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Knocks, kudos as new govs clock one month in office

ON May 29, no fewer than 18 fresh men took over the governance of the country as governors.

POLITICS

By Our Reporters

ON May 29, no fewer than 18 fresh men took over the governance of the country as governors. The new state helmsmen include Governors Umo Eno (Akwa Ibom), Alex Otti (Abia), Peter Mbah (Enugu), Siminialayi Fubara (Rivers), Sherrif Oborevwori (Delta), Hyacinth Alia (Benue), Bassey Otu (Cross River), Francis Nwifuru (Ebonyi) and Umar Namadi (Jigawa).

The rest are Abba Yusuf (Kano), Uba Sani (Kaduna), Dikko Radda (Katsina), Nasir Idris (Kebbi), Umar Bago (Niger), Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau), Ahmed Aliyu (Sokoto), Kefas Agbu (Taraba) and Dauda Lawal (Zamfara).

Most of the governors inherited an avalanche of challenges including insecurity, huge debt, backlog of unpaid workers’ salaries and retirees’ pension, dwindling revenues,  rising poverty and unemployment among the citizenry.

Thus, the governors assumed power on a promising note amid high expectations among the populace.

One month after, the governors have embarked on the huge task of surmounting the challenges in ways that elicited kudos and knocks for a host of them.

Fubara demonstrates loyalty to Wike in Rivers

In Rivers, Governor Siminialayi Fubara, who said he is “unapologetically 100 per cent loyal” to his benefactor and immediate past governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, irrespective of whatever anyone says, has tried to demonstrate his loyalty in the last 30 days. 

Within one month in office, he has demonstrated this unreserved loyalty to Wike by not only building his cabinet around the same men Wike engaged but also gave them the same portfolio they handled in Wike’s time. 

In the 15 cabinet members Fubara has announced so far, Prof Zachaus Adango remains Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice as he was in Wike’s administration. Others who retained the portfolio they held under Wike include, Prof. Chinedu Mmom, Education commissioner; Isaac Kamalu (Finance), Alabo Dax George Kelly (Works), Chris Green (Sports) and Mrs. Inime Aguma (Social Welfare & Rehabilitation). 

With Wike’s men firmly occupying the most sensitive slots, some critics said Fubara’s government is Wike’s 3rd Term. However, the governor insisted that the idea was in tune with the vision of building a prosperous Rivers State on the agenda of continuity and consolidation. 

In his first 30 days in office, Fubara was busy monitoring and evaluating ongoing projects, assuring that he would get them completed.

However, one of his most outstanding feats within the period was intervening in one key development quarter, the state secretariat, which Wike neglected.

Under Wike, Rivers civil servants at the State Secretariat worked in piteous condition with lifts in the highrise structures broken down, and there were no power supply and water. 

But within 48 hours of being sworn into office, Sim visited the Rivers State Secretariat Complex in Port Harcourt, assuring he would fulfill his campaign promise of giving priority to the welfare of civil servants in the state, including revival of the fading complex infrastructures. 

Shielding his predecessor from blame, Sim noted that the state government had previously spent much money on water supply in the secretariat but there were no results justifying the funds released as he called for investigation into how the funds were utilized. Meanwhile, work is said to have commenced towards restoring water supply and other utilities. 

Mutfwang’s steps on the Plateau

In Plateau, Governor Caleb Mutfwang, who was elected on the platform of the PDP, had a handful on taking over. The bandits’ coordinated attacks on communities in three local government areas of Mangu, Riyom, and Barkin Ladi, which escalated before he came into office were sources of concern.

He started by visiting the displaced persons in the various camps in the local councils, sympathized with them, and assured them that efforts are being intensified to ensure improved security for their early return to their homes.

He also met with stakeholders in the security sector to discuss ways of fighting insecurity.

He made some appointments such as Director of Press and Public Affairs, Secretary to the State Government,  Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Private Secretary, Chief of Staff, and Special Advisers.

Governor Mutfwang adhered to the 9th State House of Assembly’s recommendation to suspend the chairmen of the 17 LGAs of the state due to their inability to make available records of their income and expenditure to the House.

Shortly after that, the governor approved the constitution of a nine-man Task Force on recovery of auctioned government property and charged them to identify/trace all government properties that were purportedly auctioned across the country, ascertain whether or not due process was adhered to in the exercise, recover all government assets that were purported/or inappropriately acquired by individuals/groups/or corporate entities.

Inability to form cabinet mars Idris’ performance in Kebbi

Governor Nasir Idris was sworn in as governor of Kebbi State amid fanfare and high hopes from the civil service and business circle because he was the first home-bred politician in the history of the young state to occupy the position.

Since assuming power, some of the tasks carried out by Idris include inauguration of the state House of Assembly where Muhammad Usman (Ankwai) emerged as speaker; approval of funds for water treatment and other plants required to give 24hrs water supply from the main public water system to all those connected to it in Birnin Kebbi and environs, and appointment of  30 political aides, chief of staff, secretary to the state government, special adviser on media and publicity and Chief press secretary among others.

