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Unending feud between Ganduje, Kwankwaso

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Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso

There is no end in sight to the ongoing face-off between the governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and his immediate predecessor in office, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
   
In what seems to be a continuation of the tussle for supremacy between the two, a former commissioner of Health and close ally of the Senator, Dr. Abubakar Labaran Yusuf, was recently arrested and detained over some alleged financial misappropriation.
    
The Kano State Public Complain and Anti- Corruption Commission (PCACC), last week arrested the former commissioner for purported involvement in $650,000 foreign scholarship scam.
   
The commission also sealed New Age Hospital, a property supposedly owned by Yusuf.But political analysts have interpreted the development to mean that the incumbent was unrelenting in ensuring the demystification of the legacies of his predecessor before the 2019 elections in the state.  
   
Yusuf, who was accused of conspiring with some other prominent persons, entrusted to manage the foreign scholarship scheme initiated by Kwankwaso for indigenes of the state studying health-related courses, allegedly siphoned the funds before leaving office.
   
However, the embattled commissioner claimed that his harrying was politically motivated citing for instance that he learnt of his invitation to appear before the anti-corruption commission first from the media.
   
According to him, it was after it has been publicized everywhere that he got the invitation letter stressing that the development is not just unprofessional conduct but tantamount to witch-hunting.
    
Yusuf, who declared his readiness to cooperate with the commission, however denied any involvement in the scam insisting that the anti-graft moves were politically inspired and a deliberate attempt to dent his image.His counsel, Mr. Isa Muhammed Sheik dismissed the allegations raised against his client, asserting that the commission was unduly acting on ‘political correctness’ to bring down his client.
  
He said the commission has denied him access to his client as well as frustrating the fundamental human rights afforded the accused by the Nigerian Constitution.According to him, “We are here to honour the invitation of the commission regarding the allegation of corruption but I and the team of other lawyers were surprised by the action of the commission. We were denied access to our client during his interrogation and you know the implication. This we put before the commission is unconstitutional and against the fundamental human rights of our client.”
   
But to justify the arrest and sealing of the property, the commission’s chairman, Mr. Muhuyi Magaji Rimi-Gado said he took the action based on available evidences and facts and in accordance to the rule of law.He said the commission is looking into the alleged involvement of Yusuf in the mismanagement of public funds, saying: “Necessary arrangement is underway to take legal action against him in the court of law.”
  
He also assured the public that the commission would at no cost allow any sentiment in the course of discharging its duties on the matter.The Guardian however learnt from a reliable source that Yusuf would be detained and later charged to court.
     
According to the source, “A concrete evidence against him has been established and he cannot escape it. They will be charged to court and one of those involved in the same scam has already confessed and ready to serve as prosecuting witness against him.”
   
It would be recalled that Ganduje had accused his former boss of misappropriation of the funds allocated to the foreign scholarship scheme, saying it was discovered that the immediate past administration failed to settle the tuition fee and other allowances of the students abroad.
   
The governor in one of his outings disclosed that his government inherited billions of naira debt accrued from tuition fee; a development that compelled the government to place a temporary embargo on foreign scholarships while measures were being taken to sustain the program to enable the current beneficiaries complete their programmes.
Ganduje also decried the multi-billion naira three cities constructed by Kwankwaso as a liability to his administration.
   
He told some journalists during recent inspections of the projects that rather than being an asset “my administration is indebted to contractors in one of the three cities, Amana city project, to the tune of N3.6 billion.
  
He said that the three cities housing the estate; Kwankwasiyya, Amana and Bandirawo housing units are yet to receive any positive response because those approached lacked the financial capacity to buy a unit of the house for N17 million.
   
According to him, “We have tried to woo financial institutions, as well as estate managers to procure the houses sited in the three cities but none of them showed interest despite subsidising the cost of the buildings by 50 per cent.
   
“‘Despite the reduction of the price of the house from N17 million to N11 million, no buyer has expressed interest, due to the exorbitant cost of the Kwankwaso’s housing estate.”He explained that to resolve the impasse, we decided to build affordable housing units at reduced cost, which would on completion be sold to interested individuals, including civil servants at a reduced cost of N1.6 million.
   
He disclosed that at various times he tried to persuade private individuals and organizations, including banks but to no avail, “that is the reason we considered the projects executed by the Kwankwaso’s administration, as a liability rather than an assets.

“We are however constructing a multipurpose integrated skills acquisition centre at the cost of N280 million, while its equipment will gulp N2 billion. Over 200 of such housing units have been constructed out of the 500 units of phase one. We have also constructed the Panshekara-Madobi Underpass at the cost of N2.5 billion, so as to ease the chaotic traffic situation in the area.”
 
Reacting to Ganduje’s claims, former commissioner for Water Resource during the Kwankwaso’s administration and a member of the Kwankwasiyya foundation, Dr. Abubakar Yunusa Dangoni said he was surprised the governor could consider the housing scheme a waste, especially when he was part of the decision to execute the projects as the deputy governor then.
  
He said instead of the governor to continue with the project he decided to abandon it, saying: “The projects that the present administration is now condemning were in response to acute shortage of accommodation in the state and it was about 90 per cent completion before the expiration of Kwankwaso’s government in 2015 of which Ganduje was part and parcel. The governor decided to abandon them for selfish purpose. So his statement is shameful and unaccepted.”



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