The former Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Director of Media and Communications in the 2015 Nasir El-Rufai Gubernorial Campaign, Alhaji Ahmed Tijani Ramalan Monday spoke on the accusation leveled against him by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna.
Governor el-Rufai had raised accusations in response to a letter written to him by Kaduna Restoration Group chaired by the former NIMASA boss, including saying that the former NIMASA boss was not an indigene of Kaduna State, hence lacks the right to question his appointments.
But, responding, the former NIMASA boss said, El-Rufai, despite been an Ebira Son from Kogi State was still elected as governor of Kaduna State.
The former NIMASA boss, also responded to the issue of Digitalisation of the Kaduna State Media Corporation (KSMC), His Resignation as Chairman of KADFAMA Board, Renovation of KADFAMA head office Awarded to his Son’s Company and Contract of Communication equipment by Atar Communications.
He told the governor that “It is also pertinent to educate you that Kaduna State is a cosmopolitan state with indigenes having their roots from Yoruba, Igbo, and even Ebira which you are rumoured to have your root from. However, mindless of that we the indigenes of Kaduna State still found you qualified and competent to be our governor today.”
Read The Reply In Full:
RESPONSE TO HIS EXCELLENCY NASIR EL-RUFAI, GOVERNOR KADUNA STATE.
This is in response to a write – up titled Response to self – styled “Kaduna restoration Group” written and posted on social media by one Samuel Aruwan who is your Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity.
Though his write-up touches some areas outside my personality, I hereby response on only issues relating to Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan as follows:-
DIGITALIZATION OF THE KSMC
Please recall that the concept of Digitalization of KSMC started in 2007 during the era of Governor Namadi Sambo. However, the contract for consultancy was duly awarded to ATAR Communications Nigeria Limited during the tenure of Late Mr. Patrick Yakowa after all due process compliance including the State Assembly ratification in its sitting of 19th October, 2011 and that of the State Executive Council in its sitting of 25th May, 2011. The approval was conveyed to ATAR Communications Nigeria Limited through an award letter signed by the then Commissioner of Information (Alh. Saidu Adamu) dated 26th May, 2011. The scope of work as contained in the signed agreement consist of the followings:
Assessment and Technical Evaluation visits to KSMC sites.
Production of Designs and Bill of Quantities.
Project Supervision, Monitoring, Evaluation and Certificate of all Installations.
Building Construction supervision with State Ministry of Works.
Factory Pre-inspection of Equipment visit in China.
Customs clearing and forward of Containers to Kaduna KSMC Site.
While the payments schedule as follows:
50% on signing of Contract Agreement.
20% on Factory Inspection visit to Beijing, China.
20% on arrival of Containers at the Lagos Ports.
10% on Commissioning of the Project.
The agreement was signed on the 29th November, 2011 by both parties as follows:
Cost of Consultancy:- 2.5% of the Project Cost amounting to USD899,990:57. Saidu Adamu, Honourable Commissioner of Information signed the agreement on behalf of Kaduna State Government and Zubairu Suleiman, Director Information Services signed as witness.
Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan, Executive Chairman signed on behalf of ATAR Communications Nigeria Limited and Yakubu Muktar signed as witness.
On the 25th of May, 2012, a request for advance payment having completed the following out of the scope of work was submitted to the government:-
Technical Assessment and Evaluation visit to the proposed KSMC TV sites and the 23 LGs Areas for full coverage of the entire state with China Potevio Engineers.
Developing the Kaduna State Topography report on proposed KSMC TV Sites in the State.
Geological Survey on all the proposed KSMC TV Sites in the State.
Soil Test for all KSMC Proposed TV sites for the erection of towers.
Visits to Kano and Jos to inspect public and Private TV Stations sites with Potevio China Engineers.
Production of designs and Bill of Quantities of the project that led to the signing of Commercial Contract Agreement on the 2nd May, 2011 between the Kaduna State Ministry of Information and China Beijing Great Dragon information Technology Co. Ltd China at the project cost of USD $32.6M.
Production of Building Designs of the Proposed TV sites in the State.
Feasibility/Technical report on the assessment visit to the 23 Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.
Legal opinion and reports by Templars – Lagos, an Independent Legal Firm as required by the Chinese Exim Bank on the Draft Loan Agreement for Citic Bank China and EXIM Bank of China which ATAR Communications Nigeria Limited paid on behalf of Kaduna State Government.
Foreign visits to China with the Kaduna State Government officials to negotiate the Draft and Loan Contract in February, 2012 with Citic Bank China, Potevio and EXIM Bank of China which was fully financed by ATAR Communications Nigeria Limited.
With the above, the position of ATAR Communications Nigeria Limited is that there was a Legally Signed Contract with the Kaduna State Government on the Digitalization Project of the KSMC which is subsisting and that was why the Governor approved the part-payment of N17 million after the confirmation of successful completion of 75% of the scope of work. It is our believe that a so called transparent Government of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai cannot afford to pay the sum of N 17million to a Contractor that has no contract with them. In this regard, we may have to seek for the enforcement of our right in the Court of Law for the resolution of our Legal Dues, the Subsisting Contract and the balance payment of N84,248,939.12. May I rest my case at this point.
ON THE ISSUE OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The accusation on the issue of conflict of interest where ATAR Communications Nigeria Limited can be a Consultant to the KSMC digitalization is in bad faith by the Kaduna State Government. The concept of the consultancy project started in 2007 and signed in 2011 while the Liberty Television came on board in 2014 and is still offering services to the Kaduna State Government and Nigeria at large.
