Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Former Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, has replied his successor’s, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak, allegation that his administration sold 110 government properties including the house the deputy governor.
Speaking through his media aide, Dr Muyideen Akorede, the ex-governor absolved his administration of any wrongdoing regarding the sale of government properties.
Ahmed said his administration followed due process in selling some government quarters to civil servants, and members of the 7th Kwara State House of Assembly on owner-occupier basis following state Executive Council approval.
The said approval, the ex-governor said, also covered other properties disposed of by his administration with the proceeds paid into government coffers.
He further clarified that the Federal Government’s monetisation policy which sought to shed the financial burden of maintaining government-owned properties motivated his administration’s disposal of the affected assets.
According to him, contrary to Abdulrazak’s claim of misappropriation, the former administration cancelled a bank loan obtained to counterpart fund the 2013 Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) grant when the repayment pressured dwindling federal allocation and, therefore, threatened pressing government obligations.
Regarding salary payment, Ahmed maintained that his administration was up to date in the payment of state civil servants, including senior secondary teachers under its remit, before leaving office. Unfortunately, he said, local government councils owed their workers and primary school teachers subsisting salary arrears on account of unstable federal allocation to that tier of government.
Ahmed pointed out that the Abdulrazak administration’s adoption of the previous administration’s position that salaries and pensions gulped the bulk of federal allocations to the state and local government councils had vindicated his administration.
Ahmed expressed relief that despite the vicious blackmail his administration was subjected to on account of the said arrears, the current government’s position had exonerated his.