SaharaReporters has learnt from a highly reliable source that the new governor of Kaduna State, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, has withdrawn the 176.4 billion naira proposed budget for 2013 submitted to the state assembly last December by the late Governor Patrick Yakowa. Mr. Yakowa died in a helicopter crash in the Niger Delta on December 15, shortly after presenting the budget.
Our source, a prominent politician from Kaduna State who spoke on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that Mr. Yero has asked his associates to do a close review of the withdrawn budget. The move, said our source, has triggered another round of cold war between politicians across religious and ethnic lines in the widely polarized state. “Those who were close to Yakowa are saying that Governor Yero is trying to rubbish his predecessor’s legacy and policies,” said our source.
The source added that pressure was mounted on Mr. Yero to request that the state legislature allow him to review some capital projects in the budget earlier submitted by Mr. Yakowa. Those who pressured the new governor to look at the budget again alleged that the former governor’s budgetary allocations were one-sided and unduly favored the late governor’s business partners and associates.
The source added that Mr. Yero’s lieutenants plan to propose a new budget that fits into the new governor’s political interests and priorities, especially his ambition to run as a candidate in the 2015 gubernatorial election. The forthcoming election is expected to be hard fought and tough.
The source said: “Get this right, Yakowa submitted the proposed budget two days before his death, and it was done in [a] haste with some errors. And mind you, it is a proposed budget, with recurrent expenditure of N74,441,824,583 and capital expenditure of N102,038,518,425, totaling N176,480,343,008. And the unfortunate incident [of Mr. Yakowa’s death] happened. Now a new governor is here facing the reality of the moment. He is also a financial expert. What is wrong if he asked to make input and review the budget? It is some people that just created the cold war to pursue their agenda.”
On the other side, Mr. Yero’s critics view the budget review as a retreat from the new governor’s earlier pledge to continue with all policies initiated by the late Mr. Yakowa. Those critics say that Mr. Yero had stated at his inauguration as well as Mr. Yakowa’s funeral that he planned to consolidate and sustain the achievements so far made by Mr. Yakowa. They insist that implementing Mr. Yakowa’s budget, tagged “Budget of Consolidation and Advancement,” would have signaled such continuity in policy.