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Group Cautions Governor AbdulRazaq To Stop Sabotaging FG Policies In Kwara

AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq,


Group Cautions Governor AbdulRazaq To Stop Sabotaging FG Policies In Kwara

Kwarans must also note that while Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is renovating hotels and building some for more than N20 Billion Naira

Ilorin, Kwara State– The Kwara Sustainable Development Advocacy Forum (KWASDAF), a pro-democracy group, has called on the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to stop sabotaging Federal Government’s efforts in addressing the various issues battling the State.

This is contained in a statement signed by the KWASDAF Coordinator,  Musa Idris Buko, obtained by Afrika Eyes on Monday, February 19, 2024, said a comprehensive assessment conducted by the group, Governor Abdulrazaq, who also chairs the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), received a rating of 4/10, sparking concerns among stakeholders.

The statement read; “This is coming amidst allegations that Nigerian Governors, including the NGF Chair, have been sabotaging the efforts of Federal Government in addressing poverty.

“Mr. Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy; Adams Oshiomole, an APC Senator also close ally of President Tinubu; and Mr. Tope Fasua, an Aide to the Vice President Kashim Shettima have all at different time, blamed Nigerian Governors for inflation, and food shortage. Sen. Adams Oshiomole specifically alleged that Governors who are refusing to pay the ₦35,000 Wage Award agreed with FG despite increased revenues deserve no peace.

“Till now, no statement from the Nigerian Governors Forum, an admittance of their non-performance and failure. Only Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo has responded to the call-out by the Aides and allies of the President by listing what he has done.

“Studies revealed that Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara has failed in delivering the needed leadership to steer the affairs of the Forum, except the ₦10,000 pittance palliative payment and distribution of rice to workers as if they are Pigeons or Chickens in a poultry farm. Kwara State Government has committed more to frivolities than delivering true representation to the people.

“Also, the NGF being a key member of the nation’s National Economic Committee (NEC) has not proffered any reasonable solution to the numerous issues battling the nation, rather compound it through undemocratic and unconstitutional interferences in LGAs, including not allowing their FAAC Allocations to cascade to the grassroots through robbing Peter to pay Paul via State JAAC Laws.

“With increased allocation, the NGF lacks collective aspiration and ambition, which is due to the incompetence of its Chairman. Gov. Bala Mohammed of PDP Governors’ Forum called for State Policing on Monday, 12th February, and it was a major subject at the President’s meeting with Security Heads, 36 State Governors, Vice President and the FCT Minister on Thursday, 15th February, at the State House. What native initiative, policy or idea has the NGF under the leadership of Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq driven beyond parading the title?

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“It is also crucial to state that the Kwara State House of Assembly has failed since 2019 to contribute significantly to Constitution Review process in the country, they neither offered opinions nor suggestions in legislation in the country and they keep being insouciant about it. Specifically, Kwara State House of Assembly had connived with the State Governor to truncate the tenure of democratically elected Council for almost 5 years, while impose unconstitutional TIC Chairmen for over 4 years now, after illegally sacking then elected Council in 2019.

Mr Buko stated that the Assembly was also one of the few that never voted in support of LGA autonomy in the last attempted Constituonal Amendment. Despite constant calls for Local Government (LG) autonomy and former President Muhammadu Buhari signing Bills and Executive Orders to grant LG autonomy, Kwara State Government continuously sabotaged the efforts.

“It is pertinent to register that despite Federal Government removing administrative bottlenecks on electricity generation and the burden now being transferred to State Governments, Kwara State Government continues to ignore the need to take action and position itself as a key player in North Central, in fact, Kwara is unprepared for the reality. There also lies the issue of food security and scarcity, as Kwara continues to take the back seat.

The group added that Kwara State’s FAAC allocation has increased significantly according to BudgIT, rising from about #42.87 Billion in 2022, to around #66.36 Billion in 2023. Beyond that, Kwara has been in the payment of insignificant ₦10,000 palliative to civil servants in the State, while Billions get rolled out via Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP), what many informed citizens perceived as mainly for political interests and temporarily purchasing people’s outrage against maladministration. In the same vein, notwithstanding the Governor’s reduced Office Budget ranking 5th.

According to the 2024 StatiSense recent report on Governors Office Budget, the State’s 2024 Appropriation Bill beats economic reality of Nigeria. Inside the budget lies hotel renovations in humongous sums of public funds, extravagant and ridiculous allocations for lawmakers’ purchase of millions of naira worth vehicles that defeats economic reality.

