ANALYSIS: Northern APC governors two years down the line 



  • By George Onmonya Daniel


How have the APC governors performed and helped the vision and mission of President Muhammadu Buhari? Being that most of the governors, especially in Northern Nigeria, rode on Mr. Buhari’s overwhelming popularity to win their election, it is pertinent to ask how have they’ve performed.

Understanding the performance of the APC governors depends on who you’re talking to since views are diverse; what areas have they really touched the people, and in the final analysis what are their grand plan for their numerous states. What is quite lacking and almost everybody agrees to this is a long term plan, if there’s any plan at all. And when there is a plan, is it sustainable?

Let us begin with my home state, Benue, where it is said that state workers are being owed seven month’s salary despite the series of bailout money released by the federal government to offset salaries of the same workers. How can a government that owes workers seven month’s salary have any plan?

The Benue State Government has not embarked on any meaningful projects that would benefit the people and most of what is happening is cosmetics to make those in government appear to be doing something. Benue is a clear case of the government being far away from the people. Nothing appears to have changed and is changing. Like his predecessors it can be argued that the incumbent governor, Samuel Ortom has no clue of what it means to govern.

Despite the recession in Nigeria, road construction remains ongoing in some other states but, nothing seems to be happening in Benue State. There has been more bad news than good coming out of Benue. For instance, there have been clashes between the Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the state.

The herdsmen-farmers clashes took a new dimension since President Buhari came into power two years ago, and since the federal government hasn’t been proactive in taming the crisis, the Benue State Assembly have passed a law to halt open grazing and to encourage ranching. The Assembly’s position is that ranching should be established by individuals and not the government.

On the other hand there appears to be good coming report from Adamawa State. Some say that the state governor, Jibrilla Bindow, has done well if not remarkably well when compared to his Benue state counterpart. The Governor’s achievement can be measured from road constructions (linking access to rural and urban areas) to primary healthcare, agriculture, skills acquisition and job creation.

Unlike Governor Bindow, the Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, hasn’t stepped up at all. He is best known for his comment that the people’s sin was the reason for the spread of the meningitis epidemic in the state.

In Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong has been able to pay salaries despite his colleagues not being able to. Where some of his colleagues owe workers over six months of salaries, this has become an achievement. Also, there has been relative peace in Jos since he took over and he has been able to deal with the issue of ghost workers in the state civil service, bringing the menace to a minimal. Apart from these, not much seems to be going on in the state.

In Kaduna State, the case of Governor Nasir el-Rufai becomes peculiar. Most of el-Rufai’s core supporters would argue that he’s performed. Governor el-Rufai is one of the governor’s expected to do well, but apart from the Zaria Water Project that he’s commissioned, he cannot be said to have done much.

Also aside being consistent in paying workers in the state civil service, most of his other acclaimed achievements’ being bandied around are cosmetic, some of which are painting of public schools, feeding of school children. It has not been seen if Governor el-Rufai has a clear cut plan for Kaduna State.

A big stain in Governor el-Rufai’s two years is the Southern Kaduna crisis where Fulani herdsmen ransack whole farming communities and have killed hundreds. Many have accused el-Rufai of taking sides with the herdsmen against the victims of Southern Kaduna. In one instance the people of Southern Kaduna after an attack by herdsmen pelted the governor’s convoy when he visited.

Governor el-Rufai is also being criticized for his handling of the Shiite crisis which led to the attack and deaths of members of the Shiite community in his state.

Bauchi state governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar was once the most disliked governor in the north by his own citizens mostly because of power tussle between him and the Senators and House of Representative members from his state, many of whom he do not get along with Abubakar.

At one time the aggrieved Abuja-based politicians, led by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, whom also is from Bauchi, took his case to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Politicking aside, Abubakar has been able to turn things around in his state. Once accused of being unable to pay worker’s salaries, today he’s succeeded to put that behind him, haven paid workers salary up to date. He has also embarked on road constructions in the state capital and some rural areas.

The rehabilitation of the Yankari game reserve should have been another notable achievement except for the inability of the Bauchi State Government to attract tourists to the reserve.

In Borno State, Governor Kashim Shettima already has a daunting challenge as his state is the epicenter of the terror group Boko Haram, which has over the years pummeled the state, destroying already existing infrastructure.

That aside, some of the news coming from the IDP camps situate in the state are disturbing. The wanton corruption in the dealings of matters of feeding concerning the IDPs, the emaciated bodies of children, mothers and young girls being starved to the point that they sell their body for food; all these have done a lot of damage to the public perception of the state government.

For Yobe state, there’s not much going there. But we must laud the agriculture project in Kebbi state; that’s one of the success stories out of Nigeria in recent time, judging from the rice production revolution taking place. It shows that if Nigeria put her mind towards the development of agriculture and sustains it, then there’s the chance of getting out of the current recession.

There isn’t much to talk about in Katsina state. And for Kwara and Kogi; what’s going on there? Nothing!

And then we go to Sokoto and Kano states. Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state has been described as a futuristic leader, with plans for his people. In terms of completed projects I will give him 30 per cent, being that he hasn’t been able to complete most of the projects left by his predecessor.

Ankeli Emmanuel of the Leadership newspaper rates Governor Tambuwal high. Despite the recession he has been able to pay pensions, gratuity and worker’s salaries. He has also curbed corruption in the local government, saving over N200 million in the process. Skills acquisitions and Education, especially the girl child education is top on the list of his achievements.

In Kano, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje continues to struggle to fill the shoes of his predecessor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, whose achievements in Kano is record breaking. Nonetheless it can be said that Ganduje is doing well to complete some of Kwankwaso’s gigantic project of transforming Kano.

As Nigeria gets out of recession let’s see how far these governors would go in the next one year, but so far, most of them are not very popular in their states. When you can blame the recession as they have done and have been doing, you will always hold some of them for depending completely on Abuja monthly pay and not looking inwards to do anything within their state despite the call for diversification of the economy. MA