Igbawase Ukumba writes that Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State marked his 100 days in office by inspecting projects initiated by the previous governor
It is conventional to talk about recording some achievements within the first 100 days in office by any new administration, which the administration of Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State is not exception. Aware of this phenomenon, Sule during his inaugural speech identified some high impact projects to achieve this objective in the interim before medium and long term arrangements take effect.
Accordingly, the governor in his inaugural speech on May 29 at the Public Square in Lafia listed projects to be executed in the 100 days of his administration. Notable among those projects for execution by the governor were completion of the Lafia Cargo Airport in Kwandare, payment of civil servants salary arrears and electrification of rural areas, among many others.
Perhaps, it is worthy of mention that while still groping for the principles of governance, Sule was able to set up sizeable committees to prepare a master plan to help him provide the needed dividends of democracy he promised during his inaugural speech. These committees include the state economic management and advisory committee, civil service reform and restructure committee, portable water supply committee, among others.
However, few weeks to mark his 100 days in office, the governor flagged off some projects for execution by his administration. Notable among those projects were the construction of rural roads, installation of two kilometres solar streetlights in each of the 13 Local Government Areas of the state, construction of classroom blocks and the provision of free eye services in the three senatorial districts of the state.
But some stakeholders in the state were critical of the governor’s performance that he was unable to meet up with some of his 14-point high impact projects as he promised to deliver in his inaugural speech. These critical stakeholders pointed out that Sule was unable to complete the Lafia Cargo Airport he inherited from his predecessor, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, having promised during his inaugural address that he was going to complete it within his 100 days in office.
Nevertheless, these critics also observed that the governor could not as well meet up with the yearnings and aspirations of the state civil servants having been unable to commence payment of arrears of workers salaries that was suspended during the rein of Ex-governor Al-Makura, which he (Sule) had promised also in his inaugural speech that he was going to start payment of the arrears within 100 days.
“There is no sign of any rural electrification in any village contrary to his inaugural address to commence the electrification of at least three villages in the state,” the stakeholders maintained.
These stakeholders equally went further by lamenting that the governor, either deliberately or intentionally, failed to constitute his cabinet after 100 days in office; a situation they observed could have been an impediment to realising some of his 14-point high impact projects in the interim which he had publicly pronounced before a mammoth crowd on the day of his inauguration.
Be that as it may, marking his 100 days in office, Governor Sule inspected ongoing projects embarked on by his immediate predecessor, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, the federal government’s 330KV power distribution injection transmission sub-station in Akurba – Lafia and other investors projects within and outside the state capital, with a view to ascertaining the progress of work.
In a report filed by the governor’s Special Assistant on Media, Ali Abare, Sule, despite the early morning down pour began his 100 days celebration with visit to projects being executed by the state government, federal government and other investors in the state, which according to Abare “when completed will benefit the state.”
At the 330 KV power distribution injection transmission sub-station in Akurba; which is the brainchild of the federal government, Abare was quoted as saying that the governor expressed satisfaction with the progress of work, noting that the work was on track and the December 2019 dateline for the completion of the project was realizable. “From what we are seeing, the control tower is about 70-80% completed,” the governor said in optimism.
“If completed, the substation will have six lines to power the entire state, two of these going directly into Lafia, which is in dire need of power. One line going back to Akwanga, one to Assakio, one to Doma and the last one to Alakyo,” the governor said when addressing journalists at the site of the 330KV substation.
While describing the ongoing work as impressive, Sule, however, insisted that it was more important to ensure that the project is completed within the stipulated time.
Ironically, at the Cargo Airport in Kwandere, a project started by his predecessor, Senator Al-makura, which he promised to complete within his 100 days in office, the governor expressed satisfaction with the progress of work at the Kwandere airport.
At the on-going construction of the Shinge-Rice Mill-Kilema road; which was also started by Senator Al-makura, Governor Sule visited the two major erosion sites, where he emphasized that the major issue was the control of the erosion running into Doma Dam.
The Governor however expressed concern over the indiscriminate dumping of refuse which tends to block drainages in the area leading to floods which come with devastating effects.
Sule, who took time to visit the Kilema Bridge submerged in a flood, sympathized with the people over the incident, particularly that lives were lost following early morning flood occasioned by an early morning down pour.
At the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia the governor could hardly suppress his satisfaction at the level of ongoing work at the facility.
It will be recalled that the governor had sometime ago visited the DASH to see the new buildings that were constructed and commissioned by the administration of Senator Al-Makura and have people moved in.
But during the visit, the governor realized that there were some landscape work, electrical installation, plumbing and water supply to the buildings that were to be done before people could move in. However, Sule continued that he had already given the approval for the commencement of work on those aspects lacking in the hospital.
It was against this perspective that governor said when he inspected the ongoing work in the hospital to mark his 100 days in office that: “I’m very happy with the amount of work we did it with very little money, especially, in the wards. The children’s ward has been upgraded. The children who are sick need to see something beautiful so that they can get well quicker.”
Nevertheless, THISDAY sampled the opinion of some residents of the state on their rating of Governor Sule’s 100 days performance in office.
Abubakar Salisu who sells cosmetics in Lafia, the state capital, said that the administration of Governor Sule has done what he could do. According to him, “the immediate past Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura did not waste time before hitting the ground running immediately after he was sworn in and people started seeing the dividends of democracy. We are still watching his style of governance with keen interest to see what will happen at the end of one year.”
For a business woman in Lafia, Hannah Akwashiki, said she has seen a network of new road being constructed across the state in the tenure of Governor Sule but was quick to add that “to whom much is given, much is expected.”
“I do not blame him because if I were in his shoes, I would have probably been confused because leadership is an uphill task. However, aside the road constructions, I have not seen anything happening around. May be there are plans which I am not aware of, I can only talk about what I can see. So for me, that is their achievement so far since inauguration.”