The coming of the Congress for Progressive Change [CPC] governor of Nasarawa State came as nirvana to the people of Nasarawa State and to the members of the newly formed political party led by the former military leader of Nigeria, General Muhammad Buhari. The feeling on the day of swearing-in of the CPC governor on May 29, 2011 spelt nostalgia amidst the heavy turnout of the people of the State to witness a history in the making. To many, it was a euphoric dream come true. And to many, it dried teary eyes for the simple ejection of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] out of the governor’s seat.
But with nearly one year having gone by, the nostalgia appears to have begun a quick dissipation to give way for the realities of the newly sworn-in governor’s inabilities and/or probable in-capabilities in administrating the state affairs. The CPC governor who rode on the goodwill of the leader of the CPC, General Mohammad Buhari to gain his way into the hearts of Nasarawa people, made many promises to the people of what he will deliver within his first year in office. Like a trusting sheep of the shepherd, the people of Nasarawa accepted the governor’s promises. Unfortunately, after one year in office as the governor, Al-Makura found difficulty fulfilling any of his lofty promises.
Cursory examination of the activities within the various ministries reveals plenty.
- Education Ministry –
Activity at the education ministry appeared null. The governor’s office exhibits acute symptoms of maladministration at this ministry. Independent investigation conducted by 247ureports.com showed limited activity at the ministry. On the first level, there appear no infrastructural projects on ground. There were no evidences of infrastructural development at the primary school level, secondary school or tertiary level. At the Nasarawa polytechnic, the workers and students have been on strike over nonpayment salaries. At the Science Secondary school in Lafia [the governor’s hometown] where 2,000 students attend school, only two Science teachers are on staff to handle the 2,000 students. To add muster, the Governor stopped the awards of scholarships to indigenes to study abroad or at foreign institutions.
- Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives Ministry –
One of the governor’s promises was to revamp commerce and industry in Nasarawa State. In particular, he promised to build an airstrip in Lafia and cargo airport in Karu – but the promises lost its way to fruition. Cursory inquiry showed that there are no technical designs for the development to date and no readily available evidence that work has begun or that work will begin. Gov Al Makura promised to fix the fertilizer blending plant located in Lafia – that was built by former Gov A. Adamu – but the plant has yet to receive the promised attention. The said scenario plays out with the soap industry in Agwanga and the Karu International market. The Farin-Ruwa Hydro power project was one of the well received promises of upgrade and/or rehabilitation. The governor acted to appoint a company to rehabilitate the plant – but to date; there remains no activity resembling the start of work. The plant remains shut as a result.
- Water Resources and Rural Development Ministry –
Financial handicapped farmers and residents of the rural communities Nasarawa State were promised rural electrification and a 33KVA extension to the national grid for all the Local Government Areas [LGA] headquarters. Cursory investigation shows that none of the LGAs has received the said 33KVA. Rural electrification has yet to commence at Duduguru and Igga. The water problem in Nasarawa State has been near epidemic, particularly the towns of Lafia, Nasarawa Eggon, and Nasarawa. In an effort to remedy the water shortage problem, the governor ordered for the overhauling of the piping system – guided by the belief that the problem was with the piping system. After the completion of the overhaul, the water shortage continued.
- Finance Ministry –
The “state is bankrupt” exclaimed staff attached with the State Finance Ministry. Prior to arrival of Governor Al Makura, the State Finance ministry, according to official State figures, collected N250million monthly of Internally Generated Revenue [IGR] but with the arrival of the Al Makura, the IGR collection have averaged N600milion monthly – an increase over 130% revenue. In addition, the state, according to official state figures, received N97billion from a combined federal allocation, excess crude, NNPC differential bonus, dollar excess crude, VAT, etc. The supplementary budget of 2011, the year before his arrived, had a surplus of N12billion. In summation the governor, for his first year in office received in excess of N116.2billion. But salaries in the State remain unpaid – as the governor engages in a mass sack of workers [7,000] – through the guise of a worker’s screening exercise. For two months, there has been no disbursement of monies to the LGAs.
- The Judiciary –
The judiciary receives the worst assault. A Court in Doma LGA in Nasarawa State operates under a tree [a cowshed] because they were evicted from their official court premises due to lack of rent payment. In Karu, Nasarawa State, a grade ‘A’ area court also operates under a tree [a cowshed].
Interestingly, the governor who is reportedly prepping for an elaborate festive occasion to celebrate his first year in office has earmarked the sum of N915million for the event amidst a litany of promises lingering unfulfilled.
The governor promises failed him at the sport stadium which he told he told his people he will upgrade. The sport stadium at Lafia, Agwanga, Keffi – till date – bares no evidence of work being done. The sports academy at Agwanga is reportedly under decay.
Few months of assumption to the governor’s office, the governor shared 10 brand new Toyota Camry vehicles to friends and supporters [cronies]. Some of the recipients of the vehicles include – Attajiyah Rikiyah, Commissioner for Sport, and Youth [Daniel Ogazi], SA media’s dad and others. The cronyism of the governor was not limited to the bazaar of cars. He took daughter-in-law and placed her at the position of Executive Secretary of State Universal Basic Education Board [SUBEB]. He also took his sister-in-law and placed her at the position of Commissioner for woman affairs.
It begs the question where the N116.2billion has gone? With General Buhari preparing for the presidential contest of 2015 against the PDP, how much of the Nasarawa State’s funds [N116.2billion] may have found its way to the Buhari Campaign treasury?