September 7, 2019

100 DAYS IN OFFICE: Controversies, kudos, knocks greet Buhari, govs

Buhari, wife depart Abuja after handing over to Tinubu

Muhammadu Buhari

By Clifford Ndujihe

IT appears so short but today is 100 days in office for President Muhammadu Buhari and 29 of the 36 state governors, who were sworn-in into office on May 29, 2019 for first or second term.Buhari, pilgrimage, Christian

In essence, for President Buhari and 15 of the 29 governors, who are doing their second terms, today marks 465 days of being in power.

Since their swearing-in on May 29, the activities and performance of the leaders have been dogged by controversies, kudos and knocks. While some of them hit the ground running surefootedly, others have been slow, and indecisive with little or nothing to point to.

For some, a clear policy direction has been established and being pursued while others are in the process of doing so.

For President Buhari, his second 100 days in office are better than his first 100 days in terms of forming his cabinet. It took him more than six months to get his cabinet in place in 2015. This time, he did it in 55 days, less than two months.

For the governors, a host of them have not formed their cabinets. A peep into the activities of the 29 governors in the last 100 days reveals a salad of achievements and poor performance.

Some of them are mired in the snarl of squabbles with their predecessors and political opponents occasioning drag in delivery of democracy dividends.

Most of the governors are facing a baptism of fire occasioned by paucity of fund, insecurity and flood that have displaced thousands of citizens and destroyed property worth billions of Naira as our stories below show.

Governance at low ebb on Plateau

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

IN the last 100 days of Governor Simon Lalong’s second term in office, government activities have been at a low ebb in Plateau State.

Apart from signing two bills into law shortly after his inauguration and the recent appointment of the Director of Press Affairs, the Secretary to the State Government and the Chief of Staff, nothing much has been done.

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At the time of this report, the governor was yet to constitute his cabinet and this has negatively impacted on governance.

Some residents are not happy over the development. A resident, Mr. Bitrus Kaze said: “Lalong announced a downward review of his Five Point Agenda to Three. The first 100 days are defined by his trademark defence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s rudderlessness. His failure to constitute a new state cabinet has injured many All Progressives Congress, APC, desperadoes who have been parambulating, trying to catch his attention.

“The hitherto famous alerts that glorified his first tenure have since relapsed; the ecstasy with which government workers used to welcome month-ends has noticeably gone. The rape against democracy in Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Riyom has continued unabated.

“For me, his only achievements in the period would be his appointment of Dr. Macham as Press Secretary and his foreign trips although we are yet to see any of the much-adumbrated foreign investors. We, the people of Plateau must rise and recover our state from the grip of foreign elements.”

The State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Publicity Secretary, John Akans stated: “Lalong under APC cannot be rated on leadership because they both lack vision and political consciousness to govern the people democratically. It is a known fact that under APC you cannot perform, therefore the way Lalong started in 2015 without commissioning any project in his first 100 days in office, he has continued without commissioning any projects in his 100 days in his second term. It is not a new thing to us as we know APC as a non-performing party across the country.”

To Danjuma Auta, Action Democratic Party, ADP Publicity Secretary: “The expectations of the people of good governance seems to be a mirage as the governor has not settled down to do all that it takes to move the state forward. I am worried because this is the time that he should have done all the magic expected of him; this is his final lap.

“Apart from the street lights project, I don’t think much is happening in the state. The election of the governor as the chairman Northern States Governors’ Forum would have been a plus but unfortunately that has taken all of his time and as you can see apart from the appointment of DOPA and a few others the governor has slowed down governance.”

100 days of communal conflicts in Taraba

By Femi Bolaji

THE second term of Governor Darius Ishaku in Taraba has come with less activities since May 29.

The state has been in sombre mood with most border communities of Benue and Taraba grappling with the Tiv/Jukun conflicts.

Since the renewal of hostility between the two tribes on April 1, dozens of lives and properties worth millions of Naira had been reduced to rubble.

While the governor at different fora called for peace between the two warring ethnic groups, the parties involved keep frustrating peace efforts.

