First-term governors-elect give insight into priority areas
The tension generated in the build-up to the March 9 governorship poll conducted in 29 states has subsided, at least in 22 states, where clear winners have emerged.
Five states (Bauchi, Plateau, Sokoto, Benue and Adamawa), where the governorship election was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission, will have a supplementary poll on March 23. The electoral commission has yet to decide on the suspended Rivers State governorship and state House of Assembly elections. The suspension was due to widespread violence and other forms of electoral fraud that characterised the polls in the state.
Ten of the governors-elect in the 29 state are first timers, some of who are coming from the private sector. SUNDAY PUNCH takes a look at the background of these newcomers to the Government House of their states and the peep into the plan they have for their states.
Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to tackle gridlock, waste disposal problems
The Governor-elect of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was trained as a surveyor at the University of Lagos and bagged an MSc in Surveying from the same university. He worked briefly in the oil industry before venturing into the banking sector and later became an entrepreneur.
Sanwo-Olu was at various times the Special Adviser on Corporate Matters to the Lagos State Governor; Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry; Commissioner for Budget and Planning and Commissioner for Establishment and Training and later the Managing Director/CEO, Lagos State Development and Property Corporation. He is also the pioneer Chairman of the Lagos Security Trust Fund.
The governor-elect said his immediate plan was to tackle the the gridlock in the state and waste disposal/management through sorting.
Sanwo-Olu said, “Part of the ways through which we’ll solve the traffic problem is to identify areas where there are gridlocks and we can do what we call quick fixes. We’ll bring about innovations through creative thinking. For instance, there are areas where we have four lanes blocked but you have the other four lanes empty. Why can’t we think of a solution whereby, in the morning or whenever it is that this is blocked, let’s create two additional lanes from these four lanes that are empty.”
The Deputy Governor-elect, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, spoke on the waste management programme: “We will keep our environment clean and healthy; we will rejig the waste management system by getting LAWMA to deliver better on its mandate as the regulator, while the PSP model will be made to respond better in collection of waste in Lagos. On the advocacy, we have plans to turn waste to wealth. This we will do by incentivizing waste sorting by our people. We must begin to separate organic waste from other household waste and put them in separate waste bags for recycling companies that will turn waste to primary and secondary raw materials. Those who properly sort their waste can make money.”
Seyi Makinde to abolish primary, secondary school fees
The Oyo State Governor-elect, Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde, established his first oil and gas company, Makon Engineering and Technical Services, in 1997 at the age of 29. This was after working in a number of international oil and gas firms for five years.
He attended the University of Lagos for a Bachelor in Electrical/Electronic Engineering and did his national service with Shell Petroleum Development Company, where he was later engaged as a pupil engineer.
Speaking on his immediate plans for Oyo State, he said, “By the grace of God, on assumption of office, I will hit the ground running as promised during the electioneering. Our people have suffered for too long and we need to start cushioning the excruciating poverty and harsh economic conditions afflicting many citizens and residents alike.
“First, I will put a stop to all fees being paid by public primary and secondary school students. As of the last count, hapless parents were paying over N1bn to the government coffers annually under the guise of needless fees of N3,000/student. That money will henceforth stay with them and its effect will be on the economy.
“Secondly, security levies will be cancelled. Churches and mosques will heave a sigh of relief because the money being paid by them will remain with the people and no longer to the state government.
“Thirdly, I will constitute an economic team. I will be the head of the team to be put in place to fast-track the process of economic regeneration agenda of our dear state through agriculture, existing natural resources, and many others.”
Emeka Ihedioha wants to restore the state’s dignity
The Imo state Governor-elect, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, who was the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015, has a B.Sc in Food Science and Technology from the University of Lagos.
He was appointed press officer to the Senate President, Iyorchia Ayu, in 1992 and was later appointed Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Senate President.
Following military incursion in the polity in November 1993, Ihedioha returned to his communications practice as Chief Executive Officer of First Page Communications. He became the Director of Publicity of the Peoples Democratic Movement, which was formed around that time.
