Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Wada's 365 Days in Office - So Far, So Turbulent

Captain Idris Wada's one year in office no doubt has been very turbulent, given the series of challenges he was faced with in the past 365 days.

Wada'S first acid tests were the numerous court cases that are even yet to abate. And when he thought of breathing some air of relief from the legal battles, the deadly flood which ravaged nine local government areas of the state, came. The government had to suspend many programmes in a bid to rehabilitate those displaced by the flood.

Within the year, Wada's administration had many other bitter pills to swallow. One pill was the face-off between Wada and some members of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under the aegis of PDP Elders led by Senators Alex Kadiri and Muhammed Ohiare, who are insisting that the governor should have done better given the resources accruing to the state.

Litigations

The governor began to face litigation from September 22, 2011, when he was elected as PDP flag bearer at the party's gubernatorial primary. When it was clear that he had an edge over other aspirants through the support he enjoyed from the then governor, Ibrahim Idris, one of the aggrieved members, Chief Oyebode Makinde, went to court to seek an injunction to stop the primary. The bid was, however, not successful.

But as soon as he got the PDP ticket to run for the December 3, 2011 governorship election, Jibrin Isah (Echocho), who was the former ticket holder, went to court to challenge Wada's candidacy. Echocho was initially elected as PDP governorship candidate at the January 2011 primary before the Court of Appeal extended the tenure of former Governor Ibrahim Idris and four others.

Echocho, particularly, wanted the court to invalidate the election that brought in Wada on the grounds that he was the winner of the first primary and that his name was submitted to the INEC, which was not withdrawn before another primary was conducted.

This was in addition to the tribunal cases instituted by the former governor of the state, Prince Abubakar Audu and his estranged wife, Aisha Audu (Nee Emeje), CPC, and ANPP asking the court to declare that Wada was not validly elected. Though Aisha later withdrew her case from the tribunal, Prince Audu pursued it to the Apex court before he backed down.

The heat created by the removal of Speaker Abdullahi Bello, believed to have been sponsored by the governor generated a lot of crisis too. The governor has since denied any involvement but the period was another serious setback for the state, as all attentions was focused on the crisis.

Critics flay One year of Wada

However, divergent views have continued to trail the one year in office of the present administration. While some said that the numerous challenges had hampered governance, others said that the administration had failed to live up to expectation irrespective of the challenges.

The opposition party, especially the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) said there was no difference between Ibrahim Idris and Wada in terms of poor performance. According to them, the only meaningful and tangible achievement seen in the state was done by Prince Abubakar Audu's four years in office.

Also, a Human Right Activists, who is the Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, (CHRCR), Idris Miliki, described Wada's one year in office as a monumental failure saying, "it is worrisome and disappointing that a government of one year old cannot boast of any meaningful achievement.

Miliki particularly faulted the state government's claim that it expended over N248 million and N21 million on rural electrification and street lighting respectively, which according to him were not in existence. He said it was misleading for the governor to say that his administration had spent over N158 million on reconstruction and modernization of the Confluence Beach Hotel, saying that the hotel was still in a sorry and dilapidated condition.

Wada seeks more support

During his one year in office broadcast, Wada admitted that the last 365 days had been challenging and promised better outing in the months and urged the citizenry to continue to support the government.

His words: "My dear people of Kogi State, we have tried, in the face of these challenges and limited financial resources, to record some modest achievements within this one year through the programmes that we have initiated or inherited and executed. The judgment of our performance belongs to you. We have concentrated our efforts on meeting the most essential needs of our people alongside the completion of on-going projects started by the immediate past Administration.

"The lean resources accruing to the State demands the highest level of prudence to enable us make meaningful impact on the development of the State. At the time of this report we have completed a record of 169 projects, which spread across Agriculture, Education, Health, Tourism, Security, Human Capital development, Road construction and water supply. A number of these projects will be commissioned within the next few weeks.

"All that I require of you is your continued support, cooperation, patience and understanding. We will not let you down. We will remain resolute and focused on our vision and mission while ensuring accountability, transparency, equity, justice and fairness.

"I would like to seize this opportunity to thank all the segment of our people for the cooperation and support we have enjoyed from you from the inception of this administration.

Let me conclude by calling for greater unity, cooperation, support and understanding in the period ahead so that together, we can move Kogi State to greater heights, reap the dividends of democracy and bequeath a worthy legacy to the coming generation".

The State Deputy Governor, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi, was however quick to deny the opinion that the administration has done nothing.

He said the Capt Idris Wada led administration had made noticeable strides in the areas of health, works, infrastructures, education and agriculture.

The Deputy Governor, who described the free Rural Medical service offered across the 21 LGA of the state as an investment that has met the yearning and aspirations of rural dwellers. He also cited the free distribution of mosquito nets and free eye glasses, new cottage hospitals constructed among others as examples of the administration's bold efforts in the health sector.

The present administration, he explained, has done so much in the area of security to prevent spillover of the security challenges experienced in some parts of the country. The Deputy Governor described the first year of the administration as a period of planning and laying the solid foundation for the sustainable development of the state

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