Special Report: 100 Days in the Saddle

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Kwara State

Abdulrazaq: When Preparation Meets Opportunity

Obinna Chima

Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has in his first 100 days in office, clearly shown that he was prepared for the responsibilities bestowed on his as the governor of Kwara on May 29th.

This, he displayed by firstly, refusing to give his bank account details, into which his salaries were to be paid, since he assumed office, to the State’s Ministry of Finance.

According to the governor, his focus presently is how to deliver the dividends of democracy and improve the welfare of citizens in the state located in the north-central of the country.

He stressed that he was elected to serve the people, adding that it was Kwara workers who deserved to be paid salaries.

Cost-Saving Measures

This, unassuming leader, who is today, the symbol of the “O to ge” (Enough is enough) political movement that brought about a change in political structure in Kwara state, has in his last 100 days focused cost-saving initiatives so as to free up funds for developmental projects.

He has succeeded in reducing cost of governance in Kwara, which is largely a civil service state.

Under Abdulrazaq’s leadership, the era of chartered flights through which past administrations fleeced the lean resources of the state had gone for ever as he is always seen on queues of most of the commercial airlines in the country.

Focus on MDAs

In addition, the successful billionaire, Chairman First fuels, has in his first 100 days in office have paid unscheduled visits to most of the ministries, departments and agencies in the state, so as to appreciate the challenges that have made them not to function effectively.

In Kwara, Abdulrazaq is used to shrugging off his security details to walk on the streets as he strongly believes that they are the ones that made it possible to him to mount the saddle of leadership.

Budget

In the last 100 days, a N135 billion supplementary budget in the state has passed second reading at the Kwara House of Assembly.

While briefing the media recently on his 100 days in office, Abdulrazaq had recalled with nostalgia that with the state of rots which he described as below zero, he had to suspend his own manifesto in order to clear the rots. 

He pleaded for patience with the people of the state assuring that with time they would reap the fruit of the patience.

He added: “All those who voted for us, we won’t disappoint you, we have come to work and the things we met when we resumed office were least expected, so we are pleading for patience.

“We have come to work for the whole Kwara and I’m assuring everyone that your patience would be rewarding.”

Water Supply

For Kwara, where potable water supply is a challenge, he has in the last 100 days displayed his commitment to addressing the challenge.

Having inspected the water dams across the state, the governor had immediately released N48.5 million for their repairs and today water has returned into the pipes of many homes. 

Roads

Considering the deplorable state of the roads he inherited on May 29th, the governor has since released over N20 million to fix the various township roads as the Kwara State Road Maintenance Agency (KWARMA)  has rehabilitated 10 roads across Ilorin, the state capital, including the long-neglected Offa Garage Roundabout Road.

The General Manager, KWARMA, Engr. Usman Baba Jibril, who confirmed this in an interview, said the state also rehabilitated   the Offa Garage and Geri Alimi-Asa Dam roads.

He listed other roads to be covered “under Phase 1” to include Isale Aluko-Kokorokan-Ita Kudimoh Road; Adeta-Al-Hikmah road; Olorunshogo-Geri Alimi road; Kaduna Road, Adewole; Osere-Cemetry road; General Hospital- Geri Alimi; Offa Garage Geri Alimi Road; and Sani Okin Road.

Agriculture

In addition, AbdulRazaq, has paid the first tranche of N200 million as counterpart funds for the take-off of Rural Access and Agricultural Market Project (RAAMP III) in the state. 

Funded by the World Bank, French Development Agency and other donor agencies, RAAMP is a $60 million programme involving at least 13 Nigerian states.

According to the state government, each participating state is to pay eight per cent of the $60 million to fund preliminary activities of the project such as consultancy fee, environmental and social management framework (ESMF) and resettlement policy framework (RPF), among other things, as preconditions for accessing the funds. 

Education

Following his determination to give education in the state a facelift, he has also halted the ongoing industrial action across Kwara State Colleges of Education he inherited   with the immediate payment of N250 million to pay at least two months of their outstanding salaries. 

AbdulRazaq, also assured the schools of subsequent prompt payment of their salary along with gradual offset of the arrears inherited from the previous administration under which the schools embarked on the strike.

The affected colleges were Kwara State College of Education, Oro; Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin; Kwara State College of Education (Technical) Lafiagi; Kwara State College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies (CAILS), Ilorin; Kwara State College of Nursing and Midwifery, Ilorin and Kwara State College of Nursing, Oke Ode.

