A major theme that has differentiated the worst governors from the best is the management of insecurity crisis in their respective states. Most Northern leaders have shown to be, unfortunately, quite lacking in this field.
Nevertheless, there were still a handful of governors worthy of praise for their significant strides in ensuring the development of their states.
These amongst other indexes formed our effectiveness assessment for 10 Nigerian state chief executives across the 6 geo-political zones of the country in the past two months:
10. Yahaya Bello (Kogi)
Sigh. Deep sigh. There are very little moments where a headline from Kogi State does not elicit exasperation.
First and foremost, congratulations are in order as Yahaya Bello was awarded for “demystifying (the) politics of COVID-19” by the Kogi government house press corps in Lokoja, Kogi capital. The irony of this award does not escape us as the governor had existed in a COVID denial state for months; reiterating that the country had no Coronavirus cases despite reports to the contrary.
For months, the governor profusely claimed the lack of COVID cases in his state was because his administration had developed a mobile application to prevent the spread of the virus. Even when the NCDC detected and announced a COVID-19 case, Governor Bello cast away his gaze and continued to refute it. It was quite shameful that this ever took place as several lives could have been saved if Bello had just ‘opened his eyes…or ears’.
Hilariously, how can one forget the way the Bello went from gallantly offering to lead the #EndSARS protests to stating that the protests were politically motivated; going further to caution against another round of demonstration.
The announcement of a levy on each loaf of bread was surely the straw that broke the camel’s back for a lot of people. The governor has since come out to say that the tax was without his knowledge, vehemently condemning it but, unfortunately, the damage had already been done.
9. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos)
The Lagos State Governor should typically be placed on a pedestal and showered with accolades for several of his achievements during his tenure.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu took proactive steps to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the state. He’s also been dedicated to the development of infrastructure in the state. Roads are being constructed; bridges are being rehabilitated. Whilst, the Ikorodu road is still under development, one can see his dedication towards some form of improvement in the state.
Sanwo-Olu has provided incentives to citizens; recently rewarding the best graduating student of the Lagos State University (LASU) with a post-graduate scholarship to any university in the world and a N5 million cash prize. He also approved the release of N350 million for Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) equity fund to provide free healthcare for 50,000 orphans, elderly and vulnerable in the state.
However, his role in the circumstances surrounding the Lekki Shootings has left such a bad stain on his administration such that his name in people’s mouths leaves an undesirable aftertaste. Not only did his hasty curfew lead to the murder of several people across Lagos, including the Lekki protesters, but his evasiveness after, painted him as someone who couldn’t be trusted. Till date, despite the intense pressure placed on him by Nigerians, Sanwo-Olu is yet to categorically say who ordered the shootings.
The Lagos State Governor tried to buy goodwill by compensating the families of the six police officers lynched in Lagos State in the violent aftermath of the EndSARS protests with N10 million each. But the development only made Nigerians angrier as it seemed it he was paying more attention to appeasing the system the #EndSARS protesters had been protesting against.
Is there still redemption yet in sight in the politician’s future? Who knows. One thing Nigerians can be acknowledged for is their gracious heart towards their politicians. But it is without a doubt; the incident has left an indelible mark on his political career.
8. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano)
Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s reputation as a politician whose careless statements replaces actual leadership actions precedes him. Over the past few months, the Governor of Kano has made one erroneous statement or the other.
In a terrible tragedy, 16 Kano men had lost their lives in a bandit attack on their way back from a business trip in Abuja. One would expect the Governor of the state to jump into decisive action, urging the Commander in chief to tighten the security in the nation and would set up strategies to ensure there’s no repeat but instead Ganduje decided to summon spiritual warfare. The Governor had decided to invoke the judgement of Allah on the perpetrators of the attack; laying curses in a situation where the Ganduje was capable of meting out justice himself.
Another thing the Kano Government is liable for is seemingly enforcing Sharia law on citizens, non-muslims included. Nigeria is considered a secular state and is not guided by a singular religion but it seems Ganduje is yet to get the memo.
