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El Rufai: Time to break the silence

On Wednesday last week, the Kaduna State House of Assembly indicted former governor, Nasir El-Rufai and several of his aides for allegedly siphoning over N423…

On Wednesday last week, the Kaduna State House of Assembly indicted former governor, Nasir El-Rufai and several of his aides for allegedly siphoning over N423 billion of the state’s resources from 2015 to 2023.

Presenting the report during a plenary sitting, the chairman of the 13-member ad hoc committee and the Deputy Speaker of the House, Magaji Henry Danjuma, said most of the loans obtained under the El-Rufai administration were not used for their intended purposes.

It could be recalled that in March this year, during a town hall meeting, Governor Uba Sani, raised an alarm of high debt running into billions of naira incurred by his predecessor.

The governor complained that the state government hardly pays salaries after deductions from its statutory allocation. His outburst necessitated the state’s House of Assembly to constitute a committee to probe the former administration. Since the shocking revelation, ex-governor El Rufai has remained mute or refused to break the silence, an action which elicited deep suspicions.

One had expected El-Rufai to come and defend himself instead of keeping quiet. Though his former aides and son Bashir have kicked against the allegations, describing them as baseless and politically motivated, the former governor has to do the needful to clear his name from the mud. The huge amount of funds believed to have been squandered under his watchful eyes demands a full explanation and his innocence. During an interview with BBC Hausa Service when in power, El-Rufai accused the past PDP governments of mismanaging billions of naira loans without commensurate results. He challenged whoever accused his government of diverting the state’s loans to look at the infrastructural development executed across the nooks and crannies of the state.

Governor Uba Sani has come under a barrage of attacks after he opened up the Pandora’s Box or cankerworms of the last administration. Many people blame him for being complicit in the loan debacle. In 2019 when Governor Uba Sani was in the Senate, he facilitated the collection of loans by El-Rufai’s government. This had come after all efforts by the ex-governor to secure the loans were opposed by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi and Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna North and Kaduna Central in the 8th National Assembly.

El-Rufai not only cursed those two senators for not approving his loan request but also ensured they did not return to the senate in 2019. But Senator Uba Sani and Abdu Kwari, who found their way to the 9th senate through the support of El-Rufai, suddenly became willing tools for him to obtain the loans with relative ease.

If the ex-governor has no skeleton on his cupboard, this is the right time to break the silence and defend his former government.

Ibrahim Mustapha Pambegua wrote from Kaduna State

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