The foregoing clearly shows that the governor is building the foundation for a prosperous Kwara, and it is expected that in the next 100 days, the benefits of some of the initiatives and projects he has put in place would manifest.

Nasarawa State

Sule: Focus on Empowerment, Burdened by Insecurity

Obinna Chima

Governor Abdullahi Sule was sworn in as the fourth executive governor of Nasarawa State on May 29, 2019.

The governor, had in his inaugural speech, pledged to commence the construction of rural roads in each of the three senatorial zones, rural electrification in at least three villages in the state, supply agricultural inputs to farmers, and the provision of healthcare to citizens.

In addition, he had vowed to tackle insecurity in the state.

Nevertheless, in his first 100 days in office, Sule has focused on the completion of projects that were initiated by his predecessor and has also initiated some new projects. Despite these, the rising state of insecurity in the state remains a challenge to the 59-year old entrepreneur.

The level of insecurity in the state was demonstrated recently when four policemen attached to the state deputy governor and one commercial driver were shot dead by robbers who attacked the convoy in the state.

Empowerment Schemes

He has in the past 100 days, conducted free medical outreach across the state and had embarked on youth and women empowerment initiatives such as distribution of grinding and sewing machines, installation of solar power street lights, etc. The street light projects launched in Obi and Nasarawa Eggon council areas recently have been completed. Also, in the last 100 days, Sule has also embarked on the construction of classrooms, award of scholarship to students, re-introduction of monthly sanitation exercise, tree planting campaign to tackle environmental challenges. Others include 100 per cent payment of pensions, constitution of Economic Advisory Committee; adherence to local government autonomy among other developmental projects.

Also, as part of efforts to mark his 100 days in office, Sule recently inaugurated a training program for youths and women while flagging off the construction of 22-kilometre rural roads in the state. Sule said the program was in keeping with his administration’s policies anchored on wealth creation, employment generation and poverty alleviation, through a mechanism of youth empowerment for self-reliance.

Agricultural Intervention

The governor recently inaugurated the sale of fertilisers to farmers in the state for the 2019 cropping season in Lafia.

According to  Sule, his administration has finalised plans to partner the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and international donors to fund the implementation and development of agricultural value chain programme in the state.

“I have already given the approval for the state government to partner the federal government and international organisation for the funding of agricultural development programmes to implement the value chain development program (VCDP).

“This is expected to increase the income of every household that engages in the production and marketing of rice and cassava in Nasarawa state,” he had said.

He has also taken various steps to support farmers in the state.

To the spokesman of members of the All Farmers Assocition of Nigeria (AFAN), Nasarawa State chapter, Samuel Meshi, the distribution of the farm inputs to farmers was good timing as the inputs would be judiciously used to provide food security not only for the benefit of Nasarawa State, but the country at large.

“I wish to appeal to Governor Sule to continue with this assistance to the Nasarawa State farmers by way of always making available the farm inputs to farmers at the right time in order to pave the way for appropriate application for a bumper harvest,” Meshi had said.

But, considering the proximity of the state to the Federal Capital Territory, more is expected from Sule in terms of infrastructure development so that the state can take full advantage of the benefits that come with its location as the border town to the FCT. He must also put in more efforts in addressing insecurity in the state so as to attract the required private sector investments.

 

Ogun State

For Abiodun, It’s Building A New Agenda for Ogun People

Davidson Iriekpen

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, upon taking the oath of office, set a lofty target for himself and his team for the rapid fulfillment of his electoral promises.

His vision for Ogun is to give the state focused and qualitative governance and to create the enabling environment for a public private sector partnership, which is fundamental to the creation of an enduring economic development and individual prosperity of the people of the state. This, he clearly spelt out with the mission statement of improving citizens’ confidence and trust in the government through transparent and accountable leadership. He also wants to develop and enhance the value chain for the abundant resources for the purpose of galvanising economic and social development of the citizens of Ogun State.

Housing

In the area of housing, the governor has commenced the construction of 50 units of housing development at Hilltop Estate, Abeokuta and 200 of low income mass housing units project at Ibara, Abeokuta

Education

Knowing how important education is to him and the people of the state, Governor Abiodun had early in the life of his administration, admitted that there were gaps in the education sector of the state. “Agreed, we have the largest number of tertiary institutions in this state. However, the performances of our students are not encouraging and we have to change that so we may be declaring a state of emergency in the education sector,” he said, promising to bring the education sector up to standard.

