In this second and concluding part of our series on the performance of first term governors after one year in office, we will be beaming searchlight on Adamawa, Borno, Ogun, Yobe and Zamfara states.
It should be noted that governors in the South East and South South Region were not featured in the series because most of them are in their second terms while in the case of Bayelsa, the new governor, Douye Diri is yet to clock one year in office.
An assessment of Prof Babagana Umara Zulum’s first year in office as the governor of Borno State is based on the tripod of security, humanitarian intervention and rebooting of the economy to facilitate the rapid reconstruction of the state from the ruins of Boko Haram insurgency.
These three broad areas formed the pivot of his 10-pact agenda of transforming the state and setting it on the path of post-Boko Haram prosperity.
Leveraging on the invaluable knowledge and experience of the Boko Haram insecurity and its accompanying problems bedeviling the Borno terrain, which he acquired as the pioneer Commissioner of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement during the Kashim Shettima-led administration, Prof Zulum, on assumption of office, focused on the provision of adequate security for the returnee communities to enable then gradually settle down to rebuild their lives to facilitate rebooting the state economy.
Accordingly, with the state’s Police Command and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, Civilian JTF and local hunters, he formed the Rapid Response Squad; employed the services of hundreds of hunters and members of the local vigilante, as well as reorganized the Civilian Joint Task Force to assist the military in combating the Boko Haram terrorists.
He provided the security agencies with surveillance vehicles to facilitate their operations in combating terror and other crimes.
Determined to provide adequate security to farmers and their crops during the cropping seasons, he formed the Agro-rangers squad that keep regular sentry around farming fields, aimed at warding off the marauding terrorists.
One of Zulum’s most spectacular programmes had been humanitarian intervention under which he went around the 27 Local Government Areas of the state and the three neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon, distributing food and non-food items to returnee communities and IDPs/refugees of Borno indigene.
Borno State government, under Zulum, over the last one year, catered for over 200,000 refugees who hail from the state as well as those in Niger Republic, Cameroon and Chad.
There has also been the ongoing construction and reconstruction of thousands of housing units for the resettlement of IDPs and returnee communities as a principal part of the infrastructural development programme.
Under this programme, the construction of a flyover at the Custom Junction in Maiduguri metropolis, 25 inter and intra township roads and drainages; as well as, the Maiduguri-Gamboru-Chad and the Maiduguri-Bama-Banki-Cameroon transborder roads were embarked upon under the construction and reconstruction of roads, and revival of roads projects stalked by insurgency, to resuscitate commercial activities within the state and across the border.
In agriculture, his government, among others, mobilized a set of no fewer than 5000 farmers to grow Masakawa Sorghum across six Northern and Central Borno LGAs.
Most of these farmers, cultivating tens of thousands of hectares, are returnees wishing to resume farming in their home communities for commercial purposes.
Zulum’s government assisted 25,000 farmers in Dikwa, Mafa and Gwoza local government areas with N5000 each for the 2019 cropping season.
While these could be the most spectacular among Zulum’s very numerous accomplishments in the last one year, the Professor of Agricultural Engineering still seems to be having gargantuan insecurity challenge staring him in the face.
Despite completing some inherited projects and initiating new ones, critics have scored Adamawa State governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri low as he clocks one year in office.
The critics argued that rather than commission new roads and other infrastructure, the governor was relying on projects started by his predecessors.
Reacting to the criticism, the commissioner of Information, Dr. Umar Hong said the government had adopted a strategy of attending to all uncompleted projects left behind by successive administrations, saying Fintiri had achieved much in projects, some of which he said were not physical but impactful.
Hong noted that the governor has improved the welfare of workers and students and embarked on massive road construction, rural electrification, educational and health infrastructure developments which were still on-going, adding that in its first year, the government invested a lot to generate studies on development to lay the intellectual foundation for good governance.
The governor had announced free education, re-introduced feeding in boarding schools and reclaimed land belonging to schools which had been allocated to individuals.
The governor awarded scholarship to 60 students to study engineering courses in India just as he has earned commendation for paying counterpart funding to access Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) intervention for 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The administration employed 1500 vigilantes members in Madagali and Michika at a monthly salary of N46,500 after donating 60 Toyota Hilux vehicles as well as motorcycles to security agencies and vigilantes to improve security in the state.
