The president believes the governor has been responsible enough to execute projects to the benefits of the people.
President Muhammadu Buhari has praised Kano State governor, Umar Ganduje, as a responsible leader despite allegations of the governor receiving bribes putting his position in question.
The embattled governor has been in the news over the past few weeks after the publisher of Daily Nigerian, Ja'afar Ja'afar, alleged that he regularly received bribes from contractors handling projects in the state.
In a series of videos in Ja'afar's possession, the governor was alleged to have received a total of $5 million in installments from a certain contrator on several occasions. Five different video clips have gone viral on social media showing the governor accepting bundles of dollar notes from the yet-to-be-identified contractor.
The president has been notably silent over the issue since it first broke last month, but was questioned about it while meeting with the Nigerian community in Paris, France on Monday, November 12, 2018.
According to a report by Channels Television, when one of the participants asked the president what his government was doing about the allegations, he deflected by praising the governor for "doing so much".
He said, "I commend the governor for doing so much. He once invited me and I went to Kano. The good projects started by Kwankwaso in education and healthcare, Ganduje completed them.
"He completed the projects and now the people of Kano are enjoying the benefit. I think that is very responsible of him."
President Buhari's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said last week that the president has no business interfering in the matter in its current state.
This was in reaction to an open letter written by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) urging the president to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, or appropriate anti-graft agencies to investigate the allegations.
Ganduje denies allegations
Ganduje was recently invited for questioning by the state's House of Assembly panel investigating bribery allegations against him. Even though he was directed to appear before the committee on Friday, November 2, he failed to show up but sent the state's Commissioner for Information, Mohammed Garba, to represent him.
While addressing the committee, Garba said the allegations against the governor are false. He also dismissed the videos as doctored.
Ganduje's counsel, Ma'aruf Yakasai, told the committee that the governor has neglected to sue Ja'afar for defamation so as to allow the House of Assembly to handle the issue.
A Kano State High Court on November 5, issued an order which stopped the committee from investigating Ganduje pending the determination of a case filed before it on the matter where it was argued that the panel had no right to investigate the allegations. However, the panel has publicly vowed to keep investigating the allegations against the governor.
How Ganduje was caught on tape
When Ja'afar appeared before the same committee on October 25, he insisted that the videos are not doctored like Governor Ganduje has claimed.
He said the sting operation was conducted after a contractor friend of his complained that the governor had been receiving bribes, ranging from 15% to 25%, for every project executed in the state from contractors.
He revealed that spy cameras were planted in the contractor's kaftan lapel to catch the governor in the act. Of the 15 clips he said were recorded during the operation, nine fully showed the governor's face, body and hands collecting bundles of dollars.
He said the videos that have been published, two at the time, were certified to be genuine by Daily Nigerian's in-house technical expert, the editor-in-chief and editorial adviser, as well as experts from Amnesty International Nigeria, BBC and Premium Times who have also watched the clips.
Governor Ganduje has maintained his innocence, claiming that the videos have been doctored by his political opponents to tarnish his reputation.