Ex Speaker Tackles Kwara Gov Over Proposed N35 Billion Loan
By Centus Nweze
Former speaker, state House of Assembly, Kwara State, and governorship candidate in the last general election, Razak Atunwa, has condemned in strong terms, plan by Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazak, the state governor, to borrow N35 billion for state development.
The former speaker and also former House of Reps member condemned the state lawmakers for the ease of passage of the request to borrow such humongous money.
Explaining his point in news release he personally signed, Atunwa insisted that such plan is illegal.
“It is exceedingly alarming that the Governor of Kwara State in concert with his collaborators in the Kwara State House of Assembly have embarked on a glaringly illegal scheme to borrow N35bn without due authority or due process,” Atunwa said.
The former governorship candidate defeated by the state’s incumbent governor alleged that the first time the public became aware of the proposed borrowing of the money was when the State House of Assembly passed a resolution approving the Governor’s request.
“This is most worrying indeed,” Atunwa said.
“Let me state it clearly, the request by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is illegal. The approval by the Kwara State House of Assembly is illegal. It therefore amounts to illegality upon illegality.
“I approach this issue from experience both as a former member of the Kwara State Executive Council and Speaker Kwara State House of Assembly (KWHA),” he added.
According to him, Debt Management Office (DMO) which is ultimately charged with superintending such borrowing has always made clear the process and requirements.
“By combined reference to the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Section 44 Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, and Sections 223 and 224 of the Investment and Securities Act 2007, it is a requirement that the request must first have the ”Approval of the State Executive Council (State Exco) duly signed by the Secretary to the State Government”, he added.
Thereafter, he went on, the House of Assembly is required to pass a resolution approving the request.
“To be very clear, the Resolution will grant powers of executing the projects to the State Exco. DMO states that the State Executive Council (EXCO) be and is hereby authorised to do all such other things as may be required to ensure the successful execution and completion of the Proposal.
“I vividly recall as a member of the State Executive Council in the Bukola Saraki Administration when we proposed to issue N17bn bond, the issue was discussed over a series of cabinet meetings. Details of all the projects were fully scrutinised as all the relevant commissioners and ministries were asked to justify the reasons for the projects and their estimates,” the former speaker said.