DMO funds: Zamfara govt’s double speak

About six months ago, precisely, September 8, 2023, the Zamfara State Commissioner for Information, Mannir Haidara, said the former government of Dr Bello Mohammed Matawalle, now Minister of State for Defence, only left the incoming Dauda Lawal Dare (PDP) government “minimal resources,” while the governor himself affirmed that he was handed over “an empty treasury” by his predecessor.

The Dauda government also claimed that Matawalle’s Cargo Airport Gusau was a white elephant project. But these sudden turn of events are on the heels of the fear that there will soon be many questions seeking clearcut answers over the recent information by the Debt Management Office (DMO) that some states (including Zamfara) were already struggling in debts less than a year into the administration and the fear that the government would be exposed on the billions left behind by Matawalle.

Suddenly, the governor’s spokesperson said his principal has not borrowed any money but that the N14.26 billion captured by the DMO in respect of Zamfara state in the government’s possession was actually part of a floating loan earlier acquired by the Matawalle government. This contradicts the administration’s initial claim of having inherited near nothing from Matawalle.

Similarly, it should be noted that former Governor Matawalle did not fail to collect the total sum of N20 billion on the said loan. Rather, it was largely due to his carefulness and prudence that he decided to only utilise the funds as the contract progressed. Natural circumstances propelled by time are now compelling the Dauda administration to withdraw its opening statement of lies replacing it with the truth.

But certainly, Zamfara people can not be taken for a ride as this development has shown that there’s actually N14.26 billion and $655.563 belonging to them but stashed somewhere until the DMO exposed them.

Two things immediately come to light in the developing story; that when the APC and Matawalle’s government representatives said they left a lot of money for the incoming Dauda government in their handing over notes, they weren’t lying and that it is now known that the state has these yet to be touched billions even if the exchange rate was at N800 against one dollar. Similarly, the government should explain why it failed to continue with the airport project, having said it was keeping the money for the continuation of the project.

The APC, in keeping with its earlier promise to keep the people abreast of how their resources are being managed, has once again got this right. It is left for the people to call the government to account, starting with the details of the account where the government claimed the untouched money is. We are very sure that these account details will be made public soonest.

Yusuf Idris Gusau,
APC publicity secretary,
Zamfara state