By Baba Mohammed

Whenever I see one of the campaign bywords of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State, pledging to rescue the state, I always shudder at the height of shamelessness and irresponsibility that has come to define members of that party. Rescue Kwara? How? Have they forgotten so soon?

Was it not under Bukola Saraki and his sidekick Abdulfatai Ahmed that Kwara witnessed the pinnacle of deprivations, fraud and scandals? One of their misdemeanours was to normalise the ridiculous sale of public assets at a pittance to themselves or cronies.

In some cases, they just hijack and convert public assets to personal use without a single dime paid to the state coffers. Up until today, they have not been able to provide the C of O of Ile Arugbo which was supposed to serve as an extension to the civil service commission clinic on that axis.

It baffles me so much that these dirty characters are whom my brother from Kwara North Yaman Abdullahi is pitching his tent with. How will he exonerate himself? A vote for Yaman is a return to that ignoble era of converting public assets to private use without recourse to order. Definitely, we Kwarans are not ready for such. We will make sure we reject outrightly their comeback bid to ruin our state which has been put on the path of prosperity by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.

The governor made a very poignant revelation during one of his outings in recent times. None of these elements in the Saraki dynasty had a building in GRA before they came to power. They have sold most of the public properties in that area to themselves and usurped lands meant for public organisations. And for them, it is an unfinished business, they must come back to continue. I am certain Kwarans will not allow them.

One of the most pathetic conversions of public assets they carried out was that of Kwara Amusement Park. They sold that heritage of the Kwara people to one Artee Group at a giveaway price of N100 million. This was a land valued at around N4 billion far back. Artee Group has even been alleged to be linked to the wife of then Governor Saraki under whom the asset was sold (Toyin Saraki). No wonder they were called ‘ogboju ole’. This is a never-seen-before thievery.

Apart from being a recreational centre that formed a significant part of the childhood experience of children growing up in Ilorin and Kwara State in general until the Sarakis mismanaged and decimated it to the point of mooting its sale, the land which used to be the Kwara Amusement Park had a long history of being the Old Yidi Prayer Ground. Imagine such great heritage sold to private hands.

We thank God for giving us Governor AbdulRazaq who has reclaimed the public asset. The ‘ogboju ole’ still went to court to claim unnecessary rights over a public asset sold to them for a pittance. Never again should Kwarans allow the Saraki elements to come near power. The Ile Arugbo and Kwara Amusement Park are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the public assets they converted to personal use. Desperate!

Mohammed is a Kwara-born public affairs analyst based in Abuja

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