· Citizens say initiative is historic
The Kwara State Government’s citizens engagement meeting on budget preparation continued in the northern senatorial district on Thursday, with Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq saying the platform offers a unique opportunity to listen to what the public want prioritised and inserted into the fiscal document for year 2021.
The meeting was held in the political headquarters of the district Bode Saadu, two days after the one for the Kwara Central Senatorial District was held in the state Capital Ilorin. The one for Kwara South is slated for Monday September 7th.
“The whole idea of coming here is to listen to you and harvest your views on what and what you want in the budget. We will always respect your views and gradually reflect same as the resources permit,” AbdulRazaq told the gathering in Bode Saadu, which was also open to virtual audience.
He commended the citizens for offering their views on the government’s programmes, and said their acknowledgement of the administration’s modest achievements across various sectors would spur it to do more.
Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly Hon. Yakubu Danladi, who led a delegation of the parliament to the session, said the initiative offers the people of the region, including the youth constituency, a unique platform to air their opinions on budget and governance.
He added that the budget engagement would also guide the parliament during budget consideration, especially in the allocation of resources to projects and services citizens consider to be important to them.
Commissioner for Finance and Planning Olasumbo Florence Oyeyemi said the session is helpful for planning and “optimal utilisation of scarce resources” to gradually attend to the needs of the people.
“It is the intention of the Governor that every segment of the society deserves to be heard. He believes we should also listen to the people at the grassroots to know what their needs are in full compliance with the tenets of democracy and transparency,” she said.
Citizens, community-based organisations and leaders took turns to commend the open-door policy of the administration, saying its coming down to the grassroots to listen to what the people want was a new development in the history of the state.
Director of Personnel Management for Moro Local Government Amuda Musbau expressed delight for the engagement and called for incorporation of marketing board and provision of storage facilities to aid the fortunes of farmers in Kwara North.
Abubakar Isa, Galadima of Lafiagi, commended the government for the good road networks that now dotted Lafiagi axis of the region but urged the administration to do more to fix some culverts that had long collapsed before the Governor was inaugurated.
“This is a first of its kind and we applaud the government for it,” he said.
Acknowledging the efforts of the government to fix the water problem across the state, he urged the Governor to help rehabilitate the Lafiagi stadium and some schools whose roofs have long been blown off.
The Iyaloja of Bode Saadu, Hajia Hawau Magaji, urged Government to upgrade the Bode Saadu Market and provide modern facilities at the market, including water.
Other representatives of Women Groups and Youth Associations spoke in similar vein, including calling for improved welfare for traditional chiefs, improved electricity supply, special attention for the physically challenged, and increased budgetary allocation to agriculture especially rural roads.
Works Commissioner Rotimi Sulaiman Iliasu, who commended the people for their attendance, said the government has already activated plans to fix most of the road projects mentioned at the session.
Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development Aliyu Mohammed Saifudeen said the administration remains true to its pledge to let local governments take full control of their funds.
He added that efforts are ongoing to reposition the local governments to deliver on their obligations to the grassroots.