Date Published: 05/18/10
KADUNA RESCUE MISSION
NAMADI SAMBO AS VP: A CELEBRATION OF MEDIOCRITY By ABDULKADIR MAGAJI
It is generally the norm, especially in serious climes, that anytime a public officer (or anybody holding any position for that matter) is elevated to a higher position, some criteria for such elevation are the officer’s level of competence, performance in current office, commitment to duty, value addition as well as confidence of the people. In the case of a ‘politician’ being elevated to a higher political office some other factors as political acumen and widespread acceptance by the people come in handy.
When therefore news began to filter mid last week that Arc Namadi Sambo, Kaduna State Governor was the one chosen by the President to occupy the seat that he’d vacated, not a few tongues wagged, in shock, bewilderment and total disbelief. The question that has kept on agitating the minds of many people is: ‘on what basis?’ The general pattern of thought and belief in the state is that the last three years, during which Sambo has been in charge, have been the worst period in the history of the state. So the question is what is he expected to bring to the office to which he is being catapulted? The maxim that says ‘you can’t give what you don’t have’ is dead on target here. At a time when Nigeria is laying claims to wanting to join the league of developed nations, isn’t it apt that the youths of the country, particularly, are impressed on the imperatives of meritocracy so that all will work hard to strive for excellence, instead of lying down expecting their interests to be taken care of by ‘luck’ or some permutations of vested interests?
The score card of Namadi Sambo as Governor of Kaduna State can by no means inform any decision to extend even a handshake to him let alone elevating him to the second most important political office in the land. Except if an interest other than that of the nation is the targeted beneficiary. This is a Governor that rode to power effortlessly on a groundswell of public goodwill and expectations that not only would he try to build on the very solid foundations laid by, especially the previous administration, but would also try to surpass its achievements (which are still being acclaimed unfortunately, because there’s been no new thing on the ground). Such tremendous amount of goodwill was in no time squandered as a result of the peoples’ realisation that their simple expectations of nothing but good, fair and purposeful governance, were too tall for this man they were made to repose their confidence in by the immediate past governor. Many people in Kaduna State today find it very difficult to forgive Ahmed Makarfi, despite his sterling eight-year performance, for saddling the state with the incompetence that the Namadi Sambo administration represents.
It is no longer news that the current class of governors in the country has gotten more money within three years than most of their predecessors did in nearly eight years. To say that all of them have done nothing but squander such resources is certainly uncharitable, because there certainly are some states where such resources are being deployed to the benefit of the majority of their citizens. And they are many. But we dare say, that no state has suffered the reversal of fortunes that Kaduna has been subjected to in the past three years. It is on record that the Kaduna State Government has, from May 2007 to date collected from the federation account resources in excess of N140,000,000,000.00 (one hundred and forty billion naira), (this is more than the immediate past administration collected in its entire two-term tenure of eight years), yet people are still waiting for the day they’d be told what has happened to such unprecedented receipts. By the way this figure does not include internally generated revenue, which is a closely guarded secret in the state. We make bold to say that in spite of such humongous amount of money there is not a single worthy project that has elicited the excitement of the people. The only project over which staggering sums are being sunk is the construction of a new Government House, which is said to have so far gulped close to N10,000,000,000.00 (ten billion naira), at a time when there is no water, education sector is crying for a lifeline, medical services are in disarray and all other crucial sectors are yearning for attention. On top of this all, the state has nosedived in three years from one of the least indebted states to one of the most bankrupt states. As at the last count, the state is said to owe more than N48,000,000,000.00 (forty-eight billion naira). For what reason? Please ask Namadi Sambo.
There is no Local Government Council in Kaduna State today that can beat its chest and proclaim any performance, because their allocations have been largely (mis)appropriated into the nebulous joint account that is controlled at the personal whims of the governor. Therefore there is neither a joint project anywhere nor an independent local government project anywhere in the state. The situation is so bad in that sector that despite unprecedented receipts by the local governments these past three years, some of them are not able to pay even monthly salaries. Some owe their workers upwards of four months salaries. We shouldn’t be surprised if however if on account of this, some LG chairmen are ordered to, or on their own sycophantically come out to want to give the lie to this. They will then be tasked to account for our resources.
Even the party (PDP) has not been immune from the Namadi virus. As things stand in Kaduna State today, the PDP is but a walking corpse. Opposition parties have been praying and earnestly looking forward to a contest with Namadi in 2011 elections, believing (with good reasons) that no walkover would be easier. The party is in shambles; most of the members, from founders to the rank-and-file have become so disillusioned that even extreme measures as dumping the party are not far from the calculations of many. Many others too prefer to stay back and sabotage it from within. Why? Because the Governor has transformed it into nothing more than an extension of his private business; imposing non-politicians as leaders at all levels in the state. This therefore makes it nigh impossible for the party to interact with politicians because there is a serious disconnect.
Namadi’s style of administration is also not people friendly nor people focussed. At the time of the electioneering campaigns, we all believed that this innocent-looking man was going to deliver, carrying the people along. But shortly after his assumption of office, signs that peoples’ yearnings and aspirations were going to be dashed began to emerge. These signs were heralded by the fact that His Excellency abdicated his constitutional responsibility of setting up his government to a cabal, composed of characters who, in decent circumstances would never be entrusted with the responsibility of determining the fate of a people. He was also discovered to have a penchant for deliberately making false promises.
Since his assumption of office, Government House Kaduna has become some sort of garrison and a generally hostile environment. Even commissioners, members of the State House of Assembly as well as other government appointees don’t have direct access to the governor. Arc Namadi Sambo has also been an absentee governor. He comes into town on Tuesday and by Thursday he is gone. This makes it impossible for even statutory and conventional meetings like the weekly Executive Council and Security meetings to hold regularly. No doubt this has affected the smooth running of government business. Consequently, correspondences to and from the Government House take months and in some cases for ever, while large chunks of untreated mails, memos and other correspondences are right now competing for space in the offices of the governor and his PPS. One now needs to know one’s way around the seat of power to get his or her file(s) included among the few that are taken to the governor for his attention wherever he is.
No doubt after the shock that came with the speculation of Namadi’s ascension to the office of the VP, many people have been trying to give a positive interpretation to the development. Many believe that it is God’s way of answering the desperate prayers of the majority of the people to remove the plague that this three year-experience has turned out to be. To many therefore, this may be the good riddance they have been patiently waiting to celebrate in 2011. It such a good bonus that it is coming earlier. But we believe the issue goes beyond the celebration of redemption in Kaduna. The question is should this plague be allowed to infect the entire country?
Nigerians deserve answers to some questions they have for Mr President. Some of them are:
- What is the basis for his choice of Namadi Sambo?
- Did he do a background check on his supposed nominee?
- Did he ask agencies under his control to assess Namadi’s performance in Kaduna State?
- If yes, is he saying he is impressed/satisfied with that level of performance?
- Is his choice of Namadi in the best interest of the country, Goodluck Jonathan’s or others even the President himself does not understand.?
GOD SAVE AND BLESS NIGERIA