Posted by By Obong Akpaekong on
One year appears too short a time to assess the building of new democratic structure for Nigeria as many of the nations 36 states are still grappling with problems brought about by years of military rule and lack of adequate knowledge of Nigerias 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.
In Akwa Ibom State, the reactivation of Plasto Crown Industry was Governor Victor Attahs 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. Attahs housing programme which, is in consonance with Shelter Afrique, a United Nations agency, is also taking off.
Attahs 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 states 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 assemblys 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 Odua 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 unreconciled.
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, Egwus declaration of free primary and secondary education in the state resulted in population explosion in schools. To have adequate teachers, he converted the states 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 promises.
Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State also placed emphasis on education and sports. He renamed the states 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 wifes 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 weeks 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 states 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 assemblys 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 states 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 nations 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 Muazus 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 states 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 Iboris PDP government as excellent.
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. Dukes 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 Audus 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 governors and chief judges 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 States 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.