N17.8bn For Kwara Hotel Renovation Enough To Build New Varsity — Don

A University don, Dr. Uthman Oladele, has urged the Kwara State Government to reconsider its plans for the N17.8billion renovation of Kwara Hotel. Instead, he suggested that the substantial amount be more effectively utilized in establishing a new university within the state.

Dr. Oladele, who added his voice amid the controversies that greeted the announcement of the Kwara Hotel renovation, pointed out that several reputable Nigerian universities were established with budgets significantly lower than the proposed amount for the hotel renovation.

He cited examples such as Afe Babalola University, Covenant University, Al-Hikmah University, and even Kwara State University, which he claimed were started with much lower amount of money.

“Sometimes, it’s important not to criticise everything government does. When you negatively criticise governments, otherwise sound arguments are lost in the midst of the negativity. Sometimes, what it requires is calling the attention of government to superior arguments.

“For example, in Kwara where the state government is planning to use a whopping N17.8billion to renovate the state hotel, facts and figures have shown that that sum could be put to better use.

“For example, the Afe Babalola University, established in 2009 was reportedly set up with about N10 billion, a figure substantially lower than the proposed renovation budget. The same things is true of the Covenant University, one of Nigeria’s leading private universities, located in Ogun State. Covenant University’s initial phase was completed with a budget under N8 billion.

“Also, the Al-Hikma University, an Ilorin-based institution, established in 2005, was built with a budget around N5billion until it expanded. Even closer to home, the Kwara State University’s initial establishment cost was significantly below the earmarked amount for the hotel’s renovation,” the don explained.

Dr. Oladele emphasi#ed that the current economic climate and the increasing demand for quality higher education in Nigeria make the construction of a new university a more prudent and beneficial use of funds than Kwara hotel renovation venture.

“Investing in education is investing in the future,” he stated, noting that such an initiative would not only provide immediate employment opportunities during the construction phase but also long-term socio-economic benefits for the state.

It would be recalled that the proposed N17 billion for renovating Kwara Hotel has sparked debates in Kwara on the viability of the project, especially in a laid-back state like Kwara. While several stakeholders opined that the project is a wasteful use of funds, the Kwara government on the other hand insisted that the project would lift tbe socio-econimic viability of the state through tourism, job creation and conferencing.

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