By Tajudeen A Tijjani
“There’s a struggle going on! A struggle that demands we choose side; it’s a choice between dignity and servitude. A choice between right and wrong”…Barack Obama
Penultimate week, the three elected senators from Kaduna state ganged up against the people of the state and influenced the Senate to reject a foreign loan sourced for by the state government for the development of some critical infrastructure.
Their reasons were that the state is in debt of many loans in the past and their fear is how another loan would be settled in future. Two of the senators belong to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state while the other is in the PDP.
Although their argument may sound logical, political observers and majority of the people have dismissed the argument as untenable because of their running battle with the state government. Many believe it was a mere ego boasting and a payback to take a pound of flesh from Governor Nasir Ahmad EL-Rufa’i and make him not to work.
First, everyone in the state is aware of the sour relationship between the senators and the governor which are mere political differences .Two of the senators were elected on the same platform, but are more of opposition than progressives.
Simply put, El-Rufa’i and the senators are not on the same page and the masses of Kaduna state must pay dearly for it. If not, how can the elected senators explain what pushed them to go to that length? Does it occur to the lawmakers that their action is capable of delaying the state government from carrying out its social responsibility to the people?
Their action is a palace coup that may consume them in their future political journey. The time is yet not late for them to have a rethink and retrace their steps. The masses in the state are not carried away and do not care of the ego crisis between them and the governor. Their main concern is how the government can provide for their needs which the senator s’ actions may impede.
Even to the elite who have been watching the political crisis, they are surprised at the step taken by the senators which was against the entire people of Kaduna state and believed it was a step taken too far.
It is also not surprising that the leadership of the Senate was behind the acts of the senators, looking at the performance of the Senate in the last three years which has been that of confrontation with government on almost all issues of national interest and those they perceive as their enemies.
No one is therefore surprised at their action in sabotaging the government and the people of Kaduna state, because we are aware that in the history of the nation’s National Assembly, the current National Assembly, especially the Senate has been adjudged to have performed below expectations of the people.
They (Senate) may not know that the Kaduna state government followed all the process of law through its House of Assembly and the state stakeholders to apply for the foreign loan.
But in their desperation to set the hand of the clock backwards and hamstring Kaduna state government, the three senators and their accomplice cooked up stories as if there is any state in the federation today that is loan free. The people of the state will not allow them to rubbish the good work and commitment of Governor El-Rufa’i to make Kaduna state great again.
From all indications, the three senators may be carrying out a well written script sponsored by those who are not comfortable with the popularity of the present administration in the state.
Without any fear of contradiction, the government of Mallam El-Rufa’i in the last three years has changed the face of Kaduna state and embarked on major capital projects across the 23 local government areas of the state in the areas of education, health and rural development which any responsible government must invest.
The government has invested in other areas that promise economic prosperity and employment which are primary challenges any government must meet.
Immediately after the National Assembly’s show of shame and the support they (Senate) lent to the submission of the three senators, Kaduna state commissioner for finance, Alhaji Suleiman Abdu Kwaru, told journalists that the state government viewed the action of the senators as unpatriotic.
He explained that the World Bank scrutinized the state government before the approval, adding it was surprising that those elected by the people of the state to serve their interest behave differently.
According to him, the 350 million dollars loan was sourced for by the government after all demands were meet to carry out major projects across the state and the state assembly also approved the borrowing and stakeholders meeting were held in Kaduna and Abuja.
During the week, one of the senators, Senator Alhaji Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi, in defending their action in a radio and television interview, alleged that the state has not met certain demand to be guaranteed for the loan including not carrying stakeholders in the state along. To critical stakeholders in the state, the senator representing the northern zone of the state was economical with the truth.
According to them, Governor El-Rufai met many times with them either in Kaduna or Abuja and all stakeholders including all elected members from the state in attendance not only to discuss the loan, but other areas that will move Kaduna state forward without any consideration for party affiliation. They said that the assertion that the governor did not call for stakeholders meeting is a farce. The stakeholders are also wondered why the senators failed to put the state first, knowing fully that the loan when accessed will go a long way to transform the state.
On the other hand, the senators may think they have nothing to lose, it is certain that posterity may judge them wrongly for their deviance not to think of Kaduna state first, but being ego-centric over people’s welfare and development.
Tijjani, a veteran journalist, writes from Kaduna