Kudos, knocks –
•Residents, opposition parties, governors' aides clash over achievements
On May 29, 2023, a new set of governors were sworn into office in different Nigerian state capitals. Much was expected from the new leaders, given the tortuous paths Nigerians have trodden in the last four years.
The state governors also promised before and after their swearing-in ceremonies both short term and long term plans for four years. A hundred days after their inauguration, how have these governors fared? Saturday Sun reporters went around the states to find out whether the governors' promises have matched the realities on the ground 100 days after.
Expectedly, the governors' aides and supporters applauded the states' helmsmen for performing wonders in the first 100 days, even as the opposition parties claimed the governors' achievements were next to nothing. For the residents, it is a blend of kudos and knocks for the governors.
From Jalingo, Sylvanus Viashima, reports that Dr. Agbu came to office with the promise to hit the ground running and reposition the state on the path of accelerated development. After 100 days, most people are confident that the governor means business, even though others are of the opinion that it is still too early to celebrate the soldier-turn politician.
The governor told the people: “I am not about politicising the traditional 100 days in office rituals. I have a four-year mandate. Rather than rush and try to impress after a hundred days, I will rather have the people assess us on what we have done so far and engage us on areas we need to strengthen.”
However, Emmanuel Bello, spokesman to the governor, noted that the governor had done remarkably well so far, leaving no one in doubt that Taraba State had got a working governor.
“I am sure that everyone can attest to his achievements so far. The governor has enrolled over 1000 retired local government staff into the pension scheme, ordered free tuition for primary and secondary schools, and ordered for the immediate reduction in tuition fee for the school of Nursing and midwifery Jalingo and the Taraba State university by 50%.
“The governor has also ordered the procurement of 950 tractors in collaboration with the Czech Republic to enhance agriculture, the employment of 10000 youths into the state sanitation scheme, and there is ongoing maintenance work at the Taraba State specialist Hospital.
“To cushion the effect of subsidy, he has ordered the implementation of minimum wage as from October 2023 and has set aside N5 billion to offset gratuity, besides revamping of the Taraba Marshal to enhance security and pledging to renovate the Jolly Nyame Stadium, having offset backlog of arrears owed by past governors,” Bello said However, Mr Aaron Artimas, spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, has described the governor's 100 Days in office as a period of “renewed promises and hollow pronouncements”.
He said: “So far, what we have is pronouncements that are as hollow as they come. We have the governor going around and making promises and pronouncements that are not backed up with anything”
Scholastica Onyeka from Makurdi, Benue State capital reports that, after his election, March 18, 2023, Governor Hyacinth Alia, re-echoed his campaign promises to clear the backlog of arrears of salaries, and pensions and gratuities, resettle IDPs in their ancestral homes, address persistent insecurity challenges and set the stage for a prosperous Benue. But he did not set a timeline.
At his inauguration, May 29,2023, Alia reiterated his promise to clear the backlog of civil servants salaries and pensioners within the shortest time possible.
A hundred days into his administration, noticeable progress can be seen as the governor has paid four months salaries for the months of May, June, July and August, but not the arrears. He did a staff audit which he said had saved the state over N2 billion. Governor Alia has also awarded contracts for the construction of 16 town roads in Makurdi and has begun rehabilitation of the Benue State House of Assembly office complex. He was however supposed to brief newsmen on his achievements within the period under review when the event was postponed on Wednesday.
However, assessing Governor Alia's performance so far, the two major opposition parties in Benue State, the People's Democratic Party, (PDP), and the Labour Party, (LP), have scored the governor low.
Spokesman of Labour Party in Benue, Mr Kengkeng Ati, said “More is expected to have been done in view of the empty promises in the days of campaign. I guess the rot in the system has made the administration bite their tongues and retreat from boisterous comments and promises.” On their part, the PDP, through its Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, said: “Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state sums up his performance thus far as a fusion of emptiness and disappointment. PDP recalled that Alia had promised to return IDPs back to their ancestral lands, clear arrears of salaries and pensions to workers and retirees, all within his first 100 days in office, saying not only had the governor failed on those promises, he had evidently not even considered them a priority since their pronouncement but has been busy witchhunting his predecessor, ex Governor Samuel Ortom.
