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Debt: Kaduna APC women leader suspended for criticising Sani

The Kaduna State women leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hajiya Maryam Suleiman, has been suspended for challenging Governor Uba Sani to resign or…

The Kaduna State women leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hajiya Maryam Suleiman, has been suspended for challenging Governor Uba Sani to resign or stop the blame game over the state debt profile.

Recall that Governor Sani had last Saturday during a town hall meeting in Kaduna, said his administration inherited a huge debt burden of $587 million, N85 billion and 115 contractual liabilities from the government of his predecessor, El-Rufai.

He said his administration is unable to pay workers’ salaries because of the huge debts he inherited.

But in a veiled reference to the governor’s claims, a son of El-Rufai, Bashir, in a post on his X handle said the governor was only trying to cover his administration’s incompetence.

Reacting, the state APC women leader, Hajiya Maryam, in an interview with a Hausa online platform, lambasted the state governor, saying he should resign from his appointment if he cannot govern the state on account of huge debts.

She specifically asked the governor to stop apportioning blames to his predecessor, El-Rufai, saying he was part of the previous government, and should know what the loans were used for.

“If you say there is no money in Kaduna State, why don’t you resign? You are complaining about the huge debt burden, but you insisted on getting the party’s ticket, now you are complaining. You know where the loan is, and how it was spent. He is aware of whatever happened because he was part of it. There is nothing he doesn’t know.

“El-Rufai didn’t take Kaduna people’s money, and if he did, he did it together with Uba Sani. Malam is our political godfather, and we are here to defend him. So he should stop blaming Malam, “she said.

Barely 24 hours after her submission, she was suspended from the party in his ward. The letter, co-signed by the state chairman and secretary, Ali Maishago and Zakka Bassahuwa respectively at Badarawa/Malali ward respectively, said the party suspended the woman leader for defamation of the character of the governor.

The letter reads in part, “From today, Sunday 31st of March 2024, the leadership of APC Badarawa/Malali Ward unanimously resolved to suspend Hajiya Maryam Suleiman (Mai Rusau) from the party pending further investigation on the matter from the constituted authority.”

When contacted, the state party secretary, Yahaya Baba Pate, confirmed her suspension but declined further comments.

A former commissioner in El-Rufai’s administration who spoke to Daily Trust  on condition of anonymity said it was wrong for the governor to gather people for a town hall meeting to make such announcement.

“The meeting or town hall meeting was uncalled for because it didn’t address anything. There is no state without debt in this country, but do you hear governors complaining? Even El-Rufai met debt during his tenure, but he didn’t make noise about it. And if you remember in his last speech, he told the incoming governor, Uba Sani, that he left behind both foreign and local debts, including abandoned projects,” he said.

Why NWC, others must wade into crisis – Lukman

But a former National Vice Chairman (North West) of the APC, Salihu Mohammed Lukman, has asked the National Working Committee (NWC) and other top leaders of the party to wade into the rift between El-Rufai and Uba Sani to stop the crisis from escalating in the interest of the party.

Lukman, a former member of the NWC in a statement on  Sunday in Abuja, titled, ‘Kaduna State political theatrics,’ said he was aware of the “growing animosity” between El-Rufai and Sani, even before the debt allegation was made last Saturday.

He said, “That shortly after taking over, the two friends are falling apart is most unfortunate and only reminds one of what played out between Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi and Arc. Namadi Sambo between 2007 and 2010.

“Across all parties in Nigeria, serving governors exercise monopoly in producing their successors. This is one area that highlight the complete failure of APC as an envisioned progressive party.

“And as it is, beyond Kaduna State, there are similar dynamics playing our in many APC states, and at best, the party leadership at national level is simply behaving as a distant observer. Check what is going on in Benue, Ebonyi and Cross River. This shouldn’t be the case.

“Ideally, party leaders at both the state and national level should have the capacity to intervene to resolve the challenge. At the minimum, they should be able to intervene to strengthen the capacity to state governments to manage challenges of governance, which is the main highlight of Mallam Uba’s presentation at the Town Hall meeting.

“Without any excuse, all of us in APC in Kaduna must take responsibility for the bad situation facing the state. In taking responsibility, we must appeal to Mallam Uba Sani to take every necessary step to undertake inventory of the debt of the state and how it was utilised.”

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