State Governors On The Spotlight | Independent Newspapers Limited
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State Governors On The Spotlight

Posted: Jun 5, 2016 at 3:31 am   /   by   /   comments (0)





A week ago, some state governors across the country, rolled out the drums in celebration of their first year in office. Though many of them could not showcase enough achievements since they assumed office a year ago due to the present economic situation, which has reduced both revenues from federation account and internally generated ones, some governors were parted on the back for their achievements in the first year of administration. Lagos State, under Akinwunmi Ambode has made remarkable achievements despite initial challenges that confronted the administration last year. The first six months of the administration was strategic as it used the period to constitute the cabinet and restructure some government agencies and departments. Many Lagosians who expressed anxiety over the initial challenges of the government by its delay to appoint members of the state executive, and implementation of campaign promises had a change of mind when the governor swung into action. Realising the importance of security to the mega city status of Lagos, the governor donated security equipment worth N4.756 billion to the state’s Police Command.

The equipment included three helicopters, two gunboats, 15 armed personnel carriers (APCs), 100 salon cars, 55 Ford Ranger Pick-ups, 10 Toyota Land Cruiser Pick-ups, 15 BMW power bikes and 100 power bikes among others. This intervention, which was the first of its kind in the history of Nigeria, became imperative because the Federal Government could no longer fund the Nigeria Police effectively. The governor’s donation by official statistics showed the reduction of crime rate in the state by 65 per cent in the last quarter of 2015, with Ambode saying, Lagos “is a lot safer and more secured.”

Apart from donating security gazettes, the governor’s ”Light Up Lagos Project” was designed to bring the beauty of the city at night and also reduce crime. The governor introduced the project with the belief that crime thrives best in darkness. Consequently, the State Electricity Board rehabilitated public street lighting in 366 locations covering a stretch of 600km of roads.

During the electioneering, Ambode promised to construct two roads in each of the 20 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas to mark his first anniversary in office. In this spirit, he inaugurated the construction of 114 roads at the cost of N17.5 billion. The projects are now at different stages of completion across the local councils and many of them have even been commissioned.

The administration rehabilitated about 500 major roads which, Ambode said, largely unlocked intractable gridlocks that almost crippled the state’s economic activities in his first three months in office. His government has also started constructing fly-overs in two of the state’s high traffic zones namely, Ajah roundabout and Abule-Egba junction in the Lagos Central and West Senatorial Districts respectively.

In addition, Ambode initiated different mega projects, which he said, would be executed under the public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement. Some of these projects include Fourth Mainland Bridge, Marina-Ikoyi-Lekki Monorail, Oshodi Transport Interchange, Lagos Medical Park and 8-lane Ikorodu-Epe road. Even though the state is faced with scarce resources, the governor said he was resolute in his commitment “to serve and justify the trust Lagos residents reposed in me.”

Commenting on the achievement of Ambode’s first year in office, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, founder of O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC) commended Ambode for his giant strides within the first year of his administration. He said, “He is out to serve the people; he identifies the need of the people and goes out to solve such needs. If we have six of Ambode out of 36 state governors, Nigerians would be smiling.”

Similarly, Olorunfunmi Basorun, a chieftain of All Progressives Congress( APC) in Lagos State has said that the construction of  114 roads by the governor across the state within the first year of his administration is a great achievement for the governor. However, the Lagos State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has claimed that Ambode’s achievement in the past one year is not in tandem with the resources that have accrued to the state within the same period.

In Delta State, the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa which promised to create jobs and end poverty has not failed to keep its promise to the people. The governor’s development blueprint is encapsulated under the Strategic Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-Bond (SMART) Agenda.

Okowa revealed that his government within the period created 17,173 jobs which include 6,800 direct jobs and 10,373 indirect jobs of both skilled and unskilled workers. As a special purpose vehicle, the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer accounted for 7,522 of these jobs, while the remaining 9,651 were created through projects, programmes and initiatives implemented by the various MDAs with 66 per cent of the beneficiaries being females.

Within the period, the administration of Okowa awarded 34 roads across the three senatorial zones. Other achievements of the governor within the first one year include the mandatory contributory Health Insurance bill which was passed and signed into law. The inauguration of the Delta State Contributory Health Commission on May 4, 2016, makes Delta the first state in the country to have a mandatory health insurance scheme for the purpose of universal healthcare coverage. A law establishing the state commission on HIV/AIDS bill was brought on stream under him while more executive bills have been sent to the State House of Assembly. Several hospital projects are ongoing with the Abavo Cottage Hospital ready for service. In August 2015, the state government inaugurated a 41-member Delta State Peace Building and Advisory Council.

When Samuel Ortom became governor of Benue State a year ago, he said the vision of the state has not been fulfilled and promised to ensure the state reached its full potential. However, one year later, it has been a mixed grill of unfulfilled promises and plans. Since its inauguration, the government has been bedeviled with problems of funds. Workers in the state have not been paid for about five months despite huge borrowings by the government. The take-off of infrastructural development has been slow, while the private sector development is almost non-existent. Despite the challenge, the governor within the first year in office has awarded contract for the construction of some roads in the state, while the state school of nursing is undergoing renovation in preparation for its accreditation.

In Kano State, Govenor Abdullahi Ganduje has made some modest achievements despite political crisis between the governor and his predecessor, Senator Musa Kwankwaso. Ganduje’s one year in office has witnessed innovation of new projects like construction of Madobi underpass road, construction of schools and other metropolitan roads. He also directed contractors handling the construction of five kilometre roads across the state’s 44 local government areas to return to the various sites and ensure completion of the projects within a short time.

But the recent revelation by Abubakar Bello, governor of Niger State that he can no longer pay workers salaries has painted the gloomy financial position of some states across the country. As many state governors are celebrating their first anniversary in office, many of them owe workers salaries between three to six months thereby increasing misery and poverty of workers.