KEHINDE AKINPELU, ILORIN
24 Members of the Kwara State House of Assembly have described as baseless and unfounded a claim by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that he funded the election of members of the Ninth Legislature in the state.
The members said the only individual who could claim offering the members massive support during the election was Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq who was the APC governorship candidate at the time.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Engr. Yakubu Danladi-Salihu while addressing a press conference to correct the lies told by Alhaji Lai at the NUJ Press Centre in Ilorin the state capital reiterated that the Minister did not in any form support the then APC House of Assembly candidates during the campaigns and election.
Engr Danladi-Salihu who spoke through the Deputy Speaker of the House, Honourable Raphael Olanrewaju Adetiba, a member representing Oke-Ero Constituency explained that Alhaji Mohammed was no where to be found at every point of the campaigns and election that produced the Ninth Legislature hence his claim to have personally funded their election is farther from the truth.
“We ordinarily should have ignored the Minister and took it as another lie from Lai Mohammed but for the unsuspecting members of the public and posterity, the record needs to be set straight,” he said, flanked by several members of the Assembly.
The speaker said the briefing is jointly held on behalf of 21 of the 24 members of the Assembly who he said are convinced that Kwara can no longer be brought under any godfather or slave driver.
“Lai Mohammed did not give any support in any form to members of the 9th legislature during the campaign and election; if he did, he should name who and what he gave out. Could the Minister be mixing things up on account of his old age?” he said.
“For God knows reason, Lai Mohammed did not participate in any of our campaigns and did not also contribute financially to it. It was the then Governorship candidate of our party, the APC, who supported our campaigns all through. For the records, all the twenty-four members of the House of Assembly received financial support from His Excellency Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for the purpose of prosecuting the House of Assembly election, so Lai Mohammed should please stop telling lie to the people”.
The Speaker maintained that the then House of Assembly candidates only benefited immensely from the support of the then Governorship candidate of the party, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq who he said gave them all the needed support to emerge victorious at the poll and wondered if Alhaji Mohammed has any pedigree to have been trusted by those he claimed donated money to him.
“Apart from the governorship candidate (His Excellency Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq), the other support was the sum of N500,000 each that we received from the national headquarters of our party, APC. Other than that, it was the Governor who funded our expenses including logistics, souvenirs, posters and other campaign materials. Even so, at no time did the Governor go about telling anyone that he funded our campaign”
“It is also laughable that Lai Mohammed could claim to have personally raised money to finance the 2019 general elections in Kwara State. The question that would readily come to mind is: What is Lai’s contribution to his own Ward, Local Government, District and Kwara in general to have earned him respect and reputation for people to trust him and donate money to him”.
The lawmakers advised the Minister not to drag them into any fuss he may be having with the Governor and leader of the part in the state, Mallam Abdulrazaq instead of concocting another lie to score cheap political score.
“This latest vituperarion of the Minister is better likened to the last kick of a dying horse after the Governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, has rightly exposed the inglorious roles he played and his mismanagement of the money generated from the ‘friends of Kwara’ for the 2019 geneal elections. He is clearly running away from being accountable while struggling so hard to portray himself as the New Napoleon! That era is gone in Kwara State.
“We therefore wish to implore Alhaji Lai Mohammed to please count us out of the problem or squabble he may have with the Governor and focus on his assignment as a Minister while we concentrate on ours as lawmakers. At the level of the state government and as lawmakers, the people of the state can point to the positive differences we have made in their lives. We have facts and figures to justify our stewardship. Kwarans are counting how many months left for Lai Mohammed as Minister and how many benefits and Federal Government’s project he has brought to his own village, Samora, Oro Kingdom, Kwara South and Kwara State in general”
The lawmakers also restated unequivocally, their stand with the Governor, citing his humility, kindness, team spirit, commitment to a greater Kwara State, and his measured and peaceful approach to issues in the face of provocation as the reasons for supporting him.