…Governor’s aide wants EFCC to help recover stolen state funds
By ROMANUS UGWU
Irked that the war against corruption is facing stiff challenges in Katsina State, Alhaji Aminu Balele Kurfi, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Aminu Masari, stormed Abuja recently taking the anti-corruption campaign closer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Fielding questions from Abuja Metro, Kurfi, an economist, speaks on various issues ranging from sports in the state, the economy to politics, lamenting that certain highlyplaced persons in the state are stalling efforts to recover the state’s stolen fund.
Challenging the EFCC to apply the same vive it has used to recover stolen funds from certain individuals, in fighting corruption in Katsina state, Kurfi said it has become very difficult to subdue the forces against the funds recovery in his state.
Katsina State government’s interest in sports
The good thing is that we are lucky that His Excellency,Gov Aminu Masari, has interest in many things, including sports. His major concern is to develop sports from the grassroots but the main priority of the state government is to largely improve education. The government is on a mission to restore the education glory of the state formally known for its achievements, interest in education. The main programme by the current government is how to restore the pride of the state both in western and Islamic education.
The state of education in Katsina has really nosedived to the extent that between 120 and 200 pupils sit on bare floor to read and write. There are no seats and tables in the villages and township schools.
The truth is that we have serious challenge in education in the state. Giving the people good education means empowering them and making them know their rights to the glory of the state and the country.
The second priority of the state is agriculture, especially as we are facing serious crisis in the oil sector. Agriculture is the alternative in the federal and state governments efforts to diversify the economy.
We are already at an advantage that we have over four big dams in Katsina with the first dam commissioned in 1983 during the administration of President Shehu Shagari. What it requires is putting little resources to make it functional. Unfortunately, the past administration did not do much in reviving the dams to diversify the economy and make agriculture the mainstay of the economy of the state. Many are employed in agriculture.
The state government has equally achieved much in the area of security. Before now, cattle rustlers were on the rampage in the state but the governor has succeeded in bringing it to a minimal level. While some have given up, others have run away from the state. We have reduced the cases of cattle rustling to the barest minimum.
Despite other crisis the state is facing, including dwindling revenue, government has earmarked funds to fight crime and create employment through sports. We want to raise some revenue through sports to boost our low Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Federal allocation has continued to go down because of the fall in the price of crude oil in the international market.
By the arrangements we have on ground now, we want to see the possibility of improving the fund generation of the state through sale of players. As part of the arrangement, we have already started making an impact into ensuring that sports becomes a viable brand.
We have succeeded in rebranding the state-owned football team by changing its name from Spotlight FC to Katsina United FC. We are ready for the new National League season. We have had a very fruitful and successful camping periods outside the state.
What we have done was to ensure that 100 per cent of our feeder team must be indigenes of the state. The feeder team will serve as breeding ground to develop young talents to feed the main team.
If things work out as planned, the state government will hand off the sponsorship of Katdina United within three years. The club is now a limited liability company. We will soon sell shares when we enter the stock market.
It is really very unfortunate that the administration of Governor Masari inherited so many crises in sports and administration. We have perfected arrangements to face the battle. It is not war against Boko Haram but against the elite in the state.
We have discovered that some indigenes of Adamawa State are stalling the recovery of the money looted from Katsina state. If the Federal Government is recovering stolen funds from individuals, why can’t Katsina succeed as well?
We also got feelers that some elders in Katsina are conniving with the past administration to frustrate the recovery of these looted funds. The state government has resolved to go into full blown battle with these elements. Every person from Katsina who collected money from SURE-P or other areas for the state should better return the money quickly.
If the EFCC cannot do it, we are ready to fight dirty through social and main media to expose their dirty past to the world. We will even petition Mr President to intervene in the recovery of these stolen funds. We will expose those elite from Adamawa, Katsina or other states frustrating us from recovering the funds.
Probe of past administration
The government has set up a committee, which has already come up with a white paper. The probe has been concluded but we are just getting some bottleneck towards implementing the white paper. The problem we face is that some members of the past administration are very much connected with past leaders controlling the security network at the top. The past administration is good in blackmailing people.
Curtailing Boko Haram
All I can tell you is that the Federal Government has achieved over 70 per cent in making the country a better secured nation. Whether in the aspect of cattle rustling or other security challenges, government has done well.
The way forward for dollar disparity with naira
There are many variables that come into play in making one currency stronger than the other. Certain variables like volume of importations and exportations. A country like Nigeria that depends on importation of almost every consumer item like foods, electronics and even manpower training outside the country, is bound to encounter this problem. The country is importing more than it is exporting. The crash in oil prices equally complicated the situation. Unfortunately, many Nigerians do not still want to adjust their ostentatious lifestyles. Many still want to holiday outside the country, buy and use foreign goods.
We must diversify the economy and make it an export-oriented one. We must explore all opportunities to avoid a mono economy. We abandoned agriculture in some states that can supply raw materials to our industries. We can do many things with cassava like pharmaceuticals but we have failed to exploit the benefits in cassava.
The good thing is that soon, President Buhari’s trips will begin to yield positive fruits. It is wrong to tag Buhari’s foreign trips junketing. The country was almost becoming a pariah nation but he has restored the glory of Nigeria in the comity of nations.
Eagles chances of qualifying for AFCON
I want to appeal to the NFF, the sports ministry and other stakeholders to concentrate and channel all resources and efforts to our matches against Egypt and avoid distracting Samson Siasia ahead of these matches.
If the football federation is bent on hiring foreign coach, they should wait till after prosecuting our matches against Egypt. I know very well that the federation is hell-bent on bringing a foreign coach, not for the sake of it; but the commissions they will get from it.
We are all aware of the deal some consultants at the Glass House enter in hiring a foreign coach. It is painful that the same federation complaining of cash crunch is distracting the team with hiring foreign coach.
It will not be surprising that the foreign coaches NFF is targeting are grade C tacticians, not grade A. If NFF is serious about bringing a foreign coach, they should go for Jose Mourinho, who is jobless now.