•Gov pretending as if all is well -AYCF Shettima

•El-rufai has many negative stories to defend-Haya


From Noah Ebije and Sola Ojo, Kaduna

Following the disclosure  by the Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani, that he inherited a debt burden of N85 billion, and $587 million and 115 contractual liabilities from his predecessor, Nasir El-rufai, which i he said was  now affecting payment of  workers’ salaries,  the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), as well as Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern States and FCT chapter, have  charged the governor to go after all the culprits and bring them to justice .

They said the state cannot suffer on account of loans that were not well utilised by the previous administration.

The  spokesperson of theNEF  Abdul-Azeez Suleiman and the Secretary General of Northern CAN, Elder Sunday Oibe, spoke to Daily Sun separately yesterday on the issue.

Equally ,  President, of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Yerima Shettima, Publicity Secretary of Kaduna State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Abraham Alberah Catoh, as well as the Country Director of the Global Peace Foundation, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, charged  Governor Sani to ensure that the law takes its full course on those involved in the debts.

According to the NEF spokesperson, “The disclosure regarding the staggering debt inherited by Uba Sani from his predecessor, Nasir El-Rufai, has raised serious concerns about the state’s financial stability. With a debt burden of N85 billion and $587 million weighing down on the government, the ability to meet financial obligations, especially the payment of salaries to civil servants, is severely compromised. The implications of this massive debt load on Kaduna’s finances are dire, with long-term repercussions for the people of the state.

“It is important to estimate how long it will take for Kaduna State to repay this staggering amount of debt. Without detailed information on the state’s current revenue streams, debt servicing costs, and debt repayment schedule, it is difficult to provide an accurate estimate. However, based on a rough calculation, if the state were to allocate a significant portion of its annual budget to debt repayment, it could potentially take several years, if not decades, to fully pay off the debt.

“The sheer volume of debt inherited by Governor Sani raises serious concerns about the level of financial mismanagement and irresponsible borrowing practices under the previous administration. Such a massive debt burden not only hinders the state government’s ability to provide essential services and invest in critical infrastructure projects, but also creates a significant financial burden for future generations of Kaduna residents.

“Uba Sani’s involvement in facilitating the borrowing schemes during his time in the Senate cannot be overlooked. While Governor Sani’s efforts to address the debt crisis are commendable, it is essential for him to recognise his own role in enabling El-Rufai’s borrowing practices. Only through transparency, accountability, and responsible financial management can Kaduna State hope to recover from this financial challenge and ensure a more stable future for its residents. All those who played a role in enabling these decisions must be held accountable.”

For Northern CAN Secretary General, “Kaduna state doesn’t have two people as governor of the state but one. Governor Sani was voted for by the good people of kaduna and he took an oath to do justice to all manner of people and to protect the inheritance of the people of the state. Therefore, it’s his constitutional rights to go after anyone, no matter how highly placed that seems to take what belongs to the people of kaduna illegally to go after such without fear or favour.

“Secondly, why should there be noise about Governor Sani trying to do the right thing? If he fails to go after anyone that took advantage of the people of the state, he then has a question to answer based on the oath he had taken. I don’t see anything that should be heating the polity as claimed for a governor that is trying to right the wrong done to the state. Anyone that wishes Kaduna state well should stand with Governor Sani to go after anyone that has taken advantage of the state.

“There should be judicial commission of inquiry because it’s public funds we are talking about here. Alternatively, anti corruption agencies should be involved so as to recover public funds otherwise taken fraudulently by anyone.”

President, AYCF, said: “The brewing face-off between Uba Sani and Nasir El-Rufai is long overdue because there is a limit to how somebody can pretend. All along, Sani has been pretending, and trying to play along.

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“But, there comes a time the reality must be brought to the fore, especially when it has to do with accountability. The issue of governance is a public matter and some people watch how you govern based on the resources at your disposal.

“It has reached a point where Sani cannot pay salaries despite the brouhaha by El-Rufai. When you cannot do what is expected of you as a governor, you look at what the problem is and that is exactly what Sani has done.

“The best that El-Rufai can do is to come and account for his leadership. It is long overdue to explain how he managed all the monies due to the state between 2015 and 2023. Even if the governor is not willing to ask El-Rufai for accountability because they are friends, the civil society is willing to take up the issue at the appropriate time.

“Nobody is witch hunting or wanting him down, no, he should just come and tell us what he has done with the monies because courtesy demands that he explains. So, no big deal about that”

According to the Country Director of Global Peace Foundation,  “El-Rufai has so many negative stories other than the issue of debt profile, hence, the need for unity of the people of the state to firm up for critical questioning on how their monies are being spent by those in charge of them.

“There is a challenge in the state and the challenge is that our debt profile has gone up astronomically. Unfortunately, we were all here when all those monies were being borrowed. Many of us are just saying no problem. We have not even gone far and the reality is dawned on us that we cannot pay salaries adequately because before our allocation comes, a huge part of it has ben taken for debt servicing.

“There is a part of the development that got me worried and that was the allegation of about N20 billion last-minute loan from a commercial bank a few weeks before the expiration of the El-Fai’s administration. This simply showed that in the last administration, Kaduna was just spending recklessly – a jamboree of what do you get and what do you take.

“No wonder any voice against the then leadership was seen as an enemy. The reality is dawned on us and we need to face it. I sympathise with Sani and I pray that he finds a way out of this drama.

“To my understanding, that meeting where Sani raised the issue of debts was not to attack his predecessor. It was just a meeting to tell the people about the situation at hand. Unfortunately, a son of the former governor took it personal because his father just left the office and nobody should say anything that sounded negative about him.

“I think El-Rufai has so many negative stories not just about these debts. So, his son should be careful because more of this kind of story will come. He is not doing his father any favour by attacking people because the truth has been told.

“As a senator then, Sani must has facilitated the loan, thinking that the loan would be used for the people of Kaduna. Unfortunately, from the report he gave, it seems after the loans were taken for urban renewal, some of those who did the work are saying their monies have not been paid.

“We are deeply in this and we need to ask critical questions, so that our leader will be accountable even when they leave office. I wish more of this conversation would continue so we know what happened to our money. Why are we having issues of unsettled contractors that have done the roads even though some of those roads are not there?

“Look at television village road to Peugeot, Lugard roundabouts to Abakpa and Kabala West roads. They came and scattered the road, killed the micro businesses there, and exposed residents to endless dust. That is why Kaduna people must unite and ask the right questions.

Those who think if you are questioning a political leader you are doing so because he does not belong to your faith are wrong. We need to question leaders to be accountable not because of their faith or race but because they have sworn to make judicious use of our commonwealth.

“I know El-Rufai is good at explaining himself, and so he should come out and explain himself rather than his children attacking people.”

State Publicity Secretary of Kaduna State chapter of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), said: “We  advise Governor Sani to invite El’Rufai, through setting up of a high powered committee of investigation, to come and give vivid account of his tenure of office, as it relates to the expenditures of the monies and loans he received from the FAAC, aids and loans he took locally and internationally. He should also give a breakdown of the contracts he handed over to the Sani administration. He should be made to give an account of the monies recovered from the sale of landed properties belonging to Kaduna State Government, including the Liaison office of Kaduna State in Lagos (Kaduna House).”