May 15, 2023

Saraki cautions outgoing governors to avoid interference with successors

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

Senator Bukola Saraki

Former President of the Senate, Sen. Bukola Saraki, has advised outgoing governors to avoid unnecessary influence on their successors after leaving office on May 29.

The former governor of Kwara gave the advice at a farewell dinner for outgoing governors organised by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) on Sunday in Abuja.

Saraki, former chairman of the forum also advised governors-elect not to allow people around them to push them into frosty relationship with their predecessors.

“Outgoing, governors please from June 1 you are no longer governors; please allow your successors to do the work they have to do.

“Let them call you when they want your advice. For those that are coming, those around you will always want you to have a `head-on’ with your predecessors.

“It is a big mistake. It is unnecessary. Challenges ahead are beyond that,’’ he admonished.

While congratulating outgoing governors for successfully completing their tenures, Saraki also advised them to continue to play their roles in nation building.

“It is important that you play your role because this country needs everyone across all political parties.

“As you bow out as governors, you are going into a phase that is different and challenging. Brace up for challenges ahead. Spend more time with your families,” Saraki advised.

The former Senate president also advised incoming governors to start planning for their legacies from Day One in office.

“I pray and hope you will not be a governor for the sake of being a governor. You will be a governor that will impact on the people.

“Plan for those four or eight years and keep on challenging yourselves everyday to make an impact,’’ Saraki said.

In his remarks, former Gombe State governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo also urged outgoing governors to avoid meddling in the affairs of their successors.

Dankambo urged incoming governors to begin to prepare for retirement as soon as they took office.

“Prepare for visits from the EFCC, ICPC and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit which may ask some questions that need answers,’’ he cautioned.

In her submissions, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Hajiya Amina Mohammed, said states must be made to work for their people.

“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,’’ she said.

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

Former governor of Niger, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu, advised the governors-elect to give priority to programmes and projects that impacted on the people.

He also advised them to shun those pledging to help them to loot the treasury.

“Some people will come to tell you that this is your opportunity; don’t listen to them. A former governor who made that mistake is now walking the streets,’’ Aliyu said.

He also advised incoming governors to ensure they were accessible because being a governor does not confer superior intelligence.

“Get something to do to augment your income. Don’t always stay at home. Be active. Don’t allow your brain or physical body to sag,’’ Aliyu stressed.

One of the highlights of the dinner was the launching of a book entitled: “Common Ground (Leading Charge at the Subnational”) authored by former forum president, ex-Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.

Earlier in his opening remarks, chairman of the forum, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, said the event was to appreciate the outgoing governors and welcome the governors-elect.

Tambuwal said the book launched at the event would help the governors-elect in developing their plans and implementing them.

“Fayemi championed this and all our incoming governors will benefit from it,’’ Tambuwal said