Kwara PDP Tackles AbdulRazaq over Comment on Local Govt Autonomy

Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

The Kwara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the recent attempt by the state Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, to “deceive and confuse the people of the state over his  contradictory positions on local government autonomy.”

Governor AbdulRazaq had recently in Ilorin said that he believed in giving autonomy to the third tier of the government.

He said that such development would reduce burden on the states in the country.

However, the PDP in a statement issued in Ilorin yesterday, which was signed by the party’s state Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olusegun Olusola Adewara, said: “The Kwara people will recall that our party last week praised the federal government’s decision to drag Governor AbdulRazaq to the Supreme Court in a bid to rescue the 16 local government areas from his wicked manipulation and strangulation.

“We also cautioned the governor against filing an objection to the federal government’s processes in the Supreme Court, as this would undermine the federal government’s people-friendly intention to make local government autonomous and work for the people.

“However, in a desperate bid to continue his alleged manipulation and extend his illegal control over local government funds in Kwara State, Governor AbdulRazaq, through the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ibrahim Sulyman, has filed an objection to the government’s case at the Supreme Court.

“Shockingly, the governor even made it known to the court that granting local government areas their autonomy would further impoverish the people.”

The party said: “Governor Abdulrazaq, who was sensing the public condemnation that has greeted the processes he filed at the Supreme Court, quickly directed his media handlers to issue a local statement distancing himself from the very processes he had already filed in the Supreme Court. What a double standard!

“This action is an irresponsible display of leadership weakness on the part of the state government and is indicative of the government’s fear of the consequences of actions, instead of toeing this dishonorable path.

“The PDP, therefore, advises Mallam AbdulRazaq to publicly apologise to the people of Kwara State, especially the grassroots dwellers, who are the direct victims of his impunity against the local governments, and withdraw his processes filed at the Supreme Court immediately.

“This would serve as a litmus test to his self-acclaimed belief in local government autonomy and would be more effective than mere press releases by his media handlers.

“The Kwara people and lovers of democracy should not be swayed by Governor Abdulrahman’s antics and media propaganda aimed at presenting himself as a champion of local government autonomy. Instead, they should question his historical records of deliberate attacks and crippling of local government since 2019.

“For the record, the first official action taken by AbdulRahman as the governor of Kwara State shortly after his inauguration in May 2019 was to connive with his surrogates in the House of Assembly to illegally dissolve the existing democratic structure of the 16 local government areas by announcing the suspension of all its elected officials, despite court orders restraining him and the Assembly from doing so.

“Governor AbdulRazaq relied on trumped-up allegations of misappropriation, which to date could not be established against any of the officials, to dissolve them without committing any crime other than being members of the opposition party.

“It should be noted that a few months after, those elected officials indicated their interest in joining APC, the governor’s political party, and immediately, their investigation of alleged corruption was halted, with one of them now appointed as Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

“This singular action is an indictment on the governor and the state House of Assembly. It further exposes the governor as an enemy of democracy and the rule of law, and a clog in the wheel of local government autonomy and progress.

“The Kwara PDP wishes to also remind Kwarans that two years ago, during a constitution amendment process aimed at granting full autonomy to local governments in Nigeria, out of 16 states that voted in support of the LG Autonomy Bill, Kwara State, under the dictate of Governor Abdulrahman, was intentionally absent.”

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