May 15, 2023

Don’t interfere in your successors activities, outgoing governors told

I’ll reverse brain drain, boost health insurance coverage from 7 to 50 % —Saraki

Senator Bukola Saraki

…As they are urged to warm up for life after office

By Henry Umoru 

AHEAD of the swearing in of eighteen incoming and re-elected Governors in some states of the country, the outgoing State Executives have been asked to allow their successors to provide for the people, dividends of democracy.

The former Governors were particularly urged to distance themselves from those who took over from by not interfering in their activities.

The 18 outgoing governors have also asked to brace up for a life after office and make the necessary adjustment to play their roles in national development.

The newly elected governors are Alex Otti of Abia State; Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State; Hyacith Alia of Benue State; Bassey Otu of Cross River State; Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State; Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi State; Peter Mbah of Enugu State; Umar Namadi of Jigawa and Uba Sani of Kaduna State.

Others are Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State; Dikko Umar Radda, Katsina; Nasiru Idris of Kebbi; Mohammed Umar Bago of Niger State; Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State;  Siminialayi Fubara of Rivers;  Ahmed Aliyu of Sokoto; Kefas Agbu of Taraba and  Dauda Lawal of Zamfara.

The re- elected Governors are Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State; Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State; Babagana Zulum of Borno State; Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe; Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State; Babajide Sanwo- Olu of Lagos State; Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State; Seyi Makinde of Oto State and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State.

Speaking at the farewell dinner for outgoing governors held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja on Sunday night, former President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki urged the outgoing governors to allow their successors work by not  interfering in the governance of their states  as they prepare to leave office later this month.

Saraki who is a former governor of Kwara State and the fourth Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum gave his  goodwill message to the governors whose tenures would come to an  end on May 29, 2023. 

Saraki who hailed the outgoing for the services provided as Governors, said, “When you are no longer governor, allow your successor to do their work. Go back to your families. I am sure your wives, children and grandchildren are counting the days. You are bracing up for a new phase of life which is completely different. Spend more time with your families. Save your money for hampers and rams because they won’t come as usual.” 

The  former President of the Senate who urged the newly elected governors to start planning their exit from day one, even as he harped on the significance of self challenge for development, said, “To our incoming governors, start planning and preparing for governance. Plan your exit from day one and keep challenging yourselves.”

Also in his remarks, former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu who shared his experiences on life after office,  called on new and returning governors to prioritize the people’s welfare irrespective of their political affiliation,  said, “Let’s work diligently so that after our tenure, people will come back and say you have done well. To have elected you, it means the people have chosen you as their servant. Everytime, do what your conscience and the law say you should do.”

Aliyu who noted that there was  danger in personalizing power at the expense of the people, said, “At times, people will say this is our time. Don’t make that mistake. A former governor who made that mistake is now walking on the streets.”

The former Niger State Governor who called on the governors to be accessible and accountable to the people, reminding them that being governors does not mean they are the best and the brightest, said, “That you are governors today does not mean that you are the best. Some of us were not the brightest in class. Perhaps, we were in the last 10 in the class. So, don’t think because you are governors, you must impose your successor.”

Aliyu who noted that to move easily from office to out of it, however called on outgoing governors to immediately get busy, saying, “Get something to do to augment your income. Don’t be the type that will always be at home. Be active and don’t allow your brain or physical body to go down.”

Also speaking on life after office, former Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo recalled the difficulty of transiting from office to out of it, narrating how an unnamed former governor who had a flight to catch to Benin City, kept sitting and sipping coffee in the departure lodge of a Nigerian airport, not knowing that the plane had taken off.

Consequently, his remarks generated  laughter from the audience against the backdrop as said by Dankwambo  happened because the former governor as usual was waiting for his aides to remind him of boarding time. 

The former Governor who urged outgoing governors to bear with the pressure of friction likely to to occur between them and their successors, said, “You are retiring from work, not life. Avoid meddling into the affairs of your predecessors. As you get older, your health cannot be taken for granted. You have to bear with the pressure,” he said, urging the incoming governors to “Begin to prepare for retirement as soon as you are sworn in. Be prepared for the visits of such institutions like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit who may ask some questions that need answers.”

Also speaking, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed who noted that  states must be made to work for their citizens, said,  “Nigeria cannot be great without the states. We know that we don’t have strong foundations but through hard work, this country can be better.”

Mohammed  called for partnership and deliberate policies to empower Nigerian women noting that they do not have lesser brains compared to their male counterparts.

At the event, How the States are Governed: A first-hand account by Nigeria Governors” was presented at the event by Mr Joe Abah who advised the incoming governors to learn from the literary account, how their predecessors navigated the stormy waters of governance and political developments. 

The event was attended by past, serving and incoming governors including Kayode Fayemi, Aminu Tambuwal, Aminu Masari, Charles Soludo, Bala Mohammed, Babagana Zulum, Dauda Lawal, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia and a host of others.