuel Olajide Afolayan (retd.), to carry people along in his administration if he eventually emerges in the 2023 election.

This advice was made when the SDP gubernatorial candidate gave a courtesy call to the retired Naval Chief in Osi, Ekiti local government of Kwara state on Wednesday as part of his on-interactive session with stakeholders and community leaders in preparation for his political campaign.

The retired Naval Chief said 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.

However, at the meeting with the stakeholders in both Oke Ero and Ekiti, Alhaji Lawal unveiled his strategy for the socio-economic transformation of the state.

He stated 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 N2 billion Internally Generated Revenue, IGR of the State.

According to him, what his administration would do is reduce the activities of consultants in revenue generation and motivate the staff of Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS). He believes this will help the state accrue more revenue because consultants will take percentages.

“We will improve staff welfare and reward excellent performance by civil servants.”

He also made it known that his Local Government Council reforms would 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 utilise their resource for the development of the people. We will also try to 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 would provide a solution for Kwarans based on 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 the Republic of Benin, Togo Ghana, etc.”

In the same vein, he made it known that his focus is to change the policy on Education, with an 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, Kwara 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, the state also had forestry in Jebba and Erin Ile. This was the reason why we had a Sugar Company in Bacita, Paper Mill in Jebba, and a Paper Converter Company in Erin Ile.”

He equally promised the sector would be modernised to maximise the full potential of the sector for greater returns to the farmers 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 concluded.

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