Nigerian Governors, as custodians of the people’s mandate at the state level, have so much expectations placed on their shoulders. These range from policy formulations to execution of sustainable projects targeted at improving the lives of citizens.
Admittedly, governance is a daunting task, especially in the face of lean resources. But even in the face of these huddles, some helmsmen have shown exceptional capacity to better their societies while others have appeared as laggards.
The debate is on, necessitating an urgent media intervention to guide public discourse. Ripples Nigeria, in line with our avowed mandate of holding leaders, especially elected ones, accountable on behalf of the people, will attempt a monthly performance review of the governors.
These series of publications started in August, 2019, and will continue to run through the lifetime of this platform. For December 2019, we again present a ranking of Nigerian governors, highlighting Top 5 and Bottom 5, in no particular order.
We hope, through these special publications, that we would engender a competitive spirit between and among the governors and ultimately drive our nation toward the path of lifting its citizens from abject poverty to prosperity.
1) Seyi Makinde —Oyo State
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has again for the month of December made the list on top 5 governors in the country on account of his approach to governance and specific steps he has taken so far since assuming office on May 29, 2019.
We note his efforts at cutting the cost of governance as represented by his decision to keep using his personal cars, refusal to approve the purchase of new cars for officials of the state government and asking those who wanted to give the traditional Christmas gifts to the governor to channel such for the Christmas decoration of Ibadan the state capital, thereby saving the state millions of naira.
We also acknowledge the payment of 13th month salary to civil servants in the state as another way of encouraging them to be more dedicated to duty and expect other state governments to emulate this gesture by not just paying salaries as at when due but to also offer incentives to their workers as a way of encouraging them.
2) Babagana Zulum —Borno State
We note the seriousness and dedication Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum attaches to finding lasting peace in the troubled Northeast state, and applaud the little steps he has been taking.
We acknowledge his recent donation of operational vehicles to vigilance groups and hunters he engaged to help combat the Boko Haram insurgents in the state.
We equally applaud his continuous visits to the Southern part of the state, which is the most hit by the terrorist activities of the Islamist group, especially his spending Christmas in Lassa, Sabon Gari Lassa, Chul, Mangum Wamdio, Rumirgo and Askira town all in Askira-Uba Local Government Area, areas with high Christian population.
Worthy of note is also his personal supervision of the distribution of food, cash and other relief materials to Internally displaced people in Bama, Gwoza and other communities that have been at the receiving end of the Boko Haram insurgency.
The restoration of power to Bama by the state government and the reconstruction of schools destroyed by the terrorists also caught our attention, while his visit to New Marte and Old Marte, two major towns in Marte Local Government Area, on the shores of Lake Chad are also commendable. Zulum’s visit was the first by any civilian delegation since the insurgents took over the towns in 2013.
3) Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq —Kwara State
The recent swearing-in of the executive cabinet of the Kwara State government gives a lot to cheer about in gender balancing.
We note the appointment of nine women as commissioners out of a total of 16, about 56 per cent by Governor Abdulrazaq and commend him for giving women in the state the opportunity to serve.
We also acknowledge the fact that the governor made good his promise to give women prominent attention in his cabinet after they were left out in all the elective positions in the state in the last general election.
Also commendable is the creation of the Ministry of Enterprise, which the governor said is meant to drive the vision of the state government from being a majorly civil service state to one that encourages the business community, entrepreneurs and skill acquisition.
4) Babajide Sanwo-Olu —Lagos State
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu appears to have woken up from his seeming slow start to governance in the state.
We note the current efforts at repairing the litany of bad roads scattered across the state, which has made commuting hellish for residents.
Though we recognise the additional traffic congestion the repairs of the roads are causing, it is however expected that it will be worth it in the long run.
We also acknowledge the recent opening of bids for the Fourth Mainland Bridge and commend the governor for taking concrete steps to bring the construction of the bridge to reality. This, we believe, will greatly impact positively on the traffic situation in the state and reduce the stress on the Third Mainland bridge.
The signing of the contract for the construction of Hostels for the Lagos University, Ojo also got our attention. The state government owned university which has been in existence for years does not have hostels for its students.
5) Ifeanyi Okowa —Delta State
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa made a return to the Top 5 Governors in Nigeria for the month of December largely on account of his dedication to infrastructural development in the state.
