Lokoja — Our correspondent reviews Governor Idris Wada's one year in office revealing mixed reactions from the populace
Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State was sworn in on January 27, 2012 after a Supreme Court judgment sacking five governors including former Kogi State governor, Ibrahim Idris over tenure elongation.
Wada's tenure started on a turbulent note as few hours after he was sworn in, the speaker of the state House of Assembly, Abdullahi Bello, was also sworn in following a directive from the federal ministry of justice.
After the tension of the swearing-in controversy, the governor was again enmeshed in several litigations challenging his declaration and swearing in as governor.
The cases lingered for several months that the governor had to complain that they are a distraction to him in his desire to develop the state.
Within a year, the governor also had to battle with flood that ravaged most parts of the state shortly after a huge crisis erupted over his alleged attempt to sack the then speaker of the state House of Assembly; Abdullahi Bello.
There was also a controversy over constitution of caretaker committees in the local governments instead of conducting elections as the opposition felt the appointment of caretaker committees would only serve to allow the governor appoint only PDP members at the that level of government.
Few days to 2013, the governor was also involved in an accident in which he lost his driver but suffered a fracture on the leg that kept him in hospital and away from office for some days.
But as he clocked one year in office last week, his performance came under review, notwithstanding the turbulence of the period.
While some believe the governor has performed creditably well in his one year in office and should be celebrated, others believe the governor has failed saying nothing is on ground to warrant celebration and that the situation calls for sober reflection.
Elders of the People's Democratic Party, (PDP) under the umbrella of Kogi Elders from Abuja led the voices of critics of Governor Wada's tenure.
The elders alleged that in the nearly one year of Wada's governorship, no project even as small as a box culvert has been done in the state and accused the governor and his predecessor in office of collaborating to milk the state dry.
The group sent petitions to President Goodluck Jonathan and to the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur urging them to call Governor Wada to order.
Those who believe Wada has performed well argue that it is not only physical development that form the yardstick for assessing performance and that with the road map produced for the state by the governor, it could be said that he has performed well.
Human Right Activist, Idris Milik who is also the executive director of Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, said it is worrisome and very disappointing that a government that has been in place for one year cannot boast of a single project.
He said even the previous administration of Ibrahim Idris which people described as woeful in terms of performance, was able to commission projects in his one year in office, adding that other state governors Wada assumed office at the same period with, have pointed out the projects they have executed while Wada cannot.
"If you look at the budget of 2012 you'll discover that the capital projects that will have everlasting effect on the people was implemented by only 15 percent. Any student who scored 15 percent in an examination is a failure and it means the governor has declared himself a failure by that 15 percent implementation," he said
He said the government has spent one year planning without a direction, saying that it is only God that knows what will happen if a government that is billed to stay in office for four years spends a whole year planning.
"To me it is a worrisome thing that a government that receives N2 billion averagely in cash and material for flood victims, four months after, the money has not been given to the victims, also the government that received N1.3 billion for SURE-P and yet no single project has been carried out, a government that claimed to have spent N21 million of street light yet the street light has never functioned. So the one year administration of governor Wada is a failure. It calls for sober reflection and prayer," he said.
State chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Alhaji Haddy Ametuo corroborates Milik's view saying the state is at a standstill due to non performance by the governor.
He said, "If you look at kogi state as at the time governor Idris Wada assumed office January last year and now, the state is still the same with no single infrastructure to tell people that a new government is in place.
"Look at the state, the governor cannot point to one single project he has executed. All the roads in the state capital are in bad shape. The Itakpe- kuroko road has not been constructed. I was shocked when he said he had constructed the roads and many others in his broadcast. Go there, none of the roads he mentioned has been constructed," he said.
He said the only achievement in the last one year of Governor Wada was the roundabout constructed in front of the government house, adding that the governor has been junketing Abuja to take orders and instructions from his godfather.
But for Malam Muhammed Ada Umar, Governor Wada has performed very well in his one year in office and should be commended.
He said this is because the governor has been able to provide potable water for rural communities by constructing motorized boreholes in places like Opatala, Ayingba, Odu-Ogboyaga, Opakili Atte in Omala and Dekina local governments as well as other communities in the state.
Umar said the governor has also graded several rural roads like Odulu to Apayan in Igalamela local government and Shintako Gbobe road in Basa local government as well as other local governments in the Central and Western senatorial districts of the state within the short period.
He added that many rural communities in the state like Ilabunu in Kabba local governments, Kuroko and Adavi- Eika in Adavi local government and other areas within the state have also been electrified while transformers have been supplied to some rural communities as well as Lokoja Metropolis.
The chief press secretary to the governor, Richard Elesho said while the Wada critics were trying to distract him, he was busy commissioning and initiating projects.
He said the governor commissioned two blocks of school building at Qjapata/Ajodiun and Ihiame communities In Igalamela Odolu Local Government at a cost of N11.5 million.
"Each block consists of three class rooms, furniture and a block of detached toilets, the project handled under the direct supervision of Kogi State Agency for Social and Community Development took three months to complete," he said.