However, Idris has come under fire over what many described as lopsided appointments especially the appointment of his father-in-law as chief of staff.

He is also being accused of trying to favour people from the state capital.  The governor is said to be under pressure to please members of his campaign team, and political helpers like former AGF Abubakar Malami who contributed directly to his success at the polls.

The governor is yet to send his nominees for commissionership to the assembly.

Aliyu restoring hope in Sokoto

Before Dr Ahmad Aliyu took over as governor of Sokoto State critical sectors such as water, power supply, Environment, hygiene were neglected. There was  lack cash allocations to ministries and parastatals.

The Governor has set up a committee for the restoration of water supply to the state capital and its environs.

He also restored power supply to many public hospitals including the state specialist hospital which spent 9 months without electricity.

The situation prompted the Governor, in company of his press secretary, Abubakar Bawa, to pay an unscheduled visit to hospital in the odd hours of the night in Keke NAPEP (motorized tricycle).

Other impactful activities the governor carried out include evacuation of refuse in many areas of the state capital including the famous refuse dumping site at Police AIG zone 10 (Marina area) in the state metropolis.

The Governor was at the state Orphanage home which operates for over 10 months without cash allocation, a situation which forced many orphans to engage in manual labour to survive

The home has been in shambles for years due to absence of social amenities.

Aliyu’s policies selective — PDP

However, the opposition PDP in the state has accused the Governor of being selective in his administrative policy, and judgemental on issues.

The party through its Publicity Secretary, Hassan Sahabi Sanyinnawal, accused the Governor of incompetence in handling the affairs of the state, especially on the dissolution of over 13 traditional rulers who were recently turbaned by his Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto, Dr Muhammad Saad Abubakar III.

The PDP also faulted the Governor on his refusal to pay the salaries of some political appointees of the immediate past administration despite being in office up to May 28.

According to PDP, Governor Ahmad Aliyu has disenfranchised civil servants in the state since he cancelled appointments of permanent secretaries and director generals made by the administration of former Governor Aminu Tambuwal.

“Many offices remain vacant and since the Governor made the pronouncement civil servants no longer have the passion to report to their offices for work. 

“How will people in statutory offices work when committees have taken over their schedules? A committee has taken over at the water board, another committee has also taken over the responsibilities of the state environmental protection agency,” PDP officials said.

Radda adopt a no-nonsense style in Katsina

In Katsina, Governor Malam Dikko Umaru Radda has been making efforts to lay a solid foundation and successfully implement his administration’s programmes.

In the last 30 days, the efforts of the former SMEDAN boss who is posing as a no-nonsense governor has been widely commended.

His first set of appointments, consisting of the Secretary to the State Government, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Principal Private Secretary and media aides have been applauded based on competence of the appointees.

The Governor’s media team, particularly, made up of the Director General Media, his Chief Press Secretary, and Senior Special Assistant on New Media have been adjudged to be outstanding. They have demonstrated professionalism and a complete departure from the old order as they unhesitatingly communicate to the press activities of the government promptly.

To discourage mediocrity and ensure effective public service delivery in the state, Governor Radda directed all permanent secretaries to sit for a competence aptitude test. 

 Similarly, on the recent call for the recruitment of more teachers and granting of permanent offers to teachers under the S-Power scheme, the Katsina new Governor has directed that the exercise should strictly be subjected to an aptitude test.

Security

As part of efforts to restore peace, protect lives and properties from the menace of terrorists in the state, Gov. Radda during a recent visit to the Chief of Naval Staff in Abuja disclosed that plans have been concluded for Katsina State to adopt a Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) modelled after that of Borno State. He requested the support of the military in training the proposed CJTF to ensure professionalism.

Radda also visited the National Institute for Security Studies with the objective of building security-centred synergies on how banditry and other kidnapping-related activities in Katsina State could be brought to an end.

The governor has also commenced moves to boost the state’s internally generated revenue and end total dependence on federal allocation. Governor Radda held an emergency meeting with all the revenue-generating agencies in the state where he explicitly expressed his firm determination to restructure the State’s Board of Internal Revenue for effective revenue generation. 

He said the initial targeted benchmark for the state’s IGR should be enough to cater for the salaries of the state workforce.

Kefas tampering with status quo in Taraba

The 30 days of Dr. Agbu Kefas as governor of Taraba, have witnessed a shift from status-quo in governance of the state. 

First among his long list of engagements was hosting the first ever youth, economic and security summit to galvanise support and inject new ideas to get the state working. The week-long event drew in experts and investors from across the country in what watchers of the state’s polity described as unprecedented. 

He has injected breathe of fresh air in the education sector. 

Gov Kefas has toured numerous primary and secondary schools within the state to ascertain their state and has also shut down those that are not conducive for learning. 

This singular act has increased his goodwill among citizens of the state and his actions have witnessed praises even from opposing parties. 

Added to this was the life he has injected into the state civil service, following his unscheduled visit to ministries, which has made absconding workers sit up to avoid being axed. 