But, the Publicity Secretary of the APC, Dan Morgan Ihomun, has described the take-off and 100 days in office of the governor Alia as unprecedented and that which the party was proud of.
The first 100 days of Gov. Peter Mbah of Enugu State can safely be said to have been used in his words, “preparing the enduring foundation of all the promises we made to our people,” as most of what has been done are planning, setting up committees and holding strategic conferences, reports Geoffrey Anyanwu from Enugu.
Apart from good effort at clearing the refuse littering the state, the launching of the Police Distress Response Squad, whose brand new vehicles are seen at some strategic points in the state, there is also the courageous proscription of the unlawful Monday sit-at-home order in the state and the enforcement.
Speaking on his achievements in 100 days, the governor said his government faced the issue of insecurity in the state squarely, because it had the potential of making impossible economic development he was bringing to the state.
He said that, outside the DRS, “We are not stopping at this as we are about to commence the rollout of a statewide CCTV camera network which will provide 24/7 surveillance of the state and inform swift security response to any breach of peace anywhere in our state. In this same vein, we are in the advanced stages of establishing a Security Trust Fund to make our heightened security posture more sustainable in the long term.”
Mbah disclosed that his government had successfully signed into law the Enugu State Power law, which domesticates the Electricity Act 2023 and now gives the state regulatory power to establish an Enugu State Electricity Market.
The government fulfilled its promise to hold, within 100 days in office, an investors' roundtable in Enugu, which it held on September 1, attracting investors from all over the world, including private sector and the development partner sector with the likes of AfDB, AFREXIM, FCDO, the World Bank, etc. in attendance.
Other things he said he had done include: paying the state share of the funding for the International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD) Value Chain Development Programme, development of agricultural value chains totalling N274m, which will facilitate the receipt of up to N1.2 billion from IFAD for developing agricultural markets, among others.
In Kano, Desmond Mgboh writes that the first 100 days of Governor Abba Kabiiru Yusuf has been utterly dramatic, full of negative and positive episodes. Riding on the euphoria of victory over an arch rival, Abba's initial steps were full of anger and raised a lot of dust. His demolition of several properties on the grounds that they were irregularly allotted by the Ganduje administration or had defaced the state's master plan was one such overstretched explosion that rocked the state in the last 100 days.
Tied to this was the exposure of alleged acts of corruption and abuse of office during the past administration by the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission –many of which are subjects of litigation in various courts.
Other eventful aspects of the last 100 days of the administration included the suspension of 10,000 personnel hurriedly recruited in the twilight of the last administration, the fight against crime noticed in the reduction of the snatching of phones, the appointment of about 150 aides which cast a doubt on the governor' s professed claim as a frugal administrator as well as the uncertainties shadowing the five new emirates in the state given the negative hints from the governor's godfather, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
Ibrahim Waiya, Executive Director, Citizens for Development and Education, rated the governor high on healthcare delivery, acknowledging an increased attention in the supervision and monitoring of medical personnel, renovation of health facilities across the state and institutions and free medical services to women and children in the state. He lauded the governor's decision to halve the fees in state owned universities, his payment of school fees for BUK students, as well as the payment of NECO fees for indigenes of the state.
Despite this, many respondents believed that the governor's popularity rating had suffered a major slide. His policies, especially the demolition of structures and the exclusion of non – Kwankwssiya elites from active involvement and participation in the running of his administration have, so early in day, left him with a turnover of injured opponents and a harvest of aggrieved indigenes.
According to Professor Kamilu Fagge of the Political Science Department BUK, “Politically speaking, the governor's support among his key supporters is still intact. But I think he has problems with the mass public, especially with the merchants, traders and the business community, who are uncomfortable with the way he went about the demolition exercise.”
For Cross Riverians, it's 100 days of inaction, says residents, according to Judex Okoro's report from Calabar.
The 100 days in office of Governor Bassey Otu has been described by Cross Riverians as a government of no action.
