By Luka Binniyat
Governor Mukthar Yero had promised to sustain the pursuit of peace and security inherited from his predecessor, the late Ibrahim Yakowa. So far he has remained on that course.
By some irony of fate Kaduna State has had three governors in as many years through the accident of death. The incumbent, Mukthar Yero took over last December upon the death of the then governor, Sir Ibrahim Yakowa who himself took over after the death of President Umaru Yar`adua elevated the then governor, Arc. Namadi Sambo to the position of vice-president.
Governor Yero has pledged to sustain what many saw as the veritable legacy of his predecessor, which was essentially peace and security in one of the country’s most volatile states. Beyond peace and security, the governor has also promised to sustain the development projects inherited from Yakowa.
While many agree that he is talking that, it is nevertheless the belief of nearly all that he is also looking way back to the time of then Governor Sambo for an anchor.
It is as such not surprising that at mid term that an assessment of Yero’s legacy would be set under the shadow of his predecessors.
From May 29th, 2011 to December 10th, 2012 when he died, Yakowa’s major pre-occupation was peace and security, after series of bombings allegedly instigated by the Boko Haram terrorist group and the spate of killings in the Southern section of the state arising from alleged killings by Fulani herdsmen which led to reprisals.
Sustaining the peace
It was as such not surprising that the state’s treasury was heavily affected as resources otherwise meant for development were channeled towards sustaining the peace. Yakowa was dogged in his quest for the phantom unity he sought, holding elaborate meetings with stakeholders, making appeals to youths, setting up all kinds of reconciliatory confabs and even endorsed a White Paper on the Post Election Violence that provided compensation for victims.
Remarkably, despite the distractions, the Yakowa government still made some efforts in infrastructure development. He was able to resurrect the multi-billion Naira Zaria Water Works project which he met at about 15% stage of completion, after about 10 years and left it at about 75% completion.
Yakowa initiated and constructed the N6.9 billion Yakowa Road and the 3rd Kaduna bridge under a record period of 16 months. He also awarded contracts worth N25 billion for 32 roads within urban and rural areas. The administration also invested heavily in the health and educational sectors, albeit with little success arising from the security challenges.
The late governor’s simplicity, humility and magnanimity of spirit gave him a father-figure, as his charisma cast a benign hue over the state. His presence as an unbiased governor was a moderating influence to the extreme differences shared in the state.
Governor Yero who succeeded him last December is obviously determined to sustain the Yakowa legacy. “His Excellency has promised to carry on the legacy of the late Sir Ibrahim Yakowa”, Alhaji Ahmed Maiyaki, Director General, Media and Publicity to the Governor explained. “He has gone round the three Senatorial districts and held meetings with stakeholders for peace and unity” he said.
He has continued with the elaborate empowerment schemes of Yakowa, distributing buses and tricylces to the unemployed under the SURE- P scheme.
The most vocal opposition party in the state, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), however, flays the Yero administration as betraying its Yakowa roots saying that the governor has rather gone further to draw inspiration from Sambo.
The Chairman of the Kaduna State Chapter of the ACN, Bar. Mohammed Musa Soba said: “In the last 100 days, the Yero administration has not done enough to convince the populace that it is indeed a continuation of the Yakowa administration. Instead, the Yero administration has so far proved to be an off-shoot of the Namadi Administration that was well known for its exclusivism, suspicious implementation of projects that have no direct bearing on the lives of the citizens of Kaduna State such as the new Governor’s Office that gulped over N10 billion,” he said among other allegations of sleaze.
“The Yero administration must as a matter of urgency free itself from the firm grip of political god-fathers that have a known history of non-performance and penchant for illegal accumulation of wealth and set out a comprehensive road-map for the attainment of peace, unity and development in Kaduna State as conceptualized by late Patrick Yakowa as an enduring legacy of good service delivery that would obliterate the negative impression of political tutelage and blind navigation created by the administration”.