Saraki Land Revocation: Why Governor Abdulrazaq Should Avoid Unnecessary Diversion

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The former Labour Party (LP) Governorship candidate in Kwara state, Comrade Issa Aremu mni, has called on the State Governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to have a rethink over the state government’s reported revocation of plan to rescind a portion of land (Ile-Arugbo) acquired by late Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki in the ’80s around G.R. A Ilorin.

Chief Press Secretary to the sate Governor Rafiu Ajakaye had in a statement last week in Ilorin that the controversial land was originally meant for Government Secretariat and parking space of the Civil Service Clinic but “was unlawfully allocated to a private firm Asa Investments Limited without any record of payment to the state government” adding that “No certificate of occupancy was ever issued in favour of the firm”, the statement added.

Speaking on Sunday on the sidelines of the 30th year Anniversary of ‘Pakata Patriots’ held at the association’s Hall, Ita-Uma area, Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, Comrade Aremu observed that the land revocation might constitute “unnecessary diversion” for Governor Abdulrazaq’s administration which he said had commendably hit the ground running in terms of executing programmes and projects that have direct positive impact on the lives of kwarans.

He cited restoration of water supply in kwara towns, renovations of colleges of education, prompt payment of salaries, modesty and humility in governance among the achievements of the administration.

According to the labour leader, the revocation of land belonging to the late Olusola Saraki was “an unnecessary and avoidable blunt on the good developmental news from the state” adding that the Governor should remain focused and avoid distractions.

“I want to be properly understood. Any government has the responsibility to demand for accountability and probity. Am indeed impressed that the government has been doing that compelling some past government officials to render accounts for their stewardship. However, you don’t compel accountability from the dead, in this case land belonging to late Olusola Saraki who is not even alive to defend himself” he said.

Comrade Aremu urged the governor to combine what he called “his acknowledged humility, simplicity and modesty with forgiveness and reconciliation in governance.”

“As the saying goes: Devil is in the details: reportedly the land was originally meant for Government Secretariat and parking space of the Civil Service Clinic, but illegally allocated to a private firm Asa Investments Limited without certificate of occupancy or any record of payment to the state government. But if you ask me Godliness is in forgiveness more so for the dead in this case the late Dr Olusola Saraki,”.

Comrade Aremu recalled that it was an unprecedented bipartisan popular mobilization which terminated 16 years of PDP rule in Kwara state during the 2019 election adding that the government should avoid the temptation of “governance by conflict of personalities and old scores” which he claimed have bedeviled a number of states.

“ We are proud to be part of the peaceful revolution through voting and votes counts during 2019 elections, which put an end to PDP dictatorship and bad governance in the state. We need the same bipartisan partnership across the state to urgently overcome incidence of poverty which is still unacceptably high in Kwara”.
“We don’t need anything that will divert us in the state, nor inadvertently exhume the moribund PDP through a belated land revocation and attendant sentiments that trail it”.

Aremu who is the NEC member of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) particularly commended Governor Abdulrazaq for prompt payment of salaries, called for partnership with community development associations in designing and execution of public projects so as to encourage public ownership and sustainability of development process.

The labour leader however called on the Governor to put machinery in motion to pay the new minimum wage and even think about paying beyond N30,000 for workers in the state, saying that many progressive governors in the country are now thinking along that line.
He also advised workers to be productive and hardworking, saying that if “there will be minimum wage, there should be minimum productivity” from the workers too.

He commended members of Pakata Patriots for their doggedness and sense of patriotism, saying that the association’s monumental achievements within 30 years of it creation are very encouraging and whorthwile.

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