The governor has since set up visitation panels on state-owned tertiary institutions to investigate issues affecting the quality of education offered and received in those institutions. Recently, the panel of the Tai Solarin College of Education, Omu-Ijebu, submitted its report and the reports of both the Moshood Abiola University of Technology and the Ogun State Polytechnic are being awaited.

Health

Also recently, the committee set up to look into the situation at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH) has submitted its findings and implementation of its recommendations has started in earnest.

 He commenced repairs and refurbishment of one school per ward across the state. He also looking at vocational centres and turning some schools to technology hubs in order to create a job portal to warehouse skilled youths for employers

He has given approval for years 2016 and 2017 promotion of 10,000 teachers. Also he has commenced the rehabilitation of one primary school per ward in all the 236 wards across the state

One tensed issue he met on ground upon his resumption as governor was the crisis at the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY). Not only has he resolved it, all the courses in polytechnic have been accredited.

The governor has equally commenced the implementation of the recommendations of the visitation panel on TASCE and the establishment of Govt Delivery Unit for education

One of the first official functions performed by Prince Abiodun as governor was to visit the OOUTH, where he lamented the state of the tertiary hospital’s facilities. An eight-man committee, chaired by Dr. Yemi Onabowale of Reddington Hospital, was set up to assess the modes of operation and state of facilities at the OOUTH, with a view to reinventing the institution into a world-class facility providing world-class services.

In the course of 100 days, the governor has also met with the management team of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), where he shared his administration’s resolve to rejuvenate the delivery of primary healthcare to the citizens of Ogun State.

Health facilities across the state are in shambles and the governor promised to restore them to life-saving facilities. He is focusing on primary healthcare centres because they are the closest to the people and it will reduce the pressure on secondary health facilities. His administration is not leaving anything to chance in ensuring that a befitting primary healthcare centre is made closer to the people. He has promised that only cases that cannot be treated at PHC can be referred to secondary health institutions.

At the flagging off of the Free Medical Services at Ilisan, Ikenne Local Government, Prince Abiodun reiterated the importance of affordable healthcare for the Ogun public.

JOB CREATION

To Governor Abiodun, there is a direct correlation between job creation and tapping the abundant agricultural potentials of Ogun State.  He has declared that the state is poised to collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on its Anchor Borrowers Scheme to set up modern farmers with knowledge, tools, land and seedlings for the cultivation of food and cash crops. His administration has also met with the African Development Bank (AfDB), on the possibility of raising an ambitious 10,000 smart farmers.

 To ease the bottleneck of starting a business in the state, a bill to establish the Ogun State Investment Promotion Agency, a one-stop-shop for investment, is before the State House of Assembly. This is in addition to the establishment of the State Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) to strengthen Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and boost their capacities.

SECURITY

As earlier promised at a security and intelligence meeting, Prince Abiodun recently inaugurated the committee to oversee the now-amended Ogun State Security Trust Fund, in response to the recent security situation in the state. It is a demonstration of his government’s unreserved commitment towards ensuring that the people have a good life and pursue their legitimate business in a secured environment

He has procured 100 4X4 Pick-up Patrol vehicles and 200 motor bikes for the state law enforcement agencies

He is currently sourcing helicopter from the presidency for aerial surveillance

The governor’s proactive disposition to issues of security was demonstrated during the recent kidnappings experienced in parts of the state. Providing leadership when there is a crisis is a mark of commitment and a vital note of assurance to the public that the governor understands the situation and is working to address it. Also, considering the strategic location and positioning of the state, a sense of insecurity in the state would have a ripple effect on the security of other states, especially Lagos, which shares its only internal boundary with Ogun. As a seasoned administrator and private sector executive, it is not surprising how Governor Abiodun responds to the challenge insecurity poses to the development of the state.

Investment Initiatives

As a way of improving and streamlining the state’s internal processes towards achieving better scores in the Ease of Doing Business ranking,  the state government has established of Ogun State Business Environment Council.

This is also in addition to the establishment of the Enterprise Development Agency (EDA) for capacity building and facilitation of financing access to support the MSME sector. As part of the requirements for the establishment of Project Steering Committee (PSC), Project Implementation Unit (PIU) for the $250million World Bank loan, there is Executive Order for the Ogun State Economic Transformation Project Implementation Structures

Not let out is the initiation of a creative arts and entertainment hub in conjunction with Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility Limited (SANEF)

There also Business Roundtable with CEOs and Business Executives of the organised private sector

 Financial Transparency

To strengthen financial transparency and accountability, the state has commenced the implementation of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for Budget preparation  and the establishment of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission for prudent financial management of state resources; efficient allocation of public expenditure, revenue and debt management; long-term economic stability of the state.

