Chief Gbenga Awoyale is the President-General of the Orisun Igbomina and member of the governing board of Federal Psychiatric Hospital, Kaduna. In this interview, he bares his mind on the political situation in Kwara State.
Sir, what informed your decision to take-up the All Progressive Congress, (APC)-led government in Kwara State on policies?
Thank you very much for that wonderful question. My reasons are not in anyway personal, rather I am concerned about the well-being of my fellow Kwarans at large and teeming youths as well as generations yet unborn in particular.
Kwara state is so backward among her contemporaries due to the kind of leaders we have at the helms of affairs. They are so desperate and fearless of God. They do not have the interest of the people at heart. All they embark on are policies that will continue to enslave the people. The highest job the Kwara State government can offer graduates is Clean and Green, KWABES among other menial jobs.
They have failed to revive the moribund industries while little ones they initiated with state resources have been transferred to private ownership to the advantage of Senator Bukola Saraki.
I challenge them that who is running Kwara Hotels? Who owns Shoprite? Amusement park, Park n Shop and Shonga Farms to mention a few.
In fact, that accounts for the reason why Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed was adjudged by an online media as the most powerless governor in Nigeria. He doesn’t have any idea of his own, although, he is sound and has the ability to deliver but only for the factor of his political “godfather”.
The under-development of Kwarans was borne out of the fact that certain resources allocated to the State are being mismanaged by the government.
Although, recently, I asked them through a press statement to account for some funds made available by the federal government for the betterment of the people of the state. Unfortunately, up till now, they couldn’t provide reasonable answers to the questions.
This is because, since former Governor Bukola Saraki came to power in 2003, there have been renovation of some classrooms and as I’m speaking with you after eight years of his own tenure, they couldn’t finish it and his successor has also continued in the last three years, he is still on it.
What are they doing with MDGs fund? So tell me, who is fooling who? Is it really good in Kwara? The answer is no! Similarly, if you go to Minna, Ado-Ekiti and Lokoja among other areas, you will see Keke NAPEP and luxurious buses with Sure-P boldly written on them. I know that Sure-P is a federal government’s project but I’m also aware that there is state intervention fund. Where is that of Kwara State, what have they used it for?
If there is any miracle they have performed with our money, then, let us know at least, we are Kwarans and we have the right to ask question on what is not clear.
The state government is also trying to make case out of the Oro-Arandun road project which was done with culvert, drainage and bridge by the Sha’aba Lafiagi-led government in 1991 before the change of government by the military. He did about 8kilometres to Agbele, when Bukola Saraki came to power, he condemned the project and promised to scrap the road and re-awarded the contract at huge sum, but up till now, nothing has be done on the road rather, they did the road from Agbele to Arandun and patched the remaining.
The project was done by three different administrations of Sha’aba Lafiagi, Mohammed Lawal and Bukola Saraki-led governments. They also promised to construct Aran-Rore-Ipetu-Aran-Orin road, they did surface dressing and laid asphalt on about 400metres of the 16kilometre road deceiving the people of the area. The project has been abandoned and nobody is saying anything.
Recently, when APC was about to do its membership registration, they mobilised the contractor to the site for that period to cajole the people and as I’m speaking with you, the contractor has left the site again since the APC registration finished.
There is a community in which I single handedly sponsored the construction of their culverts after over 10 years of appeal to the state government. So why are they there in government then?
Also, ask them that what was the impression they gave to Kwarans about the Shonga commercial farming in which they used tax payers’ money to fund? Now the story has changed, the farm is no longer for the state government rather it is now for some cabals in the name of partnership with bank.
We are also informed that the story and ownership of the International Aviation College will also change very soon.
However, they have indeed incapacitated all local government councils as the chairmen cannot do anything meaningful for their people because all their money have been dubiously claimed in the name of joint allocation.
They also went as far as alleging the federal government of short-changing them. The truth of the matter is that let the Kwara State government publish how much is coming from the federation account and how much is being released to local government councils. This has led to the non-payment of local government workers in the state.
Is Kwara State the only APC state? What are they using the money for, where are they taking it to? What accounts for this is the lavish lifestyle Saraki is living with the resources of Kwarans. Is he the only former governor or serving Senator that he cannot board commercial airline unless he charters at the expenses of the vast majority of Kwarans.
It is the Kwara State government that is paying his flight bills and that of his families. What a mess and dehumanising attitude? He never contributed anything to the society rather, he came to milk therein. He was lucky to have rode on the back of his late father and goodwill of some of his friends to get the governorship slot in 2003.
I want Nigerians to ask him, where are his old friends, associates and people who showed him all the nooks and crannies of Ilorin and Kwara state at large and introduced him to the system when he was a stranger?
How did he reward Atiku Abubakar who facilitated his victory in 2003 and his late father who fought vigorously to bring him to limelight in Kwara and Nigerian politics?
He doesn’t reward excellent performance but he can go to any length to ensure that he uses you and dump you to extent of not being relevant even to your immediate family.
What is your relationship with former Governor Bukola Saraki and how would you describe him?
