Our attention in the Abubakar Bukola Saraki Media Office has been drawn to a press release released earlier today by the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq Government titled “Assets: Try Saraki, Others for Criminal Conspiracies against Kwara. White paper panel tells Gov” and our initial reaction is that we are not surprised the quality of writing demonstrated in the statement and the incoherent, fallacious and salacious claims contained in it. It just shows how low governance has become in Kwara State.
First, for the information of discerning members of the public, neither Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki who left the Office of Governor of Kwara State ten years ago nor Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed, the immediate last Governor got an invite to appear before any investigative and fact-finding panel set up by the Abdulrazaq administration. Thus, it is clear that the so-called investigation being conducted is not about finding facts. It is about throwing mud and staining the predecessor of Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq in Office.
Secondly, while reacting to the claims contained in the poorly written and disjointed press statement, it should be noted that both Dr. Saraki and Alhaji Ahmed will never be shy of giving account of how they managed the assets of Kwara State. In fact, both men took decisions concerning those assets in a manner that will enhance their value and stimulate economic activities in the state, which was hitherto referred to as a civil service state.
To go into specifics, the press statement mentioned the issue of Kwara Mall. This is a project which, based on the decision taken by the Saraki administration, stands today as the epicentre of economic activity in Ilorin, the state capital. In fact, it’s importance is further underscored by the decision of the government to give the owners of businesses inside the mall a grant totaling about N1 billion to cushion the harsh effect of the ‘End SARS’ protest on their property.
It is obvious that the mall today provides direct and indirect employment to hundreds of Kwarans and Dr. Saraki is proud that his administration initiated the idea where Ilorin became the first town outside Lagos to host a Shoprite in its mall.
The press statement also mentioned Shonga Farms as one of the projects on which the government seeks to make the Saraki administration looks bad. This Shonga Farms more than anything demonstrates the cluelessness of the current governor of Kwara State and his advisers. That is why on some occasions, key officials of the administration will hold the Shonga Farms as a glory of Kwara State and on some other occasions, like the case of the press statement under reference, it will seek to paint it in bad light.
We are surprised that other companies that this government facilitated their investment into Kwara State like Dangote Flour Mills were not being cited as examples of how the previous administrations ‘misapplied’ the resources of the state.
This same Shonga Farms is not only a model how we need commercial farming to revolutionise agriculture in Nigeria but it is the second commercialism farm in the country. The farm today has an investment worth over $100 million and has in its service over 1000 Kwarans in the state. It is a project that went through the scrutiny of President Olusegun Obasanjo and the CBN.
It is also noteworthy that Abdulrazaq’s administration has failed woefully to attract any investment in its two-years in office and has rather resorted to making false claims about how BUA Investments came to Lafiagi. This is an investment that was attracted to the state by both the Saraki and Ahmed administrations.
It is clear that the press statement under reference is another one of the tactics of Abdulrazaq to divert the attention of the people from his non-performance and lack of tangible projects that can be showcased during the second anniversary of his administration, which is about 48 hours away.
We know that Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is always incensed about Saraki and will always seek to malign the person of the former President of the Nigerian Senate, however, we think it is in his interest to focus on how to deliver on his numerous promises to the people of Kwara State, after he has wasted two years chasing shadows.
Abdulrahman should stop getting jittery about the name of Saraki. He should focus on working for the people of the state and executing projects, initiating programmmes and policies that will benefit the people of the state.
Press Officer, Local Matters
Abubakar Bukola Saraki Media Office