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How first term governors fared, one year after (I)

State governors who are in their first term clocked one year in office yesterday.

Many of these governors made plethora of campaign promises to the electorate before they were voted into power. With one year down and three more to go, how far have these governors fared in terms of delivering their campaign promises to the people? In this edition, we are focusing on Ondo, Lagos, Kwara, Bauchi, Gombe and Oyo states.

 

Lagos

One year of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has incontrovertibly been full of ups and downs.

Taking over from Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in May 2019, the governor immediately hit the ground running with the unfolding of a THEME agenda which include Traffic Management and Transportation; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy; Entertainment and Tourism and Security and Governance.

One major area he focused on was fixing the dilapidated roads across the state and unlocking the debilitating traffic gridlock in all the nooks and crannies of the state.

He immediately issued an executive order which empowers the traffic management agency (LASTMA) to be stricter in traffic enforcement while also increasing the personnel’s allowance as well as their working hours.

Despite the energy with which he started with his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamza, the governor faced stringent criticism over the bad state of arterial roads in the state which many residents and visitors believe was responsible for the traffic gridlock across the state.

The government, however blamed the rainy season for the failure to fix the roads.

But immediately the rain subsided, the state, embarked on massive road rehabilitation and repair across the state thereby, partially unlocking the traffic gridlock in some parts of the Lagos.

As a follow-up to this effort the government invested in waterway transportation through the resuscitation of Lagos Ferry Service to encourage water transportation and decongest the roads and highways in the state.

The governor also committed to completing some of the ongoing projects inherited from the previous administration including the Agege Fly Over project, the Abule-Egba/Oshodi BRT corrdor, the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, among others.

Other programmes implemented by Sanwo-Olu cut across the health, education, agriculture, information technology. For instance, in education, the government announced the recruitment of 10,000 teachers to deepen primary and post-primary education; in health, new maternal and childcare hospitals were built.

But early this year, the ban on Okada and tricycles in major commercial areas of the state by Sanwo-Olu was one of the actions taken by his government which attracted widespread criticism.

Though, the government tried to introduce more mass transit buses to fill the gap create d by the Okada ban, many Lagosians took on the Governor for the ban without providing sufficient alternative for commuting within the metropolitan areas.

The crisis over Okada ban is yet to fissle out when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the state.

But so far, analysts say the government of Lagos has demonstrated leadership in the management of the crisis.

While the ruling party hailed him, opposition in the state raised the issue of accountability and transparency in the management of the COVID-19 especially the distribution of palliatives for residents during the lockdown.

Be that as it may, Lagosians still expect a lot from the Governor in years to come in the area of job creation, making the state much more livable in terms of mass transportation and opening up and expansion of more and existing road infrastructures in the state.

 

Gombe

In Gombe, Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya assumed office amidst high expectations from the populace.

On assumption of office, Governor Yahaya re-echoed his campaign promises which include tackling perennial water scarcity, overhauling the health sector, revamping the education sector, provision of employments as well as security of lives and property of the residents.

Even though it took him six months to constitute his full cabinet, the administration had embarked on radical infrastructural developments especially construction of roads in urban and rural areas as well as completion of some abandoned road projects by the previous administration.

He also in collaboration with development partners launched the rehabilitation of at least one primary healthcare centre (PHC) per political ward; renovation of the State Specialist Hospital and renovation of schools.

There was also pronouncement to establish an industrial park near the Dadin-Kowa Hydropower plant and a grazing area at the Wawa-Zange Grazing Reserve.

In addition to infrastructure, the administration has embarked on the enrollment of out-of-school children back to classroom through a World Bank project, ‘Better Education Service Delivery for All’ (BESDA) and the launch of his ambitious project of planting four million trees in four years.

However, despite some of the successes highlighted above, people of the state are still battling with water scarcity, with majority of those living in the Gombe metropolis relying heavily on water vendors.

There are complaints from the electorate and the political class that the administration has not done enough in providing succor and welfare support to the people especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Analysts said there was policy backlash such as payment of minimum wage to selected workers from the state civil service which was readily reversed immediately the COVID-19 issue emerged.

