Assessing APC Governors 100 Days After -By Ahmed Oluwasanjo

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Ahmed Oluwasanjo

Ahmed Oluwasanjo

 

Honestly, if the APC governors do not understand that their performance at the state level would have a knock-off effect on the overall nature of the change they promised Nigerians, they ought to have a re-think. Likewise, President Buhari must be out for a joke if he feels he alone can deliver on all his campaign promises, such as the creation of employment for millions of unemployed Nigerian youth, poverty alleviation, free quality education and combating corruption, without synergy from the states and local governments.

Shortly after an electoral victory comes its miseries. The problem usually doubles for a political party like the All Progressives Congress (APC) that had promised change and capitalised on the fact that Nigerians were tired of an overweening and non-performing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This is the party that “defined corruption and even tried to redefine corruption and stealing” as postulated by one its members, the erstwhile governor of Cross Rivers state, Donald Duke in the August edition of The Interview magazine.

Truth be told, the APC played a perfect role as an opposition party, from issuing periodic press releases to promising to deliver the moon on a stick, all of which now appear too difficult for the party to achieve. All thanks to Nigerians who gave them the opportunity at the state and federal levels to test the waters and know that talk is cheap. Now that politics is over and it is time for governance, it is time to start the assessment of APC state governors, based on news coming in from their states. This piece, mind you, would not emphasise the areas these governors have done well, since they were voted into office to do just that.

In Lagos, the internal rancour within the State chapter of the APC has revealed that much has been buried under the mantra of continuity within the APC, which is at the helm of affairs in the State. Sadly, my much loved and respected former governor Babatunde Raji Fashola is trapped in the mud this time. I must confess that my love for Fashola waxed cold when news of inflated contracts under his administration broke.

We might call it a political ploy aimed at getting Fashola out of contention for an appointment in the Muhammadu Buhari administration, but the stove towards summum bonum should make us ask if these allegations are true or false. However we choose to see it, spending N139million on two boreholes is scandalous, if we must call a spade by its name. The ‘hand of Jacob, and voice of Esua’ behind this saga has done more arm to APC than Fashola and this should prompt Lagosians to consider trying another party to unearth more instances of the clandestine maladministration of the APC in Lagos subsequently.

Ogun State has been in the news most recently for the sacking of six officials of the state Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, including a secondary school teacher, by the state government, over allegedly offensive examination questions. Several attempts have been made to defend and justify the draconian act but the issue has kept resurfacing, due to the efforts of those fighting to ensure that the affected staff are reinstated. A question we should ask in this regard is, would these staff be sacked if this case had occurred during Amosun’s campaign for re-election?

In Osun State, Governor Rauf Aregbesola has been quiet and missing in action as civil servants have been stomping all over his agbada, telling him to forget stories of his performance before now and pay their salaries. Some quarters are even calling for his impeachment. Governor Abiola Ajumobi of Oyo State, who recently broke the gubernatorial re-election jinx in the State, finally took a clue from ‘johnny just come’ governor, Nasir El-Rufai, by cutting down on the number of his cabinet members after four years in office.

What a proactive measure to cut cost!

Should Audu have been cleared for the party’s primary election in the first place? Well, we shall all wait to see how Baba Buhari who is touted as an incorruptible leader lifts-up Audu’s hand as APC’s gubernatorial candidate at the campaign grand finale in Lokoja stadium.

Oshobaba, on his own part, has been noticeably less busy with governance in Edo State. I guess this might be due to the fact that Edo State now competes with Dubai in development in every sphere or due to the fact that Oshobaba is no longer seeking re-election. Oshobaba seems to be doing very well in his new office as Accuser-in-Chief of Jonathan and his ministers, on behalf of the present government. He has equally got responses from former presidential aide, Reno Omokiri who has since his boss’ defeat become an advocate for black market baby sellers. Likewise, Godsday Orubebe who should be seen in the city only for orubebetic comics during presidential election result collation has also returned from the creek to take a swipe at Oshobaba. Na God catch Oshobaba!