In the last 100 days, Governor Ishaku and his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, had called for peace meetings between the two warring tribes not less than four times both in Taraba and Benue.

Different communiques were issued at the end of each sitting, but maiming of people and destruction of properties persist. This has become a source of worry to the government as economic activities in the Southern zone has been paralyzed.

Meanwhile, Jalingo and parts of Ardokola local government area of the state are still under curfew, which has been in force for over two months. It was imposed by the governor following violent conflict between farmers and herders.

While relative peace is gradually returning to Jalingo, the state capital, tricycle movement has been restricted by Ishaku to curb criminality being perpetrated at night.

Delay in composition of cabinet

However, the delay in the composition of cabinet drew criticisms from the main opposition party, All Progressives Congress, APC, with Taraba State Chairman of the APC, Ibrahim Elsudi, accusing Ishaku of holding citizens of the state to ransom.

But the state government in defence claimed the delay was necessary for the governor to choose the best hands. Governor Ishaku’s media aide, Bala Dan-Abu explained that the governor was trying to be meticulous in the choice of those that would work with him, hence the delay.

Path to peace

However, Governor Ishaku has within his 100 days in office cemented relationship with former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan who was his major contender for the governorship seat in 2015.

The olive branch which has calmed frayed nerves between supporters of the governor and Alhassan, has opened a new chapter on the path towards attaining politics without bitterness in the polity.

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Another event that put smiles on the faces of citizens of the state was the revised anti-kidnapping law providing death penalty for kidnappers, which the governor has signed into law.

JIGAWA:  Motion without movement

By Aliyu Dangida

BEFORE venturing into politics, Jigawa State Governor, Muhammed Badaru Abubakar, was considered a successful international businessman. However, he is yet to start repeating the feat in politics, if his first 100 days in office in his second term are anything to go by.

So far, his sojourn at the Government House has been trailed by criticisms regarding his style of governance, which the opposition dubbed ‘one man show’ due to his inability to form his cabinet.

However, the governor appears to be setting the stage for a speedy development. Badaru set up a committee for the rationalization of MDAs aimed at reducing ministries from 13 to eight. The idea behind this is to reduce cost of governance. He equally slashed overhead cost of MDAs by 50 per cent.

Interestingly, Badaru has not relented in his effort at ensuring prompt payment of workers salary and other entitlements in spite of the dwindling economy. He excelled in the continuation of abandoned projects initiated by the past regime without considering political differences; he settled outstanding liabilities owed various contractors through bargain of discount ranging from 15-20 per cent depending on the debt amount. He gave commercial vehicles to NARTO as loan to boost transportation activities in the state.

In spite of these, 375 days after, Governor Badaru’s popularity in Jigawa seems to be waning, as expectations that his administration will take the state to greater heights as he promised are far from being met.

The governor promised to construct 40 housing units across the 27 local government areas at the inception of his administration and take over the IPP project to ensure steady supply of power in the state capital. None of these has been done.

The state capital, Dutse, is littered with heaps of refuse as most residents now pay private refuse collectors to evacuate their waste. Structures such as the state secretariat, Dutse International airport among others are in various state of dilapidation.

His incessant trip to China, where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in the area of commerce, agriculture, health and other sectors, are yet to bear dividends.

Some equipment meant to be procured for the health, agriculture and education sectors arrived the state and some have been disbursed to the beneficiaries.

Assessing the governor, Abba Soja, a PDP chieftain in Jigawa said lack of patriotic leaders have contributed in the failure in governance, citing example of the recent celebration of 28thanniversary of Jigawa State in Abuja instead of Dutse, the state capital.

Also commenting chairman of SDP in Jigawa, Abba Anas Adamu condemned the way Governor Badaru is piloting the affairs of the state, saying the governor has not satisfied the yearning and aspirations of Jigawa people and voters.

The 100 days in office of Governor Badaru came at a time that Jigawa fell among states devastated by flood leading to the destruction of several communities. Victims are still waiting for government assistance, and relief materials, which are yet to get to them.

