Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, has explained how he secured a $350 million loan from the World Bank to fix education in his state — with pictures of rundown schools.
El-Rufai was speaking on Monday at a send forth for Rachid Ben Massaoud, outgoing country director of the World Bank.
The event was organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
The governor explained that when he assumed office in 2015, more than 200 schools in the state were in disrepair.
“I had a problem and I didn’t know what to do,” el-Rufai said.
“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.”
The governor said he told Massaoud that he needed help and the country director called upon him the next day.
He said they met and brainstormed on the solutions to the state’s education sector, with Massaoud guiding him on the processes involved in securing the loan.
El-Rufai advised his colleagues to also approach the World Bank with solid proof of their major problems, provided they adhere strictly to the requirements of the bank.
He, however, lamented the difficulties he encountered while processing the funds, saying “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”.
Kayode Fayemi, chairman of NGF and governor of Ekiti, also commended the country director for making himself “very accessible to all”.
He expressed hope that Massaoud’s departure would not mean he is severing links with Nigeria.
“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,” Fayemi said.
“Today you have turned the narrative around. 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.”
Also speaking, Willy Obiano, governor of Anambra state, said he found Massaooud to be an amiable person because they both share the banking background.
He said because of that, his state enjoyed seven “solid interventions” of the World Bank.
Responding, Massaoud noted that when he arrived in Nigeria, 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.
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