Situating Kwara Politics after Gov AbdulRazak

Situating Kwara Politics after Gov AbdulRazak

Wahab Oba writes about the need for all critical political stakeholders in Kwara state to form a united front ahead of the 2027 General election in the state.

Allegations of widespread profligacy in the administration of Governor AbdulrazaqAbdulrahman have gained momentum with an open letter penned by a prominent member of his party, Hon Mashood Mustapha, who now prides himself on leading the “revolution and struggle for the emancipation of Kwara state between 2018 and the election of 2019”, on the renovation of one of our common heritage in Kwara state, the Kwara Hotel.

Hon Mustapha’s letter, expectedly, has been trending in the media, just like the critical documents on the controversial renovation that are also in media space courtesy of a non-profit and non-political organization, Elite Network for Sustainable Development,  ENetSuD.

On this matter, neither Hon Mustapha nor ENetSuD should be taken lightly. The former was once a member of the State Executive Council, a federal legislator, and a governorship aspirant in the last general elections, while the latter once had a working MoU with the State government on social audits of government affairs.

Hon Mustapha’s outburst, no doubt, again, confirmed what his co-travelers in the APC started to complain about, first in whispers and later openly, soon after Abdulrazaq assumed office as the governor of Kwara State.

Can we forget the open lamentation of former Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, or the cries of AkogunIyiolaOyedepo that the AA in office was not the AA they envisaged when they gave him their backing despite the alleged manipulations that heralded his emergence as governorship candidate of their party-APC?

The meat of Mustapha’s letter which must be of interest to all concerned Kwarans, irrespective of political leanings, is that the estimated N17.8 billion for renovating the 172-room hotel is far above the N5billion maximum that he discussed with the governor.

ENetSuD has availed the public of a valuation of the hotel by a reputable real estate agent engaged by the government, and that valuation puts the worth of the hotel in figures around what Hon Mustapha mentioned.

And while the make-up of a hotel may be different from that of an office complex, should we not be concerned as Kwarans still, that this same administration is building a completely new 11-story office complex for KWIRS at the cost put around N20 billion.

It is completely a new building. And have we also forgotten so soon that an International Conference Center with a five-star hotel is also being built for N13.5 billion in the same Ahmadu Bello Way, Ilorin?

What Hon Mustapha and EnetSuD did not mention in the Kwara Hotel palava is the issue of transparency and accountability in the award of the contract as well as how it was re-awarded to Craneburg.

What qualifies Craneburg for three major contracts in the state above others? What is the capacity and competence of Craneburg Company? There is possibly more to it than meets the eye.

While we are at it, should we also remember that this administration of governor AA had once told us openly that it ‘invested’ N17.9 billion of Kwara money in a bank?

That would have been a good move until you hear that the money was part of a bond and we don’t know which bank it is sitting in to date.

Bonds are taken to execute specific projects, but we seem in the current dispensation of Kwara to take a bond to deposit in the bank amid acute infrastructural deficit and threatening youth employment while we also continue to pay heavy service costs unnecessarily.

Obviously, it is the same ‘ingenuity’ that surrounds the construction of the Tanke flyover. In my last intervention, I tagged that project  ‘the bridge of controversy’. In reality, that is what it is. Fortunately, every stakeholder, technical and professional about that bridge, agrees that something is wrong with the work, both in its cost and its construction. Every stakeholder, except those who are benefiting from the current arrangement or those who don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ maybe in anticipation of their benefits or out of fear as to what an angry government can do to them when they speak out openly against its errors, has one reservation or another about the Tanke bridge.

If AA cares, he would have taken time to speak with Kwarans about why he prefers to spend N17.8 billion on a hotel in Ilorin rather than invest heavily in the agricultural business where we have a reasonable comparative advantage above other surrounding states.

This then is a major reason for everyone interested in the future of Kwara to join hands and ensure that this man does not impose his stooge on the state come 2027. That would probably be his major scheming now.

Those politicians in the APC who have seen how things turned out when they obliged an error, must be ready to work with others in the PDP, LP, NNPP, and other parties to stop the possible emergence of another AA, or a governor who will be there merely to protect a proper probe of the current administration.

We must be ready to bury our pride and sink our hatchet. We must be ready to look at our wounds and see only the scar but not the pain. We must be ready to open the doors of our hearts to a new arrangement that welcomes everyone to make Kwara a better place for all of us.

-Oba writes from Ilorin, Kwara State.

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