RESIGNATION AS CHAIRMAN OF KADFAMA BOARD
The issue of my resignation as KADFAMA Chairman in December, 2016 was based on the fact that there was undue interference of the activities of the Board and the running of the agency by the Adviser to the Governor on Investment, Mr. Jimi Lawal. The board was not left to be independent of itself but teleguided by the Special Adviser in question. He gives directives to the D.G unilaterally including the aborting of the bidding process of the Asset Register Consultancy Project to favour an unknown company which he claimed to be recommended by the World Bank.
These were not acceptable by me because I cannot afford to be used as rubber stamps for some dubious transactions on behalf of Kaduna State by Mr. Jimi Lawal as the Board Chairman hence my resignation honourably.
RENOVATION OF KADFAMA HEAD OFFICE AWARDED TO MY SON’S COMPANY.
The process for the award of contract to renovate KADFAMA Head Office awarded to my Son’s Company preceded my appointment as the Chairman of KADFAMA Board. There was never a Memo by the D.G KADFAMA to the Board during my tenure. This information is therefore misleading and mischievous which I strongly welcome any investigation on the matter. The little information I gathered from my son was that his company responded to an advert of the job by purchasing tender documents on the 26th of July, 2016. After passing all the relevant due process, the head quarters of his company was inspected and verified by officials of the Kaduna State Government on the 23rd September, 2016. Subsequently, his company was awarded the renovation contract by the Kaduna State Public Procurement Authoirty (KADSPPA) on the 22nd December, 2016. While the agreement was signed by the two parties on the 16th January, 2017. To put on record there was no contract award approved by the Board within the three (3) sittings of the Board during my short stay.
CONTRACT OF COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT BY ATAR COMMUNICATIONS NIGERIA LIMITED
The issue of the contract for the provision and maintenance of communication equipment handled by ATAR Communications Nigeria Limited has been on since 2009. We have designed, supplied, installed and maintained Motorola Communication System for the Operation Yaki from 2009 to the last administration until your administration came on board in 2015.
It is sad that since your emergence as Governor of Kaduna State, the issue of Communication equipment for the security surveillance of the State has been neglected. Though a professional proposal was submitted to your office on 15th October, 2015 for the upgrading and maintenance of the Operation Yaki Communication Network in the State which will be compatible with the existing communication network of the Army, Police and Operation Yaki outfit in the State. However, the Government discarded this professional proposal and allowed the Coordinator of Operation Yaki to purchase new communication equipment that is not compatible with the existing Network as such the Communication Network in the State is now down as there are no links between the Headquarters and other substations around the State. This is now a big challenge in the fight against Terrorism, kidnapping and other criminal activities in the State.
MY RESIGNATION AS APC CAUCUS CHAIRMAN OF KADUNA STATE
No comment you know best, as the Governor and leader of the APC in Kaduna State.
ON MY ANCESTRAL ROOT
I am proud to associate myself with my ancestral root of Nasarawa State but also a proud citizen of Kaduna State who has been contributing to the development of my state politically, socially and economically from 1966 till date with solid investment and properties inherited from my late father. I schooled in Kaduna State from Primary school to Secondary School and have held various positions representing Kaduna State Government at State and Federal level successfully. I also had the opportunity of employing over three hundred (300) Nigerians including Kaduna State indigenes in various Maritime Parastatals and companies with some of them now at the comfortable positions of Directors and Competent Seamen operating on International and Coastal Vessels.
Please be educated that I was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. My father had lived, worked and gave employment to indigenes of Rivers State before I was born. Our family relocated to Kaduna in 1966 while our father’s businesses continued in Port Harcourt. In recognition of my role to the success of his campaign, the then defunct NPN Governor of Rivers State Late Chief Melford Okilo, appointed me his special representative in the Northern States (Kaduna Office). That was in the spirit of political alliance between the people of Northern States and the Niger Delta which bond was in existence since the NPC days of the Late Tafawa Balewa and Sardauna of Sokoto when my late father equally served as the Northern State Special Representative of the NPC in Portharcourt being the headquarters of the Niger Delta. It is also pertinent to educate you that Kaduna State is a cosmopolitan state with indigenes having their roots from Yoruba, Igbo, and even Ebira which you are rumoured to have your root from. However, mindless of that we the indigenes of Kaduna State still found you qualified and competent to be our governor today.
APPOINTMENT OF NON INDIGENES INTO KADUNA STATE GOVERNMENT
My reaction to the appointees of the Governor that are non indigenes and of questionable and dubious character holding sensitive position was actually the views of the majority party faithfuls of the APC and most people of the State. I am still of the opinion that the State Governor should copy the Federal Government’s Local Content and Community empowerment policy which is similar to the Late Northern Premier’s policy of Northernisation in public offices of the region and which policies is now used by the Niger Delta Governors, IOCs to reduce Militancy and Regional Agitation. This cannot be same with the appointment of people like Jimi Lawal, Muyiwa Adekeye and Martins Akamaze. One of the danger of this is absence of the heavy voice of Kaduna State at the National Council of Information because of the scraping of the Ministry of Information to favour the appointment of Muyiwa Adekeye, as your Special Adviser Media and Communications which I still maintain is not in the interest of Kaduna State.
Finally, this response is taken from the letter by the Restoration Group on the improvement of Governance in Kaduna State. Please open your doors for advise by eminent indigenes of the State. It is in your best interest as a leader and also take note that the crop of your advisers who rally around you calling you Mallam are not helping matters. For me I see nothing wrong in advising the Governor of my State and God the Almighty Allah is my witness, I have spoken.
Have a nice day and accept my best regards.
Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan