State governors are elected to transform and develop their states, by providing infrastructures, good roads, drinking water, provide jobs, security and make life better and conducive for its citizens. However, in the last one year, there have been reports of state governors who have put aside their main purpose of being elected to assume a life of frivolous spending and thereby putting the state and it’s people in a state of distress.
The situation which contradicts claims of a committed resolve to plug leakages is surprising given that the trend is happening when most states are in precarious financial positions. The trend also goes contrary to an earlier charge by the Presidency to state governments to prioritise their expenditure in order to perform the primary function of government as enshrined in section 2(b) of the 1999 constitution.
More to the growing concerns about the issue is the fact that most of the country’s 36 state governors, who still entertain financial recklessness are owing salaries and pensions in arrears. In most of these states where the First-Line Charge (payment of workers’ salaries), is not receiving the priority it deserves as the life of the civil servants has been characterized by misery.
Here, governors like Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano readily come to mind
Others are; Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina, and Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna are found wanting in the habit of reckless spending as far as their respective state are concerned,.
Yahaya Bello (Kogi State):
Activities of the governor of the confluence state has been criticised number of times by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the State. The party had unresearvedly called a “reckless spender”, accusing him of feeding the public with lies about the economic situation of the state.
It also alleged that there was nothing on ground in the state, suggesting economic rejuvenation.
Early this year, February to be concise, the State workers came hard on the governor, accusing him of not paying their salaries and other arrears. The State chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) Onuh Edoka once said “there is no gain saying that your government is not the only one that suppressed workers in Kogi State, but we are not becoming used to this your own, because your policies against us are becoming tougher than those of your predecessors”
Edoka also asked the governor to defray the salaries of workers, whom he said, were dying of hunger.Edoka said the union was aware of the premature retirement and disengagement of workers by the government. He claimed N3.8 billion of N4.3 billion allocation that came to the state last month was disbursed to council areas yet no salaries had been paid. Aside this, Governor Bello and Senator Dino Melaye, a Senator in the State, have been engaged in political war over Bello’s administration in the State.
Rochas Okorocha (Imo State):
He is derisively called the ‘statue governor’, because of his action of turning the Eastern Heartland into a heaven of statues. He had already built four statues in the State at the last count, among which are that of the former Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former South African President, Jacob Zuma, who was forced to resign after allegations of corruption in his administration.
In his counter however, the governor had said the statues were not procured cheaply, but actually cost money. While not stating the exact cost, he however adamantly refused pulling it down. In a twist, the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, Damian Opara, said apart from pulling down the statue, the South African government should refund the money spent in hosting Zuma and erecting his statue in the state.
Although the statue controversy has abated, but Okorocha is not done. The nagging issue now, is that he is also planning to ordain his Chief of Staff, and son-inlaw, Uche Nwosu as the state’s next governor when he leaves.
Fears however is that as much as Imolites assert that he could be stopped from getting his son inlaw to succeed him, analysts however wonder which plan the people have marshaled to make this possible. If with all the controversial decisions he had made thus far, they are not able to stop him, what is the guarantee they would be able to do so in time later. Rotimi Amaechi, who is now the minister of transportation, and as a matter of purpose, this has been affecting the development of the state, as they keep throwing blames to each other and it was late last year, their convoys were engaged in a bloody brawl.
Rauf Aregbesola (Osun State):
As far as many in the Land of Virtue is concerned, this man began to plunge the state into confusion from early in his dispensation. Teachers were owed several months of salary, and yet no tangible infrastructure was being built in the state leaving critics to question what the state’s resources, no matter how meagre was being spent on.
His currently enmeshed in an intriguing war, over choice of candidate with a former governor of the state, Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Aregbesola had ordained his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, who is from Iragbiji in Osun Central Senatorial District to succeed him in the election scheduled to hold in September. Oyinlola, on the other hand is advocating for a young and educated candidate with the capacity to lead the state after the expiration of Aregbesola’s tenure in November, Oyinlola has been publicly identified with the coalition proposed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Nyesom Wike (Rivers State):
His activities has been under criticism from various quarter especially within the Treasure Base of the Nation. While some see his political activities as too rough and tough, some are of the view that he should be removed as the state’s governor. Only last year (2017) November, he showed ”indifference’ to the plight of Rivers State students studying in the United Kingdom when he visited the Chatham House in London. Every move by the students were rejected by him. He has also been on the warpath with former governor of the state, for as long as he has been on the stable now.
Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna State):
The Centre of Learning’s number one helmsman has been in the news over and over again, and this is as a result of continuous clash with political foes within his All Progressives Congress, APC, but inspired by Senator Shehu Sani. Last month, el-Rufai demolished a building of a Senator in the State, Suleiman Hunkuyi, saying the building was against the plan of the state, whereas the building was a secretariat ground for the factional group of the same party in the State. Recently, the governor had engaged Senator Sani in a war over the State’s government’s request for a $350m World Bank loan request, but which was declined by the Senate on Thursday. The Senate’s decision was based on the recommendation of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, a move which was supported by the three senators from Kaduna State.
Reports also reveal that while the debt profile of Kaduna State was $232.1m between 1960 and 2018, rose to $582.1m under el-Rufai’s administration alone. The other two lawmakers from Kaduna State, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi (APC, Kaduna-North) and Danjuma La’ah (PDP, Kaduna-South), had also expressed their outright opposition to the request and criticised el-Rufai’s administration.
Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti State):
Just like Wike, the governor of the Land of Honour and Integrity has always been in the news almost every time. In fact, he has built the reputation as the leading critic of the Muhhammadu Buhari administration ,
Fayose is a thorn in the flesh of the All Progressives Congress, APC led administration, constantly questioning their programmes and policies. He recently admonished them to list out the remaining names of the looters which was also published by the federal government. On many account, the Ekiti State governor had blamed the APC administration of taking backward the development of the country. Fayose has also placed a 10- year ban on the former governor of the state, who is now the minister of Steel and Natural Development, Kayode Fayemi, who is seeking a bid to get re-elected in the upcoming state’s election by June this year on allegations of corruption in the State.
Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano State):
The Centre of Commerce, in the last few months has experienced political turmoil under Ganduje, who has been desperate to outwit his predecessor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso. Both are members of the All Progressives Congress, APC. A lot has since happened in the State in terms of clashes between them, with personal political interest at the centre of those clashes. He also said that he had since parted ways with Kwankwaso since he cannot allow ‘someone from outside’ to control him. Also, early last month, (3 March), Ganduje was involved in a multi-million Naira wedding celebration between the son of Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, Isiaka and his daughter, Fatima, which gathered men of timber and calibre from far and near.
Additional reports from Online Sources.