Some Cross River's indigenes who spoke with Saturday Sun said the governor had performed below expectations, as there were no tangible projects or programmes put in place to show that the new administration was ready to take up the gauntlet as promised during electioneering.
Speaking on Otu's 100 days in office, a former director in the Ministry of Establishment, Ntufam Emmanuel Ojong, said the new administration had performed poorly in the area of fixing potholes inherited from past government, wondering what it would cost to work on internal roads within the metropolis. He added that former governor, Donald Duke, inaugurated the popular Orok-Orok Street within 100 days in office, saying there was no action in the state for now
Expressing dismay at the turn of events, the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Publicity Secretary, Mike Ojisi, said: “Even in Calabar he has not done anything apart from clearing the refuse.
“Assembly members are not paid and are not sitting because they are not paid. Besides, the civil servants are not yet paid. No palliatives except for some APC stalwarts. The government is just slow. But, on cleanliness, the governor has tried to keep Calabar clean once again by evacuating refuse constantly.” But the National Publicity Secretary of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Emmah Isong, said Governor Otu needed time to settle down to work based on the situation on ground.
Reporting from Kaduna, Noah Ebije quoted the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Uba Sani as saying that the 100 days in office of the governor was a path to progress, just as a PDP chieftain said it was a face-saving event to deceive the people that all was well.
Governor Sani's Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Muhammad Lawal Shehu, said the first 100 days of the governor in office had taken several key interventions across security, health, education, infrastructure and rural development.
According to the CPS, “to mark this milestone, several activities were lined up and several projects cutting across the 7 pillars of the SUSTAIN manifesto were announced and commissioned.
“The Kaduna State Government in partnership with other security agencies commenced the training of 7,000 recruits of the Kaduna Vigilance Service (KADVS). The recruits were drawn from the 23 Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.
“In efforts to upgrade infrastructure, the construction of 32 rural roads covering about 406km across our 23 Local Government Areas has commenced. In health, state-of-the-art-mobile diagnostic trucks purchased by Kaduna State Government were commissioned and essential medical equipment are currently being distributed to our 290 Primary Health Care Centres.
“The mobile trucks come fully-fitted with medical diagnostic equipment to render integrated health services in hard-to-reach and underserved communities across Kaduna State,” among others.
The Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who was sworn in for a second term, said he would build on the gains of his administration during his first term, writes Layi Olanrewaju.
The governor, in his inaugural speech, said he would place emphasis on the socio-economic and institutional development of the state. In the first 100 days, he has paid adequate attention to completing projects like the Ilorin International Conference Centre, the Revenue House, Innovation Hub, Visual Arts Centre, Sugar Film Factory, Osi and Ilesha Baruba campuses of the Kwara State University, industrial park, Shea Butter factory in Kaiama, among others.
“The General Tunde Idiagbon Flyover and the garment factory will be flagged off soon with huge economic benefits. The Ilorin Capital City Master Plan will be followed by a grander Kwara State Master Plan that will cover Kwara South and Kwara North for sustainable living,” the governor said, all which he has started, and some of them are at various levels of completion and some are ready for commissioning. But for Hajiya Sabitiyu Usman of Pakata Area, in Ilorin West Local Government Area, the biggest headache was “the issue of poor drainage around our area here because any time rain falls our houses are flooded and the road becomes impassable.
“Also, as a retired teacher, I will be happy if within this first 100 days the government would have paid off the backlog of unpaid gratuities, though he has tried to reduce the backlog from 2010 and has been able to pay fully up to 2012/2013. He should see this set of people as his priority by helping to reduce the hardship they are facing in old age.” For an opposition party member in Irepodun Local Government of the state, Mallam Issa Yakub, the governor had no reason to complain as he had less opposition to tackle. He, therefore, opined that the governor should have focused attention on the opening of rural communities as his major concern.
Olanrewaju Lawal, reporting from Birnin Kebbi, said a media aide to Governor Nasir Idris, Mallam Yahyah Sarki, and Commissioner for Information and Cultures, Alhaji Yakubu Ahmed BK, have scored their boss high in term of delivery of dividends of democracy and set target goals for the administration.
