BY RAYYANU BALA
Since the Nasarawa state House of Assembly commenced investigation into alleged misappropriation of one billion naira school projects funds by the secretary to the state government, SSG Aliyu Tijjani when he was commissioner of education during the immediate past administration of Umaru Tanko Al-makura, our social and conventional media space have been awash with views and commentaries for and against the decision of the State Assembly. Those who are in support of the investigation hinged their argument on the fact that since the money allegedly misappropriated by the SSG belongs to the people of Nasarawa state, the State Assembly must be allowed to carry out its oversight functions with a view to unravelling the circumstances leading to such wanton misappropriation of public funds. They stressed that allowing such alleged theft of public fund to go uninvestigated and unpunished is not only ungodly but is something that posterity would never forgive both the perpetrators and those that connive with them to bury the truth.
They noted that members of the Assembly, Governor A.A sule and the SSG took an oath and they would surely be called to give account of their respective stewardship before the Al-mighty. “Corruption and indiscipline is what is killing this country, we must therefore strive to put a stop to this menace” they added.
While the argument on the other side of the divide was that since the present government of A.A Sule is an off-shot of the last (Al-makura’s) government, any attempt to investigate the one billion naira School Project by the State House of Assembly or any investigative body for that matter is tantamount to betraying former Governor Al-makura who against all odds, worked to ensure emergence of A.A Sule as governor of Nasarawa state. Those against the State House of Assembly (NSHA) on this matter further blamed A.A Sule for not intervening early enough to stop the matter from going public.
They also opined that investigation of the one billion naira School Project was orchestrated by A.A Sule and his cabal to open the gate for an in-depth investigation into the eight-year rule of former Governor Al-makura, stating that “this and any other plots against former Governor Al-makura will fail woefully”.
“Already we are aware of plans to rope must of the people working under A.A Sule but perceived to be loyal to former Governor Al-makura of financial wrongdoings so as to relieve them of their appointments. We are very much aware also that the battle-line has already be drawn”
“Or else what stopped A.A Sule from directing the State Assembly to discontinue its investigation on this one billion naira School Project, for peace to reign and for the interest of mutuality between the two leaders?”, they asked.
Now having heard the arguments by both sides of the divide, it is clear that those against the investigation by NSHA over the alleged scam have missed the point. What is at stake is not mutual relationship between former Governor Al-makura and incumbent Governor A.A Sule. What is at stake is the interest of the entire people of Nasarawa state, and it is preposterous for one to suggest or rather, call on A.A Sule to intervene in the matter. This is purely something that has to do with the wellbeing of the people of Nasarawa state and any attempt to intervene is equal to invitation to chaos which will ultimately set him (A A.Sule) on coalition course with the State Assembly which end result would not be in the overall interest of Nasarawa state. It is therefore safe and good that Governor Sule decided to keep a distance away from the imbroglio between his SSG and the House of Assembly; by keeping this distance, A.A. Sule has shown in practical terms that he’s a respecter of not only the principles of separation of powers, but also a respecter of the wishes of the people of Nasarawa state who elected him into office.
Investigating a public officer on presumed wrong doings while in office or out of office is not a new phenomenon in our polity in Nasarawa state. Former Governor Abdullahi Adamu faced EFCC, Late Aliyu Akwe Doma also faced same investigative body. Thus there is nothing novel if for example Umaru Tanko Al-makura or anybody who served under him is made to face an investigative body or committee over alleged wrongdoings.
After all what the NSHA are trying to unravel as captured by the Speaker, Balarabe Abdullahi while inaugurating the ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the alleged abandoned one billion naira Schools projects on Monday 23rd March, 2020, was for the ‘House to get to the root of the matter in question so as to salvage the education sector’ The Speaker also went further to indicate that the House was not out to witch-hunt anybody. The fact that the Speaker himself stressed that the House was not out to witch- hunt anybody, is enough to allay the fears and insinuations that NSHA is only interested in rubbishing former Governor Al-makura with a view to create friction between him and Governor Sule. Members of the State Assembly are mature people capable of separating their right from left and to decipher the difference between good and bad.
On insinuations that there are plans to rope some loyalists of former Governor Al-makura in A.A Sule’s government of financial misappropriations to pave way for their removal, this allegation equally lacks substance. Governor Sule is the executive governor of Nasarawa state today, if he doesn’t want to work with somebody he doesn’t need to rope him of any financial irregularities before doing so. All political appointees in government are the governor’s aides, their appointments are to his pleasure, and he can decide to retain or terminate appointment of anybody at any time he deems fit. It is therefore, senseless for one to believe this type of conjectures which aim is to create panic in the polity.
Governor Sule has said it many times over that former Governor Tanko Al-makura is his boss and there is nothing one can do to cause a friction between them. At the first Nasarawa state annual media dinner award organized by the state government through the office of Strategic Communications and Press Affairs, Government House, held at Ta’al Conference Hotel Lafia, Last December, Governor Sule made it categorically clear that he is not in competition with former Governor Al-makura and as such, people should not expect him to do anything as if they are in competition.
Gov Sule has never hidden his love for the work done by former Governor Al-makura in areas of provision of infrastructures in Nasarawa state and he has never failed to mention it publicly. But when it comes to what belongs to the people, be rest assured that Governor Sule will not compromise on that; what belongs to the people must go to them. So if at the end of the NSHA investigation, SSG Tijjani is found guilty of financial wrongdoings I believe Governor Sule will not do anything to cover him up; he will surely make him face the full wrath of the law. In the fullness of time people of Nasarawa state will get to know the kind of relationship existing between A.A Sule and former Governor Al-makura. We should therefore stop making unnecessary and baseless insinuations.