Insiders Link Bala Usman, Embattled NPA Boss’s Travails To Gov. El Rufai’s Ambition
By Centus Nweze
Those close to Hadiza Bala Usman, suspended MD, Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, believe that her current travails is linked to his closeness to Nasir El Rufai’, Governor, Kaduna State, believed to be nursing presidential ambition ahead 2023.
Usman and El Rufai’s closeness is well documented in the public domain with some speculating familial ties.
The speculations took a life of its own during 2015 general election and political activism for which Usman was a key player.
“Some traducers of El Rufai’ are just bent on destroying Hardiza because they feel that she is helping the governor amass money for his 2023 presidential ambition,” explained a close source to the embattled NPA boss who asked not to be mentioned in name because of the political volatility of the matter.
The source, however, insists that he enjoys closeness to Usman, enough to know that there is more to the probe of the suspended NPA boss.
Usman was placed on suspension over alleged looting of N156.3bn under her watch at the NPA.
Summarising the allegation against Usman, the House of Reps minority caucus said that apart from the unremitted N165 billion cited by the supervisory Ministry, other documents and reports from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation had also uncovered several sleaze, including unremitted deduction to Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) amounting to N3,667,750,470. $148,845,745.04, Euro 4,891,449.50 and £252,682.14.
The legislative caucus said the summary is also in addition to audit query of N15.18 billion allegedly stolen through inflated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects/programmes under the watch of the suspended NPA Managing Director.
“The real issue here is that some political players believe that Usman has been using the NPA to warehouse money for El Rufai’ to prosecute a presidential ambition,” explained ElombahNews informer.
Before 2015, Usman was keenly involved in the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, campaign which many saw as political tool to uppend former administration under People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
Not a few political players insist that the BBOG movement had the imprematurs of El Rufai’ at the time.
But El Rufai’ has always contended that the choice of the next president after President Mohammed Buhari should come from the south of the country which in effect excludes him, a Northerner, from contesting the presidential election in 2023.
These, for some pundits, is El Rufai’s scheme of campaigning for the slot of vice presidency under a Southern President.