Ihedioha, who contested the election as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, said, “Our priority will be the reclaiming of the dignity of our people. We shall no longer be the laughing stock of Nigeria as only positive, productive and progressive stories will be told of the new Imo. Imo has always been known for the right things, with a huge reservoir of human capital waiting to be exploited for the great leap forward.
“The level of decay in the last eight years makes it imperative that the redemptive work starts immediately. To kick-start the rebuilding process, I shall set up, in the coming days, a transition team with clear terms of reference. This team will liaise with the outgoing government to collate and collect information on the state of affairs of our state. They will recommend the structure of our government.”
Prof. Babagana Zulum
The Borno State Governor-elect, Babagana Zulum, who contested the election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, is a professor of Irrigation Engineering at the University of Maiduguri.
Zulum said he was a taxi driver for 16 years before becoming a professor. He bagged a National Diploma in Irrigation Engineering from Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri, before he gained admission to study at the University of Maiduguri for a degree in Agricultural Engineering.
He obtained an MSc in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Ibadan and joined the University of Maiduguri as an assistant lecturer. He was a Rector at the Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri.
Zulum was appointed as the first Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement in Borno State by Governor Kashim Shetima in 2015.
Speaking on his plan when sworn in as governor, he said, “I shall be willing to work with everyone, including those who contested with us. I believe that what works better is cooperation rather than confrontation. I will remain highly committed to building and improving on all the institutional gains already laid by Governor Kashim Shettima, particularly his rebuilding and re-settlement drives.
“Our administration of continuity will place security of lives at the top of all priorities. After all, the number one essence of government is to secure lives and create an atmosphere where citizens are not only safe but actually feel safe. We shall attach similar priority to the provision of infrastructure and rejuvenate the economy of the state. We will build the capacity of more youths and create more jobs for them. We will increase access to public health care, quality and affordable education. We will strengthen agriculture to create versed opportunities.”
Inuwa Yahaya to transform education, health care delivery, security
Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, the Governor-elect of Gombe State, is a former commissioner in the state in the administration of former governor Danjuma Goje.
Speaking on what would be the focus of his administration on assumption of office, Yahaya said, “Going by the way Gombe State has been somehow mismanaged in the last eight years, I will like to face the issues of education, health care delivery and security. If well addressed, these will help to uplift the people out of the present bondage to a better level.”
The incoming governor stated that he would engage more people in mechanised farming and other areas of agriculture and ensure high level of productivity among workers “in order to take Gombe State out of the shackles of underdevelopment.”
Inuwa Yahaya was born in Jekadafari, Gombe, in 1961 and graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1983 with a BSc in Accounting.
He is a fellow of several professional bodies such as the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria and Nigerian Institute of Management and a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.
He started his career as an Accountant II with the Bauchi State Investment and Property Development and rose to the post of a Principal Accountant.
He moved to Nasara Motors Limited as an administration and finance manager with the additional responsibility of managing other affiliate companies such as Nasara Agro Industrial Company Limited, Nasara Petroleum Marketing Company Limited and AYU Civil Engineering Limited. He later became the Managing Director of the group for four years.
The governor-elect of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, is a native of Iperu-Remo in the Ikenne Local Government Area of the state.
Born in May 1960, Abiodun studied Accounting at Kennesaw State University, Atlanta Georgia, USA.
He is the Managing Director/CEO of Heyden Petroleum Limited, an indigenous player in the downstream, midstream and upstream oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
In 2015, Abiodun contested but lost the Ogun East Senatorial District election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
He was elected a senator on the platform of the defunct United Nigeria Congress Party at the age of 33 in 1993.
He has held various federal appointment positions. He is a former Chairman, Depot and Petroleum Product Marketers Association of Nigeria and former Chairman, Corporate Affairs Commission in 2018.
Abiodun promised to return power to the people on assumption of office on May 29, 2019.
He listed his major areas of focus as rural road infrastructure appraisal; local government funding/independence; civil servants’ unpaid deductions, the challenges at the Tai Solarin College of Education and the MAPOLY/MAUSTECH logjam.
He said, “By returning power to local government chairmen to operate unfettered, council bosses will no longer have to go to Abeokuta to beg for funds to run their administration. They will be like mayors, like what we have in the advanced countries. By so doing, they will have time to deliver good programmes for the people of their immediate communities.
