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Debt And Development In Kaduna: How An Accidental Administrator Got It Right But Very Wrongly

The Oasis Reporters

April 1, 2024









Former Gov. Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai of Kaduna state. 


While going through old posts on Facebook dating back from 2020, I came across one titled, ‘Kaduna Urban Renewal’:

The days of Kaduna residents staring at wide roads and numerous alternate travel routes in Kano, Abuja and Lagos are over with the Urban Renewal programme of the State Government.

Yakubu Gowon Way is being dualised to link up with Polytechnic Road through Bakin Dogo with an Overhead Bridge at Ahmadu Bello Way and Katuru Road will pass through Unguwan Kanawa and link up with Nnamdi Azikiwe Way, while Muhammad Buhari Way will link up with Bank Road, and a new Overhead Bridge is being constructed at Kawo as well as several other projects.

While most of us have clustered in the Sub-urban parts of the town (Igabi and Chikun LGAs), we should all agree that the metropolis was not befitting of the former capital of Northern Region until Mallam Elrufai the governor took the bold step”.


This was in the year 2020.

Four years later, despite the beautiful Urban Renewal, the grapes in the city are sour because Kaduna got a spendthrift governor who loved the good things of life but knew not how to sustain such. El-Rufai could not lift himself to play the game that governors who know about prosperity play. His own was vendetta and the demolition of the properties of his perceived enemies and planned losses for his opponents.


Widely traveled El-Rufai with upper class American education dreamt of lofty things but Kaduna was poor. They had no money, so he planned to borrow big and spend.


Problem was he had Senators representing the state who suspected his lack of capacity in growing an economy and therefore opposed his loan request.


Senator Shehu Sani and Gov El-Rufa’i, when they believed that the going would get good.

Nasir el-Rufai accused the three senators representing the state of working against a World Bank loan request by the state government, saying they “are useless and ignorant”.

The governor made the comment five weeks after the senators — Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central), Sulieman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North), and Danjuma Leah (Kaduna South) — blocked a $350m loan request by the Kaduna government, according to a report by The Cable.

The state had sought to get the facility from the World Bank but the federal lawmakers said the loan would erode the economic viability of the state.

The then governor made sure that the senators lost their mandate, making them ineligible to get back to the Senate in 2019.

One of his choice replacements is currently the governor of the state, former Senator UBA Sani who aided then governor El-Rufai to get the loan that he desperately needed.


Now the loan facilitator who is the governor is bemoaning the debt burden the state is in.



In Kaduna State, (Nasir El-Rufai —> Uba Sani): $569.38m 

Explainer: Uba Sani inherited $569.38 million in External Debt from his predecessor, Nasir El-Rufai according to StatiSense @StatiSense

Kaduna state is an agricultural state, but harnessing it’s agro credentials into business like it is in California State, Israel and the Netherlands is a tough call for governors without verve and know-how. That is the unfortunate situation the state is in. Kaduna is in the vice grip of terrorists who are adept at kidnapping for ransom and peace eluded the state while El-Rufai was governor. The hangover is still on.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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