Varying degrees of kudos, knocks and controversies are greeting the state governors, old and new, as they mark their first 100 days in office on Saturday after their inauguration on May 29.
Of note is the unceasing public spat between Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State and his predecessor, Senator Rochas Okorocha which took a twist last week after the governor called for the senator’s arrest of the senator.
Ihedioha, a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, had been miffed by the assault of the Chairman of the Recovery of Government Properties in the state, Mr. Jasper Ndubuaku, by some youths while trying to invade a property of the former governor.
The State government believes the youths were instigated by Okorocha.
But the former governor declared that his successor would be inviting anarchy if anyone arrested him.
The duo has been locked in a battle from day one when Ihedioha assumed office.
The governor accused Okorocha of plundering the state and wanted the public assets allegedly stolen returned but the senator denied the allegations.
He accused Ihedioha of vendetta.
The state has been polarized along the pro-Okorocha and pro-Ihedioha lines. Youths, women and even traditional rulers have all joined in the political melee.
The first action of the state government barely 24 hours after the governor was inaugurated, was the demolition of the Akachi Tower, built by the Okorocha’s administration as a tourist attraction centre.
The action drew widespread condemnation from within and other side of the state and the government was forced to suspend further demolition of the structure and subsequently denied knowledge of the demolition.
The state government also within its first three days constituted the Committee of Recovery of Stolen Government, which has running after Okorocha and his family.
Another sore point for the state government is the destruction of some of the legacies of the former administration. On assumption, all landmarks and signage built by the previous administration were destroyed and replaced with new ones, street lights and iron crossbars used to beautify streets which dotted Owerri, the State capital were all removed amidst public outcry.
Another action taken by the state government which attracted the ire of the people mostly were the sacking of elected Council Chairmen and Councillors, suspension of the salaries of workers recruited by the former governor at the twilight of his administration, as well as the revocation of all the land deals approved by the immediate past government.
Although the state government is yet to commence full implementation of its programme and policies, as it claims to be clearing the mess of the previous administration but it has taken few steps that have been lauded by the people.
Recently the state governor, flagged off N13 billion rural road project under RAMP, a World Bank assisted project, which has thrown the state into jubilation.
Another high point of the incumbent government is the award of contracts for the construction of the critical roads across the state which is supposed to commence immediately after the rains.
The state government has also received kudos for taken concerted steps to address environmental challenges in the state under its ‘Go Green, Stay Clean Initiative’.
Under this initiative, the state government has commenced planting of trees and flowers and opening of blocked underground drainages and water channels.
Okowa under pressure to meet voters’ expectations
Some of the strident criticisms of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State have come from his own supporters in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
One of them, Mr Godsday Orubebe, ex-minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, accused Okowa of marginalizing the Ijaw ethnic nationality in his government.
He asked the governor to account for about N11.1 trillion which had accrued to the State’s coffers since his assumption of office in 2015.
Okowa said Orubebe’s outburst stemmed from his refusal to appoint his nominee. He has also been faced with the protest of civil servants suspended from the Delta civil service in June 2015.
The suspended civil servants gave the government a one month ultimatum
The suspended worker’s vowed to shut down the state should Okowa fail to fulfill his promise of re-engaging them.
Insecurity Enugu governor’s topmost priority
The deteriorating security situation in Enugu State is top most in priority list of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi after his swearing on May 29 for his second tenure.
The situation has made the governor become so restless and to constantly be on the road, visiting either the victims or the families of such dastardly acts, to sympathize or condole with them.
Although overwhelming, the governor remains undaunted and tackles it with all his gubernatorial paraphernalia.
Despite the media hype of rise in crime in the state, a critical assessment of Enugu State still places it as the safest state in Nigeria.
Ugwuanyi recently gave to the police not fewer than 70 Hilux vehicles, Sienna SUVs and other brands for decoy operations. He as well pays monthly allowances to the operatives, provides fuel and other logistics requirements for the agencies to perform.
