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El Rufai Fights Corruption Probe Launched by Legislature

As He Sets up Retribution Against President Tinubu

By Segun Onibiyo and Ehis Agbon

(Kaduna) Former Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has taken legal action against the Kaduna State House of Assembly, disputing the legislature’s claims of widespread corruption during his tenure.

El-Rufai filed on June 26 a fundamental-rights suit at the Federal High Court in Kaduna, seeking to overturn the Assembly’s report, which alleged that his administration embezzled ₦432 billion and left the state with significant debt liabilities.

The court should declare the Assembly’s report null and void, El-Rufai requests, citing a lack of due process and the violation of his rights. The legal action aims to clear his name and challenge the allegations made by the Assembly’s committee.

The former governor faces numerous accusations of mismanaging the finances of the state during his eight-year tenure.

Protesters in Kaduna have been demanding his arrest over allegations of financial misconduct.

The demonstrators, affiliated with the Kaduna Citizens Watch for Good Governance, gathered at the Kaduna State Government House on June 20, 2024, accusing El-Rufai’s administration of financial mismanagement.

 They called for a comprehensive investigation into claims of misappropriation of funds, excessive payments to contractors, and undisclosed withdrawals from the state treasury during El-Rufai’s tenure.

Kaduna Assembly Probe Uncovers Financial Mismanagement

The Kaduna State Assembly revealed June 20, 2024, the findings of its investigation that brought to light alleged financial mismanagement totalling 423 billion Naira, with most loans and projects failing to adhere to due process.

The lawmakers called for the prosecution of El-Rufai’s officials and commissioners responsible for the alleged financial malfeasance.

Speaker of the House Yusuf Liman accused El-Rufai of breaching his oath of office and failing to exercise due diligence in administering the state.

According to Liman, El-Rufai’s administration recklessly plunged the state into debt, awarded contracts outside of protocol, and cancelled projects after receiving payments.

Former Governor Fights Back

Despite the mounting criticisms, El-Rufai and his associates have pushed back against the probe, denying any wrongdoing and alleging a witch hunt.

El-Rufai himself denied any wrongdoing on June 5, 2024, accusing the state’s lawmakers of a “jaundiced” probe. His spokesperson, Muyiwa Adekeye, stated that the ad-hoc committee’s report was “predetermined and lacked fairness and rigor.

Former commissioners, including Jafaru Sani, Hafsat Baba, Umma Aboki, and Bashir Sa’idu, called the probe a “hatchet job”, claiming it was “riddled with falsehoods and misrepresentation.”  They argue that their administration modernized and developed the state and pointed to conflicts of interest by their accusers.

he most scathing rebuttal came from Salihu Mohammed Lukman, former National Vice Chairman of the All-Progressives Congress (APC) and former Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum. In a letter dated June 13, 2024, Lukman accused Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State of waging a proxy war against his predecessor, Nasir El-Rufai, on behalf of President Tinubu. He warned Governor Sani darkly that his actions would eventually hurt him and advised him to credit El-Rufai for helping Sani’s rise to power.

Stakeholders weigh in

The alleged misconduct charges have sparked reactions from stakeholders.

Comrade Abdul Bako Usman, President of the Committee for Defense of Democracy, shared his thoughts with TruthNigeria after a Zoom meeting with lawmakers on June 21.

“The allegations are very weighty, and from all indications, they were not fabricated. There are documents to support the claims of the lawmakers,” Usman said.

 El-Rufai will need to account for the misappropriation of funds, citing the state government’s current inability to pay salaries or honor financial commitments due to the loans obtained during his tenure, Usman went on to say.

He needs to be questioned,” Usman added.

David Onyilokwu Idah, a former United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, also expressed concerns about El-Rufai’s extravagant spending during his tenure.

“When he was the governor, El Rufai would do bold things without recourse to the state parliament; he also side-lined a huge portion of the state. I mean, the developmental plans he had were only meant for people of his ethnicity, religion, and region. He refused to develop the Christian part of the state, stating that “they did not vote for him.”

Grand Coalition to Oust Tinubu in 2027?

Since the President courted El Rufai last year for the post of Minister of Power and then spurned him for some undisclosed problem with his security clearance, El-Rufai has dedicated himself to payback, his loyal critics tell TruthNigeria. They say he has been rounding up a grand coalition against the President’s re-election in 2027.

“El-Rufai has been quite busy,” Bako Usman, calling on power brokers across the country.  “Nasir El-Rufai visited former President Muhammadu Buhari on December 11, 2023,” Usman revealed. “He also visited former President Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) on December 14, 2023, and former President Olusegun Obasanjo on December 24, 2023.”

This year, El-Rufai has already paid a return visit to Buhari.

“He is planning to form a grand alliance against Tinubu in the 2027 elections,” Usman said. “It appears that El-Rufai’s motive is to punish the president for rejecting his ministerial bid. He is doing this in order to punish the President for rejecting him as a minister,” he added.

“It’s a regrouping of northern political forces for the next general election — a project that will eventually kiss the dust,” according to former senator and civil rights activist Shehu Sani, speaking to TruthNigeria. Another political heavy visited by El Rufai:  former Vice -President and perineal presidential candidate Abubakar Atiku.

 In Sani’s view, expressed on his X handle, the effort is futile because the power brokers have already disgraced themselves:

“Buhari’s reign ensured nepotistic placement, installation, and dominance of northerners at strategic positions of authority and power for eight years. Results have shown that they only enriched themselves, pillaged the economy of the country, and pauperized our country.”

Segun Onibiyo and Ehis Agbon are Kaduna-based conflict reporters for TruthNigeria.

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