The Sarakis’ Compulsive Looting Of Kwara State By Ibrahim Salihu
The latest revelation by a forensic audit report of SSAC and Professionals on the looting of Kwara treasury to the tune of at least N11.9bn between 2011 and 2019 is mind-boggling. However, it only strengthens what we have always known that Bukola Saraki and his handpicked successor AbdulFatah Ahmed ran some of the most corrupt governments in Nigeria and even on the continent.
More disturbing in the whole of the report which the auditors also pointed out to was the N2bn cash withdrawals that were not tied to any project or official expenditure made in February 2019, barely a month to the last general election. That’s shocking. What manner of compulsive looting is this?
The auditors while presenting the report to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Thursday, September 1, 2022, said they placed spotlight on Internally Generated Revenue, Capital Receipts, Internal and External Loans, Recurrent/Overhead Expenditure, Personnel Cost, Kwara State Internal Revenue Service, Infrastructural Fund Kwara, Harmony Holdings Limited, amongst others.
For me, the report didn’t really come as a surprise. Like I pointed out, it only confirmed what I, and majority of Kwarans, have always known the Sarakis for: compulsive looting. It was a similar compulsive looting and impunity that ran the Societe Generale Bank aground in the past. Same compulsive looting made Bukola Saraki’s name appear in the Panama Papers where certain Nigerian officials were fingered as having undisclosed properties offshores. But like some people do argue, the law could always be an ass. This perhaps is why we still have elements like Bukola Saraki, AbdulFatah Ahmed and their cronies, with a soiled reputation and mind-boggling acts of corruption and impunity tied to their names still appearing in the political scene of the country. It’s even the height of shamelessness that the image maker of the Kwara Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a man still standing trial in court on abuse of office, diversion of public funds, misappropriation, among other financial crimes.
I must however commend the efforts put into this investigation and audit by SSAC and Professionals. It’s a whole lot. The Sarakis are almost perfect when we talk about corruption and looting. They create unnecessary ambiguities, tuck away documents, engage fronters, and package all their dubious and shady dealings. On the other hand however, there are always one or two avenues for exposure. This is perhaps why the audit firm is able to track them down on all they’ve highlighted in the report. Many others may exist. Theirs were a government of compulsive looting.
Despite their claims to no wrongdoing, a series of events have proven that the Sarakis were an unconscionable and corruption-infested elements. Do you know how much recoveries the EFCC had made from the compulsive looting by past administrators in Kwara? Yet they come out to say they did no wrong. The EFCC had made hundreds of millions naira of recovery in funds. If assets are added to it, the recovery from the mind-boggling looting of the Sarakis would value billions of naira. In December 2019, N70 million was refunded to the Kwara State Government being looted funds recovered by the EFCC. Yet, no looting. Fast forward to March 2020, the huge sum of N263 million was again recovered by EFCC as part of monies looted by previous officials. And they say they didn’t steal from Kwara treasury. In August 2020, another N130 million naira was recovered. Where are all these monies coming from? Most of these monies were siphoned through KWIRS and the local governments.
There are enough instances to authenticate the audit report. For instance, Wahab Oba, the self-impossd media spokesperson to Yaman Abdullahi, PDP guber candidate, was running his mouth on Harmony Holdings in one of his last outings. Harmony Holdings Limited was also one of the organisations investigated by the auditors. The current MD of Harmony Holdings has always said on radio that the previous government borrowed N4bn from bank to set up the organisation, but only a meagre N400 million or thereabouts was handed over to the previous directors of the company. Who accounts for the balance? Did it develop wings? That betrayal of public trust also encouraged the directors to mismanage the little amount given to them. After all, what moral authority does the government that was silent on over N3bn have? Look at what Bukola Saraki also did with Shonga Farms. After investing a chunk of public funds in it, he turned back to dash it out to private persons from Zimbabwe who made no financial contributions to the project. What have Kwara people benefitted from the project other than the mounting of debts? The same case it was for Kwara Mall where public funds were sunk into it, only for Sarakis to dash it out to a private player. Despite voting billions of naira for the establishment of a trailer park in the bond he got, Saraki failed to deliver the project. The Metropolitan Square which is part of the projects they make noise about was not completed. Ahmed voted billions of naira to fix water; yet tankers were used to distribute water in Ilorin metropolis and most of our waterworks were ineffective. What happened to all these monies? Where is Yomi Ogunshola, the KP3 man? He has been running away from justice. There are mind-blowing allegations of corruption and abuse of office against him.