Worthy of note is that the governor himself sometimes leads patrol raids on criminal hideouts and dark spots at Obiagu Road, Ogui and Asata, notable homes for drug dealers and users as well as other criminals.
The governor had also packaged an anti-kidnapping bill, which he sent to the State House of Assembly for legislation. He followed it up by giving directive for the recruitment of 1,700 forest guards to begin to patrol the bushes and thick forests of the state, to fish out these criminals from their hideouts.
He had equally given directive, and had personally supervised, the clearing of bushes, particularly along the Awgu axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Express Way, identified as rendezvous for the criminals, and where killings and kidnappings had taken place in recent weeks.
Hope dampens in Ogun without cabinet team
Just 100 days in office, Governor Dapo Abiodun, the successful entrepreneur and oil magnate has continued to govern Ogun State without assembling his cabinet team or send the nominees to the Ogun State House of Assembly.
The cabinet members are the executive officers of the government. They are to help formulate and drive the policy thrust of the government.
At his inauguration on May 29 and shortly after, Governor Abiodun made many promises which include giving the state a focused and qualitative governance that would be responsive, open and accountable to the people by pro – actively creating and promoting enabling environment for a public private sector partnership(PPP) required for rapid industrialisation and infrastructural developments.
He also pledged to rehabilitate tens of roads across the state within the first 100 days.
It is believed that the absence of cabinet members since May 29 could account for the drab and slow down of the pace of governance, and hampers all efforts at pushing Governor’s agenda for the state through within target.
Abiodun did declare that he would focus on development of agriculture and rural roads in order to increase the output of food and cash crops, create wealth for real farmers and ease the movement of farm produce to the markets within and outside the state while generating revenue but it is left to be seen how far this can come to reality in his first year with a commissioner not yet in place.
Four days ago, the Governor inaugurated 17 – man steering Committee on Anchor Borrowers Scheme on Agriculture with Prof. Peter Adebola Okuneye as its Chairman, declaring that his administration’s quest for food security, food sufficiency and poverty alleviation could only be achieved through joint efforts in agriculture between state government and the people.
Makinde making his mark already
Governor Seyi Makinde was welcomed with a rousing support and massive goodwill when he was sworn in as the seventh civilian governor of Oyo State on May 29, 2019. He had won in 28 of the 33 local governments in the state in the March 9 election. In his first 100 days in office, the new governor has enjoyed largely good moments with some low moments.
Before settling down, Makinde cancelled the N1,000 per term levy paid by public school pupils in the state. The decision, which was in fulfilment of his campaign promise, drew huge applause from many parents who had looked forward to his lofty ideas that he promised during campaign. However, the idea is still facing a challenge as it has led to the sacking of teachers and other support staff engaged by the schools and the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). But parents are still savouring the relief which the decision brought to them for now.
Makinde also wormed himself into the hearts of the public by ordering a revisit of cases of civil servants sacked by the previous administration. He set up a committee to review the cases of affected persons with a firm promise to reabsorb them if they are found to have been wrongfully sacked. The committee has since been working hard to deliver on its mandate.
If there is any area in which Makinde has excelled as governor, it is in the area of managing the coalition that produced his electoral victory. A lot of people had predicted failure for him in managing the gladiators in the coalition because all of them have public service experience unlike the governor. But Makinde has successfully managed the politicians to the level that every bloc in the alliance has been fairly rewarded. No discordant tune is coming from the coalition house as at now.
The governor is currently a hero to civil servants for paying their salary on the 25th of every month. In line with his campaign promise, Makinde has successfully paid salaries on 25th of his first three months in office. Teachers, civil servants and retirees have encomiums for the governor on this feat. Prompt payment of salaries enables them plan on their income and meet financial obligations at the right time.
