Executive Governorof Kaduna State, Nasir El-rufai
By Henry UmoruExecutive Governorof Kaduna State, Nasir El-rufai
ABUJA- GOVERNOR Nasir El- Rufai of Kaduna State has given insight into how he secured the USD350 million loan he was presently using to fix education in Kaduna State from the World Bank.
El- Rufai explained that when he assumed office in the middle of 2015 more than two hundred schools in the state were in disrepair, adding, “I had a problem and I didn’t know what to do”, El Rufai stated.
The Kaduna State governor made the disclosure yesterday night at a send forth for the outgoing Country Director of the World Bank Dr Rachid Ben Massaoud, organized by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
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The governor further: “I took pictures of all the schools and converted the images into an album. Then I approached Ben Massaoud who asked me what I wanted to do?
“I need help,” el Rufai said he told the Country Director. The following day Ben Massaoud called up the governor. The two finally met and brainstormed on the solutions to Kaduna State’s education sector. Ben Massaoud would provide the funds and technical expertise while el Rufai would work hard to rebuild the schools. Ben Massaoud also guided the governor on the processes and how to arrive at securing the loan.
Speaking further, El-Rufai advised his colleagues to also approach the World Bank with solid proof of their major problems and the solutions are just there, provided they adhered strictly to the requirements of the bank, adding that technically a governor only needs to stick to the principles of the Open Government Programme.
The governor who noted that there are advantages, said that the World Bank under Rachid Ben Massaoud would provide finance and technical Assistance while the governor is allowed to lead the reconstruction from the front.
El- Rufai lamented the bottlenecks in processing the funds. It took almost nine months before the funds were approved and it took the National Assembly almost two years to consent and give assent to the loan, adding, “The rest is now history. ”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State Dr Kayode Fayemi described Rachid Ben Massaoud, saying, “you are not the first Country Director of the World Bank in Nigeria but you are the first that is receiving this treatment from a set of governors.”
He commended the Country Director for making himself very accessible to all and hoped that his departure from the office in Nigeria would not mean his severing his links with the country.
Dr Fayemi reeled out figures which he said he deliberately researched just to show the dire straits in which the country found itself when Ben Massaoud came to Nigeria.
He said, to Ben Massaoud that, “When you came the dollar hovered between 28 and 36 but you helped the country and enhanced eligibility on World Bank assistance and helped to simplify the procurement processes. But there is still more to be done ”
On his part, Ben Massaooud emphasized that “Nigeria Matters.” He added that when he arrived this country he “became inspired by its youth, its faith, its hope, its diversity, its fun and its loving people.” He reiterated that the challenges of development are complex and difficult and no one can do it but Nigerians themselves.
Ben Massaoud who said he now considers himself a Morroccan Nigerian, regretted that he could not do all the work before leaving Nigeria. Other topnotch World Bank officials who spoke at the occasion also corroborated the accessibility of Ben Massaoud and wished him success in his future endeavor.
The incoming Country Director, Dr Shubham Chaudhuri also attended the ball.