Ranking Nigerian Governors is a special monthly publication of Ripples Nigeria that is focused on a monthly review of the performance of state chief executive officers in the country.
The publication focuses on quality policy statements and concrete actions or otherwise to rank governors on the basis of a Top 5 and Bottom 5 ranking system. This began in August, 2019. However, with the glaring decline in governance at all levels in the country, a new approach was adopted, albeit temporarily, in assessing them.
This new approach focuses on identifying those worth mentioning either positively or negatively, while giving a verdict on the general state of governance by the governors.
In carrying out this self-imposed duty in the interest of Nigerians and lovers of good governance, Ripples Nigeria recognises the fact that governance in this part of the world is faced with several challenges, ranging 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.
We, however, believe that these challenges are no excuse for the seeming general lethargy in governance by virtually every tier of government in the country, as it is a stubborn fact that Nigeria, with its God-given natural resources and huge and intimidating human assets, visionary and forward-looking leaders should not have too many problems making things work.
The reality on ground, however, is a near total disconnect with 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.
For the months of June, July, August and September, we beamed our searchlight on the actions of state governors in the final days leading to the conduct of the presidential primaries of their respective parties and the aftermath of the primaries. We also reviewed the response of state governors to the growing insecurity in the country and the roles of some state governors, especially those of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and other members of the G-5 governors in the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as it pertains to the continuous waste of scarce resources on unnecessary foreign travels.
For the month of October, 2022, Ripples Nigeria’s Ranking Nigerian Governors, examines the state of the states in the country in the face of the yet to be abated porous security in the country and rising cost of living, and the devastating flooding across the country without a commensurate response from those saddled with the responsibility of providing for the people’s protection and succour.
With the commencement of campaigns for the 2023 general elections, the nation appears to have entered into default mode, with a dysfunctional auto-pilot system driving governance, as state governors have seemingly abandoned governance for campaigns.
With most, if not all, the governors actively involved in campaigns, governance at the state level has been relegated to the background, with little or no attention paid to the insecurity scourge in the states, rising cost of living— especially food— and the devastating flooding that affected most parts of the country.
For the governors, the politics of 2023 and the current campaigns appear to be of more importance than the security and well-being of the people they swore to protect.
Kidnappings, Banditry Unabated
Though governments across the country, especially those run by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), are quick to pronounce the decimation of bandits and terrorist groups in the country, however, the reality seems to be the contrary.
From Niger State to Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and Ogun State (along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway where kidnappings have lately increased with the abductions), bandit attacks and terrorists activities continue to pose serious challenge.
In the month of October, heavily armed gunmen numbering about 10 had invaded the farm in the evening of Saturday, October 8, 2022 and abducted 14 people. Ten of them were able to escape while the four still in captivity consisted of three males and one female.
On the same Saturday, Osun State Police spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola disclosed that Chief Oladepo Asaolu, the Babaloja of Ora-Igbomina in Oke-Ila Local Council of the state, who was kidnapped on October 5, 2022 in his farm, was found dead in a bush close to the town.
Also on the 19th of October, gunmen abducted at least 10 healthcare workers in Niger state and killed an unspecified number after bandits invaded a general hospital. This happened after about 22 children, aged between two and 10 were abducted in the same state, with the bandits asking for N40 million as ransom. In the same vein, 20 youths, working on a farm in Katsina were also abducted by bandits in the same month.
In the course of all these attacks and kidnappings, state governors have continued, not just carrying on with business as usual, but contemptuously concentrating on who becomes what in 2023.
Rising Cost of Living
Though many in government may not readily agree to this, we are convinced that Nigeria and Nigerians are currently going through a food crisis that has driven up cost of living drastically, with the masses most impacted.
The current food crisis, presumably caused by terrorists and bandists’ activities and the foreign exchange crisis in the country, have put millions of households in harm’s way as hunger currently pervades the country.
In the midst of all these, Nigerian governors continued to carry on as if nothing is amiss, without efforts at activating social welfare programmes that can at least alleviate the suffering of the masses and provide some form of succour for them. Instead of this, Nigerian state governors have been busy junketing across the length and breath of the country in search of votes from the same Nigerians that are dying at the hands of bandits, terrorists, kidnappers and hunger!
Nigerian communities in more than 20 states experienced devastating flooding that sacked hundreds in communities and displaced several millions of people.
According to reports, almost 90 percent of Bayelsa State was under water, while the state was cut off from both Delta and Rivers states as the East West Road became unpassable due to the impact of the flood. Similarly, about 300 communities were said to have been submerged in Anambra State, triggering a major Iinternally Displaced Persons (IDPs) crisis in the same state. Similar occurrences, according to media reports, happened in several states in the country.
Despite these, politics and politicking continued to be the major concerns of Nigerian state governors, who have the very immediate and overriding responsibility for the care and well-being of Nigerians domiciled in their states.
It is our belief, just as we had stated several times, that people saddled with the responsibility of protecting and providing for the well-being of Nigerians should pay more attention to these responsibilities and not sacrifice them on the alter of politics and politicking.
It is our sincere conviction that good governance should be the preoccupation and overriding interest of elected officers at whatever level, as this should naturally be the basis for seeking for the votes of the electorate.
In the alternative, we suggest that the country’s constitution should be amended to give more powers and responsibilities to deputy governors to act, without deferring to their principals, especially when they, the principals, are distracted from performing their primary duties, as it is at the moment!
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