Perhaps the action that has boosted Makinde’s fame most is his asset declaration which he made public. With his companies alone worth N48 billion and other highly priced properties and cash, Makinde caused a storm on Twitter and other social media when he made his asset declaration public. He was later adjudged the richest governor in Africa going by his declared assets. Based on the controversy his assets generated, the Director of the Code of Conduct Bureau in Oyo State, Mr Moses Atolagbe, had to make a public statement that the bureau was waiting for directive from the agency’s head office to verify Makinde’s claims.
Umahi hits ground running with new legacy projects
Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi after he was sworn in a second term hit the ground running immediately with his appointment of Principal Officers and Attorney General. This was quickly followed by the appointment of Special Assistants and some boards.
Commissioners were subsequently appointed in July, screened by the State House of Assembly and sworn in.
Even before the appointment of the Commissioners, government activities never slowed down even for a day as Umahi charged the Permanent Secretaries to ensure that work continued as usual on their different Ministries and Departments.
Construction work on numerous roads and other projects both new and ongoing ones have never stopped. Some of the projects include the Ebonyi Glass Tunnel, said to be the first of its kind in the state, the Ebonyi Shopping mall, the Eguhuo bridge in Ishielu Local government, the Author Eze fly over named after the popular Anambra Business man which will go and down on record as the fastest fly over to be completed in the country. Work on the flyover began in November last year and have already been completed as car have already started plying the road.
However, the State was hit by an outbreak of yellow fever in Izzi local government area. The outbreak reportedly claimed some lives in a remote village before it was detected.
The State Ministry of Health quickly moved in with support from the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to control the outbreak.
Infected persons were immediately evacuated to the National Virology Centre built by the State Government in Governor Umahi’s first term were they were treated.
Ayade completes 23 megawatts power plant
Within the first 100 days of his second term,Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State completed a 23 megawatts power plant, which according to him means 24-hour electricity for residents of Calabar. Unveiling the project in Calabar, he had described it as a dream come true, saying it would provide power to residents at an affordable cost.
Although many residents in the state are yet to see the electricity, it has still been commended as a good move. However, some people seem bothered that the details of the arraignment of switching from the national grid to a different source of power have not been properly explained.
Also despite the financial status of the state, it has still been consistent with payment of salaries in his second term.
Among some issues that have earned the governor some knocks, since beginning his second term, include his seeming unwillingness to conduct local government elections in the state.
Another issue that has been a low point for the governor has been his intention build a cargo airport in his home local government area of Obudu, as various persons have risen against what they described as arbitrary land grab for the proposed project.
Critics also feel that it was quite strange that he would want to embark on such a huge project that looks like a waste.
Similarly, the governor’s move to acquire 9000 hectares of land across the state had pitched him against the people. The governor who has already set up a committee to go about the acquisition had, quite vaguely, said the said land was meant for agricultural purposes.
Education topping Ganduje’s second term agenda
Within the past 100 days, Ganduje has made tremendous waves in the education sector, declaring free and compulsory education for primary and secondary school pupils and students.
He has, as well, succeeded in working out modalities to ensure that the Almajiri system of education is built into the conventional Western education learning curriculum, designed to take the Almajiris off the street as beggars and also give them sound and adequate education that can equal them to other school children in terms of access to quality and qualitative education.
To further ensure that parents allow their children to enrol in school. Ganduje has sent a bill to the State House of Assembly, seeking for a law that will back up to arrest and prosecution of parents who refused to take their children to school. The bill also supports the arrest of school-age children roaming the streets begging or hawking during school hours.
Ganduje directed the First Class Emirs across the state to take record of parents and guardians who refused to send their wards to school and forward their names to the State government for appropriate action.
His efforts have attracted interest from the governments of Egypt and the United States of America which recently indicated interest to partner with Kano state government to make the project a huge success.
Within the last 100 days, Ganduje has also been able to set up a Committee that will see to the establishment of one of the largest RUGA settlement in Africa. He said he took the step to contribute his quota in putting to rest the controversy generated by the Federal Government RUGA proposal across the country; make the Fulani herdsmen economically viable; boost Kano’s economic potentials; end the farmers/herders clash and as well modernize the cattle rearing and insemination business.