Abdulateef Oniyangi contends that the decision of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State to fight perceived enemies may lead to anarchy in the state
The Kwara state government, had in a statement, last week Friday, claimed that a parcel of land previously owned by the late former strongman of Kwara politics, Dr. Olusola Saraki was originally meant for a government secretariat and parking space of the Civil Service Clinic but was unlawfully allocated to a private firm, Asa Investments Limited, without any record of payment to the state government.
The statement, which was signed by Rafiu Ajakaiye, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, also claimed that no certificate of occupancy was issued in favour of the firm.
“Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has signed a constitutional instrument withdrawing the allocation of plots of land 1, 3 and 5 to the firm, asserting that the said land was unlawfully appropriated contrary to the purpose for which it was meant.
“The Governor’s decision followed a resolution of the State House of Assembly urging him to reclaim the land because it was arbitrarily taken over in the 1990s without any evidence of payment by the Asa Investment Limited, even though the land was meant for public use,” part of the statement read.
With the recent development, many are aghast at what they called ‘the vindictive politics of Governor AbdulRazaq. They are of the opinion that the governor has made up his mind to fight and ridicule those who he believes are his “perceived enemies”, because he was recently alleged to have started a fight with his supposed benefactor and godfather, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
His decision to revoke the property belonging to the late Saraki may end up pitching him against the people of the state. “Whether he likes it or not, the name Saraki remains a force to reckon with in Kwara State. The people may not like Bukola but at the same time, the governor can never rubbish that name of their father. The family has paid its dues in Kwara State. This battle that the governor has started will make the people of the state to rise against him.”
The land revocation has also been generating reactions outside of the state, as the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) slammed the governor’s decision to revoke the ownership of the property.
The forum in a statement issued on Monday in Lagos, by its National President, Yerima Shettima, said that the brazen use of force by Governor AbdulRazaq to hijack the property of the late politician is a total disregard to the Saraki’s family and an insult on the people of Kwara State.
While noting that the move has potentials to destroy the legacies of “a politician who gave his all to make Kwara what it is today”, the forum stated that, “we take exception to the deployment of the powers of the state in a desperate move that smacks of political vendetta and failed attempt to rewrite history.
It maintained that, “If the incumbent governor thinks he could destroy the late Saraki’s legacies as a political gimmick of winning public sympathy, he is making a fatal mistake.”
While urging the late Saraki’s family to use all available legal and constitutional backing to fight for their cause, the forum also advised the incumbent governor to bear in mind that power is transient.
However, the former Senate President believes that the action of AbdulRazaq against his family, especially his late father, shows his lack of sense of history.
Saraki, while accusing him of setting out only to fight his family, stated that the governor has crossed the line of decency with his efforts to erase the legacies of his late father.
He pointed out that the war of attrition waged against the legacy of his father and everything that belongs to the late politician simply portrayed the governor as “a man who lacks the sense of history and set out only to fight the Saraki family but not to serve the interest of Kwarans,” he said.
Speaking further, the former Kwara State governor, said, “The property was allocated to my late father under the name of one of his companies, Asa Investment Limited, and contrary to the claim of the Governor, the land was properly allocated and a Right of Occupancy title issued on it. It should be noted that the excuse given by Abdulrazaq in his revocation order holds no water since it is clear that this is the height of his vengeance against my father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki and I.
“Till today, many Kwarans have been wondering what problem the Governor has with the late Oloye Abubakar Olusola Saraki or what the late politician did to offend him. It is surprising that of all vacant plots of land in strategic places across Ilorin Township, the one that Abdulrahman found useful for his vengeful plan is the one owned by late Dr. Saraki. It is beyond comprehension why a Governor would set as his main agenda the objective of undermining and waging a war of attrition against a man who is no longer around,” the statement read in part.
He also alleged that since the outcome of the elections in March, despite the fact that there are clear grounds to challenge the results in court, he had decided to demonstrate maturity, statesmanship and sportsmanship.
“I have chosen not to make comment on the policies, programmes and actions of the administration in Kwara State or that of its head. Also, I deliberately stayed away from the State to avoid creating any distraction for the administration. My decision is borne out of a genuine restraint to enable the administration settle down and fulfill its numerous promises to the people of our state.
“Perhaps, I should let it be known that if Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq thinks he is taking all these actions to get at me, he is only deceiving himself. There is no basis for competition between us. Our paths cannot cross because the status that he is struggling to attain, Almighty Allah has given it to me many years before now.
“However, his open antagonism against my late father and his legacies is unwarranted and will not be tolerated. He has definitely gone beyond bounds as he cannot be allowed to ride roughshod on the deceased. In this war against my late father, he will not win.”
What is happening Kwara now is appalling to all persons of decent disposition. t is obvious that the Mohammed Lawal elements have hijacked the government and are exacting revenge for perceived wrong of 2003, in which they were completely trounced by forces loyal to Saraki.
Some of the questions agitating the mind of the people are whether this is the best location to build the said secretariat. Again, this cruelty is being unleashed on the Sarakis at a time when the secretariat built by the immediate past governor of the state has not been put to use.
Everyone who lives in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital know that the recent government statement that some government agencies operated from rented apartments is false. No government agency operate from rented apartments. So no new secretariat is needed
The governor said recently that 70% of the state fund goes into payment of salaries, that means 30% is left for running of government business and infrastructure development. Based on this statement and coupled with new minimum wages that will take salary payment to 85% he is not ready to increase percentage going into salaries,based on this fact Abdulrasaq is not ready to recruit new personnel, so who will occupy the new secretariat he wants to build?
A rational move by the governor would have seen him addressing the infrastructure needs of the state, which is in a critical state, especially roads. Can’t money meant to build the new secretariat be deployed into constructing roads across the state, especially in Kwara North and South?
*Oniyangi lives in Ilorin, Kwara State