“Also, there will be prompt payment of salaries of teachers and civil servants in the state.”
Abdulahi Sule to prioritise job creation
The Governor-elect of Nasarawa State, Abdulahi Sule, who served as a production engineer at the Jos Steel Rolling Mill Ltd, rose to the post of a principal production engineer before leaving for the United States.
He returned to Nigeria in 2000, and along with some friends, started a company called Sadiq Petroleum Nigeria Limited in Lagos. He was made the pioneer managing director/ CEO of the company.
Later, Sadiq Petroleum Company participated in the privatisation of African Petroleum Plc and won the bid. Upon acquisition of the 30 per cent ownership of the AP Plc Sadiq Petroleum, he was appointed the Executive Director, Operations of the AP in November 2000.
On April 2, 2001, he was appointed by the board of the AP as the fourth MD/CEO.
He served as a Director in IMB International Bank Plc, Ulti-Care Pharmaceutical and Chrismatel Holdings. He was also the Chairman of AP Oilfield Service Ltd and Partner in Star – AP Oilfield Services.
Sule was appointed Acting GMD, Dangote Sugar Refinery Lagos (when?).
He said his government would create job opportunities for the teeming youth across the 13 local government areas and 18 development areas in the state.
“My administration will be accountable to the people of the state and I will consolidate on the achievements recorded by the outgoing Governor of the state, Mr Tanko Al-Makura,” he stated.
Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, a native of Ilorin, and a scion of Alhaji Abdul Ganiyu Folorunsho Abdulrazak, the first Senior Advocate of Nigeria in northern Nigeria.
The 58-year-old Kwara State governor-elect is a businessman, who founded NOPA Oil Services and First Fuels founded in 1991. He is said to be among the first Nigerians to export crude and petroleum products to the United States, Europe and Asia.
His political career began in 2011 when he contested the governorship election on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change.
In 2015, he also contested the Kwara Central senatorial seat under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party, which was then the main opposition party in Kwara State.
AbdulRazaq said women would be given priority in appointments in his administration while more attention would be paid to the North senatorial district in infrastructural development.
“Kwara North needs special attention in terms of development. This doesn’t mean we will not develop other areas. We will. But there is total lack of infrastructure in Kwara North,” he said.
The Governor-elect of Zamfara State, Mukhtar Idris attended Federal Government College, Sokoto for his secondary education before he proceeded to Bayero University, Kano where he obtained a BSc in Economics in 1997.
He holds an MSc in Banking and Finance in (2000), International Affairs and Diplomacy (2003), Development Studies (2005) and Treasury Management (2014).
He had his National Youth Service Corps programme with the Family Support Trust Fund and worked with Chartered Bank Plc, Northco Holdings Nigeria and Intercellular Nigeria Plc from August 2001 to June 2006.
He was Managing Director of Flamingo Resource Ltd, Kano between 2007 and 2011.
He was appointed as the state Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development in 2011 and was reappointed in 2015 as Commissioner for Finance.
Idris has promised to boost the Internally Generated Revenue in the state for the development of the people.
He made the promise while receiving the management of the Internal Revenue Board who paid him a congratulatory visit at his home town in Gusau, the state capital.
He challenged the board to intensify efforts to generate funds for the actualisation of developmental projects in the north-western state.
“I am very happy with your performance, but I want you to put more efforts to make sure that in the next few months, everybody will be smiling in Zamfara State.”
The Governor-elect of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, is a former National Secretary of the All Progressives Party.
Buni, who hails from Buni Gari of Yobe, is both a grassroots politician, having served as the state party chairman for four consecutive times and special adviser on political and legislative affairs to the outgoing Governor of the Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam, a position he held until he was appointed the National Secretary of the APC.
He promised to consolidate on the achievements of the present administration in Yobe in the area of road construction, health, education and water supply.
He said that the state had enough potential to improve the country’s capacity in food production and build on Governor Gaidam’s initiative of engaging 50,000 youths on irrigation farming.
Buni said, “The success of President Buhari’s interventions in the anchor borrower scheme will be replicated in our agrarian state to empower the people and expand their farming activities; this will not only increase their income but reduce poverty.”
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