Fintiri’s aides point to the on-going electrification project connecting Toungo LGA to the national grid and the effort to restore Madagali and Michika as major achievements.
However, the state organizing secretary, APC, Ahmad Lawan described the administration as failure, lamenting that the governor plotted to destroy some of the good legacies of his predecessor.
Many residents interviewed by Daily Trust on Sunday believed the governor achieved more in non tangible projects in areas including education, security and workers’ welfare as well as in completion of inherited projects.
Governor Dapo Abiodun took over as governor of Ogun State amidst high expectations from the populace.
Abiodun inherited a state where previous government had raised the bar on infrastructural projects and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Former Governor Ibikunle Amosun said he met the state’s IGR at about N700m in 2011and raised it to N7billion upon competition of his tenure in 2019.
Abiodun anchored his administration’s thrust on “ISEYA”, which stands for Infrastructure, Social welfare and wellbeing, Education, Youth Empowerment and Agriculture. But how has he fared in these areas in the 365 days in office?
On infrastructure, Abiodun’s government had commenced construction of 14km Ijebu – Ode – Epe road, in a bid to ease traffic on the ever – busy Lagos – Ibadan expressway.
The state’s owned agency has equally fixed some deplorable roads in the last one year, but critical stakeholders wondered why roads in Atan – Agbara axis, which is the industrial hub of the state, have not been considered.
In September last year, his government donated 100 patrol vehicles and bikes to the security agencies to aid their fight against crime in the state.
In education sector, the governor had resolved some controversial issues and renovated primary schools across all wards in the state.
On IGR, the governor recently claimed to have already surpassed his predecessor’s record, but he kept the figure away from the public.
On employment generation, Abiodun was recently applauded when he fully absorbed into the civil service, the 1,000 workers his predecessor recruited at the twilight of his government.
As at today, the governor has not implemented the new national minimum wage, an issue which had already led to a cold war of some sort between him and the organized labour.
Generally speaking, on the streets of Ogun State, people believe that the one year of Abiodun is less eventful and lack direction.
A Peoples Democratic Party chieftain, Segun Sowunmi has urged the governor “to inject some speed to governance in his own interest” and that of the people.
Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni on assumption of office announced the policy direction of his administration which centers on education, agriculture, healthcare delivery, economy and empowerment.
Buni matched his words with commitment by declaring a state of emergency on basic and secondary education.
Under his watch, education got the lion share in the state’s 2020 budget, where over N22 billion was allocated for the sector.
Government through education ministry and other supporting agencies embarked on construction of six model primary schools; reconstructions, renovations and expansion of classrooms as well as granting of full scholarship package to 69 Law students.
In Agriculture, the government procured 103 Mersey Fergusson tractors and distributed five to each of the 17 LGA in addition to 9,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer which were given to farmers at subsidized cost of N3,000 as against the N10,000 open market price.
Dormant industries such as the Yobe Woven Sacks Factory, Yobe Flour and Feed Mills and the Yobe Aluminium Company have been revived and are currently operational at full capacity.
Similarly, over 600 shops capacity Damaturu Ultra Modern Market is currently under construction and has reached advanced stage of completion while works has also commenced at Trailer Transit Park in Potiskum.
Other projects are construction of 53 health centers, roads, water and electricity supply.
Poor representation of women in Buni’s cabinet is one of his low points. Of the 20 commissioners appointed, only two were women while one out of the 21 advisers is a woman.
Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle assumed office as governor of Zamfara State amidst raging security challenges across the state which he confronted headlong.
He started with hectic days of meetings with key stakeholders, traditional rulers, different security outfits from Abuja, the Inspector General of Police, President Muhammad Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, amongst others in effort to tackle the situation.
Within a short time, Governor Matawalle was able to restore peace to the state and reduced deadly activities of kidnappers and bandits to the barest minimum.
In the education sector, the government awarded contracts for the construction of 613 primary school classrooms across the state; renovation of 342 others and equipping them with desks and ICT centers
On infrastructure, Matawalle has carried out a number of road constructions in the state, amongst them are the Canteen Daji Area road; Kwanar Yoruba Mosque Sabon Gari Road.
The health sector has also received attention with construction of 147 PHCs, procurement of thousands of PPEs and ambulances for the health sector, amongst others.
To mark his 365 days in office, he granted autonomy to all 21 local governments of the state on Friday. He noted that there was no better way for the third tier of government to dispense developmental projects than being independent of other tiers.