ABIA: 100 days of hope

By Ugochukwu Alaribe

SINCE his inauguration for second term on May 29, 2019, Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has taken some steps to enhance governance and upgrade infrastructure in the state.

Though the State Executive Council is yet to be fully constituted, the governor has appointed the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Uche Ihediwa; Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Chris Ezem; and Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Onyebuchi Ememanka. He also appointed his immediate past Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Enyinnaya Appolos, as Special Adviser, Media.

Many residents of the state are expectant that the governor will appoint fresh hands into his cabinet and avoid recycling those who had been part of successive administrations in the state.

A human rights activist, Comrade Samuel Emeku, said: “The governor should appoint fresh hands into his cabinet; he must avoid recycling those who had been part of the government since 1999. The governor needs to do this to rejig the machinery of governance to deliver democracy dividends. Above all, he must also avoid praise singers. Abia people expect a lot from him, and they are not happy the way things are.”

Ikpeazu has released N6 billion to contractors for road projects. The governor held a meeting with contractors handling government projects and directed them back to site. Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, who listed some of the road and other projects billed to be completed, explained that work on the projects would resume as soon as the rains subside. He added that the governor is determined to do construct 500km of new roads within his second term.

Though Ikpeazu has rehabilitated Ochefu, Udeagbala, Weeks, Ehere, Umuola, Omne, Faulks, Ukaegbu, Kamalu, Owerri roads in Aba, Vanguard investigations revealed that most roads in the city are in poor conditions. They include Obohia, Ohanku, Osusu, Ngwa, Omuma,Ururuka and Port Harcourt roads. Motorists have also urged the governor to liaise with the Federal Government to commence palliative work on the abandoned Aba- Ikot Ekpene highway.

There has been growing discontent about the payment of workers’ salaries between the state government and the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC. However, the Commissioner for Information claimed that the state is up to date on payment of salaries to its workers, noting that those who are being owed are parastatals and agencies who are empowered by law to use their revenue to pay salaries.

He listed such agencies and parastatals to include Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State; Abia State Polytechnic, Aba;College of Health and Management Technology, Aba; Abia State College of Education, Technical, Arochukwu; Abia State University, Uturu, among others.

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Assessing the governor’s performance in 100 days, Publicity Secretary of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in Abia State, Mr. Ebere Uzoukwa, who stated that Abia has been unlucky with leadership, alleged that the PDP administration has inflicted hardship on the people of the state.

BAUCHI:  Roads, education top Muhammed’s agenda

By Charles Agwam

BAUCHI State Governor, Bala Muhammed, in his first 100 days in office, flagged off at least construction of four road projects, released funds for the reconstruction of dilapidated roads and recruited no fewer than 1,000 female teachers to make up for the shortage of teachers in basic schools, among other projects.

The governor, who during his inaugural speech promised that he would give priority to infrastructure development and education, is enjoying the goodwill of Bauchi people for keeping to his promise, so far.

Usman Tukur, a resident of Sabon Kaura, one of the settlements benefiting from one of the road projects told Vanguard that he is happy with what the governor is doing.

“I am happy that this government came to our rescue with the construction of Sabon Kaura road. Flood had almost swallowed up our houses because we lacked drainage. But since the construction of our road started, some drainage channels that have been built have greatly helped to save us from the threat of flood. We are grateful to the governor and his administration,” he said.

Another resident, Lydia Haruna whose sister benefited from the recruitment of 1,000 female teachers, called the a governor a “man of vision”, while pleading with him to create more jobs for youths in the state.

“This governor seems like a man with vision. His work so far demonstrates vision and determination. Just recently he employed female teachers and fortunately, my sister was one of them. I just want to plead with him to extend the gesture to other youths who are not in the teaching line, so that we too can be gainfully employed and contribute our quota to the development of our state,” she appealed.

Meanwhile, opposition members in the state say they are sceptical about the projects and would rather wait to see whether the projects will endure throughout the tenure of the governor.

Mallam Aminu Abdullahi, an All Progressives Congress, APC, leader in Yelwa area of Bauchi metropolis said he doubts that the governor’s performance will be sustained.

“I can’t say for now whether I am pleased with what the governor is doing because I am not sure if he will continue with these projects after his first 100 days in office. Many governors who later performed badly started like this. We will just wait and see,” he said.

NIGER:  Governance at standstill

By Wole Mosadomi

While many states have started harvesting dividends of democracy in the last three months and 10 days, in Niger State thing  seem to be at a standstill.

The cabinet is yet to be reconstituted since their dissolution by the Governor Bello a few months ago.

In fact, the list, if any, has not been sent to the state House of Assembly for consideration.

The State House of Assembly has not also been sitting.

It is on record that the Legislative Arm has also sat for only two days including when the Governor laid the 2019 Budget before the members since its inauguration months ago.

No deliberation on the 2019 Budget presented to the House on November 6, 2018 and there is no hope of sitting over it in the next weeks.

The inability of the House to sit is attributed to the ongoing renovation of the State House of Assembly.

The “stagnation” is likely to continue for the next few months as a result of the development since the two arms of Government-Executive and Legislature are not functioning.

Worse is the fact that the Legislators will have to remain at home until work on the Complex is fixed.

The situation is made worst by the frequent trips of Governor who has always delegated powers   to his Deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Muhammed Ketso as he travels out of the State to Abuja, Kaduna and outside the country at will.

Since he was sworn in for the second term, Governor Bello has travelled out of Nigeria three times spending several weeks on each of the trips.

Twice with President Muhammadu Buhari to Saudi Arabia and other foreign countries. The same scenario played out in the last four years and the state is yet to recover from it.

For now, there seems to be no Agenda for the State since those who are expected to Power the State to the next Level are not available.

The expectations of people of the state are very high especially after the “Mass Voting” by the people of the state last February but the expectations of the people are to be met.

Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Barrister Bawa Wuse in an interview on why the House had not been carrying out their Legislative responsibilities, said the entire Complex is being renovated and that the renovation may not be completed until September.

Conducting Journalists round the Complex recently, the Speaker said the House may not be able to sit till September ending due to the renovation.

“We may not be able to sit until September ending due to the renovation work being carried out on the Complex.  None of the rooms is available that we can manage for our plenaries and that is why we have not been sitting but as soon as the Complex is ready, we will start sitting and make up for the lost days,” the Speaker remarked.

The leading opposition in the State, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, seems to have given up.

Chairman of the Party in the state, Barrister Tanko Beji when approached to assess the present State administration simply said,”no comment.”

When pressed further, Beji insisted saying,”I am sorry, I and the Party will not comment on the issue but we are busy watching.”

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One area that the state government should be applauded however is on prompt payment of workers’ salaries which it has never failed to do since it came to power.

The Governor has appointed some of his Principal Officers and dissolved Boards of Parastatals and Agencies of Government in the State.

The Electorate are anxiously waiting to enjoy   the dividends of democracy and other goddies promised by the Abubakar Sani Bello administration

As the waiting game continues, they  want water to flow in their pipes; they want the embarrassing   Federal and State roads fixed; they want improvement on the transportation and above all reduction in the level of unemployment and poverty in the State.

OYO:  Makinde’s inroad in 100 days

By Adeola Badru

Exactly 100 days ago, an assurance of a new lease of life was given to the people of Oyo State by it’s new governor, Engr Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde who promised to run an administration that is effective, efficient and which seeks to provide optimal support to the citizens in leading a safe and productive life in line with their desires and opportunities

Governor Seyi Makinde on assumption of office on May 29,2019, said the  focus of his administration is to transform it into a leading state in Nigeria where government works and works for the   welfare of its citizens and residents. The roadmap for accelerated development is anchored on   five ( 5) cardinal programs of the administration namely; Health, Education, Agriculture, Physical Infrastructure and Security.

Other areas are workers and pensioners welfare, sports development, youth and women empowerment among others.

In 100 days, Makinde  has made remarkable progress in these key areas by setting machinery in motion towards achieving its desired goal.

