BY DEMOLA REWAJU
The Governor of Kaduna State, Elrufai , was recently quoted as saying that the 8th senate under the leadership of the Dr Bukola Saraki, is the worst in Nigeria. But before we dispel those allegations, let us give a background to this recent comments by the Governor.
I mean it is not news that the Governor and one of the Senators mentioned Shehu Sani have not been on the best of terms, although that should not translate into the governor attacking the 8th Senate and Dr Bukola Saraki.
The 8th Senate have passed 213 bills and cleared more than 138 petitions making it the most productive Senate since the return of democracy in 1999. It has surpassed the 5th Senate which had the highest number of bills with 129 bills in four years. The 6th Senate has 72 bills.
Under the leadership of the Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, the Senate has not only raised the bar in terms of the amount of key legislation, but the Senate has passed legislation that is aimed at not only creating opportunities for the Nigerian economy, but also infrastructural reforms and amendment of old laws that had become an encumbrance to foreign investment and entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
You talk about a useless 8th Senate but I would like to talk about a responsible and forward thinking Senate that worked on the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA. This was not only timely, was lauded as it helped Nigeria move up from its previous ranking of 186th to 145th on the World Bank Annual Doing Business Report, perhaps the Governor should be reminded of this fact.
The 8th Senate interceded at a critical time to pass a bill which ensured Nigeria would remain within the Egmont group, a very significant feat, given the fact the implications and expulsion would have on the economy and Nigerians not being able to complete financial transactions. The passage of the PIB in stages, the Not too young to run bill and very recently the Police reform bill which is anchored on securing the lives of Nigerians.
Governor El Rufai also attacked the three senators from Kaduna for blocking his request for a $350m loan from the World Bank. It is in public record that Kaduna is one of the most indebted states in the country with an unsustainable debt profile. According to data from the NBS, Kaduna state alone, with total foreign debt of $225.28m, holds 6.16 per cent of the sub-national foreign debts. Kaduna is only second behind Lagos, a state with much better tax to revenue ratio.
It is surprising that the Governor would choose to attack the Senate whose responsibility it is to make legislation and provide oversight while cleverly leaving out the Federal Government whose mandate it is to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. Perhaps the Governor should be reminded that it is the duty of the Federal Government to provide good governance to the people. The governor should rather focus on delivering the dividends of good governance to the citizens of his state, rather than casting aspersion on the Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki.
Lastly, complaining about unsustainable loans that will inevitably lead to worse debt profile is a good cop out for the most important thing that the Governor should be doing, which is to improve Kaduna’s internally generated revenue.