Within the period under review, the governor has also engaged traditional rulers on the security situation in their respective domains which then necessitated the ban on mining activities across the state. 

Added to this was the tour of some LGAs in the state where he had direct engagement with the people with a view to noting their concerns and executing projects in order of priorities across the state. 

Eno demonstrating capacity, and ability in Akwa Ibom

Within four weeks in office the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno has demonstrated that he has the capacity and ability to pilot the affairs of the state and actualize his campaign promises.

On assumption of office on May 29, Eno embarked on a visit to Elders, political and religious stakeholders, youth groups, traders, and even churches and solicited their support for his administration.

The move has endeared the governor not only to some aggrieved members and stakeholders of his party the PDP but also many stakeholders and supporters of major opposition parties in the state.

 To actualize his A.R.I.S.E Agenda he knows that he must collaborate, and work with relevant stakeholders.

 A few days ago, he met with the leadership of the Akwa Ibom chapter of the National Association of Students with Disability where he set up a N100m Education Fund to encourage and support those of them in tertiary institutions in the state.

Within the same period, Governor Eno met with the Forum of Pioneer Retired Permanent Secretaries and set up a three-man committee to look into the lingering issue of harmonization of their pensions. The retired perm secs in turn assured him they will withdraw the court case they instituted against the state government.

Eno demonstrated commitment to keeping to his campaign promise that he would follow in his predecessor’s footsteps by ensuring that uncompleted projects he inherited from the immediate past administration were all completed when he visited some of those project sites penultimate week.

Also, in fulfillment of his campaign promise, last week, he flagged his first Road construction within the Uyo metropolis, the Ndiya Street and others around the popular Akpan Ndem Market.

When completed, Ndiya Street will have solar-powered streetlights, de-flooding drainages and pipe-borne water.

Eno’s recent meeting with stakeholders from some local government areas aggrieved over the new State Map aimed at dousing the tension that the issue has generated also demonstrates his capacity to sustain the peace being enjoyed in the state.

Corroborating this governor’s effort, a clergyman, Reverend Richard Peters of the African Church in the state, asserted: “In his quest to ensure peace and guarantee the growth, development, and progress of the state, Governor Eno is building bridges, creating synergy across partisan lines.”

On his part a chieftain of the PDP, Professor Emmanuel Onwioduokit, said: “One of the things that I praise him (gov Eno) for is his going into governance, and leaving politics behind. That visit he made to the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio’ is very significant. Also going to receive Akpabio at the Victor Attah Airport, when he came to Akwa Ibom is a very big statement.”

How Uba Sani fared in Kaduna

While assuming office Governor Uba Sani said he is prepared for governance and will cater to the welfare of Kaduna residents.

This was exemplified when the Governor ordered a full investigation into the alleged shooting in Sabon Gero community in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State by the men of the Kaduna Vigilance Service, KADVS, during a demolition exercise. 

It was reported that the KADVIS operatives who shot the citizens were trying to push back residents attempting to stop the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority, KASUPDA, from carrying out demolitions in the community.

According to the reports the operatives of the KASUPDA left 12 persons with gunshot injuries including women and children.

Governor Uba Sani, has ordered a full investigation into the shooting in Sabon Gero community, expressed deep concern about the incident, and directed the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the facts of the matter and ensure that justice was served.

This development has gone a long way in dousing tension and calming nerves, particularly in communities that had previously become apprehensive of the demolition exercise embarked upon by the previous administration. 

Governor Uba Sani had also met with the old students of Federal Government College (FGC), Kaduna, over the annexation of the school’s land by former Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s administration.

The old students, under the auspices of Unity Schools Old Students Association (USOSA) and Federal Government College Kaduna Old Students Association (FGCKADOSA), had staged a protest, at the College premises, calling on Governor Sani to restore the college’s landed property annexed by the El-Rufai’s government.

The Governor, after he personally met with the aggrieved, assured the old students that all work at the site would be halted until he personally visits the school to assess the situation, after which dialogue between the government and the stakeholders would continue.

The Governor has also constituted a high-powered Committee to probe the activities of the state government parastatals with a view to reviewing their performance.

The Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, will be the chairman of the committee, which would also be assessing the complete records of the heads of the parastatals to ascertain their qualifications and experiences.

Governor Uba Sani has said his administration has initiated dialogue with key stakeholders on the key challenges facing the state and the pathway to sustainable peace, progress, and development, vowing that peace must return to the troubled communities.

His government, he said, requires peace and stability to realize the administration’s vision.

While commending the security agencies and community leaders for the progress so far made in restoring peace to some of the troubled communities, he urged all to redouble their efforts to ensure that peace and stability return to virtually all communities in Kaduna State.

Report by Clifford Ndujihe, Egufe Yafugborhi, Peter Duru, Marie-Therese Nanlong, Chioma Onuegbu, Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo , Haruna Aliyu, Musa Ubandawaki, Ogalah Ibrahim & Femi Bolaji 

Vanguard Media Ltd

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