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Governor's Ranking

Ranking Nigerian Governors, March, 2024: As Sanwo-Olu raises the bar, ‘Ramadan Jamboree’ offers striking contrast in the North



Our Model

Ranking Nigerian Governors is a special monthly publication of Ripples Nigeria reviewing the performance of Nigerian governors.

We take more than a passing look at the policy statements, actions or inactions of state governors and their impact on citizens resident in their states by using a ranking system that groups them into Top 5 and Bottom 5. This we did consistently in the early days of the publication from its inception in August 2019.

The ranking system, however, changed with the decline in governance at all levels in the country. To bridge the gap, a new approach was adopted in assessing them. This approach focuses on identifying those worth mentioning either positively or negatively, while giving a verdict on the general state of governance by the governors.

While we acknowledge the challenges associated with governance in this part of the world, especially the dwindling resources at the disposal of state governors and the ever-rising wage bills and other needs calling for attention, it is our belief that leaders who are smart and creative would not find it too difficult making things work, given the abundant natural and human resources available all over the country.

A Look Back

In the last publication, we looked at what we called the politics of desperation by state governors, zeroing on the crisis that engulfed Rivers State as exemplified by the faceoff between Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

We also focused on the needless crisis that took over governance in Ondo State in the dying days of its former governor, Olurotimi Akeredolu. Also mentioned was the continued crisis in Edo State that pitted Governor Godwin Obaseki against his erstwhile ally and deputy, Philip Shaibu, with clearly unorthodox methods being employed to get rid of the latter.

In Focus

In this current publication, Ranking Nigerian Governors focuses on the strides the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has been making of late, rejigging the transportation system in the state through the development of rail transport infrastructure, in addition to other efforts being made to help alleviate the current hardship in the country, including salaries increment for civil servants and deployment of discount markets for food stuffs across the state.

We also x-ray the jamboree embarked upon by state governors in the Northern part of the country in the name of Ramadan feeding and how the billions of naira expended on the exercise could have best been utilised for the greater good of the citizens.

Lagos: The visible impact of rail infrastructure, discount markets

In what has been praised as a revolutionary move by any state government in Nigeria, the Lagos State Government under Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has in the last one year inaugurated two rail lines, the Blue and Red lines, for mass transportation of Lagosians.

The Blue Line, the first of several rail lines by the state government to be inaugurated, runs from Mile 2 to Marina while the Red Line, recently inaugurated by President Bola Tinubu, runs from Agbado in Ogun State to Oyingbo area of Lagos.

The first phase of the red rail line, which is 27 kilometres, would transport over 500,000 passengers daily, saving time and creating opportunities for the people.

READ ALSO:Ripplesmetrics: Fiscal performance ranking of 17 Nigerian governors leaving office by May 29 (Part 2)

We acknowledge that the coming on stream of the two rail lines has no doubt made commuting along the two corridors a smooth and great experience for residents. This is more so when considered alongside the legendary traffic bottlenecks the state is known for.

We also take cognizance of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s revelation that the state government had commenced work on the Green and Purple rail lines.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Red Line, Governor Sanwo-Olu said: “This is not the end of the story, but merely the beginning. We are on a long and exciting journey. Much has been accomplished, and there is still much ahead to be done. There will be a total of six Lines on the Lagos Rail Mass Transit System, when fully developed. We have already started preliminary work on the next two: the Green and Purple Lines.

‘’The Green Line is a 71.49-kilometre route from Marina to the Lekki Free Zone, one of the fastest-growing industrial areas on the continent today, and also where we will be siting the new Lagos International Airport.

“The Purple Line is a 54.35-kilometre from the Redemption Camp to Ojo, near the Lagos State University. The final two lines will be the Orange and the Yellow Lines.”

Though the Lagos State government has been known to be a trailblazer over time, we reckon that Governor Sanwo-Olu has taken it to a new height all together, easing the transportation needs of the people, with a fast, timely, less stressful and cheaper alternative.

Following closely in this season of bold moves is the food discount markets introduced by the state government to make foodstuffs available to residents at cheaper rates.

Under the initiative, staple food items, including rice, beans, garri, bread, eggs, tomatoes, and pepper are made available at a 25% discounted price at the ‘Ounje Eko’ Food Markets, which open from 11am to 4pm in all local government areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the State.

According to the state government, a 5kg bag of rice is sold at N5,325, with 1kg available for N1,065. Similarly, a 5kg bag of beans is sold for N6,225, with 1kg at N1,245. The ‘Ounje Eko’ food markets operate across 27 locations in Ikeja, six in Lagos Island, nine in Ikorodu, five in Epe, and 10 in Badagry divisions of the state.

There is no doubt that the Lagos State Government has taken proactive steps in ensuring that residents of the state has some form of breather in the face of the current economic hardship in the country.

It is our honest view that Lagos State, under Governor Sanwo-Olu, has effectively taken care of the basic needs of the people of the state in food and transportation. This, we believe, is the real function of government— to make life easier for the people.

Northern Governors’ Ramadan jamboree

With the current Ramadan fast going on in the Muslim world, state governors, especially in the Northern part of the country, have embarked on what we consider as jamboree, with billions of naira voted for Ramadan feeding.

Seven states, namely Katsina, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi, Niger, and Yobe, as at the last count, allocated a total of over N28.3 billion for feeding their residents during the ongoing Ramadan fast.

The huge allocations, according to critics, are a huge strain on scarce government finances that could be used for other crucial needs like infrastructure and education.

Katsina State leads the way with an allocation of N10 billion, while Sokoto follows with N6.7 billion. Kano has also set aside N6 billion, Jigawa has allocated N2.83 billion, Kebbi has allocated N1.5 billion, Niger has allocated N976 million, and Yobe has allocated N178 million.

Though it is not entirely out of place for governments to provide social relief for the less privileged in the society, especially in times of need, however, based on past experiences, many Nigerians are of the opinion that such huge allocations may just end up in private pockets, without getting to those they were intended for.

Aside the above, we also contend that the role of government has nothing to do with freebies or assuming the posture of a Father Christmas. It would have been more appropriate for these seven state governments to have followed the example of Lagos State by making essential food commodities available to residents at a cheaper rate in an organized market set-up.

Though we acknowledge that a higher percentage of the residents of the states mentioned above are Muslims, we contend that there are sizeable numbers of Christians in the states too who have obviously been excluded from the Ramadan feeding. These residents are taxpayers who are rightly entitled to the same largesse from government.

While we also acknowledge the recent strides by Niger State Governor, Mohammed Bago, particularly in agriculture as evidenced by the mass acquisition and deployment of tractors, we advise that he should not allow wasteful expenditures like Ramadan allocation to derail him.

It is our belief that state governments, especially those in the Northern part of the country, must up their game and approach governance with greater seriousness. They must desist from simplistic approaches and the resort to religious appeal to buy the loyalty of the people.

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