We were friends. He started well as a governor between 2003 and 2007. When he was seeking re-election in 2007, he came to me and gave me his words. Then, some aspirants also emerged from Kwara South where I come from. People like Colonel Theophilus Bamigboye, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo and Senator Suleiman Ajadi, I had to tell them to relax their ambition and support Bukola in his second term bid.
I also told them that it was his constitutional right to seek re-election. There and then, I was tagged as enemy of my people by supporting a Kwara Central candidate. That was the fact. Immediately Bukola was re-elected, he started behaving in such a strange manner and has no respect for anyone again.
It is the same person that is now against the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan. I asked him for complete two months for the reasons why he is against Mr. President, I told him to show me the document purportedly signed by President Jonathan that he will not re-contest in 2015 but he couldn’t provide it.
Also, I went to Kwara state recently, I saw people placing posters of Maigida 2015 though, it was immediately removed the next day. I later find out to know that it was Saraki that ordered the removal. Therefore, I don’t have any personal grouse against him except for his arrogance and rudeness to elders and Kwarans in general.
It was during the tenure of Bukola Saraki that indigenous contractors were relegated to the lowest status. He fixed non-indigenes such as Yomi Ogunshola, Femi Daramola among others in positions at the expense of indigenes who will re-circulate wealth among their people and reduce poverty in the state.
It was the same idea he sold to Governor Ahmed which has further worsened the situation in the state. All they believe in is taking bond to for projects what then is the federal allocation used for? In fact, I’m so bittered and worried that my community is neglected and leaving my people to wallow in abject poverty despite their efforts during successive electioneering periods.
There were allegations by the interim Publicity Secretary of Kwara APC, Mr. Sulymon Buhari, who described you as an illiterate and ignorant of governance. What is our take on this?
Well, Buhari is a kid in politics. He only came into politics to make ends meet. This was somebody that hates Saraki when he was in the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) but now he has really shown that he has no integrity, he lives on stipends for survival. What is the correlation between illiteracy and bad governance? Do you need to be a professor before you can know and differentiate what is good from that which is bad? Such is their antics.
Well, Buhari thought Senator Saraki has the power to manoeuvre the decision of the court in favour of his deposed father, former Balogun Gambari of Ilorin.
I think it is better for him to be careful and don’t allow him to be used by Saraki and his allies in their evil acts against Kwarans. My agitation was never because I want any favour from them. Apart from being a successful businessman, to the glory of God, I am also a member of Governing Board of Federal Psychiatric Hospital, Kaduna. So tell me, what appointment do I want from them, Special Adviser on what and to who?
So if there is any statistics to illustrate their programmes, I will advise Buhari to endeavour to furnish us with such vital information rather than abusing us.
He is so daft to the point of alleging Mr. President of trying to remove Senator Saraki from office. To me, his action amounts to contempt because no fact has been gathered to that effect and such utterances can disintegrate the society most especially at this critical period when insecurity is the order of the day.
So I will rather advice Buhari to desist from pursuing selfish interest by joining Saraki in his deceitful dealings of enslaving Kwarans in the name of helping them.
As a chieftain of PDP, how would you describe the party in Kwara vis-à-vis the forthcoming general election?
Laughter… There is no doubt that PDP is very much alive in Kwara and it is waxing stronger day by day because the people of Kwara State are tired of Bukola Saraki.
The hatred has now been transferred to governor Ahmed so the only alternative is to support the PDP in its bid to vote out APC in the forthcoming elections. If you see the number of Saraki’s loyalists that have dumped him because of his arrogance, greed and selfish interests, you will agree with me that he is finished politically.
Right now the duo of Elder Ogundeji and Babaunde Mohammed are with us in PDP because he is working towards soiling the good name left behind by his late father who until his death was full of humour and respect for all and sundry.
People who want to make somethings from his laxity kept on telling him “Oga kosi wahala” meaning ‘sir, there is no problem’ and deceiving him that all is well.
By 2015, we shall know who owns Kwara. Also, by the time you critically observe the personalities that are in PDP, you will know that they are the winning teams in the Kwara electioneering projects.
We have held different rallies at different times and venues, the result still remains successful to us. We have tried to carry all stakeholders along in order to build a formidable and united party that will enhance and facilitate “Freedom for Kwarans” very soon.
There was a rumour that our party is divided over ministerial nominees. Where do they gather such fictitious information? We know them very well, they decided to sponsor such falsehood so as to cause differences among our people but fortunately, we are people of common interests and aspirations.
No amount of propaganda can disintegrate us. We are focused, dedicated and remain steadfast towards the realisation of our goals.
What is your advice to Kwarans and Nigerians at large on the need for smooth transition in 2015?
My advice is for Kwarans is to be vigilant, calm and remain supportive to our desires of freeing Kwarans from economic slavery by rejecting Bukola Saraki and his APC allies because it is evident that he doesn’t have our interest at heart. They should always remember what PDP stands for.
It is not a one-man party neither is it a party for selfish individuals, although, some of the defectors have started realising the truth and are looking ways of correcting their mistakes.
Also, Nigerians should continue to support President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda in order to get the dividends of democracy to the door steps of the entire populace. President Jonathan has done a lot and will continue to ensure welfarism of the Nigerian citizenry.
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