Tony John (Port Harcourt), Paul Osuyi (Asaba), Chuks Onuoha (Umuahia), Okey Sampson (Aba), Timothy Olanrewaju (Maiduguri), Stanley Uzoaru (Owerri), Layi Olanrewaju (Ilorin), Obinna Odogwu (Abakaliki), Gyang Bere (Jos), Mohammed Munirat Nasir (Gusau), Magnus Eze (Enugu), George Onyejiuwa (Owerri), Judex Okoro (Calabar), Noah Ebije (Kaduna)
Two months after the president and governors were sworn-in on May 29, the lull in governance appears to be persisting as the nomination, screening, confirming and assigning of commissioner-designates has been crawling at snail speed in the states.
In several of the states, principal officers such as Secretary to the State Government and Chief of Staff to the Governor have not been appointed.
Equally, several governors have not nominated commissioners, thereby delaying full take off governance in the states. In this report Sunday Sun presents a picture of the situation in the various states:
The pronouncements by the Supreme Court which gave judgment in favour of Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, in respect of the cases that challenged his electoral victory at the 2019 governorship election and his eligibility to contest, have given him additional shots of adrenaline, to continue his developmental stride in the state.
However, there is concern that the hard working governor, who is popularly known as Mr Projects, has not yet formed his cabinet for the second term. So far, the governor has only appointed two commissioners. They are Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Commissioner for Finance. The rest of the commissioners to man the other ministries have not been nominated. Notwithstanding this, the governor has not really slowed down as he is energetically pursuing the goal of delivering on vital developments that were commenced during his first term, and to commission them to mark the first 100 days of his second term.
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Wenenda Wali, dismissed the national fixation on First 100 Days as a non-issue that is only ceremonial, but stressed that the government should be fully focused on restoring security.
The Stronger Delta Initiative, which encapsulates the consolidation agenda of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, appears to be up and running, barely two months after he was sworn-in for the second term.
Already, the state House of Assembly has screened and confirmed the 25 nominees presented by the governor as commissioner-designates. Each local government area in the state has been accommodated in the appointment. However, only eight of the confirmed nominees have been sworn-in by the governor and assigned portfolios.
In line with the desires of the people, a resident in Asaba, the state capital, Kenneth Odogwu, eagerly wants the governor to complete the Asaba storm water control project, which started in 2017. On his part, a resident in the oil rich city of Warri, Johnson Akpofure, urged the governor to properly fund the newly established Warri-Uvwie Development Agency in order to bring the needed facelift to the once lively city.
In Abia State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is yet to nominate people for commissionership. His Chief Press Secretary, Onyebuchi Ememanka, told Sunday Sun that the governor is still consulting so that when he comes out with the names, he would give the people the best in governance.
“The Governor is still consulting and will soon come out with the list of his cabinet members. Remember, this is his second and last tenure, and he will like to take his time to ensure that Abians get the best so that when he steps down, Abians will applaud him. I am aware that consultations are at their last stages, but I cannot give you a time line for it, but I can assure you that very soon, he will come out with the list that Abians cannot fault in any way,” Ememanka said.
The Publicity Secretary of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Ebere Uzoukwa, derided Ememanka’s position as he said that APGA was not surprised at all over the delay.
“He would have been prepared if he had expected victory at the polls, but he was forcefully declared winner, so it will be difficult for him to put himself together and constitute a cabinet,” Uzoukwa said.
Borno State governor, Prof Babagana Umara Zulum came into office with a lot of vigour, determination and push, but the delay in appointing commissioners, two months after inauguration has dampened enthusiasm in the state to some extent.
“It is agreed that he has been working very hard on security, civil service reforms and water supply, but there is limit to what he can do within the law without commissioners,” an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain told Sunday Sun on condition of anonymity.
But he insisted the governor was not slow in his leadership approach. “There is no seeming go-slow approach to governance in the state as some people have asserted. The governor is very active. He comes to office early enough, he’s been going round the state on assessment of the facilities; state of roads, water, health, IDPs. So, you can’t say he is slow in approach to governance, but the governance itself may not be moving faster as it ought to because another component that should move it isn’t on ground yet,” the chieftain said.
Special Adviser to Gov Zulum on Public Relations and Strategy, Malam Isa Gusau, opined that governance in the state had not slowed as the governor had been receiving briefings from ministerial representatives.