During his inauguration on May 29 as Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde made it clear that his administration would put smiles on the faces of civil servants and pensioners by ensuring prompt payment of salaries and pensions, however, pointing out that they should not expect immediate payment of the new N30,000 minimum wage due to the financial realities of the state.

He said: “I know how access to this type of money will improve the lives of many of the families that I have had direct contact with, but with the way the Oyo State account currently stands, I will be deceiving you if I said we are capable of taking on this burden.” He further pledged his four-year salaries to the Teachers’ Pension Fund while promising that salaries will be paid on the 25th of every month.

Indeed, salaries and pensions for the month of May were paid between the 30th and 31st, and on Tuesday June 25, salaries and pensions for the month of June were paid.

This has no doubt boosted the confidence the people of the state have in him as evident in a letter of commendation by the Oyo State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, signed by its secretary, Comrade Olusegun Abatan.

According to the pensioners, “Oyo state pensioners are highly delighted with His Excellency, the Executive Governor of the State, Mr. Seyi Makinde on his giant strides since he assumed the mantle of governance in Oyo State. For the first time in the history of Oyo State pensioners and workers, June 2019 pensions and salaries were paid on June 25, 2019, lending credence to His Excellency’s promise that salaries and pensions would be paid on the 25th of every month.”

Also, in line with his electoral promise of recovering misappropriated funds by any government official which in some quarters has been described as a way of witch-hunting the previous administration in the state, Governor Seyi Makinde recently inaugurated a seven-man committee led by Justice Laoye Popoola to probe the accounts of the 33 local government areas and the 35 local council development areas of the state from January 2018 to May 2019.

According to Gov. Makinde, “Let me reassure you that this government is not in any way going after the past administration. We are only setting the stage for our government to take off and deliver the dividends of democracy to the entire citizenry. “In fact, I must state that the committee we are inaugurating today is pursuant to the Public Property and Funds (Investigation and Recovery) Panel Law, Cap 138, Vol. 4 of the Oyo State Law 2000”.

Another item of relevance is the recent appointment of Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun as the Secretary to the State Government. Just like others of the Governor’s appointees so far, Adeosun is a proven technocrat whose ingenuity comes in handy in executing the governor’s agenda for the state. Her appointment sees her join the rank of few women to have graced the office of the SSG in Nigeria. More importantly, the 43 years old becomes the first female in the history of Oyo State to occupy the office. Her appointment vividly reflects the governor’s firm belief in women’s inclusiveness and diversity in government.

Yet another important area of mention is the recent appointment and inauguration of Mr. Oluwaseun Fakorede, a 27 years old son of a staunch APC member in Ibarapa as the Commissioner of Youths and Sports. The appointment was roundly criticized by many partymen/women, claiming they had many other qualified PDP members that could be nominated by the governor.

The governor, however, surprised everyone when he told all who cared to listen that he was the governor of all irrespective of political affiliations. He specifically said “my administration is not only for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alone, but for the development and progress of the entire state”.

He added further: “We have presented our vision to the people of Oyo State, we have made promises during the campaign and one of the major promises I made at the heat of electioneering was to the youths of Oyo State. I told them that I will select one of them as the commissioner for youths and sports. I promised them that whoever is going to be the commissioner of youths and sports will be below 30 years of age and I was conscious of the fact that we are not only going to talk about age but we are also going to talk about content. And I am happy today that we have in Seun Fakorede, the 27-year old, who I am proud of as a product of this state.”

IMO:  100 days of bickering, probes

By Chinonso Alozie

Governor Emeka Ihedioha’s first 100 days in office have been hallmarked by squabbles with his immediate predecessor, Senator Rochas Okorocha. He started with complaints  that Okorocha, did not handover officially to him.

The new governor, among other things has also refused to operate from the governor’s office located inside the government house.

His reason was that   the governor’s office was an eyesore citing the infrastructure decay and stealing of facilities as part of his decision.

Rather, Ihedioha and his deputy, Gerald Irona, have been operating and receiving guests from Odenigbo guest house, built by Okorocha.