Sarki, who is the SA Media and Publicity to the Governor, in a statement made available to newsmen, explained that the governor hit the ground running by the announcement of his people-oriented agenda to people of Kebbi State .
“The people-friendly governor hit the ground running with his first official engagement by an assessment visit of the abandoned State Secretariat complex at Gwadangwaji prior to setting up his cabinet.” Commissioner for Information and Culture, Alhaji Yakubu Ahmed Birnin Kebbi, explained that the present administration would continue to consolidate on the achievements recorded by the previous administration on agriculture, infrastructure development, education as well as welfare of the people of the state.
On the security in Birnin Kebbi, he said the state governor had put concerted efforts on ground to secure lives and properties of the people especially in the Kebbi South Senatorial districts.
According to him, “Worried by the frequent bandit attacks especially in Kebbi South, the government is making concerted effort to ensure the protection of lives and properties in the state. The governor has met with the various security operatives in the state to fashion out ways to end insecurity.”
For this second term in office, the greatest achievement of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in his first 100 days in office was the commencement of commercial operation of the Blue Line Rail Mass Transit in the state, reports 100 days in office, reports Lukman Olabiyi.
Though he is yet to constitute members of his cabinet, he never allows that to slow him down, as he moves on as one in a hurry to accomplish the goals set for his administration. His initiatives in health, transport sectors and civil service reform have been notable. Again, his proactive measures to ameliorate the burden confronting the people of the state who were saddled with high cost of transportation following the fuel subsidy removal by the federal government have been commended by many. However, the governor is not doing well in the area of road construction and rehabilitation due to many uncompleted projects across the state.
Currently, there are many road projects that have exceeded the time frame set for its completion by his administration .
Issue of security is another thing that made people say the governor has not done enough to curtail insecurity.
John Adams reports from Minna, Niger State capital, that the Niger State Governor, Rt. Hon. Umar Mohammed Bago said his administration has devoted the last 100 days taking stock of problems and challenges confronting the state. The governor, who has spent the better parts of the 100 days in Abuja, visiting various development partners and critical stakeholders, which according to his chief press secretary, Mallam Ibrahim Bologi, was to help him drive his administration's development plans, is yet to hit ground running with everything still on a promising note. The governor had, during his inaugural speech, listed security, education, agriculture, commerce and tourism, civil service reform, health, infrastructure development, youth and women empowerment, as his administration areas of priorities. However, apart from the security sector which witnessed the procurement of 20 patrol vehicles for the Nigerian Police Force, the administration has not made any inroad in any other sector in the last 100 days in office.
Only on Wednesday this week, the Governor signed a N11.6 billion contract for the completion of the three arm zone in Minna, the Niger State capital. The three arm zone, whose contract was awarded in 2013 by the former Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu administration, is a replica of the Abuja three arm zone meant to accommodate the Government House, the legislative quarters and the Judiciary in the state. The immediate past governor of the state, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, on the eve of his administration, sold both the lands and the buildings under construction in the three arm zone to his commissioners, permanent secretaries and other top government aides but this decision was reversed by the present administration.. Unlike his predecessor, who declared operation zero potholes in Minna, everything about the state in his 100 days in office has remained on the drawing board.
Timothy Olanrewaju reports from Maiduguri, Borno State, that Gov Babagana Zulum began his second term tenure from May 29 with the construction of a second flyover in Maiduguri, the state capital. The N5 8 billion project, located on the busy Kano/Jos roads Motor Park intercession, was conceived to ease traffic increasing congestion in the fast-growing city. In his acceptance speech after his re-election on March 18, the governor assured of his resolve to fulfil his campaign promise to begin the second flyover construction shortly after his swearing in.
According to the governor's spokesperson, Malam Isa Gusau, the project has progressed fast and is expected to be completed within the stipulated time frame.
Rivers APC has described Fubara's 100 days as political rhetoric without action, reports Tony John from Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Rivers State government has declared that it would commence “marathon” projects' commissioning and flag-off to mark the 100 days in office of Governor Siminialayi Fubara.
Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Tammy Danagogo, gave the assurance that the governor was committed to the delivery of quality and strategic projects that have a direct positive impact on the lives of the people.
