Willy Eya, Vincent Kalu, George Onyejiuwa, Billy Graham Abel, Paul Omokuvie, Laide Raheem, Abdulrazaq Mungadi And Layi Olanrewaju
Barely a month to the swearing in of the newly elected governors in the country, there are indications of an ongoing cold war in many states of the federation over last minute award of contracts and appointments by the outgoing state chief executives.
Saturday Sun investigations revealed that the affected governors-elect believe that the incumbents are merely creating liabilities for them by awarding new contracts and hurriedly executing old ones, and making new appointments when they have barely a month to go. It was also gathered that some of the in-coming chief executives have subtly cautioned banks and other financial institutions against entering any eleventh hour transaction with the outgoing governors on behalf of the states.
Some of the states enmeshed in the bazaar war include Imo, Adamawa, Ogun, Bauchi, Kwara and Lagos.
Ihedioha wrestles Okorocha in Imo
In Imo, the history of the problem started even before the governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha was declared winner by INEC. A week to the Governorship and state Assembly elections in the state, Governor Rochas Okorocha had awarded the Itu-Okpofe road in Ezinihitte, Mbaise, to Cynclef Ventures with full mobilization paid but the contractor is yet to mobilise to site about one month to the handover date. Also, a similar road contract for the reconstruction for Izombe road in Oguta was awarded to 23 Nigeria Limited just as Number1 Nekede road was awarded to Madoka Global but construction activities are yet to start.
Also, shortly after the declaration of Ihedioha as the Imo governor -elect, Okorocha allegedly recruited about 2,000 persons into the civil and public service in the state.
Earlier, the governor had also ordered the auctioning of 71 government vehicles which included heavy duty trucks, SUV jeeps, Peugeot 406 cars,Toyota Camry cars, Toyota corolla cars, caterpillars, ambulances, low loaders, pay loaders for a paltry N6.1m. As if that was not enough, the outgoing governor inaugurated the board of Imo State Water Development Agency, the Imo state scholarship board, the state Library board for the first time since 2011 after he had sacked members of the board appointed by his predecessor in 2011.
Two weeks ago, he appointed his protégé, Mr. Dan Nwafor, the factional chairman of the APC as the board chairman of the Owerri Capital Development Authority and equally inaugurated the boards of Imo Water Development Agency, the Imo state Scholarship board, Imo sports Council Board, the Imo State Library Boards amongst others. Interestingly, Governor Okorocha had dismissed members of the boards immediately he was sworn as governor in 2011. Recently also, Governor Okorocha announced the establishment and upgrading of many institutions in the state.
But responding to the development, Ihedioha reportedly warned financial institutions against entering any transaction with Okorocha. The Imo chapter of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) also warned that the recent appointments by Okorocha which the party alleged did not follow due process would be terminated by the incoming administration of Ihedioha.
In a statement, the state publicity Secretary of the party, Damian Opara wondered why Governor Okorocha embarked on an appointment spree at the twilight of his administration and asked Imo people to disregard such pronouncements that have no basis in law and have been done without due process.
But Sam Onwuemeodo, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okorocha dismissed the PDP, saying that there is no office like Governor- elect in the constitution of Nigeria and that Ihedioha did not have any constitutional right to complain about the actions of Okorocha whom, he said still remains the sitting governor until May 29.
Umaru Fintiri raises alarm in Adamawa
In Adamawa, the governor-elect, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, has raised the alarm over some last minute acts of Governor Muhammed Jibrilla Bindow and the APC, saying some of the actions were capable of plunging the state into financial, economic and administrative quagmire.
Fintiri cautioned that he is expecting that the statesmanship exhibited by the outgoing governor in accepting defeat, would be reflected in all his actions going forward. Solomon Kumanga, a former Chief Press Secretary to Fintiri told Saturday Sun that, “The governor-elect wants all unnecessary expenditure and last minute employments not done in the past four years halted forthwith.
“Similarly, all last minute award of bogus contracts without following due process, are not advised. It is therefore the expectation of Fintiri that Governor Bindow leaves sufficient funds in the coffers, settles all debts and liability for the smooth takeoff of the incoming government.
“Banking institutions are hereby cautioned against giving arbitrary loans or overdrafts at this time as this will be at their own risk. Civil servants who get involved in shady transactions, aiding and abetting fraud will have themselves to blame if discovered”
In Bauchi, Bala Mohammed battles Mohammed Abubakar
In Bauchi State, there is also another cold war between the governor-elect, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed who has berated the outgoing APC administration in the state over last minute policies to sabotage the incoming PDP government.
Spokesperson to the governor -elect, Dr Ladan Salihu lamented that the outgoing administration was bringing in many policies as part of a sinister move to sabotage the incoming PDP administration.
According to him, some of the moves were the alleged award of last minute multi-million Naira contracts through the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (BASUBEB) and the plan to create more districts and village areas. He said the plan to create more districts and village areas is an attempt to increase financial burden for the incoming administration.
