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‘Light Up Kwara’: Priority or opportunism? Featured

Saturday, 31 December 2016 00:00 Written by  Published in Letters Read 837 times
AbdulFattah Ahmed, Kwara state governor AbdulFattah Ahmed, Kwara state governor

In these hard times that Nigeria among other countries is immersed in, a government is expected to show more sense of altruism than before. Beyond any doubt, the average Nigerian is suffering from pandemic starvation, no thanks to the current economic situation of the country. Except for politicians, there is famine among the people in Kwara State, in spite of regular farming. In times like this, responsible governments therefore, look before they leap in the light of spending so as to ensure a direction that can mostly benefit the people at the best.

 

By Rahman Biodun Aliagan

One exemplar of a dedicatedly altruistic government that I have seen in Nigeria is that of Kwara State. Why? The government, in an early December press conference in the state capital after its state executive meeting, approved an electrification project labelled “Light up Kwara” in order to construct street lights seeking to cover 78 km in strategic places across the three senatorial districts of the state at the cost of N6.07B. Even at the expense of outstanding workers’ salaries that has almost driven majority of them (workers) into penury, their benevolent government decided to subordinate their payment and condition to a street-light project. Perhaps when the people see their streets uninterruptedly lit in the night, they will be overjoyed enough to forget their hunger.

Alhaji Abubakar Garuba, the Commissioner for Energy, made it known that N6.07 billion has been approved by the state government for the first phase of the contract, adding that it will cover 78 kilometre major roads in Ilorin while the second phase will extend to Omu-Aran, Offa and Moro.

Meanwhile it seems that this decision is no music to the ears of the state Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) Chairman and the Secretary, Issa Mohammed and Owoeye Olusina respectively, who lamented in their state executive meeting that ensuring payment of salaries will go a long way to save souls of their members in the state from sudden and untimely death due to their inability to attend to their health issues and buy drugs for those with life-threatening sicknesses. Apparently, is this not one of the best ways a government can requite its workers’ fealty?

He continued: “At present, Kwara State government is owing the workers of College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies, Ilorin, nine months; College of Education, Ilorin, eight months; College of Education, Oro, 13 months; College of Education (Technical), Lafiagi, four months; and staff of State Universal Education Board, SUBEB, seven months.”

Indeed, what more do citizens of Kwara State need, or can ask for or look forward to, from a government that can separate priorities that can easily be forgone from opportunities that presents means of treasury mismanagement?

Aliagan lives in Ilorin, Kwara State.

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