It has also established of Public Private Partnership (PPP) Office and implementation of Staff Biometrics and Payroll Audit.

It embarked on the implementation of Treasury Management Solution for single view and efficiency in treasury and payment processing and the establishment of the Bureau of Public Procurement Council.

IGR Mobilisation

To enhance internally generated revenue in the state, the government under has commenced reforms, automation and transformation at the state Internal Revenue Service (OGIRS). There is also the commencement of informal sector Enumeration & Resident Registration and the centralisation and automation of the administration and management of key revenue toll points

Employment and Empowerment

As part of his drive to keep the youths busy in the state, the governor within his 100 days, launched the Ogun Job Portal and the first of the three Ogun TechHubs.

He equally launched the Ogun Anchor Borrowers Programme with initial 2,000 agro-preneurs allocated one hectre of land each.

There is also the establishment of the Ogun Sports Commission and rehabilitation of the Ijebu Ode Stadium.

The state government has established the Ogun State Public Works Agency and commencement of construction and rehabilitation of township roads in all three senatorial districts across the state; commencement of the energy sector reforms and the establishment of Ogun State Waste Management Agency.

 

 Oyo State

Makinde: Setting the Pace in Pacesetter State

Kemi Olaitan 

When news first filtered around town that Mr. Seyi Makinde had emerged winner of the 2019, governorship election in Oyo State, it was no doubt a huge sense of relief for many of the people of the state who were genuinely desirous of a change of the narrative.

Despite the announcement, the governor and his huge supporters across the state were not carried away by the euphoria of the victory. Indeed, the governor is not oblivious of the reality on the ground as to how tough it would be for him to make the desired impact. But, Governor Seyi Makinde, also given the sobriquet, GSM, was well prepared and ready to hit the ground running from the first blast of the whistle on May 29, 2019. 100 days down the line, GSM has proved bookmakers wrong on his readiness and his genuine intentions at lifting the state from the doldrums and reign of impunity unleashed on the state in the last eight years of the immediate past administration. Interestingly, many of what could be described as booby-traps set for the incoming administration of GSM has in the last 100 days turned to stepping stones and ladder to greatness.

Investment Drive

What many thought would be his undoing have through years of thorough preparation for service, private sector secrets of success and willingness to do things right, have helped him stabilise his government.

Virtually all the areas that can make a direct impact on the lives of the people have within the last two months of being in the office received a sort of attention, with prospects of him doing better as time goes on.

Many political observers who saw the landmines planted on the path of the new government are today shocked to see how a supposed first time political office holder has succeeded in navigating the path expertly, thereby leaving many in awe of his political and administrative wizardry. One good thing about GSM is his insistence on fulfilling his campaign promises. Unlike many before him who immediately forget all electioneering promises, just because they want to occupy political office, the soft-spoken Makinde does not only remind his teeming supporters across the state, he also keeps telling himself at any public function that he will not forget his words to his people.

From education to economy to security to health to infrastructure to administration, GSM has made bold statements and intentions clear as to the direction he is piloting the state affairs. Truthfully, to many observers and residents of the Pacesetter State, the return of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government, comes with its own fears and uncertainty.

Many had thought, it would be business as usual for charlatans, political thugs, brigandage and reign of violence. But, indeed, the GSM has been able to take the bull by the horn and tackle the challenge headlong. Indeed, he had not only shown his knowledge of the situation on the ground in the state, but he has also demonstrated that he is in the know of what the people want. Many who had thought they would take ‘advantage’ of the governors mien and cool looks have been left disappointed as the governor has again and again warned both friends and foe that he will not compromise the security and safety of the state and the people on the ground of personal relationship and rapport.

Transport Sector

The proscription of the activities of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state has, till date, been described as the bold and decisive step to be taken by any governor in the state. The decision came despite the perceived closeness of some factional members of the group to some party chieftains. But, the governor made it clear that he will not compromise fulfilling his campaign promises to his people.

 Security

He has also restated his commitment to the safety and security of the entire state by paying a visit to the office of the Oyo State Security Trust Fund with a promise to review and unveil new security architecture in the state within the first 100 days in office.

