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Sarakis’ lawyers dilly dally over ‘Ile Arugbo’ negotiation as legal matters arise

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The law firm representing the family of Olusola Saraki, second republic senate leader, over the “Ile Arugbo” dispute has written the Kwara state government to postpone a negotiation meeting between the two parties.

The government had demolished “Ile Arugbo”, the political home of the Sarakis in Ilorin, following the revocation of the land which the government said was illegally allocated to Asa Investments Limited, a private firm.

The Sarakis had taken legal action against the government, but later sought to settle the matter out of court. 

Both parties were to meet on January 27, but the lawyers again wrote the government to give them more time as they were yet to reach their clients. 

“Since the receipt of your letter referred above on 24th day of January, 2020 in the open court, we are unable to reach our clients for briefings,” the letter read.

“In view of the above, we urge a postponement of the meeting till 6th of February, 2020 or thereafter but not before 6th February, 2020.” 

One of the lawyers who spoke with TheCable said the government had agreed to the postponement and efforts are ongoing to “reach” their clients before the rescheduled date. 

The lawyer also denied rumours that the Sarakis are settling out of court because they found out the land was illegally acquired. 

“It is not correct to say we are begging the government. We are doing that on the advice of the court,” he said. 

“And we are not begging them. If we sit and we are unable to make headway, we go back to court and start hearing. We are ready for the case. The court said we should reach a settlement and we are trying it, but if they give us unnecessary terms, we return to court.” 

But a source said the Sarakis are deliberately delaying the meeting because they do not have a good case to present.

The source said Saraki’s name is not in the company registration documents of Asa Investment Limited, the allottee.

The company has not filed annual returns at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for 10 years. It has also not made tax returns.

In a report, THISDAY quoted a top official of Kwara government as saying the two shareholders of Asa Investments Limited are dead.

According to the newspaper, a status report on the company issued by the CAC identified Bodurin Alaro and Alabi Agoro as the shareholders of Asa Investments Limited.

“Saraki is not the owner/shareholder of the company (Asa Investments) that the offer of land was made to,” the official who did not want to be named, was quoted to have said.

“Under Nigerian laws, a limited liability company must have two shareholders. If either one or both are dead or extinct, the company ceases to exist.”

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Kwara Matters

AbdulRazaq a breath of fresh air — Kwara PDP leaders

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Top leaders of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State on Tuesday pledged their loyalty to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq whose leadership style, humility and attachment to the poor they described as a breath of fresh air.

The PDP leaders, who also comprised at least six suspended council chairmen, women and several youth leaders, spoke late Tuesday when they visited AbdulRazaq in Government House in Ilorin, the state capital.

“We can see a difference and people can feel that they have a government. The situation has changed in the area of road construction, water, health. You have also brought unmatched humility to governance,” Obalola Suleiman, a top PDP chieftain from Ifelodun local government area, said at the meeting.

“You have started very well and our people are happy. We urge you to continue along that path. We are willing to work with you for the overall interest of our state.”

Ben Duntoye, a former commissioner and PDP chieftain from Irepodun local government area of the state, aligned with Obalola.

“You are a silent achiever. We can see things for ourselves and we want to be a part of this success story. We can see that you are doing more work than talk. This is evident in our various communities,” Duntoye said.

Yahya Yinusa, a prominent PDP chieftain from Kwara North popularly called ‘Bulldozer’, also commended AbdulRazaq’s leadership and said the next few months would record influx of thousands of opposition figures into the ruling APC on account of the Governor’s sterling effort to reposition Kwara.

“I am not surprised at the positive turn of things in Kwara. We were in CPC together and I can tell the great roles you played in assisting many of us who were contesting at the time. Your work is really speaking for you,” Yinusa said.

Garba Labaka, suspended chairman of Ifelodun local government area, commended the Governor for his “unrivalled tolerance and political maturity”, saying the Governor has neither stopped their salary nor subjected them to harassment as was the case in some other states.

“This clearly sets you apart as a great leader. We are very grateful to you for your tolerance and large-heartedness,” he said, adding that he has the mandate of all his colleagues to thank the Governor as well as appeal to him to return them to office.

Bilikisu Sanni, a retired permanent secretary and PDP chieftain, said the Governor has made history as the most gender friendly leader in the history of the state.

