Outgoing Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai says he did not steal a Kobo from the state’s treasury in his nearly eight years in office.
“I can swear I never stole a Kobo from the government coffers,” El-Rufai claimed during his valedictory media chat at the weekend in Kaduna.
He challenged his predecessors to come out and swear with Holy Qur’an that they never stole from the government during their tenures.
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The governor was responding to criticisms of his performance in office and an allegation by former Governor Ahmed Makarfi that his (El-Rufai) government served nine of his companies with demolition notices.
But the outgoing governor said some of his predecessors used stolen public resources to build houses in Kaduna and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
To justify his claim, that he did not enrich himself, El-rufai said that the only house he built before he became a governor was the same one he would retire to from next Monday, the day his tenure would elapse.
He alleged that a former governor whose name he did not mention used public resources to build a mansion on Jabi Road in the ancient city.
El-Rufai said, “I am happy with what we have seen. The work we have started and the quality of the work, we are going to spend years enjoying them. It is not the type of roads they did in the past that, after two rainy seasons, the roads will spoil. These works we are doing, we are doing them with quality.
“Am happy with what I have seen, but there is still more to be done because, to us, we want people to enter Kaduna and see no untarred road anywhere.
“We want to see tarred roads in every community of Kaduna with solar street lights, same for Kafanchan, Zaria and our local government areas. That was our wish, but the difficult circumstance our government met, we couldn’t do everything we planned to do, until we had to borrow before we could do what we did.
“But those that are the day we took loans, they should look, look at their money on the ground. We didn’t collect this loan and run away to Dubai to buy houses or go to Jabi Road to build a mansion so that we can sleep well, that is not how we are.
“I became governor of Kaduna with only one house on Danja Road at Ungwan Sarki, now am finishing to the glory of God, that is the only house I have. I didn’t build any mansion, I don’t need it.
“I didn’t steal anybody’s money and I am challenging everyone that governed this state to also come out and swear with the Qur’an that, when they governed the state, they didn’t steal a kobo of Kaduna resource that is not their entitlement.
“I swear to God, me I will do that swearing. So, I am challenging all of them, everyone should come out and face the people of Kaduna State and tell them he didn’t steal their money. Because we know them, they are children of Santa, they are not children of Dangote; we know them from school.
“Where did they get money to build those mansions? What type of business were they doing? We know.
“Our plans and antecedents are not like that. Our own understanding is that leadership is a trust from God and to you will stand in front of God to give an account.
“As a result of that, every Naira and Kobo that we got, whether revenue or allocation from Abuja or loan, I swear by God, we have used it for the development of our people. We didn’t take and put in our pockets or take them to buy houses in Dubai, we don’t need that.”
El-Rufai, however, advised persons whose primary motivation for entering politics is personal enrichment, to steer clear of the political arena. He stated that politics is meant for those who are content and genuinely committed to serving the people.
He also expressed concern over the practice of voters accepting money before casting their ballots.
His words: “What happened in the last election surprised me. My hope is that in the next few years, those who do not understand will understand that politics is about leadership, not enrichment. Politics is about serving the people so if you are looking for personal enrichment do not go into politics.
“If you need money to buy clothes avoid politics, Politics is for those with contentment; politics is for those who want to serve the people. I hope people will understand that because what I saw scared me. I saw good people that contested but lost the election. They lost simply because a voter was given N5,000 on election day.
“Think about it whoever gives you money during an election to vote for him. You should remember that you have given him a key to the treasury for the next four years to return his N5,000. “