But, I digress.

Let’s stop by Kogi State, where the APC just held its gubernatorial primary election, against the forthcoming gubernatorial election in November. The emergence of haughty Prince Abubakar Audu as APC’s gubernatorial candidate is highly disappointing and contradictory to APC’s claim of intolerance for corruption. Should Audu have been cleared for the party’s primary election in the first place? Well, we shall all wait to see how Baba Buhari who is touted as an incorruptible leader lifts-up Audu’s hand as APC’s gubernatorial candidate at the campaign grand finale in Lokoja stadium.
APC Governors
In the Middle Belt, Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, seems to be the only governor who knows an electoral victory is not enough to rest on one’s oars amongst his contemporaries, who all appear to still be basking in the victory of elections they won. I hope they won’t dare leave fire on their roofs and go to bed.

The governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai for now seems to be outstanding among the governors in Nigeria. He looks more prepared and prospective as he has hit the ground running. Replication of some his major ideas and decisions in other states reinforces this.

Governor Jibrila Bindow of Adamawa State seems to be learning and taking some right steps after El-Rufai. But he has certainly not been prudent in handling public funds. One could not imagine that Bindow would ignore the agonies and cries of Adamawa’s Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and subscribe to giving the sum of N200million to clerics and traditional rulers who have no constitutional role in modern governance. Has he forgotten that the dollar rain on these men, for them to lay hands, legs and staff on Goodluck Jonathan, failed to win him re-election?

For anyone wondering about this rather early assessment of the APC governors, when the PDP emerged and was in power for many years, no one could have envisaged it would become a Poverty Development Party. Perhaps, if we had taken time to painstakingly hold its governors, lawmakers and president to a higher standard then, the party would not have metamorphosed into a behemoth that impoverished us and kept threatening to rule the rest of us for 60 years. The aphorism behind bending a fish while it is fresh substantiates this.

Bindow’s partner in this prodigious and extravagant leadership style is the governor of Kano state, Umar Ganduje, who must be quite aware of the plight of thousands of hungry almajiri children roaming the streets of Kano, facing a bleak future without any meaningful access to educational opportunities. Despite this, Ganduje felt his deputy deserved to stay in a mansion worth N180million because he (Ganduje) lived under one of the overhead brigdes in Kano as a deputy governor for eight years.

Haba!

It was a tragedy in Borno state, where governor Kashim Shettima was still mourning his deputy, late Zannah Mustapha, when news broke that Abdulrasheed Maina had been tipped to take over the office of the late deputy governor. I laugh for reasons we all know but let’s wait and see.

Putting all of these together might make Nigerians doubt if the APC can deliver on its promises. Mind you, I have not even dwelt on the Eighth National Assembly’s poor start, with 15 turbulent plenary secessions and no single bill passed. Yet, our lawmakers collectively earned N13billion in emoluments plus a 12-weeks holiday. Ironically, this is a National Assembly predominated and headed by APC members.

Honestly, if the APC governors do not understand that their performance at the state level would have a knock-off effect on the overall nature of the change they promised Nigerians, they ought to have a re-think. Likewise, President Buhari must be out for a joke if he feels he alone can deliver on all his campaign promises, such as the creation of employment for millions of unemployed Nigerian youth, poverty alleviation, free quality education and combating corruption, without synergy from the states and local governments.

For anyone wondering about this rather early assessment of the APC governors, when the PDP emerged and was in power for many years, no one could have envisaged it would become a Poverty Development Party. Perhaps, if we had taken time to painstakingly hold its governors, lawmakers and president to a higher standard then, the party would not have metamorphosed into a behemoth that impoverished us and kept threatening to rule the rest of us for 60 years. The aphorism behind bending a fish while it is fresh substantiates this.

While we the electorate have made a change in favour of the APC, we need not keep silent but follow this up with painstaking citizens’ oversight and advocacies until real change is reflected in our collective lives. Our campaign for real change has just begun.

Ahmed Oluwasanjo writes from Abuja and can be reached on [email protected]

 

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