*Denies taking foreign loan
Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto
Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Tuesday declared that he was ready to sacrifice his second term bid in 2019 by ensuring that sanity is restored in public service, saying the era of ghost workers receiving salary in the state was over.
He also stated that he had never taken foreign loan to fund any project in the state in the past two years.
Speaking during a media chat with journalists in Sokoto Monday night, Tambuwal asserted that he was not afraid of being a one-term governor, if that will bring sanity in the way public resources was being managed in the state.
He disclosed that over 13,000 ghost workers were removed from the payroll which enabled the state to save over N300 million monthly.
According to him, the present administration was compelled to take such drastic measures in order to save Sokoto State from imminent collapse.
The governor gave an instance of Tureta local government where just one politician had a list of 270 ghost workers that he collects their salaries monthly, saying Sokoto was heading to a doom if such practice was allowed to thrive.
He emphasised that he was not afraid of losing election in 2019 if that would stop wanton diversion of public funds by selfish politicians.
â€œI am ready to sacrifice my second term bid and will not regret being a one-term governor if sanitising the system will make me lose election in 2019. I will not bother about it until I make sure that ghost workers and selfish politicians do not profit from the system at the expense of the people.
â€œIn Tureta local government area alone, there is one particular politician who has a list of 270 ghost workers and he collects their salary monthly. This was the situation in all the local government areas. And these are the people who are attacking us because we stopped their nefarious activities. How can a small local government area like Binji has N30 million as monthly wage bill?
â€œWe were compelled to sanise the system because we felt that if we allowed the system the way it is at the moment, Sokoto government may not be able to pay salaries in few years and will even collapse.
â€œSo, if those people feel they will not elect me in 2019 because I stopped their evil deeds, then I will not lose any sleep because I believe I have done the right thing and God will judge me for that,â€ he averred.
Tambuwal insisted that he was ready to sanitise the system by ensuring that public funds were utilised for the benefit of the peope.
The governor pointed out that since the management of the State Internal Revenue Board was removed four months ago, the internally generated revenue of the state had increased from N250 million to N700 million monthly and may hit N1 billion very soon.
Tambuwal explained that he had never collected any foreign loan since assumption of office two years ago, saying the state government only took a loan of N5 billion to fund some projects.
He further said the State House of Assembly and the executive council gave the approval before the loan was taken.
â€œYes it is true we took a loan of N5 billion but it is not a foreign loan. We are not running a secret cult but a transparent government. So, Sokoto is not committed to any institution for up to N20 billion,â€ he stated.
He also said he was not perturbed by criticism from opponents, adding that as a leader he was bound to experience that and that his frequent foreign trips was not for personal gain.
The governor stated that despite the lean resources of the state, he had managed to execute projects in education, health, water supply , agriculture and women empowerment.
On President Muhammad Buhariâ€™s two year in office. Tambuwal noted that he has done well in the fight against corruption and insurgency, road construction and various social interventions that had empowered many Nigerians.
â€œBuhari has done well and that is my own personal assessment. The fight against corruption especially the whistle blowing policy has been intensified and he has done well in the fight against insurgency in the North-east.
â€œYou are aware that we met a battered economy when we came in and I am happy that the exchange rate is a bit stable at the moment. In fact, when you look at various social interventions, you will see that government is empowering people through Anchor borrower programme, improving solid minerals and by making sure that small businesses have access to credits,â€ he stressed.
Tambuwal however, appealed to the Federal Government to do more through strong collaboration with the private sector.