Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Monday said his administration will prudently manage the grant it received from the UBEC to reposition public basic schools in the state, insisting there must be value for taxpayers’ money.
The Governor spoke in Ilorin when he received a delegation of the National APC Media Team from Abuja, led by Dr. Tom Ohikere. The team was on a 3-day visit to Kwara to inspect the ongoing renovation, remodelling and construction projects being undertaken with the UBEC grant, as part of the Federal government’s template on accountability.
Represented by the state Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Sa’adatu Modibo Kawu, AbdulRazaq lauded the Federal government’s assessment initiative and how the UBEC had acceded to his requests on developmental programmes in education sector, following the payment of outstanding debt and the counterpart funds in 2019.
He said a lot is currently being done across public schools in the state, a development he noted will ease teachings and learning for excellent performance of the students.
While thanking the party for picking Kwara as one of the northern states to visit, AbdulRazaq called on the APC Media team to consider other states being controlled by opposition parties, stressing that they also owe Nigerians explanations on how they spent the education development resources they received from the national treasury.
The Governor also applauded the Chairman of Kwara SUBEB, Professor Sheu AbdulRaheem Adaramaja, and his team for making the state proud.
“I trust the Chairman of SUBEB (Prof. Adaramaja). He is very proactive. We are very proud of him and his team. This is an impromptu visit. You are free to go anywhere and see the right things for yourself,” he said.
“I am sure that APC controlled states will want to do the right things. Because we all want our party to succeed. I advise that similar monitoring is done to states that are not controlled by APC.”
Dr. Ohikere, who described their assessment of the projects so far as excellent, said they are in Kwara to inspect the UBEC projects starting with the ones executed in basic schools for the purpose of achieving quality service delivery, saying they will issue a certificate of credence to the administration after the 3-day exercise.
He said they will also seek to know how the staff and students in the affected schools feel about the projects and the government’s response to their welfare needs.
Other members of the visiting team include Olumide Babalola and Lawal Aliyu Ajah respectively.
Professor Adaramaja, for his part, said Kwara had since 2012 ceased to execute UBEC-aided projects because it was blacklisted for the diversion of over #1b UBEC fund for the year 2013, a development he said had hitherto “led us to a horrible situation that Kwarans will never forget in history.”
Apart from off-setting the inherited debt of #450 million to UBEC, Adaramaja said, the present government had to pay N7.1 billion 6-year counterpart funds (2014 – 2020) that qualified Kwara to get #14.2 billion in turn, thanking AbdulRazaq for his vision and sincerity about governance.
He also told the delegation that the marching grant the state received, which is meant to develop physical facilities in schools, is already being channelled into construction, renovation and comprehensive remodelling of not less than 605 public schools across the sixteen local governments, in line with the action plan agreed upon by both the state government and UBEC.
He added: “We also have what we call Digital Literacy Centre otherwise called Mini CBT. In each local government area, there are two or three centres selected for digital literacy because we want our children to be computer literate from that level. Those centres will be equipped with computers, solar panels and power generating set to drive e-learning. Then, we have furniture. About 3,175 units of furniture are going to be provided.”
According to him, the 6-year school projects are divided into two phases for efficient monitoring.
Phase one, which is ongoing, covers projects for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, while the 2018 and 2019 ones come under second phase and will start by end of November this year, he added.
He hinted that under the phase two 87 schools will be provided with borehole water system including toilet facility to meet sanitation requirements under the sustainable development goal.
Some of the project sites visited include Baboko Community Junior Secondary School, Baboko LGEA primary school; Government Day Secondary School Airport; Madi LGEA school; Ogidi LGEA school; and Asa LGEA school Ote-Oja.
The Team lead, Dr. Ohikere, at the end of the facility tour, gave Kwara a pass mark in terms of quality of work done on the project sites visited, praising the monitoring body of SUBEB for their insistence on proper execution of contracts.
“The quality of work done in the places we have visited and the concept is very strong. They have done excellently well. So what we have seen so far is a judicious and prudent use of the marching grant received by SUBEB in Kwara State. I commend the Governor and Professor Adaramaja led Kwara SUBEB for these,” he said.
Other members of the facilities’ tour are some principal officers from the Kwara SUBEB, including the Permanent Board member (1) Mashood Ibrahim; Board Secretary, Mrs. Gloria Adebisi; Abdullateef Solagberu (Deputy Director, Admin); and Engr. Abdulsalam Surajudeen, who is the Project manager.