“We will continue to be grateful to you for this singular honour you’ve done to us as women. You have also changed the face of governance. It’s an entirely new pleasant experience for the people of Kwara a State,” she said.

AbdulRazaq, for his part, commended the opposition leaders for the visit and said he sees everyone as critical stakeholders for a greater Kwara.

“The situation we have found ourselves in Kwara is such that all hands must be on deck to move the state forward. We need everybody on board in this task. That is why I treat everyone as fellow Kwaran. From the civil service to other sectors, my concern has been how to stabilise our state for posterity,” he said.

AbdulRazaq explained his various interventions in the health and education sectors, water, road, as well as his upcoming efforts to tackle poverty and grow the economy through social investment programmes and health insurance scheme, drawing applause from members of the opposition.

The meeting was attended by top government officials and politicians including Senior Adviser and Counsellor Kale Belgore; Special Adviser (Political) Saadu Salau; Special Adviser (Special Duties) Yinka Aluko; and Senator Suleiman Ajadi.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
12 February, 2020.

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Kwara Matters

Ex-Kwara Executive Director Forfeits Mansion To Govt

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ilorin Zonal Office has secured the final forfeiture of a building belonging to Adebayo Sanni, immediate past Executive Director of Harmony Holdings Limited of Kwara State Government.

Justice Sikiru Oyinloye of a Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin granted the application filed by the counsel to the EFCC, Sesan Ola after the respondent failed to show up in Court to challenge the legality of the proceedings.

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Business News

Our agenda for cocoa in Kwara, by AbdulRazaq

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Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said his administration has raised 50,000 hybrid Cocoa seedlings, which will be distributed to farmers at affordable prices once they mature in 18 months.

“This is being done with a view to ensuring the prompt and effective rehabilitation and regeneration of the aged Cocoa plantations or farms existing in the State,” Governor AbdulRazaq disclosed at the recent Cocoa Farmers’ Roundtable Conference held at Cocoa House, Oke Onigbin, in Isin Local Government Area of the State.

Represented by the State Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development, Mrs Adenike Afolabi-Oshatimehin, AbdulRazaq said the government would establish a Cocoa nursery in the State to serve as the genuine source of planting materials for the farmers.

“In this fiscal year, we plan to resuscitate the training and retraining of cocoa farmers on good agricultural practices through the Farmers Field School (FFS) and Farmers Business School (FBS) respectively. This is being done with a view to enhancing the quality of the cocoa beans being produced in the State. In addition, we also intend to look into prospects of being able to possibly address extant challenges associated with some of the critical input requirements of cocoa farmers in the state,” he added.

Governor AbdulRazaq explained that the present administration understands that lack of basic social amenities, physical infrastructure, et al, could constitute disincentives for farming in agrarian communities in the State, saying “it is for this reason and more that we are committing significant resources to road construction, healthcare, water and basic education in the 2020 budget, which has just been passed and assented to.”

“Agriculture occupies a vantage position under this administration. We have invested a lot of money to reposition the sector, beginning with the N200m counterpart fund for RAAMP III and another N49.78m FADAMA counterpart fund, among others. We have also made appreciable budgetary provisions for agriculture this year, while also engaging the Federal Government and private investors on how to grow the sector in the State.”

He assured the farmers that the administration remains firmly committed to rebuilding and reconstructing the state for the good of all and for the benefit of children yet unborn.

“Since we came on board, our administration has given so much attention to Cocoa because of its extensive value chain — just as we are doing with sugarcane and other essential crops and agricultural produce that can be successfully cultivated in the State,” he said.

“Kwara is currently grouped as a minor Cocoa state in Nigeria, owing in part to the perennial migration of cocoa farmers to other states and the seemingly unabated trend of rural-urban migration. This is a narrative that we want to change and as soon as possible.”

AbdulRazaq also congratulated the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) for the event which he said was designed to discuss the way to reposition the Cocoa subsector in Kwara State and other parts of Nigeria, where cocoa could be grown successfully.

He assured the farmers that the administration would work with them to develop the cocoa subsector in the State.

Yusuf Ganiyu Adebisi
Press Secretary
Kwara State Ministry of Agric and Rural Development
6th February 2020.

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