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Starting on a faulty note: Three governors that got it twisted


By Ishola Adeshola

If it were the enthronement of a traditional ruler, the scenario would have been photo perfect. But the nation was stunned when, the day after his inauguration as the Governor of violence ravaged Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, took a third wife at a public ceremony in Damaturu.

With that singular act, Mai Mala Buni became the poster boy for those who started on a faulty note among the new class of governors that were sworn in last week.

In that class was also the new governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, who made news for the wrong reason when some men suspected to be acting at the behest of the new government went to demolish the Akachi (Hand of God) monument erected by the immediate past governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha.

The public outcry that greeted the unwholesome conduct stopped the chisel wielding gang in their track. Although the new government denied knowledge of the misconduct and tried to exonerate itself, keen watchers took the denial with a pinch of salt.

But the medal for the new governor with the highest number of early missteps will definitely go to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.

Governor Makinde must have looked promising in the eyes of the people that elected him into office, but no sooner had he resumed office than the people started expressing doubt over his competence to run the state.

Sacking of the local government chairmen

Governor Makinde, no doubt, has started running the affairs of the state on a faulty note. In an attempt to make his very fledgling administration appear to be one that takes populist decisions, one of his first major assignments, to the consternation of many, was the sacking of all elected local government chairmen and the Council Development Area counterparts in the state, directing them to hand over to heads of Local Government administration or the most senior directors in their various councils. He did not stop at that as he also dissolved all boards of government agencies in the state. Outrage now trails the governor’s decision given the fact that the sacked local government chairmen were elected just as the governor himself.

In view of what seems to amount to illegality and hasty decision made by the governor, the state chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, has since rejected the said dissolution of the local governments, insisting that the governor was not properly guided.

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This only points to the fact that he may have, from the onset, surrounded himself with neophytes in governance and political matters who may have been misguiding him perhaps to achieve some selfish ends or settle some political scores.

The ban on transport union

In what appears to be a shocker to many peace loving citizens of Oyo state, the governor announced the proscription of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, in the state. What that means to some citizens of the state is that the peace and security of lives, achieved by the Ajimobi administration has come under threat as the members of this union may not take this lying low.

Indeed, many discerning observers contend that the move against the elected NURTW leaders has the colouring of favouring one group over another. NURTW, they argued, has its constitution which stipulates how its leaders should be elected without the intervention of any government. Dissolving a validly elected executive without any apparent or real crisis, they insist, is Executive highhandedness, a needless exercise that can only exacerbate tension in the state.

Rejected national minimum wage

Governor Makinde, in a hasty manner which left the teeming workers in Oyo State in a quandary and shock, on his inauguration day disowned the N30,000 minimum wage, declaring emphatically that the state could not pay a minimum wage that had been painstakingly negotiated between governments (Federal and States) and the workers Unions.

Analysts wondered how a governor who had not look into the finances of the state and yet to look into the books could come out to inflict such a deep wound on the long suffering workers of the state. In any case, this declaration becomes more shocking when the fact that the new governor promised to pay the N30, 000 minimum wage during his campaign stops is taken into consideration.

Reversal of promotions of permanent secretaries

Makinde took another bizarre decision by announcing the reversal of appointment of eleven Permanent Secretaries in the state’s Civil Service. Although the Permanent Secretaries were promoted towards the end of the previous administration, discretion demands that the new administration settles down to have better understanding of issues of governance in the state before taking certain decision. No doubt, this hasty decision is rather aimed at scoring cheap political goals than anything else.

Political observers described the governor’s reversal of the promotion exercise as pure partisan political move, as the Head of Service, wife of a top PDP chieftain, who was also a beneficiary of the exercise was not affected.

In all these, there are clear indications that the governor is set to pull down virtually everything he inherited, no matter how valuable they may be. This, analysts contend, amounts to taking Oyo State many years backward.

Governor Makinde should rather take a cue from his counterpart in Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu who, on assumption of office, declared a state of emergency on refuse disposal in the state as well as the perennial traffic situation in the state. These are concrete areas of need for the people of the state, which Makinde is expected to emulate.

The expectation of the people is for the Makinde administration to roll out programmes for the development of the state;  programmes for the welfare of the people, paramount of which is their security. The governor is expected to tell the people how he is going to build on the achievements of his predecessor in the areas of education, health, infrastructural development, job creation and transformation of the economy.

The governor will do well to realize, and in good time too, that government is a continuum, and that the unwholesome act of bringing down the gains of the previous government no matter its value can only be counter- productive.

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