- Gov denies sharing N3bn to family members and aides
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja and John Shiklam in Kaduna
Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central) has called on Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to forget his alleged presidential or vice presidential ambition and concentrate on governance in the state.
Sani, according to a statement issued by his Adviser on Politics and Ideology, Mr. Suleiman Ahmed, said the administration was riddled with nepotism.
He accused the governor of not making any meaningful impact in the state other than sponsored media propaganda.
Comparing El-Rufai to Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, and Russian dictator, Joseph Stalin, Sani alleged that the governor jails journalists at random and threatens other with arrest.
â€œEl-Rufai is a man with a mouth for criticism but without a stomach for criticism. In his two years in office he has jailed not less than seven journalists in Kaduna and many others are in court,â€ Sani said.
The senator who has been at loggerheads with the governor, further alleged that El-Rufai runs the state like a personal estate.
â€œEl-Rufai has enough money to pay herdsmen but no money to pay district heads. Kaduna is today littered with abandoned drainages to the point that the rainy season has turned Kaduna into a â€˜coastal state with creeksâ€™. He is auctioning over two thousand government houses he inherited but he is yet to build a hut,â€
â€œThe governor who in his memo accused President Muhammadu Buhari of running a failed government, has also failed woefully. He thinks Buhari failed but he never invited him to even inaugurate a completed toilet in his state.Under El-Rufai, Kaduna has become a hub of kidnappers and a sanctuary for herdsmen. The very governor who once condemned the National Assembly for lack of transparency has proven to be worse,â€ the statement added.
â€œEl-Rufai wants to be seen as an apostle of Buhariâ€™s change but he is actually the Judas of change. Itâ€™s hypocritical to promise Nigerians change and end up only â€˜putting change in our pocketsâ€™. Thereâ€™ s nothing progressive about many people who claim to be Buharists; they are reactionaries and career opportunists who can fit in to any government in power,â€ the statement read.
Meanwile, the state government has denied reports claiming that Nasir El-Rufai shared N3 billion through contract awards to his relations and top government officials.
An online news platform had reported that N3 billion was spent on the contract for drainages in the state, alleging that the contracts were awarded the governorâ€™s relations, friends and government officials through fronts without following due process.
According to the online medium, there was no transparency in contract awards which is â€œcharacterised by blunt refusal to advertise bids, as required by the Procurement Act; contract splitting, cornering of contracts through fronts-by members of el-Rufaiâ€™s family, cronies and officials of his government.
The online medium claimed that â€œGovernor El-Rufaiâ€™s government, after breaking the contract into bits, awarded them to members of his family, including his wife and children, personal staff, friends and members of the House of Assembly, who used fronts to execute them….â€
But the state government in a statement yesterday, dismissed the allegations.
The statement signed by Samuel Aruwan, spokesman to the governor, said there was no contract bazaar neither was N3 billion spent on drainage work as claimed by the online news platform.
â€œThe Kaduna State Government rejects the narrative woven around the execution of drainage works in the major metropolitan centres of our state.
â€œThere was no contract bazaar. Neither was N3bn spent on the drainage works. El-Rufai, his family and senior officials of this government are not involved in sharing contracts or using frontsâ€ the statement said.
The statement explained that the state government, upon review of the state of the projects, has not paid anything beyond the N119.2million that the Kaduna Public Works Agency (KAPWA) expended prior to the suspension of the drainage project.
Arawun said the state government is thorough about advertising its contracts, stressing that its tenders are regularly published in national newspapers.
According to the statement, â€œIn 2016, KDSG published 72 adverts for tenders and employment opportunities. Thus far, in 2017, we have advertised 19 tenders and vacancies. The default mode for the government is a rigorous insistence on open, competitive tendering.
â€œBut not every contract meets the threshold for this. The Public Procurement Law of the state requires that only contracts above N5 million be advertised.â€
The statement declared that â€œThe government of Kaduna State and its leadership do not use fronts or engage in violations of its public procurement regulations.
â€œThe medium is being unduly sensational. In alleging the use of fronts, it obviously escaped the blog to interrogate if anybody that intends to use fronts would actually put down their names or offices next to the contracts.
â€œEven for a blog that claims that it is not bound by the journalistic obligation to verify its assertions, this is unfortunate.â€
The statement noted that investigations by the state government revealed that many of the names published by Sahara reporters have no connection to the drainage works.
â€œMany of the names are of non-existent people with surnames attached to them to justify the use of fronts by the same officials of KAPWA whose services have been dispensed with.
â€œOthers that exist have denied knowledge of the contracts and the names of those they were supposed to have sponsored.â€
Aruwan maintained that the Acting General of KAPWA who was dismissed from office who is the architect of the false report failed to produce evidence linking the so-called contracts to most of the names of existing and living persons.
â€œKaduna state government supports investigative journalism because it can throw so much light on what is opaque and help to improve the quality of our public life.
â€œThat obligation is best exercised with diligent attention to details, verification and not rushing to sweeping conclusions…..
â€œKaduna State has not spent N3bn on drainage works. Rather it took timely action to stop irregularity in one of its agencies in January 2017, dismissed the acting AGM of KAPWA and reviewed the entire project…..â€