KADUNA STATE: THE FAILURES OF A GOVERNOR (II)
Ibraheem A. Waziri
A handful from the many who reacted to my article on the above subject matter, last week, have tried pointing out that the slow pace of the Kaduna State governor in accomplishing projects have been a source of worry to himself. One particular response furnished me with different links to online news pages where the governor is quoted lamenting the delays on the part of contractors in satisfactorily executing the contracts awarded to them by his predecessor. While that shows that the governor at certain level share our concerns, it does not also alter the facts or flow of history that the administration of the late Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa upon which Yero is building up, has not been able to commission any completed physical project for the last three years! This gives reason to our suggestions that the governor must brave up and conquer any challenge that is preventing him to move forward in the aspects of physical projects.
There are three reasons believed is certain quarters to be forming a stumbling block for Yero. Some think he needs more time to conquer his circumstances and its politics before he gives it the direction of his own. Some say he is under the serious grip of his boss, Vice President Namadi Sambo, and that it is he, the Vice President, who dictates to the governor what to do hence the very slow pace of development in Kaduna State. Others say the state is the most indebted state in the federation, and that is presenting the governor with a very serious challenge!
X-raying these reasons we will certainly see that to claim that he needs more time to articulate a programme and direction of his government will not hold water in the light of history. General Murtala Mohammed’s administration in the 70s was not more than seven months in life span. Murtala was dealing with larger administrative entity, more populous, intricate and diverse politically. Yet it was within that time it accomplished the much it did in terms of policies, programmes and reforms that qualify the argument in some quarters as the best Nigeria ever had. Yero on his part is operating on a ground that is less populous and less diverse. He is more educated than Murtala as much as he has enough experience either since he has been in governance and around the power circle at least since 2007 and as a commissioner, then a deputy governor and now a governor. Even in age which is taken to be an index in measuring maturity, Murtala died at 37 while Yero is 46 years old now.
The second reason that the Vice President calls the shot in Kaduna in the rumour that he is the one who dictates to Yero what to do is not very plausible either. We all grew up in a tradition that does not impose loyalty and obedience to those who were once our benefactors. Whether in politics or other disciplines, our tradition does not require one who helps others to attain a distinguished feat, to stand gross over them and demand that they do his bidding always and at all cost. We were all helped through our schools and jobs. But hardly do our helpers come around and dictate to us what to do just because they once helped us. This is a tradition that can be confirmed by everybody in this part of the world with themselves as sample examples.
The third reason is in the fact of the debt profile of Kaduna State. It is said the state is the most indebted state in the whole of the federation. While this fact can be confirmed even from the records of the National Debt Management Office, since the times of Governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, the governor have never for once made reference to this fact as a stumbling block to his progress.
Having made these observations our advice to the governor is for him to try and rally around a set of competent and committed advisers that will draw a comprehensive programme and action plan for his government. He must also realise the need for him not be over dependant on his benefactors or the reaction of other stakeholders in the politics of the state. We are not saying that he should prove strong headed and shun his benefactors. No. We will be the first to descend on him if he does that since our tradition and values do not require that. But he should be able to place the interest of the over 6 million people of Kaduna over and above everything else. Again if there is any debt profile that is preventing him from completing or starting new projects, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if the public is informed categorically that they will not expect much from the administration in the next few months since their money is being committed to paying debts the past administrations incurred.