Reports show that the Kano State Hisbah Board has destroyed well over 1,975,000 bottles of beer- worth over N200 million. This will, however, not be the first time that goods of this nature have been reportedly destroyed in Kano under the precepts of the Law. Ganduje has consistently empowered this group; communicating dedication in protecting their ‘welfare’.
With a broader view, one can see that the Kano government banning the consumption and distribution of alcohol is hypocritical. The government is still scrounging at taxes derived from alcohol sales even though Sharia law requires that one disassociates with anything related to alcohol.
7. Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina)
Aminu Bello Masari, Governor of Katsina State, should have ended this year on a political high note, instead, his tenure in office would be stained with piercing questions on the details surrounding the abduction of the Kankara boys.
Over 333 boys of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara were abducted when bandits invaded the school on Friday, December 11, 2020. Shockingly, the president of the nation was present in the state when this incident took place- right under his nose.
Fortunately, the boys were soon rescued and this alone should be a reason to commend the governor for swift intervention. However, the details of the rescue have appeared quite muddy. Reports and statements didn’t declare that these bandits were accosted or killed in the process of the rescue, raising suspicions of a ransom being paid. Masari emerged to say that ‘repentant bandits’ had helped in the rescue process. How?
Soon after, investigative reports detail that a ransom was paid before the boys were freed. According to a Wall Street Journal article, during an interview with the boys, it was declared that ‘one million was supposedly paid for each student’. Altogether 344 million was reportedly paid for their release. If indeed that’s the case, we’ve plummeted as a nation to negotiating with terrorists. In fact, we are funding their evils in the country. The half-truths and evasiveness from the governor are what secures him a spot of one of the worst-performing governors.
6. BabaGana Umara (Borno)
The state of Borno witnessed one of the ugliest massacres in Nigeria’s history in the month of November. Over 76 rice farmers were killed by the Boko Haram jihadi group in a gruesome terrorist attack.
Dozens of these labourers were slaughtered in rice fields near the village of Zabarmari, Borno state. The incident spoke of the inadequate and shameful attempt of the Government at ensuring security in the nation. While it’s been observed that the issue of insurgency, widespread violence is beyond the state of Borno and can be witnessed in other Northern states in the country, the Governor of Borno is not absolved of blame for allowing this abhorrent incident occur in his constituency. His reaction and words after the incident leave much to be desired.
Shortly after the Zabarmari massacre, Zulum said that despite the event, the north-east was safer under Buhari compared to the past; praising President Muhammadu Buhari. His need to politicise the situation in the wake of such a terrible tragedy marred all his prior efforts. Zulum had set up a committee to ensure the distribution of N600,000 each to 48 families who lost their loved ones in the Zabarmari attack. While this is applauded, his comments thereafter made a mockery of the whole situation; comparing regimes instead of focusing on a way forward.
5. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu)
The Enugu State Government has done quite a numer of things over the past few months to warrant praise from the public.
They recently donated four rapid response vehicles and a 12,000-liter capacity water tanker to the State Fire Service, to assist fire-fighting agency operations in the state, especially during the dry season.
The Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, also commissioned development projects across Nsukka/Igbo Eze South Federal Constituency in the state and distributed empowerment items to constituents.
In addition, the government fully embraced tech and approved the establishment of an Enugu Tech Hub and Youth Innovation Centres, at Enugu City and Obollo Afor. The State Government has already begun the construction and renovation of facilities at the areas. The facility is set to bring technology-driven innovations down to the grassroots for digital economy.
- Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun)
The Osun state governor has shown dedication to building the infrastructures in the state and developing on what already exists. Governor Adegboyega Oyetola recently inaugurated a 20km Ejigbo-Ara road, 2.1km Ede township roads and 3.8km Ejigbo township roads. He has been praised for his dedication to reconstructing the long-abandoned roads and public facilities across the state.
Furthermore, the Government of the State of Osun unveiled an elaborate plan to reposition sports by partnering with a private Company, Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Limited, in establishing a world-class Sports Academy as well as revitalizing the Governor’s Cup for Secondary Schools and grassroots football development.