We note his efforts at building roads in different parts of the state and specifically commend him for the N18 billion dedicated for building 6 storm drainages to solve the problems of flooding in Warri and Uvwie.
The recent launching of new buses for the state’s transport company, Delta Line, managed by God Is Good Transport Development Company(GTDC), also caught our attention. The partnership between Delta State and GTDC looks set to completely reposition and transform Delta Line, making it one of the best and most innovative state owned transport company in the country.
1) Abdulahi Ganduje —Kano State
Kano State Government, under Abdulahi Ganduje, made headlines days back for banning people of the opposite sex from entering the same tricycle in the state.
The implication of the new order is that couples and siblings of different sexes cannot go on outing together in the state, except they ride separately.
While we note that every society has its own peculiarities, it is however doubtful that the new order is what the people of Kano State need most at the moment.
The state government, however, within a short time of proposing the law, announced its suspension. This signifies that it was obviously not a well thought-out initiative, and that stakeholders were not consulted, nor opinion of citizens sought before the law was put in place.
We also note Governor Ganduje’s obsession with his faceoff with the Emir of Kano, and his desperation in creating new Emirates out of the Kano Emirate. We also find it condemnable, a statement credited to the governor that he received a request from a group that the Emir should be deposed. This, we view as a way of flying a kite to feel the pulse of the people in the event that he decides to move against the Emir.
2) Seriake Dickson —Bayelsa State
Still smarting from the defeat of his anointed candidate in the November 16 governorship election in the state, Governor Dickson, in what was a most condemnable outburst, took his fellow governor, Nyesome Wike, to the cleaners largely because of the fallout of the declarative judgment of a Federal High Court, Abuja on the disputed Soku oil wells.
We condemn the derogatory words, Dickson, who is at the verge of completing his second term as governor, used on Wike, calling him childish and declaring that the Rivers State governor does not deserve any courtesy.
These and many other outbursts of the Bayelsa governor, we dare say are unbecoming of a state governor, especially one that has been in the saddle for close to eight years. The appropriate step would have been to appeal the court judgment, if an opportunity ones exist, rather than engaging in what is obviously akin to a street fight.
3) Ben Ayade —Cross River
The continuing detention and persecution of journalist Agba Jalingo and another lawyer for allegedly criticising Ayade has remained a sour point for months.
Though we acknowledge that Ayade has made some impressive impact in the state, his aversion for criticism gives him out as one without a full grasp of the working of democracy, and the burden of leadership.
We also note with worry, the creation of new curious ministries by Governor Ayade, driving the number of ministries in the state to an unwieldy 39.
We contend that the creation of the ministries of foreign affairs, robotics and artificial intelligence, humanity and social welfare, grants and economic empowerment, establishment and payroll, special duties, aviation, commerce and that of sports and cinematography, are unnecessary and an obvious duplication that will most definitely eat further into the finances of the state.
We equally note that before the creations, the governor had created the ministries of training and doctoring, infrastructure, rural transformation, climate change, and new cities development.
We find it curious that in the face of dwindling government revenue, a scholar of Ayade’s standing would embark on such needless jamboree!
4) Godwin Obaseki – Edo State
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State made the Bottom 5 list of Governors in Nigeria for the month of December on account of his role in the crisis rocking the state chapter of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC)
We note with caution that the governor maybe fighting for survival and it’s only natural to fight back when pushed to the wall. We are, however, worried that the faceoff between him and his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole is beginning to affect governance in Edo State.
It is more worrisome that the governor and his aides have descended lower in decorum and respectability in their choice and use of words in the current faceoff with the National Chairman of the APC, Oshiomhole. Obaseki must acknowledge that his attempt to breach well known democratic ethos is largely responsible for the near descent into political chaos and the instructions which government now suffers in Edo State.
5) Rotimi Akeredolu —Ondo State
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu gets his first mention in the Governors Ranking since inception, though from the Bottom 5.
We note the controversies that has trailed the wedding of his daughter recently in Mauritius, and concur that the governor’s action was less than sensitive.
We acknowledge the right of the governor to take his event to any part of the world but we equally state without equivocation that as a leader, he is expected to be much more circumspect in his dealings, especially in a state where pensioners are owed N50 billion in pension and gratuities.
We hold that a state with backlogs of salaries, dating back to the former Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s days, should not be saddled with a governor who will display wealth obscenely, either from personal or public funds, even as we pray that no kobo of the state’s resources was expended in the Mauritius display.
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