The Northern Socio-Cultural Organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum ((ACF), Former Governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and the President of the Civil rights Congress of Nigeria, Comrade Shehu Sani have reacted to the purported misapplication of public funds by the governors’ of the 19 Northern states.
They were reacting to the disclosure of the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, in Kano where he claimed that there was the need for 19 northern state governments and 413 local governments to account for N8.3trillion from the federation account between 1999 and 2010.
The report revealed that the northern region got enough to have turned around the fortunes of its citizens, if such amount of monies were expended judiciously over a period of 11 years.
According to ACF, it is worrisome that trillions of naira were shared among the three tiers of governments in the north over the past years of democratic governance, and yet there is not much to show for it, especially in the northern states where poverty has become the patrimony of the people.
In the same vein, the former governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa expressed displeasure that despite such amount, the educational level in the north was still at 40 percent difference from that of the South.
Speaking also on the issue, Comrade Shehu Sani alleged that half of that money was looted by successive governors of the region, and 30 percent of it was shared to traditional rulers and religious clerics, and added that “there is a need for the ACF and any other group claiming to represent the north to set up an investigation panel to justify what northern governors did with their allocations.”
According to the ACF spokesman, Anthony Sani, “Such reports only confirm the impression among Nigerians that our national resources are not managed for the benefit of the majority but for the few who manage the said resources. Such oddity is also observed in the economy which grows at over six percent yet poverty and illiteracy are also growing at higher rates.
“The reasons for these occurrences are not far-fetched, and both the governors and the governed are to blame. The leaders may be thinking that such massive poverty and illiteracy as well as unemployment are directed at the heart of liberty and freedom, and therefore, to the advantage of the leadership. But they fail to appreciate the fact that the same misery indices are powder keg waiting to be ignited by indifference of the leaders.
“The governed also do not help matters when they do not make sure that their votes count during elections. Nigerians must realise that if people do not make judicious use of their democratic rights and elect leaders of their choice, they get what they deserve.
“So, both the leaders and the led must brace up. While the leaders must know they exist for public good, the people must hold their judgment on Election Day for the quality of leadership that emerges.
“We pray the report under reference would nudge both leaders and the led to live up their responsibility of delivering on the promise of democracy. They must also realise that narrowing of gaps in incomes among groups and among individuals is not only good politics but also good economics. Mistakes can be constructive as well as when people accept to make correction of past mistakes and move forward,” he added.
On his own part, Shehu Sani said, “It is on record that the northern governors have turned their state into personal institutions and have run it into bad debt.
“If that heavy amount of money was actually spent on development and industrialisation, we could have been at the level with countries like Malasia Singapore and Indonesia, but these funds were misused and stolen by the governors. And our people have been impoverished.
“The northern part of Nigeria is suffering from economic, educational backwardness; it is unfortunate that the allocation to the regions has not changed the face of the people. They people have been denied of social amenities and all developmental indices.”
Alhaji Balarabe Musa who spoke briefly said, “All Nigerian governors’ are total failure.”
He said, “It is rather unfortunate that the governors of the northern extraction could not use the resources available to them to develop the educational sectors of the region. The governors from 1999 to date are total failures.”
“The northern state governors are not doing anything in education, you can imagine that every state in the South is 40 percent above any northern state in the area of education,” he concluded.