President Muhammadu Buhari has accused former Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, of diverting funds meant for projects in the state to run for the presidency.
Until he defected to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in August 2018, Kwankwaso was a member of President Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) and was one of his most influential supporters to win the 2015 presidential election after he lost the party’s ticket to him in December 2014.
He was also one of the 12 aspirants who contested for the presidential ticket of the PDP, but lost in the party’s primary election, coming a distant fourth, to former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, last month.
He was Kano State governor first between 1999 and 2003 and later between 2011 and 2015. He’s the current representative of the Kano Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
While addressing the Nigerian community in Paris, France on Monday, November 12, 2018, President Buhari said current Kano governor, Umar Ganduje, has been responsible enough to complete the projects abandoned by Kwankwaso.
The president accused Kwankwaso of diverting the funds to complete the projects to contest for the presidency.
He said, “I compliment the governor (Ganduje) for doing so much because he invited me, I went to Kano. The good projects started by Kwankwaso in education and healthcare, Ganduje completed them.
“If it were another person, he could have left them. This is the project he (Kwankwaso) started. He diverted the balance of the money to contest for presidency instead of completing it.”
Buhari’s public commendation of Ganduje comes on the heels of allegations made against the governor who’s been in the news over the past few weeks after the publisher of Daily Nigerian, Ja’afar Ja’afar, alleged that he regularly received bribes from contractors handling projects in the state.
In a series of videos in Ja’afar’s possession, the governor was alleged to have received a total of $5 million in installments from a certain contractor on several occasions. Five different video clips have gone viral on social media showing the governor accepting bundles of dollar notes from the yet-to-be-identified contractor.
Ganduje denies allegations
Ganduje was recently invited for questioning by the state’s House of Assembly panel investigating bribery allegations against him. Even though he was directed to appear before the committee on November 2, he failed to show up but sent the state’s Commissioner for Information, Mohammed Garba, to represent him.
While addressing the committee, Garba said the allegations against the governor are false. He also dismissed the videos as doctored.
A Kano State High Court on November 5, issued an order which stopped the committee from investigating Ganduje pending the determination of a case filed before it on the matter where it was argued that the panel had no right to investigate the allegations. However, the panel has publicly vowed to keep investigating the allegations against the governor.
How Ganduje was caught on tape
When Ja’afar appeared before the same committee on October 25, he insisted that the videos are not doctored like Governor Ganduje has claimed.
He said the sting operation was conducted after a contractor friend of his complained that the governor had been receiving bribes, ranging from 15% to 25%, for every project executed in the state from contractors.
He revealed that spy cameras were planted in the contractor’s kaftan lapel to catch the governor in the act. Of the 15 clips he said were recorded during the operation, nine fully showed the governor’s face, body and hands collecting bundles of dollars.
He said the videos that have been published, two at the time, were certified to be genuine by Daily Nigerian’s in-house technical expert, the editor-in-chief and editorial adviser, as well as experts from Amnesty International Nigeria, BBC and Premium Times who have also watched the clips.
Governor Ganduje has maintained his innocence, claiming that the videos have been doctored by his political opponents to tarnish his reputation.