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Bukola Saraki: A Man Who Refused To Pay Pensions Is Pontificating On Governance-Qudus Adelodun

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Bukola Saraki, the leader of the dynasty that ruined Kwara State and destroyed every great legacy for which the state is known, was in Ilorin some weeks back. He was pontificating on governance. This is a shameless attitude because he has no moral right to do so. During his reign as governor of the state, he had every down resources to take Kwara to a greater height, but he frittered everything with greed, avarice and kleptomania. He was lucky to have governed at a time of oil boom where the country had so much resources. But what can he point out today as his achievements?

If Bukola Saraki is not fraudulently taking the glory of federal government funded projects such as KWASU, Post Office Flyover, renovation of Ilorin International Airport, among others, he would be advertising failed, white elephant investments such as Shonga Farms, Cargo Terminal, Kwara Mall, Mandate III Estate as achievements. All these are failed multi-billion naira projects that Kwara continues to bleed from because the state still services huge debts on them long after Saraki is gone. Did he do us favour or doom?

Mandate III estate is there with billions of debt. Shonga Farms too with billions of debt. Cargo Terminal did not benefit the state. Kwara Mall has not yielded one kobo as returns on investment to the state. Bukola Saraki did not pay the contractors that handled the Metropolitan Square project for him. He did not pay the contractors that brought machines at Kwara Advanced Diagnostic Centre for him. These are what he point out as his achievements. Failure!

As if those are not enough. Bukola Saraki did not pay pensions and gratuities of retired civil servants in 2009 and 2010, despite the huge resources available at his disposal. That’s too mean. It is the Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq he loves to talk down to every time he has the opportunity that has cleared that mess many years after. Even his stooge, Abdulfatai Ahmed that governed after him couldn’t help him clean that mess. Did Ahmed ever fail in paying the pension packages of Bukola Saraki as a former governor during his reign? This was even when he was drawing huge salaries and allowances as senator. They can comfort themselves, but comfort is not to be given to the masses. Yet they continue to pontificate and still nurse the idea of coming back. Is that not shameless of them?

I was at the bank last week after the payment of the accrued pensions of 2009 and 2010 by Governor AbdulRazaq. I could see the happiness, excitement and fulfilment in the senior citizens that came to withdraw their monies. They were so glad. I tried to engage one of them, and he told me they had been suffering to get their pensions and gratuities for long; and even some of them had died in the process. The old man commended Governor AbdulRazaq, saying his impacts are always felt in the state.

These are the testimonies on the streets, but the PDP elements who are tired of life said they have not seen anything good. May our minds not be blocked. What Governor AbdulRazaq has achieved in the last three years have been massive. The schools the Saraki dynasty left to rot are being renovated and rehabilitated. The waterworks they left in a total state of dysfunction have been repaired. Salary payment, pension payment and gratuities have been up to date, timely and consistent. Road construction projects are hitting the nooks and crannies of the state. Our health facilities are witnessing overhaul. The agric sector is also getting a turnaround. The youths and women are being empowered and included in the decision making table.

The governor is also embarking on legacy projects that will change the face of Kwara and make it the one of the preferred destinations for business, investment and economic activities. For instance, the International Conference Centre the Governor AbdulRazaq-led administration is building will be the best in the whole of North-Central after the one in Abuja, the national capital. No state in Nigeria except Lagos has the facilities for last mile finishing that the Visual Arts Centre/Film Studio Governor AbdulRazaq-led administration is building will house. The Eye Centre in the state built and equipped by Governor AbdulRazaq follows that of Kaduna in terms of standard in the whole of the North. We also have the Innovation Hub. And many more.

If Kwara has had a visionary, selfless and financially responsible and disciplined governor like AbdulRazaq instead of the kleptos that superintended over our affairs for 16 years, our state would have moved forward and be competing fairly with the likes of Kaduna in the North. We must give AbdulRazaq another chance to solidify the placement of Kwara on a sound footing. One good turn deserves another. Those who cannot pay something as basic as salaries and pensions during their time should bury their heads in shame and stop rubbing it in our face!

Adelodun writes from Oro, Kwara State

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