*Kwara lowest in UBEC performance ratings
By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Kwara State Government on Sunday said the response of former Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed to the outrage greeting the diversion of N1.5bn UBEC funds has raised more questions on the sordid neglect of public schools under him.
Chief Press Secretary to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Rafiu AJAKAYE, said in a reaction to Ahmed’s statement that claims that funds weren’t diverted or mismanaged hold no water in the face of revelations from UBEC and the decrepit state of the schools.
The government said the mismanagement is apparent in Kwara ranking 37th — or the lowest — on the list of UBEC Matching Grant Disbursement Performance as at April 30, 2019.
The government said Ahmed’s claim that his government used the N1.5bn to pay workers’ salary was untenable and fishy for an administration that received N22bn Paris Club refund and additional N3.4bn bailout funds that were meant to help states pay workers when federal allocation dropped.
“We regret to say that the last administration cannot be forgiven for the criminal neglect of the schools because the consequences are there for all to see,” according to the statement by the CPS.
“As at April 30, 2019, Kwara has the worst rating under the UBEC Matching Grant Disbursement Performance! This is a written record. This is the legacy of the former Governor and the PDP administration in Kwara State.”
The statement added: “The former governor claimed he was unaware that Kwara was blacklisted. This is false. The diversion of the N1.5bn UBEC funds and the decision of the agency to bar the state from further dealings until diverted sums were paid is nothing but official blacklisting of Kwara State.
“UBEC officials made it clear that they investigated Kwara’s claim that it used the funds to pay workers and found same to be false. The investigations, they said, showed that the money was diverted. The UBEC position is further corroborated by the fact that at least 49 school projects captured under the fund were either abandoned or not started at all.
“It has been four long years (in 2015) since Kwara was blacklisted on account of the irresponsible diversion of the 2013 UBEC funds.
“Between 2015 and now, Kwara has received over N22bn in Paris Club refunds and additional N4.3bn bailouts under the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Why didn’t they use part of that money to refund the N450m diverted from UBEC funds?
“We note that the FG actually used part of some States’ share of the Paris Club refund to settle their outstanding UBEC counterpart fund. Unfortunately, the FG couldn’t do that for Kwara because it had curiously spent all its share of the money.
“If it was true that the last administration wanted to pay the N450m diverted from UBEC funds that led to the blacklisting of the state, why did it wait four years to want to offset that debt only in May 2019 after it had just lost election?
“If the future of the children meant so much to the administration, why did it take so long to want to remedy an unfortunate situation that had occurred in 2015.”