Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The immediate-past Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, yesterday defended his administration sale of 110 government-owned properties in the state, explaining that the sales were in line with the federal government monetisation policy, and that the sale followed due process.
The former governor was responding to the allegation of the incumbent Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak who said his predecessor sold government properties to friends and cronies.
Speaking on the challenges he met on assumption of office, the state governor said after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari that “what we met was that they have sold virtually about 110 government properties including the deputy governor’s residence, our deputy governor is staying in a rented accommodation…they just shared everything.”
He also accused the former governor of mismanaging the resources of the state, stating that on assumption of office as a governor, that there were no water supply services in the city of Ilorin.
But in his response yesterday in a statement issued by his media aide, Muyideen Akorede, and made available to THISDAY , the former governor, Ahmed, absolved his administration of any wrongdoing on the sale of the properties.
According to the statement, “His administration followed due process in selling government quarters to civil servants and members of the seventh Kwara State House of Assembly on owner-occupier basis after state executive council approval.
He explained that the said approval also covered other properties disposed by his administration with the proceed was paid into government coffers.
Ahmed further explained that the sale of Kwara State houses was in line with the federal government monetisation policy, which sought to shed the financial burden of maintaining government-owned properties, and motivated his administration’s sale of the assets.
The statement stated that contrary to the incumbent governor’s claim of misappropriation, the former administration cancelled a bank loan obtained to counterpart fund Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) 2013 grant when the repayment was pressured by dwindling federal allocation and threatened pressing government obligations.
On the payment of salaries, the former governor said his administration was up to date in the payment of state civil servants including senior secondary teachers under its remit before he left office.
He blamed the state indebtedness of the local government councils, which owed their workers and primary school teachers subsisting salary arrears, on account of unstable federal allocation to that tier of government.
The former governor pointed out that the Abdulrazak administration adoption of the previous administration’s position that salaries and pensions gulped the bulk of federal allocation to the state and local government councils had vindicated the former administration.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the visit of the Kwara State incumbent governor to Buhari at the State House was not unconnected with the controversy generated by the demolition of the Olusola Saraki old people’s home by the state government.