Canary Icon Of The Month, September 2019: Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulfatah Ahmed

Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulfatah Ahmed

Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulfatah Ahmed, the immediate past Governor of Kwara State and the 6th Executive Governor of the State, served from 2011 to 2019, and brought to the position composite experience in the academia, banking and the public sector.

Alhaji Abudulfatah Ahmed’s stint in governance started in 2003 when on the back of a highly-successful banking career, he was appointed pioneer Commissioner for Finance in the administration of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki. During a six-year period, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed ensured prudent management of state resources which twice earned the State Government excellent rating by the Fitch Rating International (An International Rating Agency) – the very first by any State Government in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Following six years as Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed was in 2009 moved to the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development. This position would prove pivotal to his current flair for empirical and strategic planning.

Yet the foundation for this track-record was modest. Born in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria in the fifties, Alhaji Ahmed, who hails from Share in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, had his secondary education at the Government College, Funtua, Katsina State (1973-1978).

Alhaji Ahmed went further to earn a B.Sc. in Chemistry in 1986, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 1992.  Alhaji Ahmed is also an alumnus of the Manchester School of Business, and the J.F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

He was also a lecturer in Organic Chemistry and later Acting Head of Department at Federal College of Arts and Science, Sokoto, in Sokoto State before embarking on a successful banking career.

Since the inception of Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed’s administration in 2011, his vision has been to make Kwara State a major economic hub by levering on competitive advantages in agriculture, entrepreneurship, innovation and location.

Among the various programs embarked on by the administration to ensure prosperity for Kwarans is the Kwara Micro Credit Intervention Scheme which was established to boost small and medium scale enterprises in the State with an initial N250m. The scheme has since grown to a cumulative N3.5b with more than 60,000 beneficiaries.

In recognition of the need for engineering education and to position the state for technological leadership, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed constructed an N800million Engineering complex for Kwara State University (KWASU). He also built the School of Business and Governance for the university, and expanded access by subsidizing tuition at the university.

Furthermore, in his drive to promote entrepreneurship in the state through vocational training, Alhaji Ahmed established the International Vocational Technical and Entrepreneurship Centre, (IVTEC), at Ajase Ipo in Irepodun Local Government Council Area of the state.

To ensure global recognition, the state government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Alfred University New York for technical and management collaboration at IVTEC.

Following the need to ensure access to medical facilities in the state, over 120,000 rural dwellers have been enrolled into the state’s award-winning Community Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS). The scheme has been adjudged as one of the most successful by the United Nations, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This scheme was later upgraded to Kwara State Health Insurance Scheme, also known as KwaraCare, which was launched before the end of his administration.

Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed saw the need to improve on the state Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), when the state started witnessing drop in the federal allocation to the state. To make this happen, he revamped the State Bureau of Internal Revenue and created the new Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS). KWIRS was created in the bid to plug holes in the state IGR system and increase income for the state. The new KWIRS was successful in increasing the state IGR from a monthly N500million to over N2billion. With this, the state was able to augment the federal allocation and met its obligations as required.

In order to sustain infrastructural development in the state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed launched the Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund (IFK). The fund is a sustainable platform designed to finance infrastructure without reliance on federal allocation.

In addition to a N5billion seed fund, the sum of N500million is drawn every month from the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) into the IFK.

With the funding from IFK, The Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed’s administration provided the Light Up Kwara project and Constructed the Geri-Alimi Diamond Underpass. Also, he started the construction of the New State Secretariat, the dualization of Sango-UITH road and KWASU Campus in Osi amongst other high value projects.

To reduce the housing deficit in the state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed in March, 2016, flagged off the construction of 1,000 housing units at Budo-Osho area, Tanke Ilorin. The construction is aimed at providing quality and affordable shelter for low and middle class workers.

For these laudable policies and programmes, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has won recognition from several quarters. These include Global Excellence Award for Best Governor in Northern Nigeria (2011), City People’s Best Governor, North Central 2011, and African Leadership Magazine’s Outstanding Agricultural Development Icon of the Year 2011, BusinessDay Best Governor in Agriculture 2013, City People Best Governor in Youth Empowerment 2013, NUT Best Governor in Education 2013, HOG Governor of the Year 2013, BusinessDay Best Governor in Youth Development and Sports, LEAD Project African “Man of the Year” for 2017, BusinessDay Best Performing Governor in Rural-Urban Infrastructure Development 2018 and New Telegraph Governor of the Year (Youth Empowerment) 2018.

In an interview he had with BBC Yoruba before the end of his tenure as Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed revealed that he will still remain in the political sphere, whilst he will focus on his private businesses, especially in the agricultural sector.

He is married to Mrs. Omolewa Ahmed, and they are blessed with children.

Congratulations to our Icon of the month of September 2019!


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