The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the time has come to retire the political oligarchs who have appropriated Kwara State and its resources to themselves to the detriment of the people.
Mohammed’s comments followed President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who was the butt of insults at the APC presidential rally in Ilorin on Monday said the insultive statements made against him in Ilorin by former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, were expression of their frustration over the imminent loss of their party in next Saturday election.
Saraki in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that the APC leaders know that their party will surely lose the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 16, 2019 and that is why in their desperate mood they are only hurling abuses instead of discussing issues and telling the people what they will do for them.
“They came to Kwara State to hurl insults at me and my people, instead of explaining to the people what they want to do differently and what contributions their flagbearers and other leaders in the State have made to our various communities to justify the people shifting their loyalty to their dying party. They promised nothing concrete that will improve the standard of living of the people and provide infrastructure
However, the Minister’s in his remarks, while addressing the mammoth crowd that attended the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential rally in Ilorin, said “It is time to retire those who have held Kwara State down and made our people and our state very poor. They have been deceiving the people. They have been blaming the federal government for their failure.
”When they can’t pay workers salary, they blame the Federal Government. When they can’t provide infrastructure, they blame the Federal Government. They forgot to tell the people that Mr. President has graciously approved bailouts and Paris Club Refund for states, including Kwara. Ask them, where is the money? What did they do with it?” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed warned that voting the present crop of leaders in Kwara State into power again is like giving them another licence to embark of a looting spree, and urged the people to be wary of their Greek gift under the guise of offsetting workers’ salaries
“With elections approaching, their leader, I said their leader, NOT the state government, suddenly brought out 2.5 billion Naira from his kitty to pay workers. Where do individuals pay state workers? Where did the money come from? It is your money that they have been keeping. They have brought out some of it because they are desperate,” he said.
The Minister said the Buhari Administration has executed various infrastructural and social development projects in Kwara, listing them as including the rehabilitation of Ohan and Moro Bridges on Ilorin-Igbeti road; Construction of Patigi-Kpada road and the rehabilitation of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa road, which used to be a nightmare for motorists.
He also listed the roads being rehabilitated or constructed to include the Ilorin-Kabba Obajana road; the Ajase-Ipo-Offa-Erin Ile-Osun state boundary; Kaiama-KIshi Road; Offa Bypass in Offa as well as the dualization of Michael Imoudu Ganmo/Afon junction road Ilorin
In addition, Alhaji Mohammed said about 50,000 Kwarans are benefitting from Tradermoni and Marketmoni, 9,886 homes in Kwara State are benefitting from the Conditional Cash Transfer that gives 5,000 Naira monthly to the most vulnerable while the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has seen the number of rice farmers in Kwara grow from 5,000 to 30,000.
He therefore urged the people of the state to vote for President Buhari, APC governorship candidate Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and all other APC candidates in the forthcoming elections.
In his statement, Saraki: “They have only come to Kwara to vindicate my position that they have no good plans for Kwara State and its people. It is obvious that the APC have nothing to offer Kwarans. They represent nothing good for our people. My problem with them has always been that after we worked with our people to support them to win in 2015, they refused to work on infrastructure and other policy issues that can bring direct benefit to our people.
“As for Tinubu, we have never expected any good words from him. All his life, he will continue to belly ache and nurse grudges over my opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket idea in 2015. As far as he is concerned, I stopped him from realizing his ambition then. However, I believe my action then and now is in pursuit of national interest. Again, I supported President Buhari in 2015 because I believe he could make a positive change. I left the party when I realized he lacked the capacity and the desire to make any change. Tinubu on his own part said though he agreed with me about my assessment of the man, he would continue to support Buhari even if the man had to govern from the hospital stretcher because that is the way he (Tinubu) could become the President in 2023. So, while my position is premised on national interest, Tinubu’s is based on his personal interest and ambition. Now that Tinubu’s new speciality is to hurl insults at people like former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, focusing on me today is okay if it will help him feel good.
“It is surprising that a man like Tinubu will be talking about morality and corruption. This is a man whose disrepute is known both within and outside Nigeria. This is somebody who personifies everything that is wrong with the Nigerian system. Well, I am not ready to roll in the gutter with him. Unlike them, I will stay on the issues that are germane to national development and the welfare of our people.
“However, let me make it clear that what Tinubu and his putative party chairman, Oshiomhole did today is to insult the people of Kwara State who are independent minded, forward looking, assertive and God-fearing. On Saturday, the APC will be punished for their bad behaviour. Kwarans will tell them that they cannot take dictates from power mongers, pretenders and hypocrites. The people of Kwara State will never take dictates from selfish individuals. Their evil design will be thwarted on Saturday and March 2”, Saraki stated.