Governors, Predecessors In Supremacy Fight | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Governors, Predecessors In Supremacy Fight

Posted: Sep 2, 2016 at 4:00 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The desire of many outgoing governors is to ensure that their preferred candidates succeed them after leaving office. While it happens in some cases, the story sometimes turned out to be that of betrayal. It could be either the political godson betraying the godfather or the overbearing influence of the godfather making the godson to shun his benefactor and chart a new political identity for himself.  Since the takeover of new administration on May 29 last year, some state governors have been having disagreement with their predecessors and that is overheating the polity in the affected states.

Ortom vs Suswam

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue and his predecessor, Gabriel Suswam were both in Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) until when the former failed to get the support of the later in his desire to become the governor of the state. Ortom who was the minister of state for Trade and Investments enjoyed the support of Suswam for him to be appointed a minister representing the state.

It was the governorship ambition of Ortom, according to observers that finally nailed their relationship. Ortom who crossed to All Progressives Congress (APC) and got the governorship ticket of the party observers believe, continue to nurse the ill feeling against the former governor.  When he came to power, he began his administration with criticism of his predecessor. Initially, political observers thought it is the usual thing with Benue politics which would fizzle away with time.

Unfortunately, more than one year in power, the governor has not backpedalled in casting the former governor for causing the present economic woes confronting his administration.

Despite the ongoing trial of Suswam by the anti graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) the governor has used every available opportunity both at town hall meetings and church to lambast his predecessor. The situation has attracted a lot of reactions by organisations and Benue elders who claimed that the action is grinding the state to a halt.

A pressure group, under the aegis of Benue Youths for Good Governance, noted that Ortom has abandoned his role as a governor but concentrated his energies on trying to make Suswan bad.

The group in a press statement by its President, Francis Igba cited the recent protests by workers in all 23 local governments as pointer to the rejection of Ortom. The group however advised the governor to concentrate on his primary responsibility.

It said: “Governor Ortom needs to listen to the people and end his wild goose chase of Suswan because he is gradually loosing favour with the people that voted him, this is evident that everywhere you go there is lamentation and protests.

The group further described the panel  set up to probe the administration of past governor as a “dress rehearsal aimed at demonising Suswan, who had in time past had relations with the actors of the script including Ortom, but like ingrates have turned against their benefactor.

At a town hall meeting some months ago in Katsina-Ala an elder statesman, Abu King Shuluwa advised the governor to stop the lamentation and think of how to generate more revenue and move the state forward. He further stated that the tirade of criticisms against Suswam would not help his administration in any way.

Suswam on his part did not fail to get back at Ortom who did not stop at making him look like demon in the state. At a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders’ meeting recently in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, the former governor lamented at the poor condition of civil servants in the state.

He stated that the economic downturn began eight months to the end of his second tenure but he was able to pay over four months’ salaries during that period. He lambasted Ortom’s administration for his inability to pay salaries despite the federal allocations and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) accruing to the state every month.

“As the governor for eight years, I owed salaries for four months because the economy was not good at my last eight months and when I explained to my people, the APC told them I was lying and promised Benue people during campaign that they will be paying salaries on 25th of every month but from information I gathered, for the last six months, salaries have not been paid, even though monthly allocations have been coming with an IGR of over N1.5billion monthly. Can our people now differentiate?”

Ganduje vs Kwankwaso

What political observers find it difficult to fathom is how the political relationship between Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano State and Musa Kwankwaso his predecessor suddenly crashed few months after Ganduje took over power. The relationship between the two leaders started long ago. Apart from being the deputy governor for eight years, Ganduje was also with Kwankwaso as special adviser when Kwankwaso was Minister for Defence during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Independent’s investigation revealed that the relationship between Ganduje and Kwankwaso now a senator was so cordial at the inception of the new administration to the extent that any time the governor visits Abuja, he goes directly to the Senator’s residence to greet him.  He didn’t stop at this, he some time takes Kano state government officials to accompany him to Abuja for Sallah homage to the senator.

Governor Ganduje sometimes ago when he hosted members of state House of Assembly revealed that his former boss insulted him and his parents because he believed that the government has not met his expectations. According to him, Kwankwaso started abusing him and his parents when he accompanied him to his car, accusing him of not continuing his legacies of free education, foreign trips and others.

Ganduje further hinted that Kwankwaso had previously stated that he would not involve himself with the running of the state’s affairs, but promised that if the government fails, he would come back and change the government.

He said, “That statement didn’t go down well with the present deputy governor, Professor Hafiz Abubakar that prompted him to query such unnecessary remarks.”

Governor Ganduje, who alleged that some of the projects done by the former governor were dubious, added that he defrauded the people of the state.

