Ahmed denies rift with Saraki ….. PUNCH

Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed

Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on Saturday debunked reports of a rift between him and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki over Thursday’s attack on the latter and other dignitaries in Ilorin.

Some protesters reportedly threw sachet water, stones and other objects at the dignitaries while observing their prayers.

Other dignitaries included a former acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party who now is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Kawu Baraje; Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad; a member representing Ilorin West and Asa Federal Constituency, Mr. Razak Atunwa; a former Chairman of Federal Character Commission, Prof Oba Abdulraheem, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore; the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu-Gambari; and the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Alhaji Bashir Muhammed.

Ahmed in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, described as false, malicious and unfounded, claims that Saraki blamed him for the miscreants’ attacks on dignitaries.

Ahmed said at no time did Saraki accuse him of leaving him (Saraki) vulnerable to attack by the miscreants at the Eid Prayer Ground, Ilorin.

The governor also denied a claim that Saraki got N1bn out of the N4.3bn bail out loan the state government received from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“The Senate President neither received any kobo out of the money which was fully used to pay the two-month salary arrears owed state civil servants in August, 2015 nor any other money from the state government,” Ahmed said.

The governor stated that Saraki was fully preoccupied with the onerous task of lawmaking and providing leadership at the National Assembly.

He added that Saraki had no time to either interfere with or control the state’s finances which he said were under the jurisdiction of the state government and its authorised officials.

Ahmed said Saraki attended the Ilorin Eid Ground prayers on Thursday not in defiance of any security reports or for any publicity but in fulfilment of his religious obligation.