By Salihu Ridwan Onimasa
As much as there will be decorum no matter the heat of controversy, the truthfulness revealed should effect change, and this could be determined by the level of some outlined factual realities that shall antagonize the undesirable consequences.
This present Otoge Government in Kwara State is what we laboured for, clamoured for liberation to move from stagnation to progression, and liability to asset. Stressing on the fact that I was part of the struggle that birthed this government, defending its legacy and commending its uprightness while addressing with aggressiveness that Kwara truly needed a ‘momentous shield’ against the laggings we used to experience.
Counting on the level of seriousness of this government, one would admit that its strength can take us to the promised land, and while accused of corruption on suspected misappropriation, it would assure us that “there’s nothing to hide!” Even though there are questions yet unanswered. Indeed, we haven’t yet reached where we suppose to be but, we have moved from where we used to be.
To mention main on the controversial school renovation, we should recall that the government of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State awarded a contract for the renovation of some schools in the state, specifically the popular Government High School, Ilorin, at a whooping cost of N360,000,000.00 which led to discussion of opposing opinions.
Being an onlooker might have refused someone like me to opine so as to refute the act of being judgemental.
The greatest amount of financial corruption is said to reside in the national procurement systems, and an example of such is the inflated cost of 360million, setting mouths opening at the level of fraud incorporated in the contract inflation of a school renovation at the kind of amount that can or almost build the entire school from scratch. There shouldn’t be any coloration to justify such intolerant act of misappropriation.
In my evaluation to determine the justification of this assertion, I put a comparison estimation on the commissioned Borno Mega schools contract approved at the sum of over N800million for the construction of the Mega schools in Njimtilo and Gwange areas of the metropolis with each containing storey buildings consisting of 60 classrooms, offices, ICT centres and furniture among other fundamental facilities.
The project which commanded national commendation is visible for everyone. It is massive and great! And looking at such makes me wonder what could have been of our infrastructural development if the governments make judicious use of the public in their custody.
An insight into the comparison between the renovation in Kwara and construction in Borno buttresses the reality on the implications of an injustice called corruption, Kwara had indeed paid more in getting less value, a deliberate attempt by those entrusted with the public pulse to enrich themselves under the guise of a favour that serves the masses while in actuality committing an offence that’s consequential on our social, physical development.
Attention has been drawn to one while there are many which underplay the significance of a supposed impactful governance.
It is not too surprising therefore, as Nigeria said to have lost several hundred billions Naira over the last decade due to flagrant abuse of procedures for the award of public contracts, inflation of contracts, lack of transparency and lack of competence-based evaluation which are the fundamental criteria for awarding of public contracts.
While looking for solution, we must be wise enough not to buy problems, among the major factors that necessitated the 2019 Kwara liberation is corruption, and the solution found must not buy us a problem. Our schools truly need to be renovated but solving such should not inflict on us, another problem of money laundering through contracts inflation.
The Abdulazaq’s administration has obviously been showing some levels of commitment and responsibility, such passion should be commended and implored for intensification, persistence and to as well shun the rampant procurement manipulation to eradicate the large scale corruption and waste that has reduced and capable of continuous reduction in the efficiency of the State’s public sector.