Dr Salihu said the same APC administration rejected the districts and village areas created by the former governor, Mallam Isah Yuguda because of the fear of financial burden. He therefore wondered why the APC administration was bringing policies at the last minute that will bring hindrance to the incoming administration. He warned that government officials should desist from engaging in efforts that will affect the smooth running of the incoming PDP administration.
However, Alhaji Mohammed Aminu Danmaliki who was the Deputy Director of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Campaign Council in Bauchi State accused the PDP of being in a hurry to take over government. According to him, “It appears the incoming administration is in a hurry. Their mandate cannot take effect until and after May 29, 2019. So they can neither dictate nor decide what will happen in the administration of Bauchi state government until after they are sworn in. The cry they made over an allegation that government is awarding contract is unfounded, baseless and untrue notwithstanding the fact that the governor, until 29 May 2019, has the legitimate powers, backed by the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, that he can award contracts or run the affairs of this state within the period of his tenure. Nothing forbids him from doing such.
“The money accruing to this state before and during the tenure of MA Abubakar has been far too short of the needs of the state and in fact, payment of salaries has been very difficult. Like the payment of last month (March, 2019) the revenue that came including the money allocated to the state from the federation account was not even enough to pay salary but the salaries were paid anyway. So for somebody to sit down and assume that money is waiting there for him to come and spend, I think it is an illusion and he better sits up and face the reality that there is no money on ground in states, not only Bauchi State.”
In Ogun, Abiodun keeps watch on Amosun
There is also a cold war in Ogun State. One of the allegations is the last minute sale of land in the State by the outgoing governor and the revocation of already approved land. In the area of appointment and promotion in the state civil service, a chieftain of the APC in the state, who does not want his name in print, berated the governor for the last minute appointment of 18 permanent secretaries as well as the confirmation of appointments of the General Managers of Ogun State Television (OGTV) and Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation (OGBC), Festus Kehinde and Diji Akinhami, respectively.
Another anonymous source submitted that the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology (MAUSTECH), Abeokuta and inauguration of its governing council by Amosun, was another plan by the governor to cause crisis for the incoming administration. He said appointing a VC and inaugurating a governing council for a university that is yet to take off and has no students, is a deliberate attempt to incur unnecessary financial burden for the next government.
Inuwa Muhammadu fights Dankwambo in Gombe
In Gombe, the story is the same as the governor-elect, Alhaji Inuwa Muhammadu Yahaya has urged people of the state to accept with caution the appointments and promotions of civil servants that are of doubtful utility.
According to Alhaji Zubair Muhammad Umar, Director General of Inuwa’s office, there are allegations of massive employments and promotions in the local government service. He said some of the appointments and promotions were backdated to give semblance of priority. Umar stressed that their claim was not an attempt by the governor-elect to tinker with the affairs of the incumbent government, adding that Inuwa Yahaya respects the government in office and would not interfere in any form or manner with governance in the state until May, 29.
In Kwara, Abdulfatah Ahmed is overwhelmed
In less than a month to the handing over date of the reign of power in Kwara State, the outgoing government of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed seems to be overwhelmed by enormous contracts it awarded and is not awarding any new contracts ahead of the handover date.
Investigation conducted revealed that the greatest concern of the government is how to get money to finish most, if not all the contracts it awarded in the last one year. Amongst this is Geri Alimi Diamond under pass which is almost nearing completion and government’s promise of commissioning the project before it winds up; the Sango- UITH-Oke- Oyi road dualisation, the Kwara State University School of Governance and Business Studies in Ilorin are among the projects the government is working assiduously to complete while several others will be left for the incoming government to complete. There is also the KWASU campuses in the North and South which it promised to complete but couldn’t. On employment and new appointments, despite paucity of funds to pay salary, there are rumours of under the table employment by the government especially in its teaching service commission and State Universal Primary Education Board (SUBEB).
According to information gathered, some of the letters of the appointees were prepared as transfers from an unnamed old station to new ones which at times cut across local government areas and backdated to about two years.
The development has received condemnation from residents especially among the major political parties.
Speaking on the development, APC stalwart, Iyiola Oyedepo frowned at the antics of the outgoing government and warned that the incoming one would have to review any wrong appointment it embarked upon.
But in a swift reaction, the PDP PRO, Tunde Ashaolu debunked the allegations of the APC, saying they are crying wolf where there was none. According to him, the PDP government is not lawless and would do all within its capacity as a government within the law. He advised APC not to start giving excuses for their failures as that would not help them.
Cat and mouse game in Lagos
In Lagos, the story is the same with the incumbent governor, Akinwumi Ambode playing the cat and mouse game with the incoming governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Saturday Sun gathered that the power brokers in the Lagos APC have been mounting pressure on the outgoing governor to suspend the execution of all projects and award of new ones in order not to create liabilities for the governor-elect when he takes over.
The development, it was learnt, has not gone down well with Ambode who is fighting hard to ensure he completes his legacy projects before the May 29 handover date.
Also, recently, he appeared undaunted and made some new appointments. One of them was the announcement of Mrs. Teju Abisoye as the acting Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).
Abisoye takes over from Mr. Akin Oyebode who was recently appointed as the Special Adviser to the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi on Trade and Investment.