Immediate-past President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and the authorities of Ilorin West local government area, on Tuesday, traded words over the propriety or otherwise of the demolition of a library building named after a late Second Republic Senate leader, Dr Olusola Saraki.
The library is located in Adeta area of Ilorin, the state capital.
While Saraki expressed shock over the development and queried the rationale behind the action, the authorities of Ilorin West local government area claimed ownership of the building, hence the demolition exercise.
“I’m quite shocked that the major official assignment carried out by the governor of my home state, Kwara, today (Tuesday), is the demolition of an old public library named after my late dad, Dr. Olusola Saraki,” Saraki said in a facebook post.
But, the chairman of the Transaction Committee of Ilorin West local government, Mukthar Omotosho, said the building hosting the library had become dilapidated and was posing danger to the lives of the residents of Adeta area.
“Our attention has been drawn to what seems like a deliberate misinformation by some idle hands on the planned renovation of one of our properties at Ilorin West local government named after the late Olusola Saraki,” Omotoso said.
Also, the local government chairman in a statement said:” The said dilapidated and vandalized property belongs to the people of Ilorin West. In other words, it is a public library constructed with public funds but named after the late politician. Community representatives led by Mallam Abdulganiyu Salihu Onifila cried out to the council to come to their aid by making use of the place for betterment of the community and local government at large.
“This property, long in disuse, had been in a state of horrible disrepair over the years and was serving as a haven for criminal elements, thereby posing threats to public safety. Since our coming on board, we have received several public appeals to do something about the dilapidated structure to give it a face-lift and put it to good public use.
“It is against this background that we have saved up to rehabilitate the facility by making it an ICT Centre/e-Library for public use, especially in this age of information communication technology. To begin this work, the old structure needed to give way, hence the demolition and packing of same that began last week.
“We wish to emphasise that this is a public facility owned by the Ilorin West Local Government. Naming it after the late politician was simply honorary.The local government recognises the need to give honour to whom it is due. The facility will retain the honorary name after the rehabilitation, just like we have other public facilities named after eminent Kwarans, late or alive. We do not see any need for anyone to play cheap politics with the action of the local government over its own property.”