The Secretary to the State Government maintained that Fubara was focused and determined to deliver on his mandate to the people. He noted that the government had outlined programmes from Wednesday, September 6, 2023, which was exactly the 100 days, with the governor delivering a state wide broadcast.
Some of the projects on the list beginning from September 7, to October 9, include the commissioning of the University of Port Harcourt Convocation Arena, Dental and Maxillofacial, ENT and Ophthalmology Hospital, Professor Kelsey Harrison Memorial Hospital, Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Borokiri, Mgbuodahia Internal Roads, Alode-Onne Road, Omagwa Internal Roads, Omoku-Aligwu-Krigene Road, etc. Others are flag-off of Elelenwo Internal Roads, Emohia-Ogbakiti Road, Eleto-Ebubu-Eteo Junction and many others.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to some of the “claims and promises without empirical evidence accompanied by timelines to deliver on such promises that Governor Siminalayi Fubara is churning out to mark his 100 days in office.”
The Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor, Gyang Bere, has said, within 100 days of his administration in Plateau State, Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang has made significant progress in rebuilding the state and overcoming its challenges inherited from the last administration, reports Jude Dangwam. One of the challenges inherited was the resurgence of attacks on communities in Mangu, Barkin Ladi, and Riyom Local Government areas, resulting in the tragic loss of over 300 lives.
“Under Governor Mutfwang's leadership, the State Security Council convened four meetings within the period, a notable departure from the past. These meetings meticulously outlined strategies to counteract the terrorist elements threatening the state. The government has revitalised and reorganised Operation Rainbow, which is the state's security outfit. This initiative aimed to equip the outfit with the necessary tools to effectively manage contemporary security challenges and act proactively through prompt deployments,” he explained.
The Commissioner of Information and Communication, Musa Ashoms, explained that the administration had since embarked on rehabilitation of roads within the Metropolitan city inherited in bad condition. He said rail tracks from Jos to Vom have been fixed already awaiting coaches to commence shuttle services to augment the transport system in the State.
Meanwhile, the opposition APC in the state, through its State Publicity Secretary, Sylvanus Nemang, said they were not pleased with the pace at which the PDP administration was going and called on Governor Mutfwang to change his style and up his game.
Laide Raheem reports from Abeokuta, Ogun State capital that Governor Dapo Abiodun's Chief Press Secretary, Lekan Adeniran said 100 days is too short to critically assess the performance index of a government. He also said, “Prince Dapo Abiodun promised to reinvent governance with new policies that would speedily move the state forward. He also promised to finish ongoing projects across the state.
“In line with that promise, the governor has focused on the Agro-Cargo Airport located at Ilisan. Work is going on at a frenetic pace at the airport, especially the Terminal building among other ancillary facilities,” he added. He quoted the governor to have said during an inspection of the airport that “I am pleased that things are going on as planned. The airport is sitting on a Special Agro-Processing Zone and it is being developed by Arise, one of our partners. They are also proceeding with their plans. I am sure that in another six weeks, scheduled flights will begin to operate from here.”
Adeniran further said: “The six kilometre Owode-Siun road in Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area is ongoing. The project is scheduled to be completed in the next two months.
“Also, during the first 100 days, the governor commissioned the first phase of the 21 kilometres Ibooro/Igan-Okoto/Ayetoro Road in Yewa North Local Government Area. The road, first constructed by the Western region government in the 1950s, had not received a facelift in more than six decades.”
He added: “The Dapo Abiodun-led administration also took steps to mitigate the hardship experienced by the general populace as a result of the subsidy removal. It introduced the conversion of diesel-powered vehicles to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Airing his own view on the Abiodun's performance in 100 days, the State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun, Sikirulahi Ogundele, said: “My opinion might sound sarcastic, but the fact remains that this man never prepared to govern Ogun. He just wanted to be a senator in 2019. He lacks a blueprint to govern Ogun and that is evident in him running an administration that is not congruent to what the people need or want.”
