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A federal lawmaker, Rafiu Ibrahim (PDP, Kwara) has said the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai is ‘angry’ at the Senate President, Bukola Saraki because of the Senate’s refusal to approve $350 million loan sought by the Kaduna State Government from funders.
Last year, the Kaduna State Government requested the loan for ‘Development Policy Operation’ from the World Bank.
Mr El-Rufai had said the state needed the million loan from the World Bank to achieve its governance objectives in the “short to medium term.”
The loan would be ploughed back into critical development areas in Kaduna, the governor explained.
However, the Senate, in March, decided not to approve the request after a committee headed by Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna) advised against it on the ground that the state is the second most indebted in the country.
Mr Sani, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic Loans, argued that the new loan if approved will erode economic viability of the State.
His position was supported by two other senators from the state: Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North) and Danjuma La’ah (Kaduna South).
Mr Sani and Mr El-Rufai have been having a running political battles since they were elected in 2015. They have been engaged in several altercations in the past and the Kaduna State government had earlier vowed to go ahead with its request despite the decision of the Senate.
Reacting to an alleged statement by Mr El-Rufai on a Hausa radio programme where he allegedly described the present Senate under the leadership of Mr Saraki as the worst, Mr Ibrahim described the Kaduna governor as a “loose cannon and a liar who is one of the people that got the All Progresives Congress (APC) into the current mess it found itself now.”
Also in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES, he said Mr El-Rufai is known as a “flippant and loose talker” as the facts do not support his position.
“El- Rufai is an aggrieved Governor. He is pained by the rejection of his request for foreign loans by the Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debt which is headed by a Senator from Kaduna State, Shehu Sani. The Governor has been speaking from both sides of the mouth,” he said.
While stating that the interventions of the Senate on key issues that affect the day to day living of Nigerians have remained unparalleled, the lawmaker said despite the Senate’s rejection, Mr El-Rufai had “sent several persons to the Senate President regarding the loan.”
“I am aware that when he sent the current Minister of Finance to Dr. Saraki, the latter made it known that he too was helpless on the issue as there was no personal reason that will make him stand against such a request.
“The Senate President advised the Governor to reach out to the three senators from the state and get them to support the decision as he, the Senate President, would find it difficult to overrule the senators, particularly since one of them is the chairman of the concerned committee. The three senators from Kaduna State insisted that an approval for the loan would sentence Kaduna State to many years of indebtedness.
“I am aware of the text message that this same El-Rufai sent to Saraki few weeks ago, thanking him for the useful and supportive discussion the Senate President had with the Minister of Finance on the Kaduna loan issue and commending this same Saraki for the leadership he has provided on a number of issues,” he said.
He therefore said for Mr El-Rufai to be making such “nonsensical and reckless statements” against the Senate President, shows that he is a “double-faced, reckless, immature and unstable liar”.
“People should ignore him. He is one of the people who destroyed APC up to the point that it is and President Buhari had better realised that with a supporter like el-Rufai, he does not need an opponent again,” he added.
When contacted, the governor’s spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, declined comment because he “has not seen the statement”.
Mr Aruwan said he did not want the statement to be sent to him again. He said he will check and authenticate the said statement.
“We’ll look around and see. How do I authenticate the originality of the statement? We have our own sources of authenticating statements so you don’t need to do that for me. We will look for it,” he said.
He was yet to respond at the time of this report.
• Source: PremiumTimes