During the week, precisely on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari hosted five governors in Aso Villa. The first to be hosted by the president was Lagos State governor, Akinwumni Ambode. His visit to Buhari sent the rumour mill grinding with unconfirmed report that Ambode would be made minister in Buhari’s next cabinet. Ambode had lost the All Progressive Congress gubernatorial ticket to the preferred candidate of the party’s establishment, Babajide Sanwo Olu, who won the elections in March.
To be fair to the rumour mongers, there is no smoke without fire just as in every rumour there is an element of truth. The Lagos State governor is one person the president likes and I also heard that Buhari had tried severally to intervene in the Lagos APC crisis, all to no avail.
After the meeting with the president on Monday, Ambode, told State House correspondents that initially, he used to describe himself as techno-politician, but having spent four years on the saddle, he is now wiser. He said he came to thank Buhari for commissioning some projects during his last official visit to Lagos.
On the lessons he had learnt in the last four years, he said, “You see, every politician learns every day. The fact remains that I came in as a technocrat so I used to call myself a techno-politician but I think I am wiser now. I am more of a politician than a technocrat.”
The president also met with Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dakwambo. But the governor declined to speak when approached by journalists. Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, also visited the president. It is worthy of note that since Ortom defected to the PDP, this was the first time he would be visiting the president at the villa.
On his visit, Governor Ortom stated that he came to brief President Buhari about the security situation in his state. He said since Nigeria is a federation, there must be synergy between states and the Federal Government to be able to surmount the security challenges to be able to save lives and properties.
On the farmers/herdsmen clashes in his state, he said, “On herdsmen and farmers, the place is relatively peaceful. The law is being implemented and we have arrested 400 people irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds, whether Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba, Tiv, Idoma and we have convicted 50 people for contravening various offenses and we have seized more than 2,000 cattle.
“But we have ensured no one has molested any cattle, nor killed any cattle. Once your cattle is seized for open grazing by the livestock guard, within seven years when your cattle is quarantined if you don’t come to pay fines and redeem your cattle we auction them. So far, everyone that we have arrested, people have come to redeem and so we have not had any cause to auction any cattle.
“The law is still in force in Benue State and we are implementing it. Everyone is free to establish ranches; we are not targeting any individual or group. Anyone who wants to do cattle business should come to Benue and ranch. We have land for it but for open grazing we have no land.”
Another governor that visted Buhari that Monday was Governor Willy Obiano of Anambra. Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, the governor said he came to congratulate the president on his re-election and update him on the Federal Government projects that are ongoing in Anambra.
He specifically cited the Second Niger Bridge, which he noted was going according to plan. Obiano also said he sought the president’s support in appointments: ministerial, ambassadorial and parastatals. He added that he also briefed the president on the social programmes in Anambra – the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, NPower, TraderMoni and others.
“We did ask for appointment too in various areas. The president is a good man and he will look at those request dispassionately and handle accordingly,” Obiano stated. On the areas he is asking for support from the president, Obiano said, “We are asking for support in some of the social programmes. There are many federal roads in Anambra they have concentrated majorly on the main one now which is Onitsha-Enugu Express Way. same day, Kaduna State governor, Nasir el- Rufai visited the president. He told journalists that the Abuja- Kaduna road was free from kidnappers and bandits. He expressed confidence that with the security system in place, people could be confident to drive on the Abuja-Kaduna road without any fear.
He said, “I came to see Mr President to brief him on the general security situation in Kaduna which I do from time to time and also to update him on the various initiatives by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the SSS, and the Army Forces with a view to improving the security situation in Kaduna in general and particularly along the Abuja-Kaduna road.
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