Light Up Kwara Project Palaver: Gov., Saraki Not Benefactors, Kwara Explains
Kwara State government on Friday said neither the State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed nor the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has any material benefit or personal stake in its forthcoming solar-powered streetlights project, Light Up Kwara (LUK) as claimed by a non-Governmental organisation.
In a statement issued via its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/kwaragovt), the state government said the solar-powered street lights will be implemented by contractors who won bids through a transparent process following advertisements in local and national media. Of the 18 companies that responded, only two were successful, said the government.
The statement stressed, therefore, that neither of the successful bidders are linked to either the Senate President or the state governor in anyway.
The government re-emphasized that the Light Up Kwara Project will be financed 100 per cent by the successful bidders on a Design, Build, Finance, Operate, Maintain and Transfer Basis.
Noting that the project was made public because the state Executive Council has approved it as required by law, the government said that the successful bidders will be revealed when all the necessary agreements are signed.
On the claim that the LUK is a duplication of the Senate President’s constituency projects which include solar powered street lights, the government stressed the projects are only complementary as different parts of the vast Ilorin metropolis will be served.
The statement stressed that while the State government is investing in different sectors of the state like education, agriculture and massive rehabilitation of roads, it is also its responsibility to ensure security of lives and property.
WE ARE NOT AWARE OF ‘LUK’! – KWARA LEGISLATORS
Earlier in a report monitored few days ago on ilorin.info, it was revealed that the “Kwara State House of Assembly last week washed its hands off the N6billion street light project tagged “Light Up Kwara”.”
“The project had attracted diverse comments from some sections of the public who noted that the government should have channelled the money for the project to address salaries backlog in the state.
“The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, Dr Muideen Akorede, during a radio programme last week noted that the project will not only expand the commercial space in the state but boost night life and security.
“But when asked whether the House appropriated funds for the project during the weekly Media Interactive Session, Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon Saheed Popoola said the legislature (was) not in the picture of the project.
“According to him, the executive has not communicated the House on the issue. “We also heard the issue of Light Up Kwara in the news just the way you did. There is no bill that has been moved in the House to that regard and the executive has not written at all to us regarding it.
“”We are not aware of that project and I am being categorical about this. We are not aware that such project is coming up in the state. Nobody has notified us and we regard it as such,” Popoola added.”
“WHO IS FOOLING WHO?”: GROUP ACCUSES AHMED, SARAKI
In a Thursday, December 15 statement issued in Ilorin, Kwara State capital by its Organising Secretary, Joe Mahmud, a group called The Joint Action Against Corruption in Kwara (JAACK) alleged that the LUK project was another conduit pipe.
“The government in all its advocacies on the street lighting project has failed to mention the name of the company that will undertake a project that will gulp a whopping N6bn from the taxpayers’ money payable in 10 years.
“Our investigation revealed that the government is planning through a surrogate-company to guarantee a bank loan that is ‘interest free’. The surrogate-company will undertake the technical and financial aspects of the job while Kwara State government will guarantee the facility.
” As it was stated by government, the street lighting project with its solar panels placed in strategic areas in the metropolis like bus stops will be completed within 12 months.
“The actual cost of buying the solar component, installation and execution of the whole project is far less than N6bn as against what the government has fed the public with. What is supposed to be the interest is what is placed above the cost of doing the job which will be shared by all stakeholders privy to the deal over 10 years.
”This will eventually provide a pool for the serving governor, his god father and others to draw money over a period of 10 years. This can best be described as their pensions!”.
“The same way former Governor Bukola Saraki brought in ejected Zimbabweans into Kwara; provided them with land and guaranteed loans for their use from Nigerian commercial banks while chasing away the natives.
”The street lighting is unpopular, fraudulent and another way of plunging the state into avoidable debts. Our investment in Kwara now should be in agriculture, education, road construction and rehabilitation to meet the lacuna created by this government and her predecessor.”
“What benefit would the bond between Dr. Bukola Saraki and the state government confer on the state? About the time the state government announced her acquisition of the state of the earth asphalt plant; Saraki announced the rehabilitation of roads in Ilorin. Later, Saraki promised N1.1bn street light project in the same area the state government will spend another N6bn. Who is fooling who?”
Additional info: Ilorin.info, gongnews.net