“He is still working with permanent secretaries who are in charge of ministries and agencies of government. He has been taking briefings from ministerial representatives consisting of permanent secretary, ministerial secretary, directors of operations, planning, administration and finance and monitoring,” he said.
Kwara State is widely believed to have been bastardised by past administrations, hence the poeple say that Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazak, wants to appoint only those who share his passion for austere governance unlike the flamboyance of his predecessors.
Rev. Bunmi Olusona, a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, argued that this accounts for the delay in the nomination of people for commissionership.
His words: “This cabinet thing cannot be rushed in view of the rot the administration met on ground. All actions so far taken by the governor are pointers to this assertion that the resources of the state would be judiciously applied to the benefit of the people.”
Coordinator, Youth Centre, Kayode Oyin Zubir, agreed with Olusona and added that the governor is determined to work with only those who have impeccable character and would key into his austere disposition with a view to moving the state to greater heights in the next four years.
Spokesman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Mr Tunde Ashaolu, urged the APC government to be focused on governance rather than “putting up excuses on the activities of the past government.”
Happily the screening of the nominees for commissionership presented Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, has commenced. In this spirit, the Publicity Secretary to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Nwoba Chika Nwoba, urged urgent action be taken to push governance.
“Ebonyi State as we all know is a very young state with pressing needs in the area of infrastructure, education and all that. Our education sector needs to be revamped. The government has dumped our students studying under international scholarship and they are now hustling to ensure that they complete their studies. The government should increase its efforts to ensure that Ebonyi State grows a bit in education.
If you go round our local governments and communities, you will find out that school blocks are in dilapidated state. So, I would want the government to pay more attention towards education.”
But responding, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Emmanuel Uzor, dismissed the APC claim, saying that it was talk out of frustration. He said that the government has recorded appreciable success within the Governor’s first 100 days in office that is still counting.
Governance appears to be sleeping in Plateau State. Beyond the reappointment of the General Manager of Plateau Radio Television Corporation (PRTVC), Mr Jeptha Jakden, and the rehabilitation of Tudu-Wada road through direct labour by the Ministry of Works, nothing much seems to be happening with regard to active governance.
Governor Simon Lalong has not appointed principal officers like the Secretary to Government of the State, Chief of Staff, Personal Assistance and the Director of Press and Public Affairs.
Nomination of individuals for commissionership has not been done. Expectedly, the people are worried that the governor appears to be taking siesta since he was sworn-in for the second term.
Commenting on the seeming comatose state of governance in the state, former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Bitrus Kaze, said: “Nothing is working, no commissioners in Plateau and no appointment has been made. This is somebody who said that he learnt from the mistake of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. Two critical factors brought Lalong to power – God and the people of Plateau State. As things stand today, Governor Lalong is not with the people of Plateau State.”
But the Director General of Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari, counters the claim, saying that Governor Lalong is taking his time to come up with technocrats that would put in their experience to move the state to the next level.
“The fact must be made that Governor Lalong is the man that has had experience from all the arms of government. He is a lawyer, who once headed the legislature as the Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly. He has been the Chairman of the Speaker’s Forum nationwide and now he is at the executive arm and he has seen it all.
“In second term, I want to tell you that he wants to get people that understand his next level move. He wants people wh0 can perform and deliver dividends of democracy. This second term is a period of delivery, performance and bequeathing enduring legacy,” he siad.
Before the emergence of Zamfara State governor, Dr Bello Mohammed, the state was bedeviled with security challenges as it was one of the states in the Northwest with high rate of banditry activities such as killings, kidnappings, cattle rustling and other crimes, but with the zeal shown by Governor Mohammed, the story is fast changing as the rate of banditry activities has reduced drastically.
Just three days after assumption of office the governor on June 2, led an operation to the camps and hideouts of bandits near Wonaka town in Gusau Local Government Area of the state.
The situation in Enugu State is not quite different from other states as Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is yet to reconstitute the state executive council and also appoint people to other political positions.
However, he had barely 48 hours after inauguration, announced the reappointment of Mr Sylvanus Onoyima, as Special Adviser to the Governor on Due Process.
The governor also sent communication to the Enugu State House of Assembly seeking approval for the appointment 15 special advisers, a request that was expressly approved.
Also, the governor has inaugurated various committees headed by eggheads and charged them to fashion out actionable roadmaps for the different sectors. These committees have stipulated periods to submit their reports, which the incoming cabinet is expected to implement.
