Dakingari's management style is disappointing, and complicates the growing poverty of the state
The recent report that Governor Sa'idu Nasamu Dakingari of Kebbi has joined the growing list of state chief executives who have abandoned their constitutional duties through self-imposed administrative exile is not only worrisome but tragic. What is even more peculiar in the case of Kebbi State is that the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Aminu Habibu Jega, whose arm of government is supposed to be a check on the executive, actually endorses this executive impunity. But as have already been noted, Dakingari's style only reinforces what has become a growing trend under the current dispensation which is replete with absentee public officers, especially state governors who Nigerians are now told "can govern from anywhere".
According to the statement credited to Speaker Jega who was defending Dakingari, "the governor can govern from anywhere as the frequent travels are not disrupting governance of the state. The absence of the governor is for the good of the state and the world is now a global village with the advent of computers and electronic messages. I was watching a documentary where I saw the president of the United States chairing a meeting in a plane via video conferencing".
The Kebbi Speaker was not done: "Kebbi State is fully dependent on monthly allocation because there is no other economic sector working in the state. So, when you pay salaries, the market will boom for just five days and the moment the market absorbs that salary, the whole state will become stagnant. The development has nothing to do with the governor's trips because I don't believe that a governor can only govern from a particular area. Governance does not reside in the town or the state capital itself. At least there are so many meetings that have to be attended in Abuja, where we receive our monthly allocation. If the governor decides to stay in Kebbi, who will cover the vacuum in Abuja"?
We consider it egregious that the Speaker would glory in the fact that the only revenue his state depends on for survival is nothing but handout from Abuja. It is also sheer irresponsibility that he would not be concerned that his state becomes "stagnant" five days after salaries are paid from the monthly allocation, and he sees no connection between his governor's absence and the parlous economic situation of his State. With such abysmally shallow thinking, it is not difficult to understand why Kebbi remains one of the poorest states in the country with a high poverty rate of 72 per cent according to recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics.
We insist that Kebbi deserves a hands-on governor who will work for the people not an absentee like Dakingari. He may have taken comfort in the absurdity that about five of his colleagues have been absent from their states for some months on one excuse, illness or the other, including Sullivan Chime of Enugu (who just returned from a long medical sojourn abroad). But Dakingari is not known to be sick; he just simply doesn't find anything worth doing in the state where he was elected governor.
It is therefore no surprise that almost six years in office, he can hardly point to any landmark achievement in Kebbi. The state cannot boast of quality roads or other basic amenities like schools, health centres and safe drinking water. Illiteracy, especially amongst the girl-child, is one of the highest in the country, coupled with the prevalent cases of Vitro Vaginal Fistula (VVF).
Dakingari's irresponsible gallivanting, spending his time mostly in Abuja and outside the country and treating with contempt the legitimate expectations of the people of Kebbi who dare to question the whereabouts of their Governor, is simply tragic to say the least. Dakingari should stay in Kebbi State and work for the people. We consider it even more tragic that the State Assembly cannot call him to order.