“The Sports Academy will have a 5,000 to 6,000 capacity stadium, four training pitches for track and field events which will be 1,200 seater. There will also be classrooms and staff quarters, 18 holes golf course and a multipurpose sports arena among other top-class features. We will in turn provide infrastructure, including road, power, and water for the effective functioning of the Academy,” Governor Oyetola said.
3. Godwin Obaseki (Edo)
Godwin Obaseki would always be revered as the man who faced the notorious godfather, Adams Oshiomole, and emerged victorious.
His administrations have leaned towards the use of technology and forward-thinking innovations. The Governor recently pitched an ambitious project tagged the Edo Tech Park; a sprawling piece of real estate that will be a self-sustaining tech campus at maturity.
The Edo Tech Park is geared to raise 15,000 software engineering talents in the state by 2025 in partnership with Decagon, the Lagos-based startup that trains developers through an intensive 6-month programme.
The Governor’s management of the COVID-19 crisis is also very commendable. The government has prioritised public enlightenment as a strategy in combating the novel virus. In addition, Obaseki has been lauded for his investment in sporting infrastructure in the state. An ultra-modern indoor sports hall at the Samuel Ogbemudia has provided Edo youths an opportunity to train and improve their skills in karate, lawn tennis, table tennis, swimming and Judo.
The governor is currently embroiled in the fight to prove the validity of his first-degree certificate in an ongoing court case. We truly wish him the best in his endeavours.
2. Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta)
The citizens of Delta State suffered through rather horrible rainstorm and fire disasters over the past few months. Ifeanyi Okowo, Governor of Delta State, has shown that he is a man whose heart is with the people.
The Delta State Government disbursed over N33 million to 255 rainstorm and fire disaster victims from four communities in four Local Government Areas in the state to help alleviate their sufferings and improve their livelihood. The communities are; Ovrode, Umukwata, Oleh and Sapele in Isoko North, Ukwuani, Isoko South and Sapele Local Government Areas respectively.
The Delta State Governor also won the Football Friendly Governor for the second year in a row at the 7th Nigeria Pitch Awards. It is no secret the governor wields a palpable passion for sports.
Asides that, the Governor inaugurated a new security outfit tagged ‘Operation Delta Hawk’, established by the State Government to enhance the security of lives and property in the state.
- Seyi Makinde (Oyo)
Seyi Makinde gives off the same feel as the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau- young, active and progressive. The Oyo State Governor can be lauded for many things, but one thing that particularly stands out is his handling of the #EndSARS protests. Unlike his counterpart, Sanwo-Olu, Makinde had wisely diffused tensions by directing police officers to stay away from the protest grounds.
He set up a 500 million Naira Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) fund to be given to enterprising youths with entrepreneurial ideas and he also established a 500 million Naira compensation fund for victims of injustice during the #EndSARs protests. The state also set up a judicial panel of enquiry to investigate cases of police brutality and provide restorative justice.
He brings a human touch to his governance and seeks to empathise with the people. He publicly declared his assets, conducted the state’s budgeting process openly with town hall meetings and has dedicatedly donated his monthly salary to the teacher’s pension fund. In the spirit of good governance, the Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde inaugurated the state’s anti-corruption commission with a strong mandate for zero tolerance for corrupt practices.
Makinde is notably focused on developing the sports sector in his state. Currently, there is an ongoing construction of the Soun Township Stadium in Ogbomoso into a first-class sporting arena.
The Oyo State Governor also embraced technology, he has made a commitment to begin biometric registration for motorcyclists, as part of measures to tackle insecurity. A new, innovative approach to ensuring security in the state.
While, yes, his administration is not with its shortcomings, the governor has proven to be a model politician.
The YNaija Effectiveness Ranking is a perception index by our special editorial programme as determined by correspondent assessment, news reports, and opinion surveys. It is graded on the following parameters: campaign promise, social impact, and infrastructural development.
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks