The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kwara State has asked Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to immediately drop the idea of the N35b bond, stressing that such ‘reckless move’ would weaken and plunge the State into an uncontrollable debt profile.
The party said the public outcry that has greeted the government’s planned borrowing had shown that majority of Kwarans were not in support of the government’s plan, saying this was a reflection that the proposed credit facility was not in the interest of the State.
In a statement by its State Publicity Secretary, Tunde Ashaolu, the Kwara PDP said “though we are not against borrowing to fund infrastructure, the State government has however not demonstrated any sincerity, transparency and accountability on the issue as the whole process has been shrouded in secrecy. More worrisome is that the government is driving the process through an unregistered company and unknown individuals.”
According to the party, the manner at which the loan was conceived by the Governor and how his request was hurriedly granted by the State House of Assembly without any form of scrutiny breeds suspicion and suggests there is a sinister motive behind it.
The Kwara PDP further alleged that the State government failed to carry Kwarans along on such sensitive and critical matter as it never demanded their input on the desirability of the loan. “The argument by the government that there is no law or regulation that calls for a public hearing on proposed borrowings, shows that the government is not committed to transparency and probity it has always mouthed.
“The government has also refused to avail members of the public full details of the loan including its utilization plan. As it stands, Kwarans do not know the exact projects to be funded by the loan, where they will be cited and their impacts to the State.
“Moreover, two years into his administration, the economy of Kwara has become weak and fragile and there is no way taking such huge loans will not hamper the state’s capacity to meet future obligations. Governor Abdulrazaq should not subject Kwarans and future generations of the State to undue debt burden.
“Governor Abdulrazaq has failed to account for how he has spent the over N100billion FAAC allocations and other cash inflows to the State since he assumed office. The huge cash inflows to the State under this present administration have not translated into better living conditions for Kwarans. There is therefore no public confidence in this government to ensure judicious use of the N35b bond it wants to access.
“The claim by the Governor’s spokesperson, Rafiu Ajakaye that ‘the government has cut waste and cannot in good conscience be accused of profligacy’ is ridiculous and laughable. How could such a claim come from a government that allocated over N300m for the renovation of a single school and over N80m for the renovation of Banquet Hall?”
The party also lambasted the State House of Assembly for not ensuring due diligence before hurriedly approving Governor Abdulrazaq’s humongous loan request, saying the Speaker, Yakubu Danladi has turned the House to the governor’s rubber stamp.
“We expected that the Assembly would look beyond partisan politics and consider the future of this State before approving such a loan request from the governor. Acting as a rubber stamp to the governor cannot and is not in the interest of Kwara and its people,” it added.
The party also warned the media handlers of the government against spreading falsehood to justify the proposed reckless borrowing of Governor Abdulrazaq. As against the lies being peddled by some government officials and their underlings, the Kwara PDP said the immediate past administration of Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed did not take any N20billion bond.
“Instead, Governor Ahmed deployed his foresight and innovativeness to rejig the state’s revenue collection system by establishing the KWIRS and also set up the Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund, IFK, through which his administration financed critical infrastructure and programmes like the Geri Alimi Diamond Underpass, the State Civil Service Secretariat, Light Up Kwara, KWASU School of Business and Governance, Ilorin, the ongoing KWASU campuses at Osi and Ilesha Baruba, Share-Oke Ode Road, 32km Rore-Arandun-Ipetu road, among several other projects.
On the N17billion bond accessed by the administration of Governor Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the PDP said Kwarans are aware of all the projects that were financed through the facility and their positive impacts on the State.
“The bond funded the establishment of Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, the International Aviation College, Ilorin, the Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre, the remodelling of the Ilorin Township Stadium, Upgrading of Asa Dam Waterworks and phase one of Ilorin Water reticulation Projects, Urban and Rural Electrification, Rural and Feeder Road Projects, Ilorin Metropolitan Square , the Kwara Mall Project, among others.
“With KWASU, the administration of Dr Saraki expanded access to tertiary education for Kwarans and non Kwarans as well, and opened up Malete and neighbouring communities for development. The Harmony Diagnostic Centre boosted healthcare for Kwarans. People from outside the State also come here to access services offered by the Centre, generating more revenue for the State.
“Additionally, the projects financed through the bond created thousands of local jobs for Kwarans and also significantly contributed to the development and economy of the State.“