Ranking Nigerian Governors, a special monthly publication of Ripples Nigeria, is focused on the review, on a monthly basis, of the performance of state chief executive officers in the country.
At the core of the publication is the quality policy statements and concrete actions or otherwise of state governors in the course of the month, using the Top 5 and Bottom 5 ranking system. This has been the case since August 2019 when the publication made its debut.
However, with the decline in governance at all levels in the country, a new approach was adopted, albeit temporarily, 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.
It is however important to note that in carrying out this self-imposed duty in the interest of Nigerians and lovers of good governance, we are mindful of the several challenges facing governance in this part of the world. These challenges range from paucity of funds occasioned by dwindling allocation from the centre and lack of commonsense initiatives in revenue generation, to insecurity and social strife, among others.
The above challenges, however, do not take away the fact that if those at the helm of affairs in the states were proactive enough and willing to think out of the box, Nigeria and Nigerian states are more than well endowed to be stuck in the current sorry state they are in.
It remains a fact that Nigeria, given its God-given natural resources, and huge intimidating human assets, should be on a steady path to greatness with visionary and forward-looking leaders at the helm of affairs.
It is, however, disappointing that the reality on ground is a near-total disconnect from the expectations of the people, leading to widespread mistrust, largely because those saddled with governance at the state level have been unable to prudently manage the meagre resources available, and are bereft of creative and future-looking approach in their planning and policy formulation.
This current publication of Ranking Nigerian Governors, another special edition just like the last two, seeks to set an agenda for newly inaugurated first-term governors and their colleagues who just returned for a second term in office.
For many Nigerians, the state of governance in the country, especially in the just concluded dispensation, left much to be desired, as residents of the 36 states of the country contended with life-threatening challenges that reduced life and living to one that was brutish, uninspiring, hopeless and without any resolution in sight.
For most part of the last four years, between 2019 and 2023, states in the country, except a few, contended with a choking regime of insecurity, when terrorists, bandits, unknown gunmen, kidnappers and of course, armed robbers had a field day, terrorising, killing and maiming. And to cap it off, poverty, hunger and skyrocketing cost of living, as exemplified mainly by cost of food prices, made life even much more difficult for the average Nigerian.
These challenges and the situation in the states have made the coming on board of new governors and the returning ones to be one that is not enviable in any way, as residents of the states are no doubt expecting, if not an immediate turn around, then a major shift from the current status quo— a shift from the mostly uninspiring leadership experienced the last time.
With the inauguration of their excellencies on Monday the 29th of May, 2023, we believe that certain areas deserve immediate priority attention, proactive policy response and concerted action.
Bellow are some of the areas we believe state governors must immediately work on:
As stated above, insecurity assumed a damning dimension in the last four years, with states across the country, especially those in the North-West, North-Central and the South-East bearing the greatest brunt of the near-total collapse of security of lives and property.
To be sure, the new governors of Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Niger, Benue and Plateau states will have a lot to contend with when it comes to insecurity as occasioned by the activities of bandits and terrorists. Also governors of North-Eastern states will be faced with the shared responsibility of seeing to the end of the Boko Haram and ISWAP insurgency, especially in Borno State, where Prof Babagana Zulum showed stellar leadership in his first four years in office.
For the governors of the South-East, the activities of the so-called unknown gunmen, which have been linked to the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its sister group, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), will be under pressure to take back the region from the criminals that have continued to attack security agents and their facilities and ordinary citizens, killing, maiming and kidnapping for ransom.
Both new and returning governors must, as a matter of urgency, partner with the Federal Government and the security agencies to secure the lives and property of their people, thereby return confidence in citizens and residents in the capacity of government to protect them and work for their good.
They must learn from the mistakes of either their predecessors or their first tenure, as the case may be, in the management of security and their relationship with security forces, who have the primary responsibility in managing security matters.
State governors must also, through the National Assembly and the federal government, press for constitutional amendments in changing their status as toothless state chief security officers with no real commanding powers, which, in our estimation, has handicapped governors in dealing with insecurity frontally.
In all, governors must begin to show empathy and serious concern for the plight of hapless Nigerians in their states, take concrete steps to make them know that they are not just numbers but important members of the society whose security is their topmost priority.
Closely related to the rampaging insecurity in the land is the twin monsters of poverty and hunger, a combination that has put Nigerians in double jeopardy.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), multidimensional poverty has been on the rise lately, with about 130 million, in a country of about 200 million, suffering from it. And of course, coupled with hunger that’s ravaging the country, poor Nigerians have become endangered species.
Governors, as the first and the most important layer of authority in the line of responsibility to citizens in the states, must take urgent proactive steps to reverse the trend and come up with well thought out policies that will reduce both poverty and hunger in the land.
They must create the enabling environment for the private sector to create jobs, encourage skill acquisition by the teeming youths in the states, as well as encourage and provide loans and incentives for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to thrive and subsequently provide jobs for citizens and residents.
State governors must also encourage farmers in their respective states with good policies, facilitate credit for them, and help secure improved seedlings that will help arrest the growing food deficit in the country.
Also, concrete efforts must be taken to open up rural areas through the provision of motorable roads for farmers to move their farm produce to market centres and curb food wastage and high cost of movement of their goods to markets.
Public Finance Management
We reckon that one of the major areas governors of this dispensation must take seriously is reducing waste and curbing financial recklessness in conducting the affairs of government. One of the ways to do this is rejecting the temptation of having an over-bloated cabinet and appointing aides that have no direct bearing on good governance, or capable of delivering the goods for the benefit of the people.
The practice of appointing hundreds of personal aides in the name of repaying political debts and creating ‘jobs for the boys’ must be jettisoned; instead, they must imbibe the spirit of frugality, lean and efficient government, and prudent management of resources.
It is our belief that the resources hitherto wasted in the servicing of an over-bloated cabinet and misplaced appointment of personal aides without any real benefit in governance, can now be redirected to providing for the needs of the people.
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
SPECIAL REPORT: Shell’s inaccurate data raises questions around efforts to control methane emissions in Nigeria
Much worse for the environment than carbon dioxide, despite global efforts to control methane, emissions continue soaring. With over a...
FEATURE…Missing Rig Workers: Tragedy, Injustice and the Depthwize cabal
The serene landscape of Ovhor in Delta State bore witness to a disaster that shook the nation’s conscience. The capsize...
FEATURE… In the shadow of kidnappers: The story of Nigeria’s albatross
For decades, Nigeria has been grappling with a problem that has threatened the safety and stability of its people: kidnapping....
FEATURE: The falling standard of education in Nigeria today: Whose Fault?
Over the years, education has proven to be the fulcrum facilitating national development in any state. Through education, knowledge is...
INVESTIGATION: Failed multi-million naira constituency water projects litter Sokoto communities
Many rural communities in Sokoto State are at the risk of an outbreak of diarrhea and other diseases due to...