Growing animosity between el-Rufai, Sani led to Kaduna debt outburst – Lukman

A former National Vice Chairman, North West of the All
Progressives Congress, APC, Dr. Salihu Lukman, has said the recent outburst of
the Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Uba Sani, that the huge debt left behind
by his predecessor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, makes it difficult for the state to
pay workers’ salaries was because of the growing animosity between the duo.


Lukman said without any excuse, APC members in Kaduna must
take responsibility for the bad situation facing the State by appealing to Sani
to take every necessary step to undertake inventory of the debt of the state
and how it was utilised.


He added that part of what is needed now is to assess
whether there are cases of diversion, which if established should be recovered.


Sani at a Town Hall meeting in
Kaduna, on Saturday, March 30, 2024, Sani raised the alarm that he inherited a
huge debt of $587 million, N85 billion, and 115 contractual liabilities from
the El-Rufai administration.


He added that because of this huge burden, out of N10
billion due the State from federal allocation, N7 billion was deducted, which
leaves only N3 billion, saying it made it difficult to honour its monthly
salary obligation of N5.2 billion to its workers.


However, Lukman, in a statement issued Sunday titled “Kaduna
State Political Theatrics”, pointed out that the outburst suggested a strong
disagreement and breakdown of relationship between Sani and el-Rufai.


He said there was a need to caution young people jumping
into the debate in a very disrespectful manner.


While acknowledging the challenging reality, Lukman stressed
that it was important that the issue was not reduced to the politics of blame
game and loud noise making with praise singers on both sides defending their


The party chieftain was of the opinion that the issue of the
huge debt burden of Kaduna State was a public secret, adding that it was a
matter that was very known to Sani.


He stressed that although there could be new insight that he
must have encountered after taking over as governor, saying he believed that he
came well prepared and ready to deal with the challenges and move Kaduna State
forward from where el-Rufai left it.


Lukman noted that part of the objective of the Town Hall
meeting could as well be to mobilise the people of the state to support the
initiatives of Kaduna State government.


He said: “Unfortunately, as it is, the report seems to be
sensetionalised, suggesting the reality of strong disagreement and breakdown of
relationship between Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and Mallam Uba Sani, which could as
well be the case.


“I make this point cautiously having practically lost
contact with both Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and Mallam Uba Sani since my
resignation as National Vice Chairman (North-West) in July 2023. I was only
privilege to meet Mallam Uba once and there after couldn’t speak with him in
any form. I only encountered Mallam Nasir once during the birthday reception of
Chief Bisi Akande at the Presidential Villa and we only greeted and moved on.


“This notwithstanding, I can’t claim ignorance about some of
the dynamics playing out in Kaduna State. I am aware of the growing animosity
between Mallam Nasir and Mallam Uba, or at least I hear some of it from sources
close to both of them.


“However, given the reality that I am not close to both
Mallam Nasir and Mallam Uba, I opted to keep my distance and not meddle into a
dispute between two very close friends. My expectation was that they will
resolve the matter. Sadly, this doesn’t appear to be the case. I think people
close to Mallam Nasir and Mallam Uba are also not helping matters.”