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Cablegate: Nigeria: Kaduna Governor Defends Elections,

VZCZCXYZ0024
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUJA #2228 2921456
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191456Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1233
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 8104
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS ABUJA 002228

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA
DOE FOR CAROLYN GAY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PHUM KDEM NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: KADUNA GOVERNOR DEFENDS ELECTIONS,
DISCUSSES TERM AGENDA

REF: A. ABUJA 969
B. ABUJA 746
C. ABUJA 731

1. (SBU) Kaduna State Governor Muhammad Namadi Sambo (of the
People's Democratic Party (PDP)) discussed with PolCouns on
September 28 the April polls and provided insight into his
agenda for his first term in office. While conceding that
some local government areas in Kaduna state experienced
electoral irregularities, Governor Sambo claimed that on the
whole, and unlike in the South, elections in Kaduna
represented the most "transparent, free, and fair" polls in
Nigeria. Sambo also contended that there was significant
internal democracy within the PDP. He praised former
governor of Kaduna, Ahmed Makarfi (PDP) for improving the
state's road network and connecting 70 percent of Kaduna
residents to the national power grid. While poverty remains
rife in Kaduna and across the North, Sambo maintained,
democracy is improving governance and citizens' access to
healthcare and education.

2. (U) Sambo pledged to improve security in Kaduna,
recognizing it as a prerequisite for socioeconomic
development in the state. Sambo lamented that only 200,000
children attend primary school in Kaduna. Since lack of
teachers is connected to the low attendance of children in
schools, Sambo remarked, he said he has increased teachers,
salaries by 5 percent, proposed legislation making primary
school mandatory in the state, provided free books and school
uniforms for students, and built housing for teachers. Sambo
also claimed that he has increased the share of state budget
for education to 27 percent (330 million naira per annum).
Characterizing Quranic schools as a "nuisance," Sambo
declared that he has made Islamic education part of the
curriculum of secular primary schools in Kaduna to encourage
attendance by Muslims. In addition, Sambo criticized Muslims
in the North for "not caring about education" unlike their
Christian counterparts in the South.

3. (U) With respect to Kaduna's limited electrical power
supply, which has forced many businesses (including, a large
textile mill recently) to shut down, Sambo announced plans to
increase the state's supply from 50 to 250 megawatts over the
next four years, through private sector investment and
development. He argued that investment in hydroelectric
power rather than gas pipelines was a more appropriate choice
for generating electricity given the vandalism of oil
pipelines in Nigeria. He claimed to have identified several
locations for the construction of hydroelectric dams, which
will be linked to irrigation schemes so as also to restore
agricultural production in Kaduna state. Increasing access
to health care is also a priority for Sambo, who plans to
construct 110 primary health care centers and provide free
medical care for pregnant women. In addition, Sambo promised
to provide housing and car loans to doctors to enable them to
serve in rural areas, where healthcare is limited.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: While Kaduna, an historic center of
northern politics, where many prominent businessman,
politicians, and military personnel reside, once boasted a
strong All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) presence, eight
years of PDP rule under former governor Ahmed Makarfi (one of
the few northern governors to support Obasanjo's third term
bid), helped transform Kaduna into a PDP stronghold. At the
same time, the inability of the ANPP to designate a consensus
candidate in the lead-up to April worked against them. While
Post's election observers in Kaduna witnessed polls open on
April 14, and the turnout was reportedly better than in most
states in southern Nigeria, the claim that elections were
"transparent, free, and fair" in Kaduna is contrary to our
observation (see refs B and C). END COMMENT.
PIASCIK

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