In a few days, as the constitution-stipulated four-year political term draws to a close, I feel that it is pertinent for me to help my readers assess and grade the executive governors of the class of 2015 on the basis of performance.
My parameters for these assessments shall be 1. Peace in their respective states; 2. Educational strides; 3 Political stability; 4Rural Development and Rural intervention schemes; and 5. Their individual personalities- personality traits.
A good governor will have an accommodating and peace building outlook and personality. He must not be abrasive, intrusive and combative. He must not be the kind of person that is perpetually heating up the polity in his state. He must have a mindset that accommodates those who voted for him and those that did not.
He must be a compromise builder and have the capacity to unite all the various segments that make up his state. He must be accessible to the citizens of the state and must conduct his administration in such a way that everyone, every citizen is treated fairly and courteously. He must not plunge his state into needless crises, which some governors do by pitting one group against the other. The best governor in this regard is undoubtedly Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State.
Since he became governor in 2015, Niger State has assumed the status of the most peaceful state in Northern Nigeria despite the mixed pot of ethnicities in the power state. More so, there have been hardly any clashes based on religious sentiments. Indeed Governor Abubakar is my best peaceful governor of the class of 2015 and thankfully he is returning to continue his good works as the people of Niger had the good sense of voting him again!
No one can deny the improved infrastructure in Ebonyi State under the administration of Governor Dave Umahi, who did not only transform the state capital, Abakaliki, into one of the emerging cities in the South East, but also expanded road networks from the state capital to the rural areas of the state. What is significant is that, unlike some governors who begin and end provision of infrastructure in the state capital, Umahi has pursued an aggressive policy of road development in the rural areas where a minimum of 15-kilometer concrete roads was done in each of the 13 local government areas.
The road development is not isolated; rather, it is in line with the agricultural development policy of the government. It is to the governor’s credit that from the inception of his administration, he identified agriculture as the fulcrum on which his administration would revolve. The loan scheme programme for civil servants and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) has transformed the state and empowered the people. In the last general elections the appreciative people of Ebonyi reelected him to continue where he stopped.
Many Nigerians know the governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu for being among the state governors who are spearheading the ongoing rice revolution in Nigeria. Few are aware of his giant strides in the education sector. He has financed without default, payments of all bills for Kebbi State indigenes studying abroad, particularly in Sudan, China, India, Turkey, etc, in key areas of human resources. The state government sustained her financial obligations to the beneficiaries even during the 2017 –2018 economic recession. It was a period when other states of the federation, including oil-producing states withdrew their financial commitments to students from their states studying abroad. Kebbi State sustained and maintained all the indigenes of the state studying abroad in that critical period.
To improve on the quality and numerical strength of Kebbi indigenes studying Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing and Medical Laboratory and to alleviate their financial burden as well as give impetus to the desire to go into these fields the governor approved automatic employment for all 400 level students in those fields, in all higher institutions of the country. They are all placed on salary GL05. This is currently being implemented without default. His administration’s contribution to the Kebbi State School of Nursing remains a watershed in the annals of the school.
Before his administration came into being, there was an embargo placed on the School of Nursing by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria occasioned by the appalling state of infrastructure and dearth of needed manpower in the school. The governor addressed the shortcomings by approving the needed funds to address the needs of the school. His contributions to education development in Kebbi State are too numerous to contain in this small space, but the good thing is that he has been given a second chance to do more from May 29, 2019.
Enugu State is third from the bottom of the revenue allocation chart from the federation account and predominantly a civil service state but that did not stop Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi from embarking on one of the most ambitious rural development drives in the country through rural roads construction. Governor Ugwuanyi spearheaded the massive development of urban and rural roads across the three senatorial districts of the state, in Emene, Abakpa-Nike, 9th Mile Corner and Nsukka. The state government spent close to N50 billion on road construction and rehabilitation across the state, covering about 450 kilometres. Recently, Enugu State was rated by the World Bank Group as the second most advanced state in Nigeria towards the frontier of global good practices with regards to Ease of Doing Business. His landslide victory at the polls in the last general elections is a testimony that the one his supporters call “Gburugburu” performed to their satisfaction in his first term.
In the area of political stability, my best performing governor is the outgoing governor of Lagos State, Akinwumi Ambode. He was denied the ticket of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to seek reelection for second term. Many sitting governors in Nigeria would have lost their cool. Ambode was calm and rejected overtures by opposition elements and stood firm with his party and political family in Lagos State. He ensured political stability in Lagos State, even when he had opportunity to jump ship and seek his political fortune elsewhere. By his loyalty he helped APC retain Lagos in the last general elections.
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