Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Chairman and Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on Monday announced an optional six month maternal leave for female civil servants in the state who wish to practice exclusive breastfeeding to boost life chances for the young ones.
Governor Abdulrazaq who pronounced the policy at the swearing-in ceremony to kick start his second term in office, said “this will also promote maternal health among other benefits.”
In his address at the inauguration ceremony, the governor reeled out his programmes for the people of the state, promising to remain a responsible and responsive leader.
He said the second tenure would see him building on the gains of the last four years all of which he credited to the support of the people of the state.
The modest yet colourful inauguration lasted just 45 minutes, kicking off at exactly 8:10 a.m. following the arrival of the Governor at 8a.m.
His words: “The next four years will consolidate the gains of our first tenure and lay new foundations for sustained socioeconomic development and institutional growth. We are going to deepen the reforms and investments in the critical sectors like education, healthcare delivery, civil service welfare, social safety programmes, general infrastructural upgrade and renewals, focused expansion of our economic base, and promotion of a political culture that advances self-reliance and growth.
“Our spending priorities will be to complete all the ongoing infrastructural projects and iron out the business models to deliver maximum benefits to the people. Adequate attention will be focused on completing projects like the Ilorin International Conference Centre, the Revenue House, Innovation Hub, Visual Arts Centre, Sugar Film Factory, Osi and Ilesha Baruba campuses of the Kwara State University, industrial park, Shea Butter factory in Kaiama, among others.
“The General Tunde Idiagbon Flyover and the garment factory will be flagged off soon with huge economic benefits. The Ilorin Capital City Master Plan will be followed by a grander Kwara State Master Plan that will cover Kwara South and Kwara North for sustainable living.
“Affordable housing programme will be another priority of this dispensation. This will help civil servants and other citizens to own their own homes. It will also curb unplanned construction and support decent living conditions. In this wise, we will form partnerships with private and federal government agencies to develop new satellite towns already mapped out in the Ilorin City Master Plan as well as in GRA lands in parts of Kwara South and Kwara North.
“In addition to our Kwapreneur initiative that directly puts money in ideas mostly owned by young people, we will consider an annual multidisciplinary scholarship scheme that will be open to our best brains, especially at Postgraduate Level.
“Beneficiaries will emerge only through a very rigorous process that is transparent. I believe this will hasten the pace of human capital development in different fields.
“A major flaw in our developmental journey as a nation is a culture of government officials determining what projects are executed in a particular community. This has to be reversed, as we have tried to do in our first term, to allow for people-focused development.
“For this reason, we are setting up a bureau of integrated rural development to be domiciled in the Government House. It will liaise with communities to come up with their needs in order of priorities. This will allow the government to better deploy limited resources in a way that addresses popular needs. Our traditional institutions and community-based organisations will be major players in this regard.
“We shall also deepen our relationships with the organised private sector to strengthen the business climate and create jobs for our youths. This is in realisation that government does not have the resources to do everything,” he added.
He said the government will also leverage its contacts and goodwill with the Federal Government to ensure timely completion of ongoing federal roads and adequate funding for new ones.
“We will intensify our lobby of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the dredging of the River Niger. This will save our people from the annual flooding that claims lives and farmlands. It will also boost economic activities in its tributary states like Kwara.
“Distinguished Kwarans, we shall become more intentional in our efforts to improve healthy living through a cleaner environment. I seek your support and understanding as we take bolder policy decisions in this regard.
“Notwithstanding the existing gaps, our investments in basic primary education and healthcare delivery have been acknowledged nationwide. As we recently completed the UBEC Model School at Adeta, I am excited to announce that Kwara State has again been nominated for a bigger international project in basic education whose details will be released later.
“This is being funded by the Japan International Development Agency. Similarly, only Kwara SUBEB and the FCT have been chosen for international Mathematics training in Japan in July. This attests to the confidence now reposed in Kwara State locally and internationally.
“To strengthen our multifarious initiatives for a better future, I am hereby announcing optional six month maternal leave for female civil servants who wish to practice exclusive breastfeeding to boost life chances for our younger ones. This will also promote maternal health, among other benefits,” he further stated.
Governor Abdulrazaq thanked the Kwara electorate, opinion moulders, traditional and religious institutions, party leaders, and supporters for all the efforts and the goodwill that made today a reality.
“We will keep our words to remain a responsible government that is responsive to the yearnings of the people within available resources.”