The gubernatorial candidates of the All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party were absent at the debate organised by the British Broadcasting Corporation, Yoruba Service in Ilorin on Thursday as flag bearers of the other parties unveiled their agenda.
The candidates of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party, Dr Olayinka Abdulmumin-Ajia; Accord, Ayorinde Adedoyin; and Labour Party, Issa Aremu, however, participated in the debate that lasted two hours at the main auditorium of the University of Ilorin.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the three candidates expressed dismay over the level of development in Kwara State, noting that it had suffered from protracted infrastructural decay due to poor leadership.
Abdulmumini-Ajia said the agony of an underdeveloped Kwara State informed his decision to join the governorship race.
He asserted that he had signed a pact with Kwarans on his plan of action that would take the state to the promised land.
The ANRP candidate pledged to partner with farmers to explore agriculture as a source of employment and revenue for the state.
“Agriculture is number two on our agenda. We are going to maximise the land in Kwara and partner with farmers in order to increase their yields,” he said.
The governorship hopeful also promised to identify tourism sites in the state with a view to exploring them for money-making and relaxation.
Abdulmunini-Ajia stated that he would create Kwara North Regional Development Authority to ensure that the area covers lost grounds with other regions in the state in terms of development.
He said Kwara North was lagging behind in development, stressing that his team had concluded on a programme to massively develop the area.
The candidate also said he would declare a state of emergency on the education sector, organise a summit as well as make 35 per cent budgetary provision for the sector.
He also promised to adopt 50-50 political appointments for men and women in the state as well as award 30 per cent of contracts from the state government to companies being led by women.
Adedoyin of the Accord Party promised to harness tourism in the state to provide employment for the teeming unemployed youths.
According to him, primary and secondary school education would be made compulsory and free for students with learning aids to further encourage them.
The candidate promised to comply with 30 per cent affirmative action for women in terms of appointment, adding that he would bequeath a state devoid of crime and unemployment if given an opportunity to govern.
Adedoyin, son of the renowned Lagos-based industrialist, Samuel Adedoyin, claimed that he would revive all the moribund industries in the state.
On health, he assured the people of affordable and accessible quality healthcare.
Rolling out his programmes, Aremu, a foremost labour leader and candidate of the LP, decried the low school enrolment rate in Kwara State inspite of being among states created in 1967.
Aremu, who blamed the situation on high poverty rate, promised to restore Kwara back to its lost glory.
The labour leader pledged that he would encourage indigenous farmers to go back to the farm by providing them with farm inputs such as fertiliser, improved seedlings and agro-chemical among others.
The former NLC National Vice President also pledged that he would revive all the companies that were comatose in Kwara.
He stated that as a reputable labour official, he would not embezzle public funds if given the opportunity to serve people.
Aremu further promised “legitimate grant” for old people as a matter of right as well as student grant and compulsory job for the students of the state.
The candidate added that his programme was centred on five Ps: People, Prosperity, Popular Participation, Peace and partnership.