Fred Itua, Abuja
In Nigeria, people jostle, hustle and lobby to secure juicy political appointments. When they eventually grab them, they seldom let go. They often devise means to maintain their grip on power and declare war on those they perceive to be angling for their job.
Despite that familiar trend, the unimaginable happened recently when Bauchi State Commissioner of Finance, Nura Manu Soro, resigned barely 36 days after he was appointed and sworn-in. He was sworn-in alongside other commissioners on September 11. He resigned before the governor reshuffled his cabinet.
He wrote: ”I have resigned my position as the Commissioner of Finance and member of the Bauchi State Executive Council. I’ll issue a press release on the situation later Insha Allah.”
His resignation took the political establishment in Bauchi State by surprise. Some pundits have argued that his resignation may not be unconnected with the minor cabinet reshuffle, which moved Soro from the Finance Ministry to Youth and Sports.
Governor Bala Muhammad had earlier approved a minor reshuffle and reconstitution of the State Executive Council.
Although Soro has refused to speak on the issue on what informed his decision to throw in the towel, those familiar with the development have offered a more robust explanation.
Bauchi State is located in North East Nigeria and is regarded as one of the oldest states in the region. It is home to some of the finest political minds, including the first prime minister of Nigeria, Tafawa Balewa.
The state, like its counterpart, spends a large chunk of its resources and allocations on payment of salaries of workers which represents less than 5 per cent of the population of the state.
The immediate-past administration of Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, was often accused of inflating the state’s salary wage bill. It was one of the low points of his administration. When Senator Mohammed assumed office, the same argument popped up.
It was learnt that Soro who held sway as Commissioner of Finance for 36 days, introduced a new system which unearthed thousands of ghost workers on the state’s payroll. Over 40 thousand workers without the compulsory Bank Verification Number (BVN) were delisted from the payroll of the state government.
Soro was also credited with other reforms that saved the state huge sums within 36 days. While the rest of the country celebrated his innovation, some powerful forces in the state were reportedly offended.
“In order to keep his reputation despite his young age, he resigned and left with his head high. This has never happened before in the state and many people are still in shock as to what really happened. Soro has refused to break his silence since then,” a source familiar with the development revealed.
A close ally of Soro who spoke to Daily Sun, but pleaded not to be named further gave an exposé on the former Commissioner.
He said: “Soro is an accomplished entrepreneur, businessman and consultant with a varied and successful history operating and consulting on key government capacities. To date, he has enjoyed extensive private sector success and experience culminating in his work as the founder and Chairman of Soroman Limited and Action Energy Limited Nigeria.
“His philanthropic work and business acumen are widely sought out for consultation on projects seeking to utilise the high level entrepreneurial capabilities that he brings to the table.
“To this end, he employs a wide range of private and public sector expertise gathered from a combination of exhaustive academic acuity and high level consultancy work. Projects to his credit include initiatives that have saved the Nigerian Government billions of Naira in project formulation, executions, implementations and revalidations.
“His extensive work with the leadership of the Senate has been part and parcel of some of the most impressive and major breakthroughs that the upper chamber has made in recent years. His technical capacity alone resulted in the creation of an app that saved the Federal Government and Nigerian Tax payers close to a billion Naira through an app that identified budget padding from the National Assembly which in turn allowed revenue to be utilised immeasurably more effectively.
“He has maintained his public sector consultancy while also being a full-time player in the Oil and Gas Industry with a particular wealth of experience in the downstream sub-sector of the economy. He also held the privileged and challenging role of building a company.
“As an individual that understands the issues facing development in Nigeria on both a macro and micro level, he is an astute individual and valuable addition to any team that wishes to tackle the issues of governance from a multi-tiered perspective.
“For a young man of his age, Soro is a Ph.D. candidate, specialising in Political Philosophy and Governance. He has obtained three masters degrees from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, The Nigerian Defence Academy, and the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom respectively.”