Yero’s Confrontation With Kaduna Lawmakers | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Yero’s Confrontation With Kaduna Lawmakers

Posted: May 21, 2015 at 1:31 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Gabriel John,  Kaduna


The 2015 governorship elections have come and gone, but its memory has continued to linger in the memory of the people of Kaduna State. This is because if any soothsayer had foretold that the incumbent governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Ramalan Yero, would lose to the opposition party, APC, you would ignore such prophecy with perfect disbelief.

Kaduna State which is regarded as the centre of the North, had been in control of the ruling Peoples Democratic Power for the last 16 years. The incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan, has interest in the state which was probably why he chose Arc. Namadi Sambo, then governor of the state, to be his deputy. Since then the cordial relationship between the president, the leadership of Kaduna Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the people of the state has remained sealed.

Governor Muktar Yero

Governor Muktar Yero

Alas, the 2015 general election results proved them wrong as the political game changed barely 24 hours to governorship election in the state. All is now history as the opposition APC swept the state, including the governorship positions, leaving few vacant positions to the ruling PDP. Analysts believe that if the PDP did not wake from its slumber, the continuous dominance of opposition party in the state may bring to an end, the 16 year old reign of the ruling PDP in the state.

It was the plan of Governor Ramalan Yero and the PDP in the state to win the election but destiny routed that plan.  If the PDP caucus’s decisions had been hatched the way it was planned, Governor Ramalan Yero would have won and remain the PDP governor of the state for another four year term.

Realizing that PDP has failed woefully at both the federal and the state, the incumbent governor and PDP chieftain in Kaduna State went back to the drawing board and did some calculations that would bring back the peace which people of the state enjoyed before the democratic regime in 1999 but which had since eluded the state since the reign of PDP in the last 16 years.

The outcome of the calculations was widely demonstrated during the governorship election in the state when the incumbent governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, having  realized that  he would not win his governorship ambition,  quickly  accepted defeat and congratulated his political rival, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.

Since the result of political contest was announced, Kaduna State which was known to have witnessed series of political violence during and after any elections since 1999 – a situation that made hundreds of people to leave the state before the just concluded general elections for fear of political violence – has remained peaceful. Those who traveled to their villages for safety have since returned to their base hoping to witness relative peace and enjoy their stay in the state.

Christians and Muslims who have distanced themselves and were looking at one another as enemies in the past are now coming together as one big family.

Political pundits view all these fortunes as a result of the amiable relationship existed between the ruling PDP and opposition APC since the declaration of governorship result in the state.

Although pundits believed that the people of the state still wear smiling faces because of the leadership change that occurred in the just concluded governorship election in the state, their body language speaks volumes as they foresee imminent crisis that may soon arise between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition party (APC), concerning the management of funds allocated to the state over the years.

Interestingly, few days ago, the APC in the state threatened to impeach the incumbent governor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, over his plot to defraud the state government of N2.744 billion SURE-P funds. They wondered how governor Yero who has been the governor for some years could not complete all the road projects in the state, but will now rise to say he allocated the 50 percent of the SURE-P money for the completion of road projects within 10 days when he is expected to leave the office.

They accused the governor of last minute looting and vowed that the house would not wait for a peaceful handover before it served him impeachment notice if he did not reverse his decision.

Addressing a press conference at the State House, Kaduna, during the weekend, House Deputy Minority leader, Dr. Aminu Abdullahi Shagali, described the action as an act of criminality for the governor to allocate 50 percent of the SURE-P money to road projects.

He argued that if the House approved the request, there was no way the local governments could judiciously execute any meaningful project before May 29.

His words:  “We found it absolutely necessary to address the people of Kaduna State through the media. Ordinarily, by this period of the month when the handover note of the outgoing has been received, and incoming governor is preparing the inauguration, we shouldn’t be concerned with anything.  However, the attempt by the outgoing government to quickly appropriate and disburse the SURE-P fund to the 23 local governments is a gross last minute looting and squandering of public funds.”

According to him, “A request submitted this week by the executive arm to the House to appropriate the 2014 SURE-P funds for the 23 local governments to the tune of 2.744billion naira as not only improper but gross financial recklessness. There is no how a local government can judiciously execute any meaningful project within two weeks considering the fact that diligent due process and financial regulations have to be followed.

“Even though an attempt was made to discuss about it and pass it, a resolution was made at the executive session that the fund should not be appropriated and disbursed. We the concern members of Kaduna State House of Assembly hereby wish to state categorically that we are not a party and will not be a party to such financial recklessness and disassociate ourselves from the move.”

Interestingly, Kaduna APC governor-elect, Malam Nasir El-Rufai had publicly declared that all those who looted government funds would be made to refund the money as the APC led government would be in dire financial constraints on assumption of office.

He said: “We will politely as those who stole government money to return the funds. This is because the people who are in government now, are there to work for themselves. But the APC government is made up of people who are ready to work for the masses and the betterment of the country.”

Government needs to put a law in place to safeguard looting of public funds by those in power of authority, especially as it occur during a change in government between the ruling PDP and opposition APC in future elections.

Some commentators have suggested that there should be a kind of frozen account of all government bank accounts across the country immediately an opposition wins in future elections to avoid unnecessary withdrawal and spending of public money.

The concern is that there is no government that withdraws public funds through fraudulent means that will be ready to refund unless through the competent court of law which, in most cases, consume time more than necessary as it distracts the new government in power from providing meaningful development to her people.