State Of The States

Posted by By Obong Akpaekong on 11/21/2001 9:47:35 PM | Views: |

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State Of The States

One year appears too short a time to assess the building of new democratic
structure for Nigeria as many of the nation’s 36 states are still
grappling with problems brought about by years of military rule and lack
of adequate knowledge of Nigeria’s presidential system of government.
Some of the states are locked in such leadership problems as disagreements
between governors and their deputies or between the executive and the
legislature. Quarrels among members of the executive councils, members
of the ruling party in the states and in some cases religious and communal
crises have also prevented some governors from making good on the promises
they made to the electorate.

Many of the state governors therefore, concentrated their efforts on
rehabilitation of ailing industries and roads as well as on education,
agriculture, sports and poverty alleviation.

Akwa Ibom

In Akwa Ibom State, the reactivation of Plasto Crown Industry was Governor
Victor Attah’s most laudable achievement. The company, which produces
plastic containers and corks was abandoned by preceeding state administrations
for many years. Attah brought it back to life. Apart from yielding revenue,
the industry has provided jobs for the people.

In the education sector, he has also been scored high. He restored bursary
awards to students and assisted parents in the payment of examination
fees for secondary schools. He is also commended for paying workers’
salaries promptly while the housing and environment ministry he has created,
is making progress on reducing environmental degradation in the state.
Attah’s housing programme which, is in consonance with Shelter Afrique,
a United Nations agency, is also taking off.

Attah’s critics are worried that, in particular, roads in the state
were not his priority during the first year in office.


Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State appears to be the most celebrated in terms
of roads rehabilitation. Roads his government has rehabilitated include
Umule, Ohaanku and Ohohia, all in Aba, the state’s commercial nerve
centre. The roads were said to have been in very bad shape and almost
impassable for years. He also sunk six boreholes in each of the 17 local
government areas of the state. He is waging a war against corruption and
has revoked titles to government land illegally acquired by some people.
Kalu, is himself a very controversial governor. He has been embroiled
in certificates racket and is accused of running the state as a business
empire. He has also been having a running battle with Enyinnaya Abaribe,
his deputy. The fight led to the state house of assembly’s unsuccessful
attempts to impeach Abaribe three weeks ago. The house failed to get a
two third majority. Kalu said two weeks ago that the matter is now over.
“We have settled the matter,” he declared.


Bola Tinubu performed creditably in road works in Lagos, having rehabilitated
475 roads in 16 local governments of the state. He is also credited with
the clearing of 238 kilometres of drains in 234 locations in the state
and has been commended for creating lots of job for the people. Tinubu
also appears to be winning the battle against refuse as his waste disposal
scheme is leaving the city of Lagos cleaner.

But try as he had, he has not been able to give criminals in the state
good fight. Even the negative activities of O’dua People's Congress,
OPC, have not been tackled. Early in his tenure, Tinubu was pre-occupied
by a certificate scandal. He fell out with Kofowora Bucknor-Akerele, his
deputy soon after they were sworn-in. And despite pretences, the two remain


Anambra State governor, Chinwoke Mbadinuju pursued water projects and
education during the period. His administration was almost derailed at
inception following a stormy working relationship with Chinedu Emeka,
his deputy. His strongest point has been in the education sector with
the establishment of Anambra State University in Nsugbe. He has also constructed
some roads. But among the most disturbing issues he has failed to address
are crime and the erosion menace.


Although Achike Udenwa of Imo State has been criticised for slow pace
of implementation of programmes, he has succeeded in paying the salaries
arrears of workers and clearing a N10 million debt he inherited from his
predecessors. He has tackled road projects such as the Agwu-Ohaji-Egbema
road. The road links the agricultural areas and the ADAPALM, an agricultural
project, with the rest of the state. He also took on a federal road, Orlu-Akokwa
road, abandoned after the civil war.