Education

Bookmakers are still left in awe of the magic wand adopted by GSM to stabilise and institute peace all around the state. In the area of education, from the day of his inauguration, GSM cancelled the N3,000 being paid by students in all public secondary schools in the state. While some see the decision as too quick, he has not stopped telling the people his plans on how he hoped to raise and channel funds into the sector with immediate effect.

He has also put machinery in motion to ensure strict compliance with the directive and ready to sanction any school leader who flouts the directive and exploits the people. This is in addition to making entrance form to all public primary schools free. No doubt, those two key decisions, among others, have helped to restore the peoples hope in the government of GSM, two months into the administration. A decision that will not leave the minds of the people early is the choice of the governor to openly declare his asset. Making such private information public willfully did not only boost the image of the governor but that of the party as a whole, being the only PDP governor in the whole of the South-west region of the country. Areas of administration that were left in turmoil and disarray by the immediate past administration has also received the attention of the two-month-old governor.

Infrastructure

The Ibadan Central Abattoir and silo construction project, among others, have been visited by the Governor. Unlike others before him. GSM will not leave project assessment in the hands of any individual or committee, not because he has no one to saddle with the responsibilities, but he has shown his love to see things for himself and make a verdict and not just rely on peoples’ comments. Notably, the visit to the Central Abattoir was not only lauded by the butchers and stakeholders in the sector, it also afforded the stakeholders the opportunity to ventilate their grievance, hurt, anger and how the execution of the project has torn apart the once united group of stakeholders, and how many of them are almost thrown out of business by the government’s insistence on the execution of the project. But at the meeting, GSM made it clear that he is not out to destroy any known project of the past administrations before him but would do the needful to ensure that the public funds expended on them yield the desired value to the people. The view is unlike that of many politicians in the history of the present political dispensation.

Healthcare Delivery

In the areas of healthcare service delivery, twice in two months, he has visited the state-owned hospital, Adeoyo, for assessment of the facilities on ground. Indeed, the governor has expressed his disappointment in the state of the facility. From the first visit, GSM has directed the Chief Medical Director to supply him with a shopping list of items to be procured to upgrade the hospital. Not done, the governor has also vowed to provide a functional radiography unit in the unit. This is coming as part of measures to make the hospital an international reference medical point to address the issues of medical tourism. The state workforce which he has described as the engine room has also not been left in the dark.

 Staff Welfare

Interestingly, when politicians were making political statements about the issue of payment of N30,000 minimum wage, Governor Seyi Makinde came out clear and bold to tell the people of his desire to pay more than the FG’s approved minimum wage but solicited for more time and support of the workers. To the surprise of many, the vows to pay workers salary latest by the 25th of every month has not failed since Seyi Makinde took over the reigns of affairs. In a state whose monthly wage bill stands at about N5.5billion and Federal Allocation at about N4billion monthly, shopping for the fund to augment for the salary shortfall in the face of embarking on developmental infrastructural agenda is commendable. Governor Seyi Makinde has never failed to show his respect and passion for the old, aged and retirees. On the day of his inauguration, GSM’s first pronouncement was his promise to donate his  four years salaries as governor to the retired teachers, a decision which did not only put smiles on the faces of the retirees, but also made about 5,000 retirees embark on a ‘Thank you’ solidarity rally to the Agodi Government Secretariat. In the same spirit, the governor recently paid the pension of 2012 retirees to the tune of N280million. The beneficiaries cover Level 1 to 17. This has gone a long way to raise the hope of others who have been in the line to get their entitlements years after leaving the service of the state government. Similarly, the issue of about 2,000 sacked workers on the employment of the state government on the ground of various allegations are also receiving Makinde’s attention with the governor setting up a committee to review the sack. Beyond review, the governor has assured all those who were illegally sacked or those who got a kick as a result of vendetta of being restored to service. Tears flow freely when the news got to some of the affected workers who have yet to make anything meaningful out of their lives since the sudden loss of job.

IGR Drive

The challenges of generating and increasing the Internally Generated Revenue are, to many, an insurmountable task. But Governor Seyi Makinde has made it clear that his ‘boardroom’ strategy to create wealth and value will now work for the people of the state. One of the ways the governor has said he would address that is the use of agriculture and agricultural value chain system. The passion recently took him to inspect some private farms and Agric value chain companies in some agrarian communities of the state. This is in a bid to open the doors of partnership, collaborations and or support to private ventures and provide them with enabling environment and incentives to thrive. In his search for means of generating income for the state, the governor has also led a delegation to the abandoned state-owned quarry and asphalt plant.