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We’re not behind ex-gov Abdulfatah’s trial, says Kwara Govt

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We’re not behind ex-gov Abdulfatah’s trial, says Kwara Govt

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Kwara State Government, on Thursday, dismissed insinuations that it is behind the ongoing corruption trial of the immediate past governor Ahmed Abdulfatah.

The ruling APC government in the state said that the burden of governance it’s currently bearing does not permit any distractions or targeting of anyone, including former public officials.

Kwara State Commissioner for Communications, Bola Olukoju, said in a statement on Thursday that the trial of the former governor is the exclusive prerogative of the anti-graft agencies who may have found something against him following their investigations of different transactions involving his administration.

The statement reads: “We find the accusation of the opposition party as cowardly, baseless, and wrong-headed. The right place to prove the innocence of anyone accused of wrongdoing is the court of law, not on the pages of newspapers or through shadow-boxing. They should leave us out of the issue.

“This administration has moved on from whatever happened in the past, except where historical references are inevitable. Our task is so enormous that we are left with no time to waste.

“Regardless, the truth is that the administration still grapples with the burden of fixing the most basic things, including those that should have been done but had resources meant for them blatantly stolen by these PDP officials. An example is the UBEC funds, which were brazenly stolen. We reported a case of particular N1 billion UBEC intervention funds that were withdrawn in cash and stolen. The evidence is damning.

“This barefaced and irresponsible conduct led to the blacklisting of Kwara by UBEC and set the state back for many years in education infrastructure and many other sectors. As if that were not enough, there had not been any meaningful investments in basic education until our administration came up in 2019.

“It is not surprising, therefore, to see a Kankan LGEA School in some parts of the state, in spite of the huge funds we have pumped into the sector. This was the essence of the government’s public communication dated July 24, 2022, and titled ‘Next Time You See an Oke Apomu LGEA School.’

“Even so, our focus has been governance. This is why we feel scandalized by the lack of context in the recent BBC report on LGEA School Kankan in Asa Local Government Area. The media owes the public not just a duty to tell a story but to give appropriate context to such stories for lessons to be learnt. Kankan LGEA School, like many others across the state, did not just get there. They have all been documented, and steps are being taken to put them in shape in phases.

“Between 2019 and now, this administration has paid for and accessed UBEC counterpart funds for years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 to fix school infrastructure in more than 600 locations in the state. This has been confirmed by UBEC itself, and they were done to the specifications in the UBEC-SUBEB work plans.

“Yet the gap is understandably huge that it will take many years of such consistent investments to bridge. To date, we have paid counterpart funds for eight years, whereas we have only spent less than five years in the saddle.

“What this means is that we shoulder the burden of fixing school infrastructure that should have been done since 2014 or earlier. But the funds were stolen under the same people now in the PDP who are accusing the EFCC of a witch hunt.

“This is the context of the Kankan story. While we do not deny that it is our responsibility to fix the deficits, we are indeed doing the same. We reject any report that lacks the context to tell the full story and guide public understanding of the issues.”