In Enugu, Chimaroke Nnamani, is credited with improving roads, rural
and urban water supply, health care and education. He built a cottage
hospital, supplied computers to schools. His executive council has, however,
not been united. Few weeks ago, Ugochukwu Agballa, his commissioner for
commerce and industry resigned his appointment. Agballa described Nnamani
as incompetent, saying that Onyemuche Nnamani, the secretary to the state
government, was the one taking decisions for the governor. Ifeanyi Chukwu
Nwobodo, son of Jim Nwobodo, also resigned his appointment as commissioner
for science and technology. Nnamani is popular with the masses, but has
many political critics. Jim Nwobodo, a senator, is one of them.


Ebonyi is one of the youngest and most underdeveloped of the south-east
states. Its governor, Sam Egwu is given kudos for improving education
in the state. A former university teacher, Egwu’s declaration of
free primary and secondary education in the state resulted in population
explosion in schools. To have adequate teachers, he converted the state’s
college of agriculture to a college of education. Egwu has also turned
the Enugu State University of Technology, ESUT, Abakaliki campus to a
full university. Unfortunately, he is yet to make any mark in roads, electricity
and potable water supply which were among his main electioneering campaign


Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State also placed emphasis on education and sports.
He renamed the state’s university in Ekpoma after Ambrose Alli, late
first civilian governor of the then Bendel State, built a 50-bedroom hostel
in the school and renovated the Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin. His return
of public schools to missions generated some controversy. School fees
rose. His dredging of Igboba river with N600 million was widely criticised.
Through his wife’s Renaissance Centre project, Igbinedion has also
battled prostitution in the state. The project is said to be rehabilitating
Edo girls deported from Italy, where they were practising prostitution.


In Benue State, George Akume made notable strides in rural development,
water projects and agriculture. He is currently neck deep in the fight
to save Benue Cement Company, BCC, from the Dangote Group which was chosen
as the core investor by the National Council on Privatisation, NCP. Upsurge
in crime in the state is however, a minus for Akume. Early last month,
the state house of assembly passed a vote of no confidence on the police
in the state for their inability to reduce the rate of crime.


Bonie Haruna in Adamawa State battled uncompleted projects. They include
the state house of assembly, the state secretariat, and an “international”
supermarket. He re-organised the state media houses to enhance their performance.
But his approach to the housing of civil servants came under fire. Under
the system, referred to as “Warehousing” or “organogram,”
the workers were pooled in one place and placed on half of their salary,
while they looked elsewhere for their day-to-day earnings.


In Plateau State, government seemed to have concentrated on poverty
alleviation, road construction, health care delivery, as well as food
production. Part of the efforts was the purchase of and distribution of
fertilisers to farmers in the state. Samuel Para, the state information
commissioner explained that government decided to go into bulk purchase
of the commodity to alleviate the suffering of farmers and to ensure bumper
harvest. Many believe Governor Joshua Dariye is doing a good job here
because cheap supply of food in the state would enhance the living condition
of the people. He has built hospitals in each of the senatorial districts.
His road projects include Bokkos-Barkin; Riyor Tahoss and Zarmko-Madubi.


Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi of Kaduna State scored high in the area of rural
infrastructure. Koro youth association, which commented recently on his
efforts said: “This is the first time in the history of the state
when people of the rural areas have felt the impact of government directly.”
But he is one of those governors distracted by the Sharia problem. Clashes
in Kaduna State between Muslims and Christians over Sharia have claimed
many lives. Last week’s fight over creation of new emirate left property
destroyed and many lives lost.


Governor Yerima Sani of Zamfara State is known more for the Sharia laws
he introduced in the state than for any other thing. Discussion on him
and Sharia always recalled the case of Baba Bello Jangedi, who became
the first person to be amputated for stealing in the new dispensation.
Many southern traders and businessmen and women have since left the state
for fear of falling victim of Sharia. Last month, he sacked two commissioners,
seven permanent secretaries and scrapped two ministries.


Abdullahi Kure, of Niger State is also in the class of apostles of Sharia.
He is more popular for the banning of liquor in the state’s major
towns, namely Minna, Bida, Suleja, Kontogora, Lapai, Agarie, Kagara, New-Bussa
and Mokwa. Offenders of the law could pay up to N1 million fine. Lara
John, its first victim will be spending three months in jail for selling
burukutu, a local beer.