He further hinted that if he should expose the manner his former boss handled the resources of the state, it would shock Kano indigenes. He pleaded with the people of Kano and party’s supporters to continue to pray for his government to succeed as that is the only way to turn around the fortunes of the state.

However a member representing Bichi Federal Constituency of Kano State in the House of Representatives, Ahmed Garba Bichi, promised some months ago that the feud between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and his predecessor, Senator Rabi’u Kwankwaso, would soon be over.

Bichi maintained that the APC and other party chieftains were currently working to reconcile the camps of the feuding politicians.

However, recently event may have proved Bichi wrong. Last month, a mass wedding organised by Kwankwasiyya political organisation of Kwankwaso was aborted in Kano by the police.

The police action was alleged to have the backing of the governor. Members of the state assembly also banned Kwankwasiyya movement in the state.

In his reaction to the alleged feud between the two leaders, a former member of House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed denied knowledge of any feud between the governor and his predecessor. Both the governor and his predecessor and my friends and none of them have told me they have misunderstanding. You know the media can mislead the people.”

Ambode vs Fashola

Though the Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has denied any feud between Akinwunmi Ambode  and Babatunde  Fashola former governor of Lagos State, all seems not well between the governor and his predecessor.  Neither Fashola nor his supporters believe the alleged scandal that greeted the former administration on the website contract did not has a link with the governor’s supporters aimed at denting his image.

Few months after Fashola left office last year,   analytic firm, BudgIT, revealed that Mr. Fashola approved, before he left office, a contract of N78.3 million from the state treasury for an upgrade of his personal website.  But the contractor explained that what was approved for the contract was only N12m. The story generated a lot of interest with some people especially members of opposition PDP calling EFCC to investigate the matter. Observers believe all was part of the attempt to frustrate the appointment of Fashola as minister in Buhari’s cabinet.

Despite several denial of feud between the two leaders, observers have expressed concern that Ambode has rarely make reference to Fashola’s achievement as former governor.  At the first town hall meeting held in Lagos West last year, Ambode disclosed to the people that his administration is reducing the cost of governance by N3b. The disclosure at a town hall meeting observers believe is an indirect indictment of Fashola’s administration.

The frosty relationship between Ambode and Fashola analysts believe may not be unconnected with the circumstance that led to the retirement of the former from the state civil service some years ago.

Lalong vs Jang

The first assignment when Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State took over was to set up a judicial commission of inquiry to probe his immediate predecessor, Jonah Jang. The decision to set up the commission follows allegations that billions of naira was looted from the State from May 29, 2007 to May 29, 2015.

The six-person Commission of Inquiry had Justice Stephen Adah of the Federal Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, as its Chairman. Sani Mavo, the Permanent Secretary of the Plateau State Ministry of Finance, will serve as Secretary.  Since that time, it has been accusation and counter accusation between the governor and the former governor over the financial position of the state. Both has been criticising each other’s administration.
Lalong on his part has not failed to lash at his predecessor for his financial recklessness that has brought the state on its knee financially. However, Jang has not failed to hit the governor for some of his policies that are against the people especially the recent grazing reserve policy. Jang, a senator representing Plateau North senatorial zone, has described the grazing reserves/ranching policy of Governor Simon Lalong as an attempt to sell off the birthright of the people of Plateau State.

“One is taken aback that the chief executive officer of a state does not even know what is in the best interest of his state but is only concerned about the financial inducement attached to a policy that has the potential to wreck a deadly blow on his people.

“Instead of the Lalong administration to concentrate on delivering the goods that he was voted into office for, he is busy expending energy on accusing Jang for his non-performance and ill-preparation for governance.

“One question that comes to mind is whether the Lalong government is blind to the fact that those who have rejected the policy are not a single tribe as the Governor alluded to in his remarks at the Villa.”

Wike vs Amaechi

In what appears to be a dramatic u-turn, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers and his predecessor, Chibuike Amaechi agreed to sheathe their sword and allow peace to reign in the state especially as the rerun elections in the state draw closer.

Wike explained that he agreed to enter a peace accord with his predecessor and ‘sworn enemy’, Rotimi Amaechi in the interest of the Rivers people.

Wike assured of his resolve to honour the resolutions of peace deal brokered by the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and the Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS), Alh. Musa Daura.

The Governor stated this while speaking to members of the Democratic Party (PDP) at a rally in the Degema area of the state.

How did Rivers State get to this boiling point?  Both Wike and Amaechi interestingly were political friends to the extent that Wike stood with him solidly during the period he was denied the governorship ticket of PDP in 2007. But some irreconcilable differences made the two of them to part ways.  How the peace accord would translate into peace during the coming rerun elections is the expectation of many Rivers indigenes who have witnessed a lot of blood bath in the state  occasioned by clashes by their supporters.