Also, one year after dissolving the caretaker chairmen of the 11 LGAs, secretaries of such LGAs are still manning the councils which in contravention of the constitution.

All eyes are now on Governor Yahaya to bring about the much desired change the people of the state have been yearning for.

 

Kwara

In Kwara, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq had made some marks over the last one year of his administration particularly in health, agriculture and infrastructure.

Some of the achievements include ongoing rehabilitation of 31 schools across the state of which seven are undergoing complete overhaul.

In the health sector, Abdulrazaq’s administration had spent N232m to tackle malaria, maternal deaths and malnutrition. The administration built a five-ward isolation centre for infectious diseases.

The administration recently purchased five new military-grade ambulances and revived its long-dead oxygen plant.

Other areas that have received facelifts in the sector include Sobi Specialist Hospital, Civil Service Eye Clinic, College of Nursing and College of Health Technology, Offa.

In the area of agriculture, the government is constructing a multipurpose Maigida-Bani road which connects farming communities in the north to those in the central for easy access to market.

Presently 68 township roads and mini-bridges linking major communities have either been completed or are ongoing across the state.

But it is not yet an eldorado for his administration particularly in the political front as internal crisis is tearing his party, the APC apart in the state.

 

Bauchi

Governor Bala Mohammed assumed office in Bauchi State amidst myriads of challenges including backlog of pension and gratuities to the tune of N29 billion and alleged empty treasury, amongst others.

Some  significant achievements were made in the area of physical infrastructures including construction of urban and rural roads as well as construction and renovations of hundreds of primary and secondary schools.

The government in collaboration with development partners like UNICEF, Plan International and other partners reconstructed and renovated over 43 main PHC per ward.

In education, the administration has constructed 270 of new blocks of classroom legacy projects and renovated 405 primary and secondary schools in the state.

In the area of road constructions, Mohammed in one year has constructed many urban roads in Bauchi metropolis, Azare and other intercity roads in some major towns, amongst others.

The governor has failed to keep to its promise of conducting local government election within six months in office as pledged.

 

Oyo

In Oyo State, prompt payment of salaries on 25th of every month in the last one year remains the major high point of Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration.

Makinde had in several fora assured workers in the state that his government would prioritize payment of salaries and welfare of the workers.

On infrastructure, the government in the last one year had awarded the Iseyin-Ibadan road to foster smooth transit of farm produce to the city.

However, shortly after the inauguration, the governor borrowed N7.6 billion to upgrade two farm settlements in the state, namely; Akufo and Eruwa Farm Estates, but at the moment, it appears the sector is yet to flourish.

At the moment, there is no significant improvement in education sector, despite the pronouncement of Governor Makinde to abolish the N1, 000 fees per term by students in public schools in the state.

Other areas which need urgent attention in the state according to analysts include security, health and other key areas of the economy.

 

Nasarawa

Governor Abdullahi Sule took over power with a promise of prioritizing the issue of security in the state.

Over the years, there have been recurring security challenges in some parts of the state which this administration has been striving to tackle.

Governor Sule facilitated the establishment of an Air Force Base in Lafia Cargo Airport and inaugurated community policing, amongst others to enhance security.

He also met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja recently to discuss the issues of rising security challenges in the state with a view to getting supports.

In infrastructure, the governor awarded contract for the construction of 15km Sisin Baki-Farin Ruwa road project in the state, amongst others.

The administration has built blocks of classrooms under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the three senatorial zones.

He also flagged off the construction of feeder roads under direct labour; encouraged road side traders in Karu to relocate to the Muhammadu Buhari Market and laid the foundation of a mega bus terminal in Karu.

Giving his assessment, Nasarawa State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Francis Orogu said, “My assessment of the governor’s one year in office is that, he looks like a gentleman, but we deserve more than that.”

People of the state want the administration to use the next three years to execute projects that will have direct bearing on their lives.

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