That Saraki and his co-travellers have not been convicted does not necessarily mean they did not commit these wrongs. Our judicial process is still a growing one. In fact, some times, it takes years before guilt is established and conviction is made. These people have also been emboldened because Governor AbdulRazaq doesn’t play bitter politics. If he was a bitter man, Saraki and his people will not have the effrontery to come in and out of Ilorin as they do, with these damning allegations of looting against them. But then the Bukola Sarakis and AbdulFatah Ahmeds of this world should not think the arm of the law could not catch up with them one day. N11.9 billion naira between 2011 and 2019 shows meanness against state. They made deliberate efforts to sink the state, and it is evident in how Kwara in their days hugged the headlines of negative things. They failed across sectors (education, health, civil service, water, etc). They were stealing the future of Kwara. The state was collapsing while they were living large. This among other reason is why Kwarans in a loud voice and popular decision sent them packing in 2019. They must never return to power. As the current government files various criminal charges against them, we hope the arm of the law will catch up with them soonest.
Ibrahim writes from Tsonga.
APC SAK: On March 18, Our Vote Should Be For AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq- Qudus Adelodun
Just like the February 25th election is now history, March 18, the new date of the gubernatorial and state assembly elections, is also around the corner and would also become history in the nick of time. One significant thing however is that we cannot afford to get it wrong in our dear state, Kwara. Citizens must vote right and vote wisely.
The March 18th poll is a choice between maladministration and good governance. Never must we allow darkness to triumph over light! Any mistake could cost us a whole lot; something fatal than we had experienced in the past. That’s why for me, I choose AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Mr. Capacity) over the assemblage of desperate and disgruntled politicians.
Kwarans, we must never forget where we came from. Four years ago, we liberated ourselves from the hands of desperate, arrogant and self-serving politicians who had arrogated our state and all its resources to themselves. They had no regard for human dignity. They failed in governance and administration.
We must never forget that we came from an era where civil servants did not get their salaries and entitlements as and when due. We must never forget that we came from an era where senior citizens who are retirees did not get their pensions and gratuities. We must never forget that we came from a regime where the water question could not be tackled head-on and our people were at the mercy of tankers to access something as basic as water. We must never forget we came from a regime that was rocked with all kinds of financial scandals, misappropriation, lack of value for money and widespread corrupt practices that drew our state several years back. It was under this same era that UBEC grant worth billions of naira was diverted, taking our basic education many years backwards.
Kwarans, we must never forget all these atrocities and scenarios as we approach the gubernatorial and state assembly elections to make an all-important decision. As we go to the polls, we must also bear in mind the landmark transformation and remarkable change that have happened across sectors of the state.
Starting from what was practically ground zero, AbdulRazaq has taken our state to enviable heights. From a state with no functional tractor in 2019, Kwara is now recognised as one of the rice producing states in the country due to his major investments in agriculture and support for farmers. From a state with no functional ambulance in 2019, Kwara was applauded for its exemplary role in managing COVID-19 and is now the state that houses the largest Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the whole of central Nigeria. The state now has ventilators. Our Isolation Centre is renovated and refurbished to a standard taste. Our long-abandoned Oxygen Plant in Sobi is now up and running. All these are results of prudence and capacity.
With the quantum of works this administration has done in the last four years, there is no ward in Kwara State today where it doesn’t have a project. The administration has established bold government presence in all the wards constituting the state. Young people and women are given recognition like never before in the state. The same state where youths were relegated to nothing and/or as ‘good boys’ is now where they get million naira grants to boost their entrepreneurial desires. This stands commendable! And this is the same fashion in which the government has been supporting every segment and demography of the society.
One thing I will never forget to add is the conducive political environment this administration has created. Opposition and dissenting voices are not been silenced or muzzled. It was so bad under the previous regime that opposition elements dare not attend events that the governing personalities attend. Everything has changed. People now have the platforms to ventilate their views without nursing the fear of being chased about by good boys.
The political culture has also changed drastically. Yesterday, you had to practically crawl and genuflect for the hegemons to grow in politics and government. Today, nobody does that. Political offices have been largely demystified. You now have the sense that political office holders are more or less like you, and that you can also be one in the nearest future.
Kwarans, we must never forget. We must allow the consolidation of this transformative foundation that has already been laid. On Saturday, March 18, we should all come out en masse to vote Mr. Capacity AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. He is the man who has shown capacity where others failed woefully.
Adelodun writes from Oro, Kwara State
March 11: Dear Kwarans, Let Us Do Four More With AbdulRazaq By Abdulquadri Mahmud
A few weeks before the presidential and national assembly elections, I was very optimistic that my fellow Kwarans would vote for the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) because of the unprecedented achievements the state has recorded under the party. And as God would have it, they did. They voted APC from top to bottom. Their action no doubt shows that they are progressives and do not want any party (PDP) that will reverse their gains over the last three years. It also shows that they do not want a Saraki dynasty that will take them back to the era of geri-gedi and all sorts of maladministration.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Kwarans for choosing to be progressives. Also, I want them to know that there is no chaff in all the candidates they elected. They’ll represent us well at the national level and fulfill their campaign promises.
