The still-buzzing story within the Nigerian governors’ circuit is the creation of Amotekun, a regional security outfit launched by South-West governors to tackle recurring issues of insecurity. It’s a new year, and that means it’s an opportunity for governors to begin on a new slate, or consolidate on performances from 2019.
Here’s how we ranked the governors for January:
10. David Umahi (Ebonyi)
Nothing significant is happening in Ebonyi, only that the government of David Umahi is still obsessing about the construction of the Ebonyi International Airport. The project started off being controversial at first, with indigenes thinking it would be another money-gulping endeavour that would come at their expense. Umahi has also gone on inspection checks on the airport, and we’ll see how the project pans out.
Towards the end of 2019, he approved the appointment of 513 additional aides drawn from the 171 political wards in the state to serve as his “technical assistants,” barely two months after he appointed 180 new aides. Nothing reflects a waste of the people’s resources more than this injudicious expenditure.
9. Ben Ayade (Cross Rivers)
The state of Cross River has since been a shadow of its former self, and the re-election of Ben Ayade hasn’t lifted the state out of the decaying infrastructure, bad roads, filth and despair. That said, Ayade has involved himself in creating largely unnecessary ministries as Foreign Affairs, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Aviation, Climate Change, Training and Doctoring, etc. which further confirms he is out of touch with the genuine needs of his people.
8. Muhammad Badaru (Jigawa)
Badaru promised to construct 40 housing units across 27 local government areas at the inception of his administration and take over the Independent Power Project (IPP) to ensure a steady supply of power in the state capital. Till date, none of these have been done while the state capital, Dutse is littered with heaps of refuse as most residents now pay private refuse collectors to clear their waste.
Structures such as the state secretariat, Dutse International Airport among others are in various states of dilapidation, also not forgetting Badaru’s incessant trips to China where an MOU was signed in the area of commerce, agriculture, health and other sectors, but there are no dividends to show.
7. Simon Lalong (Plateau)
Religious and political violence isn’t strange to Plateau State and, by extension, the capital Jos. Only recently, 13 people were reportedly killed in the state which the police blamed on suspected herdsmen. The state governor Simon Lalong has confirmed this, further reinforcing the fact that Jos has a security challenge that the state will battle with for a while.
6. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos)
What is particularly interesting about Sanwo-Olu’s performance is that it is underwhelming, given the in-your-face campaign that heralded his election. His Twitter feed, on the surface, is a small buzz of performative community engagement (markets, project inspections, etc) which hasn’t translated into anything meaningful for Lagos residents.
We will be watching Sanwo-Olu closely in the New Year.
5. Godwin Obaseki (Edo)
Obaseki’s performance in Edo has been dwindling especially as the crisis within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state continues to escalate, especially as the indigenes of the state are still battling with the issue of flood and most recently, non-functional fire service in the state during times of dire need as we have seen with the various markets that witnessed fire outbreak during the festive season.
What appears different however, is his style of governance which largely points to ‘technocracy’ while a number of road projects are ongoing at the moment. The Edo guber election is expected to take place in September this year, and we will see if Obaseki can deliver a semblance of prosperity and progress to the state.
4. Umar Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano)
Since getting re-elected in Kano, Ganduje is one of the Northern governors who is always in the news. Last month, he appointed Hajiya Binta Lawal-Ahmed as the state’s new Head of Service but the biggest story was the administration’s decision to criminalise men and women boarding same tricycle in Kano, which the governor later reversed in the same month.
While this reversal is commendable, it is also worthy of note that the Ganduje administration just performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the on-going multi-billion naira Kano Cancer Centre at Muhammad Buhari specialist hospital, Giginyu and inaugurated some people-oriented projects like the Alhassan Dantata flyover along Murtala Muhammad Way and Tijjani Hashim underpass way, Kofar Ruwa.
While the much-talked-about Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) popularly known as ‘Amotekun’ is the brainchild of the six South-Western Governors, we rank 3 of them as our top 3 governors for the month. This is so because, considering the fact that security of citizens and their properties is the fundamental duty of government anywhere in the world, this move of theirs is a bold one and in spite of the seeming setback from the Attorney-General of the Federation, they’ve been vocal about their support in addition to various projects they have embarked upon in their respective states.
3. Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti)
Governor Fayemi has remained committed to building institutions, human capacity and empowering the civil service for sustainability in delivering the dividends of democracy to every Ekiti resident, irrespective of class, creed or status. According to Fayemi’s chief press secretary, Fayemi has unveiled plans to build a recreational and wellness center with modern facilities for senior citizens in Ado-Ekiti, borne out of respect for the elderly. This is commendable.
Fayemi was able to clarify that ‘Amotekun’ is nothing but a confidence-building strategy for people of the western zone while describing it as a community policing response to the problem of insecurity instead of the argument that the initiative was an imitation of the Nigerian Police force. This statement did go a long way in allaying fears about the security network.
2. Seyi Makinde (Oyo)
Not long after Seyi Makinde was sworn in as governor of Oyo last year, he hit the ground running by delivering the dividends of democracy to indigenes. Although Oyo is still far from being transformed, the state has taken a new look as a ‘pace-setter’ since Makinde came into power.
Asides Ibadan being the coordination centre for ‘Amotekun,’ Governor Seyi Makinde prioritises security and this is reflective in its placement of security as one of the administration’s four major pillars alongside education, health and expansion of the economy through agribusiness. It is therefore not a surprise that the governor stood up against the federal government’s declaration of the initiative as unconstitutional, stressing that the AGF may interpret laws and advise the President on legal issues but nothing gives him the power to make that declaration.
He equally reiterated that the outfit is complementary to the efforts of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies.
1. Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo)
Asides pushing for cannabis legalisation in Nigeria and exploring cannabis as a source of revenue in Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu’s 100 days since he won the 2016 guber elections in the state was a good start. Now, his administration has raised an alarm over the growing number of quack doctors and unlicensed health practitioners in the state.
According to the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, the state has sealed eight private health facilities and hospitals in Odigbo Local Government Area of the state.
Most importantly, as Chairman of the South-West Governors Forum under whose leadership the Western Nigeria Security Network was conceived, Governor Akeredolu has done well in defending the Amotekun initiative amidst opposition from the Federal Government and various groups in the North, insisting that his colleagues in the region are prepared to pursue Operation Amotekun to a successful end.