The legislator and executive in Yobe State have been at loggerheads
over Sharia, alleged inflation of contract and the sourcing of foreign
loan by the executive without the assembly’s approval. Recently,
the legislature threatened to dissolve the executive council. The disagreement
spanned quite some months. Only last week, Mohammed Lawan, attorney-general
and commissioner for justice, said in Damaturu that the state was committed
to implementing Sharia and that the legislature had, contrary to its claims,
no constitutional rights to dissolve the executive.


In Kwara, Mohammed Lawal, a retired rear admiral, is facing the challenge
of reviving the state’s collapsed industries. Only two weeks ago,
Lawal set up some eight committees to look into the possibility of bringing
back the dead industries


In Osun State, Adebisi Akande, is battling an unfriendly work force.
He is also bogged down by the 150-year old Ife-Modakeke fratricidal crisis.
It does appear that his efforts to move the state forward in other areas
will always be drowned by his inability to nip the nation’s most
disturbing communal crisis in the bud. The governor, however, implemented
the free education and free medical care programme of his party in the
state. He also improved the state of water supply in the state.


Education was Governor Ahmadu Mu’azu’s topmost priority when
he took over May 29 last year. It is said that only seven indigenes of
the state gained admission into university that year. He intensified efforts
to get pupils registered in schools, as well as recruit teachers for them.
There has been a sharp increase in enrolment in Bauchi primary and secondary
schools. He has equally improved healthcare in the state. He recruited
doctors and nurses for the state’s specialist hospital. He also rehabilitated
state's industries like Alind Industries, the Fertiliser Blending plant
and the Arewa Ceramics.


Governor Abubakar Hashidu of Gombe State will be credited for his efforts
to repair roads and boost food production in the state. He has also tried
to rehabilitate abandoned water projects. He established industrial estates
in the state. His state is one of the most peaceful in the northern part
of Nigeria.


In Rivers State, Governor Peter Odili, will be credited for his efforts
in education, transport, power generation, housing and crisis management.
He renovated many schools, mostly in Port Harcourt. He extended free medical
services to school children from six years down and persons over 65 years.
He provided school buses and train services, for civil servants. His peace
initiative yielded fruits with the return of peace mostly between the
Choba and Wilbros people as well as the Eleme and Okirika people. But
he is widely criticised for not making good his campaign promise to build
1000 housing units within his 100 days in office. That project has indeed
not started.


Adamu Abdullahi of Nasarawa State is presiding over a relatively rural
state. In the last one year, he has concentrated on the provision of roads
and potable water particularly in Lafia. He is credited with 11 water
projects. Abdullahi has also built several schools including six science
schools and some boys’ and girls’ schools. His government provides
exercise books for pupils.


James Ibori of Delta State has made some laudable efforts in the area
of road rehabilitation and provision of water. A few weeks ago, he commissioned
13 new roads and three water schemes. He has also succeeded in dousing
the force of hatred in the state. Gamaliel Onosode, an APP chieftain,
recently described the performance of Ibori’s PDP government as “excellent.”

Cross River

Donald Duke has put much of his energy in his poverty alleviation scheme.
He has also boosted agriculture and electricity. His pineapple project
has brought in agricultural experts into the state. He has resuscitated
government plantations in Obubra. Duke’s involvement in the Obong
of Calabar tussle and border dispute with Akwa Ibom over the claim of
new communities for Bakassi has been widely criticised, however.


Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State will be credited for his efforts to give
potable water to the people. He has also scored high points in the maintenance
of peace in the state. Early in his tenure, retaliatory attacks in response
to the crisis in Shagamu, Ogun State was quickly resolved and the state
has remained largely peaceful. However, the debate over Sharia may yet
upset the applecart .


In Katsina, Governor Musa Yar’ Adua concentrated on water, electricity
generation and rehabilitation of roads. He also tried to instil the spirit
of accountability in the workforce. But he is facing the challenge of
threats from drought and desertification.