“N17.8 Billion has been committed to Kwara Hotel remodeling project, N150 Million for Patigi Hotel renovation and N300 Million to build a new Okuta Hotel as shown in the 2024 Appropriation Bill. Likewise, the State Government is constructing an International Conference Centre with a 4 Star Hotel altogether estimated to cost about N10 Billion, which puts building and renovation of hotels across the State to over N20 Billion. This is amidst the most difficult moment for Kwarans, where some cannot afford to eat breakfast and multidimensional poverty in the State. What sort of insensitivity is this?

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Furthermore, the recent tragedy involving Chizoba Wigwe has brought to light discrepancies in government contracts, with the revelation that a company awarded a renovation project was misrepresented as Lebanese-owned.

“Kwarans must also note that while Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is renovating hotels and building some for more than N20 Billion Naira, Kwara State currently ranks second among the States where price of food rises the fastest, pegging 41% inflation, while Kogi ranks first with 44%. This position is also backed by the CableIndex which made Statistics of food inflation available. This is a clear failure in agriculture, food security and production by Kwara State Government. How much has been committed to mechanized farming and Agric-tech industry in Kwara State?

“What exactly is the vision of the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq led administration in Kwara? The establishment of Ganmo Power Station is instrumental to the expansion of KAM Wire, Tuyil Pharmacy was established in 1996, but expanded right in the heart of Ilorin, and its permanent site was built in New Yidi road. Since 2019 till date, what has prospered in Kwara on the touchstones of need-based assessment, quality service delivery, comparative advantages induced investments, and all-inclusive sustainable developments?

Kwara Shonga Farms was bombed out of relevance with propaganda, even though it was relevant, it is still relevant and will continue to be relevant, because it has to do with food matters, irrespective of the shortcoming(s) alluded to the project. In an amazing twist of fate, the State Government sees prosperity in hotel renovation and even building new ones in the State than agriculture, despite food scarcity and security crisis in the State. Lagos, with far less comparative advantages to Kwara State in agriculture is currently doing far better in that sector through strategic investments and partnerships with, for instance, Kebbi State, and figures abound on this simple fact. Yet, Shonga Farms is being abandoned for political reasons, despite President Bola Ahmed Tinubu needing serious and massive help in food security and production, what sort of NGF Chair is Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq? Is this not the most reasonable time to hugely invest in modern and mechanized sustainable agriculture, while reviving the existing structures and facilities in the subsector?

“In addition, if some reasonable amount of money had been channelled into strengthening Shonga Farms, this would have complemented the Special Agricultural Processing Zone (SAPZ) commendably facilitated by this current government in Kwara. Imagine the opportunity cost of less than #20 Billion in agriculture, it would not only holistically revive the State’ socioeconomic prosperity through food security, industrialization, employment opportunities, and wealth redistribution via direct or indirect jobs and income generation, but also put Kwara at the forefront of agricultural revolution and food security for other States to emulate,” the statement said.

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KWASDAF added that Soludero Buses (Ilorin Metropolis Urban Mass Transit) which provided employment for many is no longer in full operation. This is at a time that Kwara State University’s break-through in producing Electric Bus was nationally celebrated. Kwara State Government has refused to patronize KWASU for conversion of these buses (Soludero) to electric or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to mitigate the effect of subsidy removal in the State. The University is already self-sufficient and a model for sustainable funding in the country, patronage of KWASU’s research breakthrough and Innovation in Electric Buses would earn the government not just accolades by Kwarans, but also investments across Nigeria.

“We hereby call on the Kwara State Governor to sit tight and address local issues. The State Government must immediately stop its sabotaging nature and help in reducing the poverty rate in the State, which is a responsibility of the State Government. Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) has increased, likewise the State allocation, and nobody knows how much comes to Kwara as derivations from mining.

“We laud President Ahmed Bola Tinubu who exposed the Nigerian Governors through his directive to the Accountant General of the Federation to not only publish State and LGAs FAAC allocations for 2023, but also do that every month, moving forward. It is important to emphasize here that no one knows what FAAC allocation comes to Kwara and her 16 LGAs before now, as this simple act of transparency and accountability has been a mirage in Kwara State.

Mr Buko said Kwara State Government currently possess the capacity to clear all gratuities, salary arrears, pension and even independently increase salary of workers before review of national minimum wage, as some States had already done.

Meanwhile, KWASDAF said that Kwara State Government should pay the outstanding ₦35,000 Wage Award agreed with Labour Unions by FG, as Kwara obviously possess the capacity to pay with the increase in IGR and FAAC allocations.

However, the group urged the Kwara State Governor to emulate the President, by instructing the Accountant-General of the State to publish monthly FAAC Allocations for the State and 16 LGAs, as well as all incomes from IGR in line with international best practices on transparency and accountability.

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