BY EMEKA MAMAH, Deputy News Editor
…Decries disloyalty of inherited commissioners
ORDINARILY, three months from the time a political figure takes his or her oath of office is regarded as a learning period. In media parlance, this is the period when newly sworn-in office holders are allowed to make mistakes and make amends until they master the ropes.
In the case of the new governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Mukhter Ramalan Yero, he is not new to government as he had been the deputy governor since April 2010, when his immediate late predecessor, IbrahimYakowa took over the reins of power, following the appointment of the then governor, Architect Namadi Mohammed Sambo as Vice President.
Namadi’s elevation to the number two position was also as a result of the death of the former President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua, which led to then Vice President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan becoming the new helmsman.
Yero was finance commissioner before he became Yakowa’s deputy. As deputy governor, Yero was supposed to be there to fulfil the constitutional provisions which stipulate that the president and the governors must appoint running mates to qualify to run for their elections. Aside from fulfilling such conditions, most deputy governors literally see hell in the hands of their principals as they are usually marginalised in the scheme of things.
It was therefore not surprising when Yero, in his first major assignment which was to preside over the valedictory session for his boss, late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa expressed disappointment with the behaviour of the commissioners he inherited from Yakowa. According to him, most of the commissioners never showed respect for his office when Yakowa held sway at Kashim Ibrahim House, the seat of power in the state.
He said some of the commissioners and civil servants went to late Yakowa to blackmail him and thanked God that he was able to iron out his differences with his former boss before his tragic death in the Naval helicopter crash in Bayelsa State, two weeks ago.
Some people who read Yero’s outbursts praised him for speaking out his mind, while others believed that he said the right thing at the wrong place. According to Richard Jonah, Governor Yero should not have let his emotion overtake him on a solemn day like that; especially being his first major assignment, as anything he does would be interpreted along the line of vindictiveness.
However, Yero performed better on the day of Yakowa’s burial as his speech was more statesmanly. Naming the N6billion Forth Bridge after Yakowa, Yero recalled that the former governor had endeared himself to the people after his inauguration as the first Christian to govern the state in April 2010, when he told the world that he would not be governor for Christians alone but for all and sundry.
He noted that Yakowa’s ‘’declaration in this respect manifested in his subsequent policies and programmes thereby earning him the acronym Yakowa Nakowa,’’ as his vision was anchored on three cardinal thrusts of security, unity and developing the state.
’’My dear fellow citizens, we are gathered at this solemn occasion to mourn the demise of a great Nigerian. You will recall that in April, 2011 the electorate in Kaduna State voted overwhelmingly for Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and my humble self to steer the affairs of Kaduna State from 29th May, 2011 to 29th May 2015.”
Yero who eulogised the former governor because of his doggedness to unite and develop the state adding that Yakowa pursued ‘’these broad objectives with single minded determination,’’ even as he stressed that ‘’the fruits of his labour had started manifesting before the cold hands of death took his life, in the most tragic manner, the reality of which I am yet to come to terms with.’’
He further said, ‘’My late boss, Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, exhibited uncommon leadership qualities. He was an embodiment of patience, simplicity, patriotism, peace, commitment to duty, thoroughness, honesty, nationalism, team player, experience in public service and a host of other sterling qualities that time and space will not permit me to mention.
’’During my inauguration on Sunday, December 16, 2012, I indicated my commitment to uphold the cardinal objectives and legacies of my late boss, our departed Governor. I wish to reiterate that I will continue with projects and programmes started by my predecessor across the state as they were all conceived after very careful consideration and in order to keep alive his aspiration of improving the quality of live of the citizenry.
’’It is pertinent for me to declare in unequivocal terms that I will be governor for all and sundry irrespective of religion, ethnicity or geo-political consideration. My constituency is Kaduna State in its entirety. Nobody will be discriminated on the basis of his faith or tribe. On the contrary, each and every citizen will be treated on his or her own merit. Let me in particular, assure the Christian community in the state that my government will do everything possible to protect their rights and privileges as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.
“The wisdom I tapped from my predecessor with regards to his sense of fairness, justice and equity will be fully utilized in the conduct of my official and even private businesses. My doors will be open for constructive criticism and initiatives on how to move the State forward in all spheres of its life. Painful as the demise of my boss is, I am consoled by the fact that we had opportunity to reconcile our differences on a number of issues, some of which were personal, before he passed on. ”
I am further consoled by his unprecedented achievements some of which include but not limited to unity, to which he approved the payment of N401.2million as assistance to the victims the 2011 election crises, road projects worth about N41.8 billion, health facilities worth over N3billion, improvements in the education sector including scholarship for undergraduates; transport sector, completion of 32 rural electrification projects within the last one and a half years and other strides in the agricultural sector among others.
He further noted that Yakowa’s contributions to peaceful co-existence made the Izalatu Islamic sect to cancel its annual conference in Kaduna just as the former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, the Congress for Progressive Change, Presidential Candidate in the April, 2011 election cancelled his birthday lecture in his honour.