Kaduna State: Battle Of Two Gladiators

 By Suleiman Umaru

When Mallam  Nasiru El-Rufai, a former minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration, and immediate past governor of Kaduna state, endorsed Senator Uba Sani,  in 20222, to succeed him on May 29, 2023, he may have  at the back of his mind that he  will act out a script that will be given to him.

 This is to ensure that he continues his strong political holds on the state and continue to determine who rules the state, as the likes of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is doing in Lagos state, in the future. He got it wrong. Senator Ubanna, Uba, may have sent a message to him that his plan to rule the state for the third time using him as a front may not work out.

The former Senator of Federal Republic of Nigerian, may have drawn the battle line with his predecessor who had handed over to him on ay 29, 2023, amidst jubilation that another All Progressive Congress, APC, governorship Candidate is coming to take over from him. The jubilation may have been short-lived, when Gov.Sani declared that he was ‘’struggling to pay salaries’’, meaning that he inherited an empty treasury.

 He may have shocked people of the state when revealed that he could not pay salaries as expected because the former governor of the state had borrowed so much money from both Local and Foreign Multilateral Financial Institutions which has thrown the state into serious financial burden of settling debts.

He had revealed that Gov. El-Rufai’s Administration had left behind   the North American country of the  United States, US, $581 million debt owed to foreign creditors and another N81 billion owed to local banks, including 115 contractual liabilities which the new Administration has been battling in the last one year to settle.

The former Kaduna state governor may have emboldened Gov. Uba’s government and the state House of Assembly, to sustain the probe of El-Rufai’s eight years Administration when he announced plans to launch the $100 million Venture Capital, Africa Capital Limited. The former governor had said that he is willing to take $2million of his money for the off take of the fund.

As A prelude to getting to the root of the various local and foreign loans collected by the El-Rufai’s Administration from both the said to have been  Local and Multilateral Financial institutions and the projects it was spent on  may have informed why the state House of Assembly at he instance of the governor had  constituted an adhoc  committee ‘’to investigate  the loans, financial transactions , contractual  liabilities  and  other related matters of the Kaduna state government  between May 29, 2015  to May 29, 2023.

Given the importance attached to the probe, the House was said to have ordered, Shizer Nasara Bada,      the state Commissioner of Finance ‘’to submit all the relevant documents concerning the Financial and contractual dealings of the Ei-Rufai’s   eight years Administration.

Based on the financial and contractual dealings documents submitted to the House by the Finance Commissioner, the Committee members were said to have started their investigations which the former governor and his associates did not find funny.

 In submitting its report to the House, the adhoc Committee which had probed the  El-Rufai’s Administration  was said to have indicted him  and some key members  of the government  for alleged Corruption  in the awards of  contracts and management  of both  the domestic  and foreign loans  secured to run the affairs of the government and execute projects.

. The Committee was emphatic that ‘’there was  evidence  of several cases  corruption  in the running of the affairs  of the government,  ministries, Departments and Agencies   in Kaduna state  from May 29, 202 ,to May 29, 2023. They were said to have indicted former Gov. El-Rufai, and his associate of misappropriating the state funds to the tune of N423 billion over a period of eight years.    

More revealing was the committee’s claims that the state Internal Revenue Service withdrew   internally Generated Revenue, IGR, Account to the tune of, N20 billion, domiciled  at Zenith Bank  as security in 2023.   Angered by the illegal withdrawal of the said amount, may have informed why the Committee   had asked the bank to refund all the monies deducted on account of the purported illegal guarantee together with the accrued interest.

El-Rufai: former governor of Kaduna state and his Associates indicted of N423 billion fraud

The Kaduna state House of Assembly Committee may have probed the former minister of FCT, under the Obasanjo’s Administration and his associates over alleged corruption but they will not take it. The Kaduna state former Executive Council, KSEC, members, who had served under the El-Rufai’s Administration and are  still loyal to him, even while out of office, had dismissed the House Committee report insisting that ‘’they served the state with integrity’’.  

El-Rufai and his associates , who are determined to fight the Sani’s government to a standstill have  dismissed the House Committee’s report and the process associated with it  in their entirety and further stating that the report  is an outcome  of a process motivated by malice  and conducted  with patent unfairness’’.

According to the El-Rufai ‘s  government ex-cabinet members,  who are pissed off by the Kaduna state House adhoc Committee’s report  had described it as a document  ‘’riddled with falsehood, predetermined inclusions  and misrepresentation’’.

The former cabiet members during the El-Rufai’s eight years in office, had said that the House probe report was ‘’bereft of rigour and accuracy and fails to demonstrate  any  understanding of the various matters  it was said to have purported ‘’to investigate’’.

The aggrieved Commissioners, Jafaru Ibrahim Sani, Environment,  Hafsat Mohammed Baba,  Human Resources and Social Development,  Umar Yusuf Aboki,  Planning and Budget Commission and  Bashir Saidu, a former Chief of  Staff, to the governor may have spoken the minds of the other Commissioners who had served in the immediate pat Administration.

The former  Commissioners who may be acting out a script  had said that  ‘’the House  report  and their sponsors  seem ‘’to have miscalculated’’, noting that the members of the House Committee who had prepared the report ought not to  have wasted much time in preparing a document whose purpose  is ‘’to slash much  and smear reputations’’.

The former Commissioners who had served under the El-Rufai’s Administration had made it clear to those that cares to listen that they are ready ‘’to fight back’’. Hear the ex- Commissioners:  We shall exercise our right to defend our -earned reputations, but without jaundice.  The aggrieved former Commissioners and loyalties of El-Rufai, had repeatedly said that ‘they rebut and refute the avalanche of dirty lies dressed up as clean official report ‘’by Gov. Sani’s government’’.

They had declared that during the eight years of El- Rufai and his team’s service, ‘’the Administration impacted on the people of Kaduna state  with innovations  that had accelerated the modernization of the stae , prioritized human capital  development,  expanded its infrastructural facilities ,like road, educational and healthcare facilities,  improved  the state business standing  and promoted  equality of opportunity’’.

 They had alluded to the fact that ‘’despite the state’s security challenges, El-Rufai and his team remained undaunted  in delivering on his electioneering campaign promises  as the state was said to have been declared as one of the best performing  in Nigeria by public commentators.

 Indeed,many had expected the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to take over from where the Kaduna state  House Committee that had probed former Gov. El-Rufai and his associates had stopped to continue the ongoing  investigations but the agencies  had said that the Kaduna state government is yet  to  report the alleged  N423 billion  money Laundering  alleged Committed  during  the then  Administration of El-Rufai.

The people of Kaduna state  are watching to see how the battle between former Gov. El-Rufai and Sani, his susccessor , will end.          

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