However, Kwarans should know that our dear state will not be fully progressive if we fail to re-elect Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq whose achievements in the last three years have brought Kwara back on track. The governor has done well for us and the best way to compensate him for his good intentions towards us and our dear state is to come out en masse on March 11 to cast our votes for him. Among all the candidates vying for the post, AbdulRazaq is the only candidate who means well for Kwara.
AbdulRazaq was tested and he delivered. He comforted Kwarans and recorded the achievements his predecessors could not record in their 16 years of misruling and looting Kwara state. Bukola Saraki and his stooge Abdul Fatah Ahmed had almost sold Kwara on Jumia before AbdulRazaq came on board. They had sold many properties belonging to the state government. Despite this, they did not pay civil servants salaries. Despite this, they could not fix bad roads and schools whose structures were terrible and posed threats to students.
It was AbdulRazaq’s emergence that brought relief and renewed our hope in Kwara state. All the things that could have benefited Kwarans such as the 30,000 naira minimum wage, provision of potable water, and others, Saraki and Abdul Fatah failed to deliver them. They treated Kwarans like they were not humans while they comforted their party loyalists with the state’s treasury. It was the AbdulRazaq-led administration that changed the story. Today, our people have access to potable water and receive the 30,000 naira minimum wage among others.
To continue unraveling the progress, growth, and developments we see today in all parts of our dear Kwara, we must ensure AbdulRazaq’s victory at the polls on March 11. That’s the only way to prevent Saraki and his hungry boys from coming back to loot our treasury. The Saraki dynasty has nothing to offer other than misery, suffering, and poverty. That’s why we must do everything legal to prevent the dynasty from raping Kwara again.
Dear Kwarans, “let’s march to victory and progress”. Let’s do four more with a trustworthy, receptive, and responsive AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. He remains the best man for the job. Kwarans do not need someone who will be waiting for his greedy and merciless leader’s directive before he can attend to their needs. What Kwarans need is someone who has the wherewithal to run her affairs and that person is Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq!
Abdulqaudri Mahmud writes from Ilorin East LGA, Zango Ward, Ilorin Kwara state
Why Kwarans Shouldn’t Fall For Saraki’s New Gimmick- Abdulqaudri Mahmud
When Bukola Saraki realized that his several propaganda to pit Kwarans against Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s performing government didn’t work, he directed all his followers to start begging Kwarans to vote for the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar if they can’t vote for the party’s governorship candidate, Abdullahi Yaman. He said the former’s victory was more important than the latter’s. The former Senate President didn’t just say this, he has discovered that well-meaning Kwarans are in full support of AbdulRazaq’s second-term bid.
However, Kwarans should be very careful and shouldn’t fall for Saraki’s new gimmick. Even though Saraki has failed to tell his followers why he prefers Atiku’s victory to Yaman’s, some of us know his reason. Saraki knows that Yaman can’t win AbdulRazaq at the polls, therefore, if Atiku wins he is going to help him claim either by force or by raping the court. Currently, Saraki’s boys have been meeting unsuspecting Kwarans and begging them to vote for Atiku if they can’t vote for Yaman. That’s why you will barely see them campaign for Yaman in the last few weeks.
This essayist urges Kwarans not to fall for Saraki’s evil plans against them and the progressive state. The steady development and unprecedented achievements of the present administration have been giving Saraki and his retrogressive camp a serious headache and they are sad that Governor AbdulRazaq is doing what they couldn’t do for the people in their 16 years of governance in Kwara state.
From Saraki’s campaign rallies and his very recent interview on Sobi FM, it is glaring that he does not mean well for Kwara state and Kwarans. Saraki said the AbdulRazaq-led government had failed. If I may ask him, a government that pays salaries and promotes workers has failed? A government that repairs roads and renovates schools has failed? A government that provides potable water for its people has failed? A government that provides good teaching materials and introduced KwaraLEARN has failed? A government that creates jobs and pays the 30,000 minimum wages has failed?
Saraki is a sadist and he doesn’t mean well for Kwara state. His return will be a disaster for our dear state. May Saraki not happen to us again. If not for the Otoge movement in 2019, it is only God that knows where Kwara would have been by now. Bukola and his protege Abdulfatah Ahmed crumbled the state. Workers were owed months’ salaries, no potable water for the people, the structures of schools were terrible as students studied under the trees, no learning materials in classrooms, pensions, and gratuities were not paid, and hospitals were not hospitable. These are what Saraki calls achievements that AbulRazaq has not replicated which made him a failure, according to Saraki.
The Otoge movement gave us a brilliant, smart, and progressive AbdulRazaq. In all the areas Saraki and Abdulfatah had failed, AbdulRazaq has done well in the areas. Therefore, dear Kwarans, the 2023 presidential election and national assembly elections are this Saturday, February 25, let’s cast our votes for all the APC’s candidates and most importantly, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It’s our massive votes for Tinubu and other candidates that can stall Saraki’s evil plots against us and our dear state.
Abdulqaudri Mahmud writes from Ilorin East LGA, Zango Ward, Ilorin Kwara state
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