One of the major activities of the Ihedioha Administration is its resolve to probe the administration of Rochas Okorocha, and those who served under him especially in the area of awarding contracts, and allocation of lands.

The governor set up two committees to actualize his target of probing the Okorocha government.

Apart from these committees, there were other committees, he said were raised to help the government gather the necessary documents to take off properly.

Within this 100 days in office of Emeka Ihedioha, not much has been done but there has been a lot of drama.

The first drama could be traced to when recovery team of government properties led by Jasper Ndubuaku started work.

In one of its recovery operations along Aba road in Owerri, the daughter of Rochas Okorocha, Uloma, was allegedly slapped by one of the members of the recovery team.

Not too long it happened, Ndubuaku was allegedly attacked by suspected supporters of Okorocha. Mr. Ndubuaku, claimed that he was beaten when he went to Spibat, Okorocha’s residence in Owerri, to submit a court order.

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Another prolonged drama, was when Okorocha returned to the state for the first time since he was sworn-in as the Senator representing Imo West. He was received by a huge crowd of supporters. The state government accused Okorocha of making inciting statements at the reception.

However, despite the exchange of bric-bats with Okorocha, the governor has shown a clear direction in his plans to turn the fortunes of the state around.

This can be seen through his programmers on environmental sanitation, water supply, education and road construction.

Before the coming of Emeka Ihedioha, most parts of Owerri in the state capital, were almost taken over by refuse and the drainages blocked by garbage. Some of the affected areas that are now wearing a new look include Douglas, and Wetheral roads. The government employed the services of former governor of Imo state, Ikedi Ohakim, who did well in his time in the area of sanitation.

However,  it appears that the cleanliness programme of the current government is concentrated more on the major streets in Owerri metropolis as the suburbs such as Irete, Orji and other places get little attention of the clean environment programme.

On water supply, Ihedioha  carried out some major repairs at the Otammiri water scheme and some homes in Owerri metropolis started having pipe bo

Rnevwater. But it stopped when the government said it discovered that water spilling from busted pipes in the streets of Owerri, and attributed it to “unprofessional construction of roads” by Okorocha, that destroyed the pipes.

However, since then, the government said with partnership with some international donor agencies that it was carrying a holistic repairs on the water facilties in the state, at the Otammiri water scheme, in order to fix it completely.

Bad roads have remained a disturbing scenario and even getting worse. All  the link roads in Owerri metropolis are bad. They include the road linking Amakohia to Egbeada heading to Onitsha road, the World Bank road, the road between Methodist junction to Shoprite, and  the road from Egbu heading to Umuahia.

The painful part of the road issue is that roads connecting communities in the state have been completely abandoned.

Only recently, the governor of Imo state, Emeka Ihedioha, flag-off rehabilitation/construction of 380.7 kilometers of Rural Access and Mobility project (RAMP   2) in in Onuimo/Isu/Mbaitoli local government areas in partnership with World Bank and Agence Francaise de developpement, AFD. (French).

But Okorocha claimed it was the project he flagged off at Avu in Owerri west local government area of Imo state, while he was leaving from office.

Ihedioha has cited rains as one of the reasons for the delay in repairing damaged roads. He has approved some of the roads for rehabilitation and reconstruction butnothing serious has been done so far.

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In education,  the government which had promised to send a bill to the Imo state House of Assembly, to set up an Education Trust Fund.  Under the Imo state Universal Basic Education, IMSUBEB, the government has unveiled a plan to finance different projects to the tune of N3.9billion in the state.

In the area of agriculture, the current government has commenced the clearing and opening of the Avutu poultry farm, which has been neglected for almost a decade.

It said that the discovery from the Avutu, area showed that by the time government succeeded in restoring back to live one of the largest poultry farms in the country that it would have provided thousands of jobs for the unemployed in the state.

The government has also flagged off transplanting of Rice Seedling at Rice Farm cluster, Umuokpo, Amumara, Ezinihitte Mbaise Local Government of Imo state.