The attention of this Hon. House has been drawn to a misleading and misguided commentary over the approval of Thirty Five Billion Naira (N35bn) Bond request by His Excellency, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the Executive Governor of Kwara state credited to Rt. Hon. Razak Atunwa, where he, against verifiable facts and relevant legal frameworks, described the Assembly’s approval as illegal.
Ordinarily, we would have ignored such mendacious claims as motivated by anxiety to play political opposition and score cheap political points. We however deem it expedient to set the records straight in the public interest and to protect the reputation of the Kwara State House of Assembly especially that the desecrater is a former Speaker of the same institution.
We wish to state categorically that the process leading to approval of the N35bn Bond request followed all due process and complied with all regulatory requirements.
His Excellency, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq communicated the request for approval for the Bond to Kwara State House of Assembly via a letter dated January 7th, 2021, with State Executive Council approval dated December 29th, 2020, duly signed by the Secretary to the State Government attached in compliance with extant Laws.
Between January 7th, 2021 when the Honorable House received the Governor’s request and January 26th, 2021 when the request was read on the Floor, the House embarked on series of consultative activities which informed its conviction that the Bond would ultimately serve public interest.
Consequently, the request was debated extensively on the Floor of the House on 26th of January, 2021.
After rigorous scrutiny, the House was of the conviction that the Bond, if secured will serve public interest and address the overwhelming infrastructural deficit in the State. The House was confident that from all available documents presented before it, the process conformed with all relevant lawful provisions. These therefore informed the Resolution of the House, as required by Law.
It is on record that the 8th Assembly only called for Public Hearing on the request for approval on N20billion Bond by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, scheduled for Friday 18th December, 2015. However, the public hearing was later canceled. Perhaps, Hon. Atunwa’s memory did not serve him correctly.
As against claims by Hon. Atunwa, Council Conclusion of the State Executive Council dated December 29th, 2020 (before the erstwhile cabinet was dissolved) was attached to the Governor’s letter to the House, thereby nullifying the assumption that the Governor acted unilaterally.
We also wish to remind Hon. Atunwa that in 2008 while he was a member of the State Executive Council, through a letter dated September 8th, 2008, the then State Executive Council requested approval of Kwara State House of Assembly to raise #45billion Bond and same was approved by the 6th Assembly through a motion on September 11th, 2008, without debate on the Floor of the House nor any Public Hearing whatsoever.
It is worthy of note, that at no time in the history of legislature in Kwara state was a Public Hearing held over such kind of request, not even for the grossly misappropriated N17billion Bond secured by Governor Bukola Saraki.
Also, on January 3rd, 2012, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed requested the Rt. Hon. Atunwa-led 7th Assembly’s Resolution in support of a #10billion credit facility from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, without reference to any specific project. The request was speedily approved through an undisputed motion by the House. We are therefore marveled at the moral justification a Speaker, under whose watch, a loan of #10billion was approved without debate has to fault a thoroughly debated Resolution of 9th Kwara Assembly.
While we are open to constructive criticisms from the opposition and Kwarans of good conscience, we urge Rt. Hon. Atunwa and stakeholders alike, to ensure their future comments and submissions on State matters are guided by the truth and unabashed patriotism.
Hon. Awolola Olumide Ayokunle
Chairman, House Committee on Information, Youth, Sports, Culture and Tourism.