In Oyo State, Lam Adesina implemented his electioneering campaign promises
of free education, free health care and greater employment. Over two million
exercise books were delivered free to schools. Government employed 10,000
teachers. He also rehabilitated water schemes including that of Igbeti-Igboho-Amodu
and roads like the Saki-Ogbooro-Igboko Road.


Abubakar Audu’s most noted and complimented action in Kogi State
is in the education sector. He established Kogi State University, but
has also done well in the area of agriculture. He built the occupier-owner
housing project at Ayangba which has boosted the accommodation of civil
servants. His attempts at rural electricity supply, which was among his
priority during the elections campaign, has not paid off well . The project
that he commissioned packed up few days later. His promise to acquire
Ajaokuta Steel Mill has also not materialised.


Taraba is very rural and very backward. But Governor Jolly Nyame has
tried to improve the quality of life of the people with better rural roads,
improved water supply and a boost to agriculture.


Governor Mala Kachalla concentrated his efforts on the provision of
water for household use and agriculture. To this end, he revived the Alau
dam. He also fought (though not successfully), criminals invading the
state from neighbouring Chad Republic. His rural transformation campaign
promise is indeed yet to take off.


In Bayelsa, Deprieye Alamieyeseigha worked to improve the education
sector. Among other achievements, he established the Niger Delta University.
He also put up fight against violent youths who were always fighting oil
companies and their installations.


In Ekiti State, Governor Adeniyi Adebayo concentrated on infrastructural
development; housing projects, road construction and education. He has
built hostels for Ekiti State university. He points readily to refurbished
agriculture and natural resources building (it was damaged by fire), the
deputy governor’s and chief judge’s houses. He has also started
work on six major roads in the state. They include Otunikan Diary farm,
Idi-Osi-Igede; Ikena –Ogbese-Ise, Iwokoro-Igbemo; Ijero-Ipoti Ayetoro
and Iluomoba –Ijesa-Isu-Ikole. Adebayo also spent a lot of time fighting
corruption. He is still trying to recover money said to have been looted
by past military administrators of the state. He however complained about
huge workers wage bills. His PDP critics say life has not improved for
the ordinary citizens of the state since he assumed office May 29, 1999


Like most AD governors of the south west zone, Governor Ade Adeferati
of Ondo State did very well in the education and health sectors in his
first year in office. He gave bursary awards to Ondo State’s estimated
60,000 students in higher institutions and N50,000 to each student of
the state in the Nigerian Law School. Since last February, all 18 year-olds
and below received free medical care in the state. He has also bettered
the lot of teachers. Seven principals were appointed permanent secretaries.
His handlings of the Olowo chieftaincy issue and the relocation of Ondo
State University to Akingbola-Akoko, his home town have been criticised
by the people. They say Adefarati needs to do more on employment, water
resources, agriculture and industries.


Attahiru Bafarawa, governor of Sokoto is another apostle of Sharia.
He started the implementation of the Muslim law after spending a long
time pondering how to go about it. Sokoto State was embroiled in Sharia
influence when students of Othman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, took to
the streets. Bafarawa has tried to rehabilitate some schools in the state.
He has also made efforts to improve water supply in the state.


In Jigawa, Ibrahim Turaki paid attention more to agriculture than any
other sector. His state is mostly agrarian. For his sugarcane project,
he procured high yielding disease resistant sugar-cane for the rural farmers,
to plant. The project has been very successful. The idea is to use sugarcane
to generate electricity for the state. Families are also said to be likely
to harvest N250,000 worth of sugar cane each year. He also focused on
education. He is preparing to import teachers from India and China to
boost education in the state.


In Kebbi State, Governor Adamu Aleru concentrated his efforts on agriculture.
He also rehabilitated some rural roads. His people, however, say that
the administration should equally have used the period to tackle water
problems in the state.


Segun Osoba of Ogun State committed the state resources toward improving
the educational and health services in the state. He also fought against
corruption. He was bent on recovering money allegedly looted by past military
administrators of the state. Osoba, who described his people as victims
of war, also spent time healing “the wounds of June 12.”

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