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FLASHBACK: How Uba Sani Pushed Senate to Approve El-Rufai’s World Bank Loan

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FLASHBACK: How Uba Sani Pushed Senate to Approve El-Rufai’s World Bank Loan

Uba Sani, Governor of Kaduna State, has decried the amount of local and foreign debt Nasir El-Rufai, his predecessor, accrued for the state.

During a town hall meeting at the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Hall, Kaduna, on Saturday, Sani revealed his administration inherited a total of $587 million, N85 billion and 115 contract liabilities.

He said these commitments meant the government spent N7 billion of its N10 billion federal allocation on debt servicing and would be unable to pay salaries, which stood at about N5.2 billion.

These comments drew criticism from netizens, who perceived them as an attack on El-Rufai. Bashir, the former governor’s son, took to social media to mock Sani and his aides, claiming they were incompetent.

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FIJ has now learnt that, as part of the ninth Senate, Sani was instrumental in securing a $350 million loan for the El-Rufai administration after three senators from Kaduna opposed the request in the eighth Senate.

‘HOLD ME RESPONSIBLE, SANI TOLD SENATE

Between 2019 and 2023, Sani represented Kaduna Central in the Senate, but before him, there was Shehu Sani.

Shehu Sani expressed disapproval of El-Rufai’s loan request, and his position was shared by Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North) and Danjuma La’ah (Kaduna South).

Shehu’s argument was that another loan would erode the economic viability of the state, which already had huge debt burdens to fund.

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When the All Progressives Congress (APC) replaced Shehu with Uba on the 2019 ballots, it was the positive El-Rufai needed.

In March 2020, Shehu was no longer in the Senate, and Uba was chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions. The loan request topic came up for debate again, and Uba swore it was critical the state got it at the time and even asked that the nation hold him responsible if the then governor failed to utilise the loan of about $350 million properly.

“They were wrong in their assertion,” Uba said of the Kaduna senators who opposed borrowing. “Having checked the laws, the accounts and the performance of the Kaduna State Government, the World Bank was convinced that Kaduna State merited its support.

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“Equally important is the integrity of the Governor of Kaduna State. While considering the request for the loan, the relevant committees in both chambers of the National Assembly factored in the unassailable integrity of Governor Nasir El Rufai to approve the loan request.”

Four years after, Uba has now complained of the economic viability of the state, as 70 percent of its allocation has gone into debt servicing while workers are yet unpaid.

 

FIJ

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