In Bauchi, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Comrade Muktar Gidado, believes that Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State was perfecting plans to take the state to the next level and position himself as the best performing governor in the history of the state, reports Paul Orude.
Gidado said that the governor, since his victory at the polls for a second term, was working hard to reposition the state and consolidate on his widely acclaimed excellent performance in his first tenure.
“Already, he has taken delivery of a blueprint for Bauchi State and outlined a series of people development programmes that he would use to execute in the second tenure of his administration using the blueprint. He is a workaholic who has done a lot within 100 days in office. Just recently he launched the tree planning campaign at Dunga among other activities.”
However, former National Director Media and Publicity, Comrade Sabo Mohammed, believes that Governor Mohammed has not done anything meaningful in his 100 days in office.
“Well to be sincere and to be honest with you without any element of bias, after the elections of 2023, there isn't anything that he has put in place that is meant for the development of the state. Instead the government is preoccupied, one to the best of my knowledge, to actually mend fences within their own party following the 2023 fall out of their primaries election within their party.”
Abia is not celebrating 100 days in office, reports Okey Sampson from Umuahia, Abia State capital. Commissioner for Information and Culture, Prince Okey Kanu said instead, Governor Otti embarked on the commissioning of some of the projects his administration had completed so far. He enumerated the projects to include five roads in Aba and one in Ukwa West LGAs and three General Hospitals Government renovated in the three senatorial zones.
“What are we celebrating? When the present administration said it was not going to celebrate 100 days in office, it does not mean it has not achieved much. Are we going to start celebrating payment of workers' salaries, which the previous administration failed to pay and we have started paying on the 28th of every month?
The opposition in the state has, however, accused the Otti administration of not doing enough since it took over power. They equally accused the government of sacking over 10,000 workers employed by the previous administration. Kanu denied the allegation, explaining that what rather happened was that some ghost workers were removed from the payroll of the State government.
Reporting from Asaba, Delta State, Paul Osayi said, to commemorate his first 100 days in office, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State, on Thursday September 7, 2023, commenced the inauguration of projects completed by his government.
The governor who assumed office on May 29, inherited over 400 on-going projects from the last administration.
Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Sir Festus Ahon, told Saturday Sun in Asaba that his principal would not inaugurate any project that was not executed in line with approved scope and specification.
Ahon said the projects lined up for commissioning have been duly completed and would be durable, adding that projects ready for inauguration were in the areas of road infrastructure, health, housing, judiciary and education.
According to him, over 117 kilometres of roads across the state with line drains would be commissioned. He said the dual 250-seater capacity lecture theatres, the Faculty of Agriculture building, the Administrative building and the Vice-Chancellor's lodge at the Dennis Osadebey University, Anwai near Asaba; and the state High Court complex in Asaba; Faculty of Environmental Studies, Lecture theatres, Engineering Workshops at the University of Delta, Agbor; Solar farm at Mother and Child Hospital Owa-Alero were also ready to be commissioned. But the APC, in a statement by its publicity secretary, Valentine Onojeghuo, stated that “the Osubi-Orerokpe-Eku-Abraka-Obiaruku Road has been completely cut off making access to the state capital, Asaba difficult.
“Ohoro-Bomadi road, a major road between Delta Central and Delta South has become a nightmare. Oka junction, through Adagrassa-Aziza junction, is a death trap, while intra-city roads in major towns across the state have been washed away by the rains and internal floods.”
Abel Leonard reports from Lafia that the governor's spokesman, Mr. Yakubu Lamai said Governor Sule is keen on youth empowerment, and is investing in the development of a skilled technical workforce and human capital, graduating over 400 indigent youths who were trained on entrepreneurship and employability skills.
He said the governor has made significant strides in security, effectively curbing criminal activities that once plagued the state. Under his watch, 100 criminals are now behind bars, and measures are in place to reduce farmer-herder clashes, a long-standing concern, he noted.
Lamai added that the governor has also dualised the Shendam road, among others. Lamai also stated that Governor Sule is opening doors for Nasarawa State in the area of investments.
But Franchise Orogu, the PDP state chairman, queried the governor's frequent international trips over the past two months, accusing the governor of not delivering on his promises.