Kwara’s debt: Dancing Naked in the Market - By: . . | Dailytrust

Kwara’s debt: Dancing Naked in the Market

Kwara State Gov, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq
Kwara State Gov, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq

By Wahab Oba

Painting is an incredible work of art. With expert dabbing of brilliant colours, it easily transforms an otherwise horrible environment to one of outstanding spectacle. Only those who knew the environment before the artist worked on it can truly say what it was before the transformation.

As a painter, Rafiu Ajakaiye tried his best bet to dab bright colours on the drab administration for which he is the spokesperson. Comparing the reality on ground with what he scribbled about his government and the debt debate, he should ordinarily take his stand with the Picassos of this world. Only that the true artist reflects society as it ought to be, without pretending; without lying, unlike what the CPS has done.

There are several issues in his response to the alarm raised by Alh Shuaibu Yaman, PDP’s gubernatorial candidate, on the rising debt profile of Kwara state. An unassailable fact in his response, however, is that Ajakaiye in the entire epistle only confirmed what Yaman cried out about: the AA administration is driving Kwara towards a financial precipice and this is a clear evidence of poor grasp of public financing by a man touted as a wizard in that field.

Ajakaye only confirmed the position that his boss has increased the state domestic debt to over N100 billion in just a period of three years. “This”, Yaman has said, “is incredibly alarming” and urged AbdulRahman to speak with Kwarans, as his party promised during campaigns towards his election not to take loans in running the affairs of the state. Mallam Ajakaye, is the governor too big to explain to Kwarans why his loans did not follow established legislative processes? Is he too nervous or scared to answer questions from Kwarans directly? When last did he personally and directly dialogue with the state? Is he waiting for elections to buy their votes? Kwarans are wiser.

Again, Ajakaye failed to tell the public that N17billion bond collected by Dr Bukola Saraki has been paid off as at Sept 2014 by the administration of Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed. Also, that the N17billion bond projects can be seeing across the state generating more revenues into the purse of the state even as at today. Thus, Kwara State University, KWASU, Malete, Aviation College, Ilorin, Shonga farms, Diagnostic Centre and others are not only generating immense resources to the purse of the state, but contributing to national and global recognition of the state. I challenge AA to name just one similar project from the over N45b accumulated as domestic debt alone.

For the avoidance of doubt and intellectual honesty, we must be able to remind and tell the public that the N17b bond has been paid and not included in the state’s debt profile. That can be confirmed on line or with Debt Management Office, DMO. But rather than paying off debt, this government is only accumulating additional debt for the state and embarking on projects that can not generate revenue to net it off. If that is the kind of financial wizardry you want to continue manifesting in Kwara, in 2023 kwarans will adjudicate.

Let it also be on record that the short term loans collected by the administration of Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed
to argument the short falls in the revenue of the state, were fully paid back before the expiration of the administration as a result of the foresight and financial reengineering of the state revenue sources. In those eight years, he initiated far reaching projects that changed the face of governance in Nigeria and enhanced the fortune of the people of the state. Ajakaye, have you forgotten Kwara State Internal Revenue Services, KWIRS, Infrastructure Development Fund, IF-K, the School of Engineering in KWASU, Ajasse-Ipo International Vocational Centre and Kwara State Land Administration Secretariat, KWLAS, a one stop shop for land related matters? What about Light Up Kwara Project that illuminated the whole Ilorin metropolis which your government had not been able to maintain or implement its planned expansion?

And again, can Kwarans ever believe you after all your lies of those ignoble era? Yes, your lies. You lied about N2b being collected every month by Saraki; you lied about ownership of Shonga Farms; you lied about ownership of harmony holdings; you lied about ownership of Aviation College, and your friend and ally lied about sales of Emir’s palace and Yidi prayer ground. Until you apologise for all your lies about the Offa robbery, you ever remain an intellectually dishonest folks.

Let’s now address more substantive issue that the painter obviously wants to covered up. Number one is the historical reality that Alhaji Yaman was with the O To Ge group in 2019. He left the house because he saw the ravaging bull in the house. Several other champions of the movement had since left. Somehow, the painter wants to dab colours over this reality. But those of us who knew how the house of OToGe was, know the truth. And we are in the majority in Kwara who understand that Ajakaiye is only covering up a sordid environment with colours of different hues. But no matter what, the ugly reality will not go away.

Secondly, it is gratifying to note that our artist drew our attention to the reality that today the N17bn bond of 2009, then estimated at $113m, is the equivalence of N67.8bn in today’s monetary rate of 600 naira per dollar. Let us remind Ajakaiye that also the price of cooking gas in 2009 was probably less than N300 per kilogram but today it is N1000. Also that the price of diesel at that same 2009 was far less than what it is today. Same for kerosene. Same for aviation fuel. Same for air tickets. Same for road transportation. Same for rice and other food items.

We should, therefore, ask who brought the present evil on us. The Yoruba have a profound way of telling a supposed helper to go away whenever they realise he has come to add more to their burden than relief them. They say, “Orisa bi o le gbe mi, se mi bi o se da mi”. Leave me as I was before you came on the scene if you are not capable of helping me out. That is the song on the lips of Kwarans today having realised that, yes indeed, the O To Ge episode was a misnomer and grand deception. And they are asking the rudderless leadership of that era to leave them and allow them make the right decision for their well-being. Any attempt to justify the current debt profile of this administration is tantamount to dancing nicked in the village market.

A prosperous Kwara is possible.

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