Regardless, a broad-spectrum of Enugu residents believe that the governor should have put in place a complete structure for the running of government. Since the dissolution of the cabinet and other political appointments, prior to May 29, the business of governance in the state has rested on the Permanent Secretaries.
For the African Peoples Alliance (APA) House of Representatives candidate for Enugu North/South Federal Constituency in the last election, Chukwunonso Ogbe, the governor was supposed to hit the ground running and not waste time talking about committees.
He said: “For governors who are serving their second term in office, they are expected to be swift in addressing areas of shortcomings pointed out by the opposition in the course of electioneering. Both the first term and second term governors should be able to send signals to the citizens, to educate them on the direction of their administration. Those who seek to work are to call praise singers to order, as any serious minded governor will as much as possible jettison the activities of praise singers.”
In the same vein, State Chairman of Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Hon. Adonys Igwe, urged the governor to brace up and face the realities on ground.
According to him, the first 100 days in office should have been used to address some of the promises that he failed to fulfill in his first tenure such as employment into the state service.
An official of government who did not speak officially told Sunday Sun that the governor was still consulting with stakeholders and would soon unveil to the world his new winning team.
He, however, dismissed the insinuation that governance had been standstill or hampered within the period.
Before the Imo State governor, Emeka Ihedioha sent the list of nominees for appointment as commissioners to the Imo State House of Assembly, for clearance, the people had complained that the new administration was ‘slow’ against their expectations, which is to recover what the immediate past governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha and his family members had allegedly stolen from the people.
Besides the recovery of lands and property from Okorocha and members of his immediate family, the people of Imo want the government to urgently attend to roads, to ease movement in the state before their total reconstruction after the rainy season.
Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN) said that the administration of Governor Ihedioha has taken off well, but appealed to Imo people to be patient as the destruction wrought on the state for eight years by Okorocha cannot be undone in just one day.
Also, the state Secretary of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Hon. Nze Ray Emeana, noted that the government is not even to two months old and that things are gradually changing for the better as the governor has already sent his commissioner nominees to the state Assembly for screening.
Mixed reactions have continued to trail the non-appointment of commissioners and some aides in Cross River barely 100 days into Governor Ben Ayade’s second term in office.
In his first term, Governor Ayade appointed commissioners in November 2015, six months after he was sworn in. Today, there are feelers that the same scenario would play out again as the governor has already appointed almost all the former commissioners as caretaker chairmen and members into several committees and task force.
These committees, including land acquisition committee, environment, water, security, garment factory, climate change and Calasvegas are holding brief and executing the jobs of commissioners just as they are paid allowances.
This, according to a source in the Government House, is a stopgap measure, to sustain governance pending when substantive commissioners would be appointed.
However, this development has attracted scathing criticisms from some stakeholders who have described such action as unconstitutional and breach of public trust.
Condemning such style of governance, a legal practitioner and member of All Progressive Congress, APC, Utum Eteng, said: “It is a very sad development that two months after swearing-in, Governor Ben Ayade is yet to appoint commissioners which is a constitutional matter. No commissioner and other strategic appointments as SSG. So, how does he spend government money? Who applies for government money and under what procedure? So, the state appears to be in a lacuna. He has to change because this is the next level. Let him conduct the local government election to save him from so many things. The electorate that elected you should be allowed to elect their people at the grassroots. Again, let him face the environmental issues in Calabar metropolis. The Green and Clean Calabar are dying. He needs to wake up from slumber.”
Also kicking against non-appointment of commissioners, a PDP chieftain, Chief Ededem Ededem Asuquo, expressed reservations at the governor’s policy of ruling the state with committees and task forces for the past three months.
Kaduna State Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai on July 12 swore-in 13 new commissioners to man the ministries as his second term in office took off.
While Governor El-Rufai is already working to make some achievements in the first 100 days in office, some citizens have urged him to improve on education, health, as well as roads in the state.
Speaking with Sunday Sun, state Chairman, Safe Nigeria Congress, Isah Hassan, said: “Education should be improved upon. There are no standard classrooms and pupils and students still sit on ground. The health sector is in deplorable conditions. There should be employment, by creating more agencies to engage the youths.”
Also, APC supporter, Husseini Abdullahi Laduga, chipped in: “There should be more road networks in the state. The governor should consolidate on his past achievements.”