Kaduna debt and foreign loans: who is right between Uba Sani El-Rufai and Senator Shehu Sani

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Kaduna debt and foreign loans: who is right between Uba Sani El-Rufai and Senator Shehu Sani
Kaduna debt and foreign loans: who is right between Uba Sani El-Rufai and Senator Shehu Sani

By – Abba Hamisu Sani

Africa-Press – Nigeria. Kaduna state was the former headquarters of the Northern region that transformed into 19 states.

The state is recently on the news all over as the inconvent governor of the state Uba Sani made headlines with his cry over the heavy debt inherited from his predecessor Nasir Ell-Rufai.

Uba Sani said that out of the 10 billion naira the state received recently from the Federal Allocation 7.5 billion naira is deducted as loan repayment leaving the state with no enough funds to pay the salaries of workers amounting to more than five billion naira.

This claim by the Kaduna governor generated several reactions from within and outside of Kaduna State and also within his political party APC.

One such comment that heightened tension is from the son of the immediate past governor of Kaduna Bashir El-Rufai who blasted Governor Sani and accused him of not even staying in the state as he claimed that Governor Sani surrounded himself with incompetent aids and contract inflation.

Who is right at this time between Governor Uba Sani ElRufai and ex-Senator Shehu Sani

A question of this nature can only be responded to by the Kaduna people, economic and political spectators who are critically observing the unfolding events in Kaduna right from 2015 to 2019 and now in 2024 with former senator Uba Sani as the governor of Kaduna State.

Senator Shehu Sani a human rights activist turn politician represents Kaduna Central in the senate wing of the National Assembly under the same APC as the former of Kaduna State Governor Nasiru El-Rufai but due to the role Senator Sani played in blocking the former governor from accessing foreign loans, El-Rufai denied Shehu Sani APC ticket to return to the senate in 2019 as he replaces him with Senator Uba Sani the present Kaduna governor as his favorite, Uba facilitated the wishes of El-Rufai towards accessing all the loan facilities he needed then.

The loans were said to be used to provide infrastructures in the state and other initiatives that centered around Agriculture and educational development.

The contradictions about Kaduna’s debt

As the same Uba Sani is complaining about the huge debt, does this vindicated Senator Shehu Sani who was called all sorts of names by ex-governor El-Rufai in 2014 and 2015 during campaigns in Kaduna?

After replacing Shehu Sani in the Senate, Senator Uba Sani was the chairman Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance, and Other Financial Institutions.

Uba Sani was once reported as saying Kaduna people should hold him responsible for the loans collected by Governor Nasiru then.

“They were wrong in their assertion (referring to former Kaduna Senators that opposed borrowing).

Having checked the laws, the accounts, and the performance of the Kaduna State Government, the World Bank was convinced that, Kaduna State merited its support.

Equally important is the integrity of the governor of Kaduna State. While considering the request for the loan, the relevant committees in both chambers of the National Assembly factored in the unassailable integrity of Governor Nasir El-Rufai to approve the loan request” Senator Uba stated.

Uba Sani lacks Moral ground to complain as an engineer of the debt.

Many political commentators expressed that Governor Sani lacks the moral ground to complain as an architect who cleared the ground for the debt burden of his state. They said Uba need not to complain today that his predecessor had overwhelmed the state with 85 billion naira debt and he could not pay workers’ salaries as a result.

More so Governor Uba Sani had also accessed a loan to the tune of 17.68 million dollars (about 20 billion naira ) within the first six months of his administration as revealed by the Debt Management Office (DMO) which added more liability to the state.

It has now turned out that Senator Shehu Sani is more right in forecasting the future and kicking against the overwhelming loan burden on Kaduna State which now is battling with workers’ salary payments.

It is also clear that Governor Uba Sani is part of the problem that generated the high debt he is crying about with him as Senator representing Kaduna Central as a replacement for Shehu Sani in 2019.

Kaduna State became the second state after Lagos interns of debt burden. Although Lagos State seems well prepared to manage its debt, how can Kaduna State manage to pay this huge money and still provide the required services to the people of the state.

Mukhtar Sirajo is a public affairs analyst and the immediate past President of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, he was also the former Director General of Media to the former governor of Kaduna State Senator Ahmad Makarfi. He said the current situation in Kaduna state is also applicable in all the states of the country, the country is in dare stress and Kaduna is not an exception but with this brouhaha about the debt, I don’t see any reason that people should be making storms out of a teacup.

“I don’t see anything wrong with the governor gathering the stakeholders to keep them up to date about his challenges, about what is going on in the state I consider it as being proactive and declaration of liability if you like,” Sirajo said.

The analyst added that in this challenging time, any governor who finds himself in this dare stress is better served by coming out clean with people by telling them the platform upon which he is operating the changes and the challenges that are bound.

He said he doesn’t consider it as Governor Uba Sani is criticizing Nasiru or anything of that thought, it should be considered sa a proactive form of governance and being clean with governance.

“I think people are trying to create a mountain out of Mull Hill. This statement the governor made about inheriting of 578 million dollars debt left behind by Nasiru was the same statement made by the opposition figures which earned the wrath of the former governor deprivation here and there including the revocation of the title of lands seven that of the former governors by Malan Nasiru, now I wonder what he is going to do with Uba who has come out and said the same thing that opposition figures had complained of before he left office” The former NIPR President said

Dr . Abdullahi Abubakar Gwandu is an economic analyst and lecturer at Kaduna Polytechnic. He said there is an economic implication to what is going on in Kaduna now as the governor Uba Sani claims that he can not pay workers’ salaries based on the amount the state collected from the Federal Allocation after 7.5 billion is dedicated for loan repayment which left the state with only 2.5 billion naira as its monthly salary stands at more than 5 billion Naira beside the running cost of government which is needed on daily basis, talk less of investments needed in other critical sectors of the economy that include the welfare of the people.

The analyst says that by implication the economy of the state will be retarded.

Miss priority projects embarked on by Uba Sani

Speaking on spending about seven billion naira to construct a banquet hall at the Kaduna government House Dr Gwandu described it as a miss direction of funds and miss calculation by Uba Sani’s government.

“The issue of the loan when Uba Sani was taken over as governor was documented as an asset or liability of the government he was supposed to know what they had on the ground and plan to manage it.

So the complaints are unwarranted more so of what he is accused of, he is always on the plane from one city to another in Abuja in Lagos, and executing some projects that have no bearing on the development of the state at the time that there is no money” Dr. Gwandu said.

He said with all these controversies the common man will not understand the reality of what is happening in the state.

About some economists views that say it is not wrong to access a loan by government but the contention is how the loan is utilized.

Dr. Gwandu said there is nothing wrong with the Kaduna State government taking a loan but what matters is for the government to make judicious use of it in a way that it will generate more sources of earning.

The analyst added that the infrastructure provided by El-Rufai was not a bad idea but the way he hastened it as other sectors needed attention too .

To round up this piece Governor Uba Sani need to focuses more on how the Kaduna State Government internally generated revenue will be increased and stop shifting blames to the past administration which he was part and parcel of it

Taking responsibility is the only way out for him as a leader ,if he is ready to make a change.

He also need to form a team of experts to seek out a genuine solution to the current problem of the state as the majority of Kaduna citizens are civil servants who depend on monthly salaries.

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