The newly elected governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, and his deputy, Arch. Barnabas Yusuf Bala, took their oaths of office yesterday announcing that they would sacrifice 50 per cent of their salaries for the development of the state.
In his inaugural speech after he was sworn-in by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Tanimu Zailani, El-Rufai pledged that his administration would avoid ostentatious lifestyle and embrace transparency, modesty and accountability.
Reiterating that Kaduna is the second most indebted state in the country, the governor promised to work day and night to make the state great again.
El-Rufai, a former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), said: “In recognition of the difficult challenges we face, our Deputy Governor and I have concluded that the sacrifice that change requires must begin with us. We have decided to take a pay cut and donate 50 per cent of our salaries and allowances, until our fiscal situation improves.
“We understand that leadership by example is the most persuasive way to demand sacrifice from all of us as citizens”
El-Rufai, who was sworn in as 22nd Governor of Kaduna State, stressed: “We will obey the same rules that we demand of all of you. After all, the law is the difference between civilization and anarchy. We submit ourselves to the principle that all are equal before the law.”.
He added: “As we celebrate on this day that God has made, let us remember, with sober senses, exactly what challenges confront us. For far too long, our country has been a place where hope goes to die, where the future has been stolen from our children, where our leaders have commandeered our resources largely for their own personal enjoyment, and where grinding poverty has become a fact of daily life for nearly all our people.
“Our state is no exception. Kaduna State is in a difficult situation. As soon as we have all the facts in coming weeks, we shall lay bare to you just how deep a hole we have dug ourselves in the past several years. But this much we already know.
“Our finances are in a shambles. Kaduna is the second most indebted state in our country. Our state is staggering under the weight of billions of naira in debt and other liabilities.”
The swearing-in ceremony was disrupted by angry youths who almost lynched the Emir of Zazzau and Chairman of Kaduna State Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Shehu Idris and other dignitaries.
Events had run smoothly at the Murtala Square venue of the inauguration ceremony but turned violent after the new governor had taken his oath of office as angry youths started throwing missiles at the Emir and calling for his removal.
Chanting ‘Sabon Gwamna, Sabon Sarki’ (new governor, new king), the youths accused the Zazzau monarch of partisanship in favour of the outgoing Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, who the Emir had turbaned a title holder while he reigned as governor.
The angry youths threw sachet water, shoes and pebbles in the direction of the Emir and other dignitaries at the VIP podium, but human shield was quickly built around the septuagenarian Emir by his traditional guards and other security men, who later smuggled him out through the back door.
The security agents later brought in a hot water tank to disperse the irate youths who had earlier defied the tear gas canisters the police fired at them.
However, several people, including a police woman, were injured in the ensuing confusion. Some of the injured victims were immediately treated in a First Aid vehicle provided by the police while others were taken out of the venue for treatment.